Help young people organise safe & open socially-distanced Black Lives Matter protests

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people had turned out to demonstrate against the brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the wider issues of police violence and racism in society.
These protests have been vibrant, multi-racial affairs, with young people in particular striving for answers on how to end racism in society, and increasingly seeing this as inherently linked up with the exploitative capitalist system we live under.
Instead of drawing these young people into an organised movement that could give a platform for discussion of how to deal with these issues, the tendency we have seen from some in the anti-racist movement is for concerns they have over social distancing meaning they advise young people not to call open protests. Where demonstrations have taken place these have either been young people still gathering despite a demonstration being called off, or other groups have called secret – invite-only protests without transparent organisation.
These cancellations and invite-only protests have been often justified on the need to maintain social distancing due to Covid-19. Whilst we believe this is a legitimate concern – there have been numerous protests across the country now where attendees have social distanced, worn masks and gloves and brought hand sanitiser with them, without the need to restrict attendanceĀ or in case of a York Stand Up to Racism protest, make people from the same household stand two metres apart.

We believe the approach the workers movement should take to these demonstrations is to reach out and assist with helping them organise in a safe, socially-distanced manner – through helping provide stewarding and other material aid. Trade union involvement is also vitally important as racism is a workplace issue where the trade unions are key to challenging and defeating all manifestations of discrimination and exploitation.

Joint statement of Leeds and York Socialist Party branches

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