The horrible choking death on May 25 of black American George Floyd by white former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin caused universal outrage across the American political spectrum. Conservatives no less than liberals called for Chauvin to be charged with murder. The Hennepin County, Minnesota attorney is charging Chauvin—who kept Floyd in a chokehold on the ground for nearly nine minutes while he begged for air—with second-degree murder. He will likely spend a long time behind bars.
Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd was a clear example of police abuse. Corrupt and abusive cops, while rare, are as old as crime itself. Chauvin had a record of abuse complaints and should have been fired long before. Although nothing can bring George Floyd back, the circumstances of his tragic death and its video recording on social media produced a widespread consensus on the need to implement reforms to prevent such deaths in the future.
Peaceful demonstrations in honor of Floyd and against police abuse quickly gathered in Minneapolis and elsewhere. But within forty-eight hours, criminals and professional far-left Antifa agitators—with valuable help from the media and progressive politicians—weaponized the emotion over George Floyd to push a Marxist political agenda.
Socialist-turned-conservative David Horowitz likes to quote a saying used by members of the sixties far-left activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS): “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” No matter what issue they were fighting about—education, housing, police abuse or racial conflict—it was a mere pretext to hide their radical goal: a communist revolution in America. While most Americans were debating the merits of the issue itself, SDS and other radical leftists were framing the debate, inflaming emotions, neutralizing opponents, and weaponizing it in order to overthrow American institutions and destroy society.
SDS’s twenty-first century descendants, Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa, have done the same thing with the appalling and tragic death of George Floyd. Like SDS in the sixties, Antifa uses highly emotional issues to inflame class and racial conflict as much as possible. Such conflict, they believe, is necessary for the overthrow of society and the victory of the socialist revolution.
The last thing that Antifa and their allies want is to solve the issue. They knew very well that violence and looting are destroying not only shops and cars but any chance to pass meaningful reform. By inflaming class and racial struggle, they hope to fracture the country and impose a socialist revolution.
Central to their propaganda is the idea that America is a “racist” country. Our institutions are intrinsically tainted with “racism” against blacks and other racial minorities. “White supremacy,” they claim, is not only oppressing black people but killing them in a “genocide.” Police are one of the main tools of this “white supremacy.” Progressives claim that “racist” police departments are “hunting” black people in an “epidemic” of violence.
Such a narrative is a lie, of course. The facts show a very different story. According to the FBI, black Americans (who are 13% of the U.S. population) commit fifty-two percent of all homicides in the United States. Black Americans are seven times more likely to commit a homicide than whites and six times more likely to be a victim. Ninety-three percent of black victims of homicide were killed not by whites or by police, but by other black Americans. Sixty-two percent of black homicides are drug related and 40% are gang related.
What about deaths at the hands of police? Aren’t they killing racial minorities at unprecedented rates? As Heather MacDonald points out in The Wall Street Journal, this accusation is a myth. In 2019, police killed 1,004 people in the United States, of whom 235 were black. Police also fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and nineteen unarmed whites that year. In 2018, there were a total of 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming the same numbers for 2019, that means those nine unarmed blacks represent only 0.1% of all black homicide deaths last year.
Ironically, police are 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is by a police officer. In addition, a 2015 study by the Department of Justice found that black and Hispanic police officers in Philadelphia were more likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than a white police officer.
While every death—black or white—is a terrible tragedy, black deaths by police are very rare compared to the vast numbers killed every day by other blacks. Happily, the homicide rate for all races has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. The overall number of murders fell from 10.2 per 100,000 population in 1980 to 4.6 in 2010, nearly an all-time low.
Like the Russia “collusion” investigation, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, impeachment, and now the George Floyd riots and looting, the issue is not really the issue. Subversives such as Antifa and their media enablers want to hijack the legitimate demand to reform in order to incite racial hatred, fracture the country and impose a political revolution on America. They see it as the best way for socialism to finally triumph in America “by any means necessary.”