The death of George Floyd catapulted the demand to abolish the police into the mainstream of US politics, writes Thomas Hummel. It is a call that all socialists support, but the changes do not run deep enough.
The roots of the police in the United States reach back in two directions. On the one hand, their formation is directly connected to pre-Civil War slave patrols. These armed groups of white men would hunt down runaway slaves trying to make their way north. On the other, their origin traces back to the growth of large industrial centres in the north. With the rapid expansion of these cities the rich needed to protect their wealth and property from the poor immigrants they employed who lived in conditions of deprivation.