Two years ago, on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN, United States, is when and where George Floyd became another victim of state-sponsored murder at the hands, or rather a knee, of a former cop, Derek Chauvin.
As the world stalled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all eyes, ears, attention, and focus turned to Minnesota. In a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, people all over the globe marched, rioted, and protested for Floyd and justice for Black people.
Companies, universities, and corporations jumped on the BLM bandwagon. They shared hypocritical messages supporting Black people, students, and employees. It only took a global pandemic for them to realize Black people exist around them, and the messaging didn’t work to make our lives easier but to look good. It was all a PR stunt that, nevertheless, amplified the quest for justice for George Floyd.
Most cases of Black people being killed by state apparatuses go unnoticed, or they end up in favor of the killer. March 8, 2021, was the day Chauvin stood trial. With great anticipation, many awaited the verdict a month later.
A sigh of relief.
All that mobilization worked. Or did it?
Having witnessed unprecedented and international support for the Black struggle, Chauvin couldn’t have been acquitted. A not guilty verdict would have unleashed violence, chaos, and more riots. Cynically, I wished for an acquittal because I knew the game they were playing.
If a system brutalizes you 24/7, you will find reasonable motives and solid facts to hate it, antagonize it, and rebel against it. You will think and work out ways to get rid of it. You will not be satisfied with reforms but utter and complete revolution and destruction of oppressive systems. To survive, said systems will strategically adapt and occasionally “bow” to people’s requests. They will bend but will not break. They will give you enough to put you back to sleep and shush your mouth. They will delude you into thinking that reforms are indeed possible and that they work. They will show you that the system or institutions aren’t broken but just a bit stubborn in the face of change, that they need a little push in the right direction. But that is wrong. That is a calculated approach, and that approach is appeasement — a counterrevolutionary and counterinsurgency tactic.
Oppression works for longevity. It aims to last forever. We can never be satisfied with guilty verdicts, for until the entire system goes, there are no small wins or victories. A system continuously committed to absolute brutality will give you no choice but to revolt against it. But if they’re “just” and “right” (things they’re supposed to be) from time to time, you’ll endure the suffering in the hope of permanent change in the near future. You’ll let your guard down because you “achieved” something. That achievement, however, is fleeting and more beneficial to the system itself than to you because it allows it to continue existing and commit more brutalities.
The power structure is ready and more than willing to sacrifice some of its Chauvinistic-like tools used to perpetrate violence if it means it will continue existing. It is not suicide but rebirth.