The abhorrent murder of George Floyd by U.S. police officers on May 25th, 2020 in Minneapolis has incited an uprising led by the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) in the greater struggle to combat state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. As we also face a global pandemic during this uprising, it has become increasingly apparent that social and structural injustices that exist in our world are due to centuries of systemic oppression and racism. Overt and insidious acts of violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) has been a common tactic established throughout the history of colonization. It shows up in our current world by upholding imperialism and white supremacy in every area of our medical and scientific worker realms. Protests in support of BLM are not only spreading through every state in the U.S., but also throughout the entire world. At all of these intersections, it is evident that the discrimination and violence against Black people is a worldwide public health issue.
From Palestine to the Philippines to Ferguson to Minneapolis, the military-industrial complex has largely contributed to racial violence against BIPOC communities. The Scientific Workers Collective (SWC) is inspired by the grassroots movements that have been fighting against all systems of intersecting oppression and fully support and struggle with them. Taking advice from comrades across the world, we have compiled an informational outline of how to protect and inform ourselves during an uprising.
Riot control measures such as tear gas, rubber bullets, sound devices, and kidnapping of protesters have reached a critical mass in the U.S. While media outlets perpetuate the use of these strategies by state and federal agents as normal crowd control measures, they are undeniable warfare tactics. For example, under multiple treaties, including the 1925 Geneva convention, tear gas is banned in warfare but is still used against protesters. SWC condemns the use of any of these tactics against protestors who are fighting for a liberated world. As such, we want to provide information on what these strategies exactly are, what their potential physical effects are, and how to react to the following: