Since the Killing of George Floyd...
By Bill Moore
Since the killing of George Floyd, I’ve been sad and angry. I’ve been touched by calls and emails from friends asking if we’re alright. Friends in foreign lands lament the racism in their own countries and hope protests here will spur change there too.
I’ve not joined the protests because I fear catching COVID-19. So I miss the rush of action and the pride of standing up against racism and for justice and equity. I’m heartened by the youth of so many protestors and the mostly reasonable response of Governor Walz and other public officials to Floyd’s murder and the rage and demands for serious change it has unleashed. The president’s words and actions, and the destruction wrought by thugs drive me to depression, but also feed my anger and resolve to work for change.
The other day I re-read this passage from Saul Alinsky’s Reveille for Radicals:
“The road to fascism and dictatorship is paved with apathy, hopelessness, frustration, futility and despair in the masses of people. It is this fear and complete hopelessness on the part of the masses which ultimately make them relinquish all control over their lives and turn the power over to a dictator.
“Fascism does not have a chance of establishing itself over a people who are active, interested, participating, co-operating, informed, democratically minded, and who above all have learned through their experiences to have confidence in themselves and their fellow men. They have learned to become self-reliant, and this feeling of self-respect, respect for people which comes out of a People’s Organization is actually the strongest barrier and safeguard against fascism which a democracy can possess.” (New York: Vintage Books. 1946. p. 199)
If leaders and activists keep up the people’s organizing that produced the peaceful, powerful mass demonstrations of recent days, neither racism nor fascism will have a chance. And our People’s Organization, the Minnesota State Retiree Council AFL-CIO, can partner with other organizations to help assure that.