End the Silence. An Open Labour Statement.


Open Labour would like to take this time to draw attention to the deeply distressing and unjust climate of institutional and societal racist violence from both the UK and US state police forces, and members of the public.

The murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer was yet more evidence of the corrupt and evil culture of policing. It must be noted that this police officer did not act alone. This police officer was surrounded by his colleagues at the time of the murder. They did nothing. It must be noted that his prior behaviour had been well documented to be highly dangerous and racially motivated in nature. The police force did nothing to prevent this.

As individuals wishing to bring about positive change in society, we must note that these incidents of racist violence are a pinhole glimpse into the almost incomprehensible scale of the problem, where each cog of the institutional machine is designed to wrong minorities, often irrespective of status or access to capital.

We must not commit to repairing this institutional machine. We must dismantle it.

This culture of othering, alienation and dehumanisation is baked into our society. In order to break from this, we must end the silence. Every time an individual is targeted for the colour of their skin, or for being their authentic selves, our silence gives consent. When Black trans people, like Tony McDade, are killed by police, our silence enables the further degradation of trans rights. When the British Transport Police refused to take any further action against the infected man that spat in the face of Belly Mujinga, who later died of coronavirus, our silence fails Black women who are routinely not believed when they report hate crime and violence.

This virus of racism is in the UK, too. Do not fail Black people in the UK by deceiving oneself that we ‘have it better’ here. White supremacist thought, which positions Black life and culture as enemies of civil society, has enabled the continuation of racism amongst the non-Black UK population.

Think back to the London riots of 2011, where 45% of the population believed that criminality of the rioters was to blame for the riots and 28% that it was ‘lack of respect inside families and communities’, rather than the real reason, that Mark Duggan was extrajudicially killed by police, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission admitted that they lied that he fired at police before being killed. If you are rightly outraged by George Floyd’s killing, you must be honest with yourself if you were part of that 76% that devalued the sanctity of Black life, and denied Black people to make people listen. For they were not silent, they were unheard.

There is much unlearning to be done, white and non-Black people must stand in solidarity with Black communities in the UK and abroad in order to end this injustice. You must challenge not only your own thought, but those of your peers and family – your silence is perpetuating this pain, and you have agency to make change, but first you must speak up.

Please donate to organisations that are supporting protesters in Minnesota and please follow @SocOfColour and @The1987Caucus on twitter, where you can learn more about how best to stand with Black people and People of Colour.

As Labour members, we must commit to ensuring that the Labour Party, as government in waiting, delivers justice to Black people and People of Colour.


You can donate to the Minneapolis Freedom Fund here:

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