In a statement published June 2, the Communist Party of Canada has expressed its full solidarity to the ongoing uprising against racist police murders. “We salute all those standing against racism and demanding justice for those murdered by police forces who are allowed and encouraged to act with impunity.”
The Party notes that the videotaped lynching of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is only the latest in a long line of such killings in the US and Canada. Issued prior to the murder of Chantel Moore by police in New Brunswick, the Party statement mentions several recent killings involving people from racialized communities. “[On May 27] Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black-Indigenous woman, fell to her death in the presence of Toronto police. In early April, D’Andre Campbell, a Black man, was shot by police inside his home after being tased in Brampton, Ontario. Also in early April, Winnipeg police shot and killed Eisha Hudson, a 16 year-old Indigenous girl, and Jason Collins, an Indigenous man, in separate killings. We extend our deepest sympathy and solidarity to the families of all those affected by police murders and violence across the country.”
In almost all instances in which police murder civilians, and especially if the victim is Indigenous, Black or racialized, the perpetrator does not face charges. A study by CBC in 2018 showed that, of nearly 500 killings by police over an 18-year period, only 2 cops were convicted. The families, friends and communities of the victims cannot expect justice from the police, “police oversight” bodies, the courts or capitalist politicians, without a massive fight.
Murders are one aspect of racist policing, which also includes beatings, sexual assaults and racist harassment through carding and “stop and frisk” policies. Added to this is systemic over-policing of low-income and racialized communities, in which police often function as a militarized occupation force. This is one of the main reasons Indigenous and racialized peoples form a disproportionately high percentage of inmates in Canadian prisons. Indigenous people, who make up 30 percent of the prison population, comprise 5 percent of the general population. Similarly, 8.6 percent of inmates in Canada are Black, but Black Canadians are estimated to be only 3 percent of the country’s population.
“The current pandemic and capitalist economic crisis have further exposed the structural racism embedded in the United States and also in Canada,” notes the Communist Party. “In both countries, it is working-class racialized and immigrant communities, especially women, who are on the front lines as essential workers. These workers are being infected and dying at a disproportionate rate, with corporations and governments failing to protect them.
“The Communist Party of Canada extends our solidarity and support to all those struggling for racial equality and justice across Canada and the US. Hundreds of thousands have stood strong demanding an end to racist police impunity and continue to do so. We demand an end to the vicious repression, including the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. We demand an end to the escalation of violence by ultra-right and fascist forces, including politicians such as Donald Trump who has threatened to “shoot the looters” and engaged in red baiting tactics. Statements such as these are not only irresponsible but are criminal and will result in more murders by police.”
Capitalist politicians and media help perpetuate the widespread belief that structural racism is a uniquely American problem. On June 2, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that Canada doesn’t have the same “systemic, deep roots” of racism as the United States. Quebec’s Francois Legault also denied that systemic racism existed in Quebec, and then cited the fact that his government had not cancelled demonstrations in Montreal on June 7, which brought thousands into the streets to condemn racism and police brutality.
But the Communist Party states that, despite such denials, “it is clear that racism is on the rise in Canada. It is also clear that this is not just a case of a “few bad apples” in the police. It is the capitalist system itself that uses and perpetuates white supremacy to further its drive towards deepening exploitation. Capitalism in what became Canada was developed through the genocide of Indigenous peoples and two hundred years of chattel slavery. Racist immigration policies, access to housing and education, racist portrayals in media, the fostering of ultra-right and fascist ideologies, and government policies of militarizing and allowing the police to act with impunity are all symptoms of a racist political system.
“The struggle for socialism is a struggle for a system built, not on exploitation, but on the common ownership of wealth by the working people who create it. On this basis, we can build a society where racism and oppression have no place.
“The current movement against racist policing has already united hundreds of thousands of working people from different communities across the continent. The Communist Party stands united with racialized and Indigenous peoples fighting racist police violence and calls on the labour and democratic movements across Canada to build the struggle against racism and for equality and justice.”
Clearly, immediate far-reaching reforms are needed to end racist policing and move towards full equality. The Communist Party’s is demanding that:
- police officers who commit murder be charged and convicted of these crimes;
- police forces across Canada and the RCMP be put under real independent civilian control;
- CSIS, Communications Security Establishment, and undemocratic “anti-terrorism” legislation be abolished;
- racial profiling and the police practice of carding be eliminated;
- police forces be demilitarized and most police units disarmed;
- police budgets and military spending be sharply reduced, with the money used for social spending.
The Party is also demand sharp reductions in incarcerations; funding for expanded healthcare, education, housing, childcare and social services; enforced pay and employment equity laws; stronger penalties for hate crimes and hate speech; and increased funding for anti-oppression and equity-seeking programs.
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