The Panthers Can't Save Us Now: Debating Left Politics and Black Lives Matter

The Panthers Can't Save Us Now: Debating Left Politics and Black Lives Matter

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Author/Contributor(s): Johnson, Cedric
Publisher: Verso
Date: 03/01/2022
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
Ending the horrors of police violence requires addressing economic inequality

In the wake of the mass protests following the police murder of George Floyd nearly every major consumer brand had proclaimed their commitments to antiracism, often with new ad campaigns to match their tweets. Very little in the way of police reform has been achieved. Still less was achieved around policies that might help the millions of black Americans living at or below the poverty line. Why has anti-racism been such a powerful source of mobilization but such a poor means of building political opposition capable of winning big reforms?

This volume revisits a debate that transpired during Black Live Matter's first wave.

Writing against the grain of popular left sentiments, Johnson cautions against a new ethnic politics. Instead, he calls for broad-based left politics as the only viable means for ending the twin crises of racial inequality and police violence. Redistribution, public goods, and multi-ethnic working-class solidarity are the only viable response to the horrors of police violence and mass incarceration. It just so happens that fighting the conditions that make crime and violence inevitable is also the means by which we can build a working-class majority and a more equal and peaceful nation.