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A few things strike me about the massive, nationwide protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd on national television.

mario cuomo 450

First, this is a key moment in our national life: we haven’t seen anything so widespread and massive before, even in the 1960s. You have tens or hundreds of thousands of educated whites rallying with blacks for Black Lives Matter and the proposition that we as a country must finally address the historical and systemic roots of racism. The scale of this movement goes far beyond the demonstrations of the late 60s and early 70s. I was there.

The protests are generating innovative and radical visions such as defunding or abolishing police forces as we know them. And the weight of the masses in the streets gives weight to these visions. This is Cuomo’s poetry.

Second, beyond the evident focus on Black Lives and police brutality, the movement has provided an outlet to three years of rage at the rhetorical and political abuses of Donald Trump, which culminated with the Coronavirus shutdown. People forced to suspend their normal lives for months, with no end in sight, saw Trump’s egregious mismanagement of the crisis as the latest and greatest of his transgressions.

Third, the nationwide protests are remarkably spontaneous and durable. We see little formal organization or hierarchy: rather, local activists are just doing it, independently but with communication via social media like Facebook. And the persistence of the protests evinces a durable energy that is quite unlike most spontaneous mass protests.

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Fourth, the protests are generating innovative and radical visions such as defunding or abolishing police forces as we know them. And the weight of the masses in the streets gives weight to these visions. This is Cuomo’s poetry.

Fifth, for the visions to become reality will require that they be processed by the political system: it will be necessary to sweat the details, forge the coalitions, and pass the legislation, be it at local, state or national levels. This is Cuomo’s prose.

impeachment unavoidable

It is unclear who will do the translation.

John Peeler

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