So far in the alt media there is an overwhelming concentration on the flashy aspects of the Twin Cities uprising that started on Tuesday. It makes sense, the rocks being thrown, protesters being hit in the head with rubber bullets, boog boy fascists with AK-47s, and burning buildings are much more in line with our media culture than the long, slow, and grinding work of committed and dedicated communists on the ground doing thankless tasks. I hope to illuminate some of this background information for people so you can begin to apply these same tactics and bring this information into your communities to create solidarity actions like we've seen all across the us.
The story of the twin cities uprising began much earlier with the murder of Jamar Clark in 2015. Jamar Clark was a black man murdered by the police, most likely on the ground while handcuffed. Protests were organized by BLM and this was the birth of TCC4J, who has been truly at the heart of mobilizing this movement and doing the grunt work. Intermittent protests went on for months, with the end result being that no charges would be filed. This was the birth of a mass org, TCC4J (Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar). Since the birth of TCC4J, there have been dozens of black men killed by the twin cities police. Protests and community work have been done for each one including the celebration of birthdays for the killed each year, bringing in national speakers to the university to talk about racism and police repression, events on the days they were murdered, and organizing for the prosecution of the police for months. Attendance for these events has ranged from a dozen people to thousands, all the while the organizers on the ground have been tirelessly working to build the political education of people around why mass action against the police is necessary. One of the most powerful aspects of these events is the families of the killed is the involvement of family members in the movement to bring their stories and humanize the victims.
One of the most impactful of these was the work done to organize against the murder of Philando Castile. Castile was pulled over in a routine traffic stop, he notified the police officer that he was legally concealed carrying a firearm, and within 30 seconds the police officer started shooting up the car. A video from the passenger went viral as it clearly showed that this was a police crime. There were multiple protests, community meetings, and acts of civil disobedience planned against this event by TCC4J with thousands of protesters showing up. The officer in this case at least had charges filed against him, was found not guilty, but the city of St Anthony paid 3 million as part of a civil lawsuit.
Another major spark was the movement around freeing Myon Burrell, who was jailed for life by Amy Klobuchar so she could build a "tough-on-crime" image for re-election on shitty evidence.
It is known that the MPD illegally held Myon despite requests for his mother and legal representation. It is well known that Klobuchar chose to use an unreliable jailhouse informant to convict Myon, ignoring statements of two other suspects that Myon was not present.
After the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned Myon’s conviction based upon flawed, missing and false evidence, Klobuchar chose to try Myon again, because she was unwilling to lose a “victory” in her fight on crime. After Klobuchar became a senator, it was Mike Freeman who oversaw Myon’s second case, which found a conviction based upon Freeman knowingly using the same flawed evidence and a biased judge.
During what was supposed to be Amy's last public appearance of her campaign, TCC4J and other activists took over the stage and sound system and protested for hours, forcing Amy to cancel the event.
On the national scale, there is organizing being done with the National Alliance Against Racist and Police Repression, a rebirth of a movement from the 70s to free political prisoners and organize for community control of the police. Last year, there was a foundational conference with almost 1,000 attendees who have been working to build up similar organizations in their communities. There is a national day of protest called by NAARPR for this Saturday, so check to see if you have anything going on locally: https://naarpr.org/updates/cities-join-the-call-for-national-day-of-protest/
One of the incredible shifts that has happened with the murder of George Floyd is that the killer cops were fired within 1 day of the event, this is considerable progress from 5 years ago where they refused to even press charges against killer cops. That day, a protest was called for and organized a march from the murder site to the precinct with a coalition of disparate groups united around getting justice. Once at the precinct, there was a separation of space for those who wanted to escalate against the police and those who didn't. The detail of the events at the People's Republic of Target and Autozone will be covered by other sources since that's way sexier, so I'll let other people fill in the gaps here.
One of my favorite chants from this movement is: "Indict, convict, send these killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" This is centered on both the immediate demands while condemning the entire police and prison system and calling for community control of the police. The story of what's going on in Minneapolis isn't a reaction to one night, this is the result of years of work, community organizing, and political education to get people to normalize and support radical actions against police and political figures when they commit crimes. The real story is that this shows how mass organizations with dedicated communists at the center can create real political change with a very small base of activists.