Ending the horrors of police violence requires addressing economic inequality
In the wake of the mass protests following the police murder of George Floyd nearly every major consumer brand had proclaimed their commitments to antiracism, often with new ad campaigns to match their tweets. Very little in the way of police reform has been achieved. Still less was achieved around policies that might help the millions of black Americans living at or below the poverty line. Why has anti-racism been such a powerful source of mobilization but such a poor means of building political opposition capable of winning big reforms?
This volume revisits a debate that transpired during Black Live Matter’s first wave.
Writing against the grain of popular left sentiments, Johnson cautions against a new ethnic politics. Instead, he calls for broad-based left politics as the only viable means for ending the twin crises of racial inequality and police violence. Redistribution, public goods, and multi-ethnic working-class solidarity are the only viable response to the horrors of police violence and mass incarceration. It just so happens that fighting the conditions that make crime and violence inevitable is also the means by which we can build a working-class majority and a more equal and peaceful nation.
About the Author
Cedric Johnson is associate professor of African American Studies and Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His book, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics was named the 2008 W.E.B. DuBois Outstanding Book of the Year by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Johnson is the editor of The Neoliberal Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalism and the Remaking of New Orleans. His 2017 Catalyst essay, “The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now: Anti-policing Struggles and the Limits of Black Power,” was awarded the 2018 Daniel Singer Millenium Prize. Johnson’s writings have appeared in Nonsite, Jacobin, New Political Science, New Labor Forum, Perspectives on Politics, Historical Materialism, and Journal of Developing Societies. In 2008, Johnson was named the Jon Garlock Labor Educator of the Year by the Rochester Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He previously served on the representative assembly for UIC United Faculty Local 6456.