Black Lives Matter Inland Empire Announces Break With BLM Global Network: Calls Out Lack of Transparency, Democratic Party Control

Yves here. An important fracture in Black Lives Matter confirms and greatly adds some doubts Lambert and I harbored about the organization as a result of a very sudden and non-organic shift to a more professional veneer, not the sort of thing that normally happens with a grass-roots movements. As you can see from the open letter below, the former Black Lives Matter Inland Empire has broken away from Black Lives Matter Global and calls out practices it regards as deceptive and contrary to the founding principles of Black Lives Matter.

While centralization and diversion of funds away from “locals” like Inland Empire to favored operations like Los Angeles is demotivating to active members, the most explosive charge is that Black Lives Matter is a Democratic Party operation and is even forming a political action committee. The former Inland Empire group describes in detail why it regards fealty to Team Dem as contrary to advancing black justice.

Lambert and I followed Black Lives Matter from its early days. We were struck by how it took off in cities across the US, like a spark on dry tinder, and how its innovative tactics, developed and tested at the local level, were getting favorable press attention. Prominent on that list were its “die-ins,” which typically drew as many whites as people of color to these demonstrations.

Almost as soon as the die-ins became started getting attention in local and national press, they bizarrely stopped. That was when the movement suddenly sprouted spokespeople who looked far too professional and media-genic, a stark contrast with the plainspoken power of Erica Garner.

Around that time, Lambert and I noticed other abrupt, non-organic looking changes, like designated leaders, a shiny website, fundraising, and donations from organizations not known for backing grass-roots activists.

It is also striking that Black Lives Matter Global is opaque. The About page of the site does not list a board of directors, and even though the site proclaims that donations go to the “Black Lives Matter Support Fund,” the site links potential and actual sponsors to Tides Foundation, which among other things also supports Wikipedia. The “disclosure” page at the link is anything but; it instructs the curious where to write to obtain Tides Foundation filings in various states. It is unlikely that there is remotely enough detail to construct a freestanding Black Lives Matter Global P&L.

Originally published in LeftOut Magazine. Cross posted from Black Agenda Report

Black Lives Matter Inland Empire, in an open letter, last week announced its departure from the cash-heavy Black Lives Global Network.

To our community,

Recently, a group of BLM chapters known as the BLM 10 has come forward to voice their concerns and opposition to the Global Network. Those concerns, along with the egregious conduct the Global network demonstrated on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, have brought us to the conclusion that continuing to remain silent would be an act of betrayal. While the issues and problems that have been raised have been well known within our circle for years, it prompted many questions & concerns for us locally. We’d like to let the community know everything outlined in the statement put out by the BLM 10 is valid. We’ve also reached out to the BLM 10 and offered to sign on in support. Hopefully, we can provide insight and clarification into our chapter’s history, our relationship with the global network, and our commitments going forward.

When BLM IE first started, we were originally known as the Black and Brown Underground (BBU). In 2015 we were approached by an individual named Patrisse Cullors, who offered us an opportunity to join the Global Network and organize as a Black Lives Matter chapter.  After hearing her proposal, we believed that our work, direction, and principles aligned and agreed to join the network; renaming ourselves Black Lives Matter Inland Empire in the process. We were told that the organization we were joining was decentralized and leaderless, but we quickly discovered that was not the case. The Global Network is a top-down dogmatic organization that promotes certain chapters that choose to align with their direction and sequester the ones that don’t. For us locally, that chapter has been Los Angeles.

For years, the leadership of the Los Angeles chapter has aligned with the Global network and One United Bank to impose on various chapters, particularly ours. We believe that while doing this they received substantial donations and funding, despite them continually soliciting the community for donations. Together, the Los Angeles Chapter along with the Global Network have consistently tried to strong-arm other groups and  have worked to undermine a grassroots movement by capitalizing on unpaid labor, suppressing any internal attempt at democracy, commodifying Black death, and profiting from the same pain and suffering inflicted on Black communities that we’re fighting to end. In spite of  being ostracised, receiving no financial support, and the maltreatment from both the Global Network and Los Angeles Chapter we’ve maintained our composure while working to the benefit of our community and victims of state sanctioned violence.

Clearly, we do not have the same beliefs or sense of ethics. We no longer feel, as we initially did, that our politics align. As a result, we are announcing that we are no longer associated or connected to the BLM Global Network. As an attempt to distance ourselves, we have decided to rename part of our organization The Black Power Collective while we restructure.

The use of the BLM name, which we believed was intended to unify our struggle, has been commodified and debased. It is now being used to sell products, acquire book deals, T.V. deals, and speaking engagements. We have no interest in these pursuits, and we are opposed to the movement to substitute Black capitalism for white capitalism. It has become clear that the Global network and certain figures have platformed our struggles with the sole purpose of exploiting our labor.

Furthermore, the issue of greatest concern for us is the relationship between the Global Network and the Democratic Party. This is hypocritical at best, as the Democratic Party has historically rejected and ignored BLM’s demands and has made it clear that they are pro-police, pro-prison, and committed to capitalism. From Obama’s support of police and his double-cross of Erica Garner, to “Top Cop” Kamala Harris’ denial of justice for Matrice Richardson, even going back to the 1994 Crime Bill authored by Joe Biden along with the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act that stripped basic human rights from countless Black peoplethe Democratic Party has literally created the conditions that led to the formation of this movement. Even now, the Demoractic party continues to support imperialism, killing African heads of state, bombing Somalia, abusing immigrants (including those of the Black diaspora), and spreading the U.S. military throughout Black and Brown countries around the world. This is a party that is a threat both here and internationally. To ally with them is to ally against ourselves.

The BLM10 statement calls out the lack of financial transparency and power moves by Patrisse Cullors and others. The actions demonstrated by the Global network have provided proof that the Global Network is essentially a steering committee acting in the best interest of various fractions within the Democratic Party. Additionally, the creation of the Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee is a violation of our collective agreement. This agreement was composed of two rules: 1. We do not work with police, 2. We do not endorse politicians. We had hoped that those rules would protect our struggle from being corrupted by the nonprofit sector or absorbed into the Democratic party. However, it now appears that the same fate that many activist groups before us fell victim to is the same fate that the BLM Global Network are destined to face. They have not only aligned with a political party, they’ve used the finances they acquired from a massive uprising during a global pandemic to create the aforementioned BLM PAC.

We believe that all finances should be clear and transparent to the Black community. We also believe they should be controlled by chapters that adhere to a democratic structure along with community checks and balances. Leaders that appoint themselves can no longer serve or be seen as leaders.  We can not accept charismatic figures imposing themselves as dictators, nor can we support personality cults.  In the spirit of Audre Lordre  and Ella Baker we believe that, ‘’…the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” and that “…strong people don’t need strong leaders”.  To that end, it is imperative that we engage in the struggle with our own tools and work to build a stronger people.

We would also like to address the violent rumor-mongering directed towards a member of our group who was maliciously accused of being a member of law enforcement. These slanderous accusations came from a leader of BLM LA and a  figurehead of the Global Network. These accusations were nothing but an attempt to duck accountability for the way members of national leadership have treated victims of police brutality and a violation of their own policies. The bullying and attempts to silence smaller chapters and individuals who speak up must end.

Let us be clear, we are not the authors of the discord within our movement.  Malcolm X encouraged us to handle our differences behind closed doors, but all attempts at that have failed. This corruption has thrived in part due to our silence and for that we must apologize.

Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories…”-Amilcar Cabral

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55 comments

      1. Aaron

        I couldn’t resist either.

        And the Judean Popular People’s Front. Splitters!
        We’re the People’s Front of Judea!
        I thought we were the Popular Front.
        Whatever happened to the Popular Front?
        He’s over there. Splitter!!

        Also,
        All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
        Brought peace.
        Oh. Peace? Shut up!

        And when they go to kidnap Pilate’s wife, they run into Campaign for Free Galilee. A fight ensues on who gets to kidnap her.

        Brothers! Brothers! We should be struggling together!
        We are! Ohh.
        We mustn’t fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!
        The Judean People’s Front?!
        No, no! The Romans!
        Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

        So brilliant. But many people missed enjoying this in the middle of all the religious outrage.

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The establishment will probably try dropping a cone of silence on them first before backlashing in public view.

      A silent blackout. Or maybe a whiteout, ha ha ha.

      Reply
    1. diptherio

      Um…did you read the letter? I don’t think the guy who, as they put it “double crossed Erica Garner” is going to be real effective in smoothing things over.

      Reply
  1. John Ware

    No movement or cause is immune from what I call “organization creep,” and what George Carlin famously said about groups: “People are wonderful. I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate a group of people with a ‘common purpose’. ‘Cause pretty soon they have little hats. And armbands. And fight songs. And a list of people they’re going to visit at 3am. So, I dislike and despise groups of people but I love individuals. Every person you look at; you can see the universe in their eyes, if you’re really looking.”

    For example, when you look up and start to understand the BLM in my state of Florida, you have to peel layers and layers of hierarchy to get to the person, persons or whatever level of the organization you need to talk or appeal to. This works up and down the organization’s food chain, as it were. They are akin to a corporation in many ways: imagine a middling S&P500 corporation with 50 individual state headquarters and multiple “branch offices” in each state – with everything run by people with both political and personal agendas.

    This is what happens when orgs get overly political, monies start rolling in, and influence builds – not only within the org itself, but with its tendrils in Washington, D.C. Why, they could probably aim to become their own political party if they so desired. They’ve got the charter and they’ve got a voice and they’ve got the political machinery to get it done.

    But I fear that the impetus that got this quickly-growing behemoth off the ground – police abuse and brutality against POC – is getting lost in the mix. I mean, Al Sharpton and Ben Crump have to be PAID, and their flights and lodging and meals aren’t cheap.

    Reply
    1. Dirk77

      I think BLM went off the rails as soon as it started, the name being a problem. If the org isn’t class-based, it will eventually be captured by their would-be corporate masters bc anything not class-based deflects from the downtrodden understanding that there is a class war going on. If all organizations have a finite time before capture as you say, why make the capturing easy?

      I am thinking now that there doesn’t need to be any more new political parties. To the degree an organization is needed, there needs to be one that supports people running for any type of political office of any ideological stripe. The only condition is that the would-be politician agrees to accept small dollar contributions only. After that, one just needs to trust in the common.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        Why would the name be a problem when the issues it is fighting are institutional injustice and racism against black americans?

        I have no problem with class relevance, but institutional impediments due to race can limit class mobility for POC, not simply the issues of capitalism per se.

        Reply
        1. Dirk77

          The name isn’t the problem per se, but the strategy it implies. When so many of my neighbors can have signs on their lawns proclaiming how tolerant they are, yet nothing about anything that actually might help the average person, like a good job or M4A, that’s a lot of energy and time going to waste. If you have a way to make it work, let me know, but the only thing I see working is class.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Because if you are a White victim of police aggression and oppression, BLM and their Woke Allies will tell you that does not matter, and YOU do not matter, because YOU! have White Privilege.

          Reply
        3. Wyatt Powell

          Dirk and Drumlin have good responses. Let me throw my hat in to try to wake you up to the Idpol bs that “BLM” is…

          Oprah’s life matters, Lebron James life matters (think of all those lost brand endorsements and jersey sales?!?) Kobe Bryants life mattered (my god you would’ve thought we had lost the greatest humanitarian the world ever gave us. When all we REALLY lost was another adultery commiting, raping, rich scum-bag that sold out his “ people” to be one of the “club”) F*** all 3 of them.

          Whos life doesnt matter? the black kid living in the projects of Detroit, the black woman selling herself on the street in Balitmore. The black man from Atlanta sentenced to 20 years for some weed.

          And the white trailer trash in Alabama, the white rednecks in West Virgina, the southerners in Texas, the mom and dad farm in Kansas.

          If you make it about race your blind and ignorant to the truth. The only thing that matters is your bank account. You dilute any movement for liberation and revolution by playing patsy to “Black Rights, Gay Rights xxx Rights”

          Its Human Rights g*dda**it, and until we start acting like it and stop playing these stupid games we will LOSE.

          (This in particular is not directed at you specifically neo-realist, and probably doesn’t apply to 80% of the NC commentariat. But a few among us need to hear it)

          Debating meaningless identifiers, preaching “unity” and “equality” while you think your doing something noble and helpful. Your just a puppet in someones toybox, your a tool, a plaything, a mouth piece the rich and powerful use to control the narrative.

          But keep making those rainbow flags, keep giving mentally unstable childern hormones and telling them they are normal instead of giving them the help they need. And keep peddling the wonders of capitalism to africans (America or not). Tell a few more girls that “No that girl isnt ACTUALLY a boy, she was just born into the wrong body” while she watches all her hard work go up in smoke to a biologically superior opponent.

          What a wonderful world all this equality is creating. I hope the black man standing next to me in the bread line knows that “his life matters too” or just as much as my poor white a$$ does.

          Reply
      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I agree with you. Black lives matter, but so do other lives. Police Brutality on the Populace and Police Murders of the Populace Matter. Blacks are very much more the victims of Police Brutality and Police Murders. But Blacks are just first in line for experiencing Oppression, Brutality and Murder, as they have been here for more than half a millennium. But if all Oppression, Brutality and Murder of Blacks were suddenly halted, it would only high-light the undercurrents of the Police Oppression, Brutality and Murder against brown, red, yellow, and white. First they come for the Blacks in our society, because for too long Blacks have been the vanguard and rear-guard of the struggle for a Just Society. Painting the struggle too brightly in any color divides the struggle. This is a class struggle.

        Reply
    2. PS

      This is defined as the Iron Law of Institutions:

      The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

      https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_institutions

      Reply
      1. Starry Gordon

        My experience in activism has been that the bujis (bourgeois) usually move in only when some kind of movement or event is already happening. Their interests are not always malign; many, being soaked with bourgeois values and culture, believe they’re doing good by getting things organized (as they see it) and connecting whatever the project is with established institutions. Their good will, if any, doesn’t make much difference, because inevitably the imposition of office and hierarchy seamlessly transform the movement into yet another feature of the Blob.

        Reply
  2. Thuto

    This will be fodder for the “see I told you BLM is a Dem party front” theorizing by right wing elements in the US. Egos and infiltration by political/security elements have always represented the biggest threats to freedom movements everywhere, making splintering an almost predictable feature of such movements. It’s usually only a matter of time before the splinter groups themselves fall prey to the same in-fighting and infiltration that plagued the original group, with further downstream splintering eventually dotting the landscape with so many “descendants” that the original unifying struggle runs out of steam.

    It’s a rare, disciplined freedom movement that avoids this fate. Some even argue that splintering is inevitable because it weeds out the non-committed, separating the temporary thrill seekers and merely interested from the die-hards to the benefit of the struggle. The problem of course is that the die-hards drink themselves into a stupor with organizational kool aid and are usually blind to the corruption of the higher ups or so intransigent that any pragmatic concessions (e.g. dialling down radical, impractical policy stances) to advance the objectives of the struggle are seen as selling out.

    P.S. I’m not suggesting that the sell-out allegations against BLM Global Network fall into the “pragmatic concessions” category, just merely highlighting that in general the splintering of struggle movements follows well-worn grooves.

    Reply
    1. Miami Mitch

      Yes, if you have seen Adam Curtis’s new documentary series you will have no trouble understanding why this happened.

      Too many people want power. Maybe power is the problem.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        Well, I’ll go with Arendt and say that if people don’t hold on the power, there’s sure a lot of people who will happily pick it up.

        Maybe it’s not the power that’s the problem, but that most people don’t care enough about who they abdicate it to (although I’ll give you that there’s a non-trivial number of people too busy with just surviving to care about the power they have – but still, at least in the US majority of eligible voters does vote).

        Reply
          1. vlade

            Indeed, but IMO it’s just more of a reason people watched who they give it to and take it back if they feel like it.

            But first, they have to understand it’s ultimately their power, not the elites, not the parties, their.

            The (existing) parties and elitest managed to persuade the people that without them the government is impossible. They definitely, as one would expect, made it hard for people to get much done. But it means that people who want change need to get actively involved in it, from the ground up and yes, it’s hard, it’s very hard.

            And, in the post above we see a great example of how the grassroot movement is given a “helping hand” to get over that very hard bit, and Occupy Wall Street was shown how the elites behave when the “helping hand” is turned down. But TBH, each of those was still a small victory (compared to what was here previously), and the next one will likely get us still a bit further (if nothing else, persuading more of the mainstream people that the current parties are a spent force, only interested in preserving their status quo at teh expenses of everyone else)- assuming it won’t be captured by a smarter version of Trump and turned into something nasty.

            Reply
    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      “This will be fodder for the “see I told you BLM is a Dem party front” theorizing by right wing elements in the US.”

      On the other side of the coin, I see a bit of grumbling on social media from BIPOC that white, mainstream and less radical support for BLM issues has been dropping since the summer, as if it was fashionable for a time and now is yesterday’s fad. I don’t see how these issues help that either.

      And to be clear, I don’t put that on BLM10. I think their letter is right on the money. I also don’t necessarily see this as a bug, but yet another depressing example of the Democrats and professional left co-opting a social movement in service of maintaining the status quo. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens.

      Reply
      1. MartyH

        Thank you for the “Democrats and professional left co-opting a social movement in service of maintaining the status quo” point. That sums up my reading of the situation. Not just “co-opting” but “directing for political ends” would fit my views a bit better.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          … “co-opting” and “directing for political ends” best fits my views. Too much money is held in the hands of too few using it for control and enhancing their power.

          Reply
    3. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      Now if we cast our minds back to the Ferguson mayhem, during Barry’s tenure, I recall specifically discussion on Doug Henwood’s prodcast that the original, organic BLM was a hodgepodge of fed-up youth who told the Democratic shepherds Al Sharpton and a couple others who jetted in for a photo op to ‘gtfoh’. They knew what game was being played and they weren’t into selling their souls for prime time TeeVee. Or to further the stale careers of the “Black Misleadership Class’.
      Now we see other earnest youth trying to cast off the same tendrils of Borg Assimilation. I wish them well.

      Reply
  3. Arizona Slim

    I’m thinking back to the 2016 primary season. Was very much a Bernie supporter, and even here in Arizona, where the African American population is in the single digit percentages of our state population, I noticed a sizable AA presence within the campaign volunteer pool.

    I also noticed the BLM movement growing, and I was wondering if there was going to be some sort of disruption of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Or near Philadelphia.

    I was thinking that Interstate 95, which bisects the historically AA and poverty-stricken city of Chester, PA, would be a logical place for such a demonstration. If I-95 were shut down, even for a few hours, commerce and transportation on the East Coast would come to a screeching halt.

    Chester is just a few miles southeast of Philadelphia, but it seems a world away. In recent years, both a prison and a casino have been built there. But poverty and crime are still quite high.

    I don’t know what happened in Chester during the summer of 2016, but I do know that there were no BLM actions at or near the convention.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I too supported Bernie in 2016, and while I could in 2020. My feelings, based on no solid or first-hand evidence is that Bernie supporters felt there was still hope they could turn the Convention toward Bernie. Blocking I-95 would have disrupted the flows of commerce, but to what end. I doubt such an action would have shifted support to Bernie.

      I-95 is still there, and after too many slow and painful drives along that corridor into D.C. I think the Baltimore tunnel would be a better bottleneck. That would be closer to the action. Of course the bottleneck effect would be more difficult to accomplish, but a difficulty on the connection between the Washington Beltway and I-95 might have more effect, closer to the centers of power. The flows on the roadways in that region are fragile on the best of days. But take care in such actions. They can cut both ways.

      Reply
  4. dissonantdissident

    Here in St. Louis, the local affiliate gets a ton of money from the charter school industry. Many of the early #Ferguson-related personalities to rise to prominence were Teach For America folks, who lead a media campaign to publicly position their folks as leaders. Websites were set up that seemed to be independent, but all went back to TFA connections. These websites built lists, but weren’t nonprofit (despite verbiage culled from the nonprofit industrial complex’s lexicon), meaning that the lists were transferable to pretty much whoever. That led to a bunch of folks getting fundraising emails for DeRay’s joke of a mayoral run in Balitmore. The local affiliate has been endorsing and campaigning for charter school supporters for at least a few cycles. At the beginning, it was an organic movement, but folks connected most closely to TFA and the Dem’s dominant, neoliberal wing have effectively turned it into a group that provides a “woke” front to the promotion of rightwing economics and thought. They do some good stuff, but it is part of a network of nonprofit organizations that are aligned with local billionaire Maxine Clark (Build-A-Bear founder), who is a big proponent of school privatization. She helps funs a whole network of pro-market-based-solultions nonprofits that push bootstrapping. Most are based out of a Microsoft building that doesn’t even pay property taxes, due to a TIF. Things are getting real Robocop-y in flyover country.

    Reply
  5. Rod

    Co-opted by the system?

    I attended an Our Revolution State mtg. over the weekend. Much jubilation in the power change in DC.
    Much hope for Democratic Party traction. ‘Atta Peoples’ all around–get-er-dones too.

    I put up a chat: “let’s not wed ourselves to the DemParty”
    Small call sure, but nobody touched the comment.
    Not even Nina Turner (a ghost on the call for about an hour).

    So, BLM isn’t alone in finding its Collective Voice co-opted in exchange for traditional ballot access mechanisms.

    Reply
  6. Susan the other

    I thought it was surprisingly sudden to see our isolated little main street all painted up with colorful BLM logos and signs (looked to have been done by big stencils) shortly after DC painted their roads. That took lots of top-down coordination – all across the country. And clearly the DNC needed the black vote. But it looks like nobody was fooled. From the things I’ve read more Blacks voted for Trump.

    Reply
  7. Dick Swenson

    This is all very confusing to me.

    The basic message in the original article seems to be that BLM has split into “independent groups” and a central organization and that the latter is now a DNC led organization with political interests different from the original BLM movement. This is not hard to accept as it seems that this has been mentioned in the comments. I have changed Cabral’s statement here as I believe it should be a sworn belief of EVERY organization.

    “Hide nothing …. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories…”-Amilcar Cabral

    But then I see references, e.g., to material such as “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” and am confused. I watched the first 15 minutes and didn’t see a message except that the British Empire was a mess after WW II as its position of leading an Empire collapsed. I will watch the whole thing now and will try to understand the purpose of the BBC Youtube material, (BTW the fellow from Trinidad interviewed at about 8:50 misused the word “weaned.” He meant “raised.” One is raised on a belief from which one is weaned.)

    My point here is that the BLM movement seems to be succumbing to a common problem mentioned in various comments – the takeover by special interests. I believe this and must ask why it is not a much more well reported problem in the visual and written media?

    Reply
    1. diptherio

      The basic message in the original article seems to be that BLM has split into “independent groups”

      No, at least not in the case of BLM Inland Empire, who wrote this letter. They started out as an independent group and were convinced to join the centralized group after basically being lied into it. My read on the situation is that this has been a pretty common dynamic, i.e. organic, locally organized groups taking on the branding of BLM (and sometimes later regretting it), not a centralized movement splitting into local groups.

      Reply
  8. David in Santa Cruz

    It’s important to remember that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter dates back to the acquittal of Travon Martin’s killer, already nearly a decade ago. It was born from grief. This expression of anguish and betrayal has undergone a continuous process of co-optation and rebirth ever since.

    #BlackLivesMatter is a world-view first, not a party, an organization, or even a “movement” (whatever that is — ask Harry Shearer). The sad truth is that in our neoliberal capitalist society, somebody’s going to try to monetize pretty much everything, eventually.

    Meanwhile, the injustice continues…

    Reply
      1. David in Santa Cruz

        I hope that you understand I’m referring to the origins of #BlackLivesMatter, not to the outfit that it has become (apparently thanks to $100M in corporate money — see jpr‘s post below). On MLK Day in 2016 I attended a lecture given by Alicia Garza, one of the women who originated the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Alicia was (and is) very anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-co-option.

        It was only after white people’s COVID precarity grew them some empathy for the centuries of suffering and discrimination still endured by their Black neighbors, that Our Corporate Overlords saw a Black-washing opportunity to market themselves as “woke” and started throwing around big money.

        That money appears to be wrecking the way of seeing the world represented by the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter — as the neoliberal capitalist money-spigot inevitably tends to do.

        Reply
        1. Michael Fiorillo

          As noted above, the first iteration of BLM in Ferguson was already co-opted by TFA types – the head of St. Louis TFA was the media point person at the time – with the execrable Deray McKesson comparing charter schools to the Black Panther Party breakfast program.

          As Adolph Reed has pointed out, just as US-style Capitalism needed racism to function in the past, so it now needs anti-racism… thus the BLM banners hanging from Amazon headquarters and Jamie Dimon taking a knee (literally) in front of the JPM vaults. “Racist Speech,” as we’ve seen with the Don McNeil case at the Times, is to be used as a pretext to override what few union protections still exist for workers, and as a way to avoid already loophole-rich laws against age discrimination, with older (and more expensive) white workers presumed, a la Robin D’Angelo, et. al., to be irredeemably guilty. After all, as per the 1619 Project, white supremacy is the Original Sin of this country, and thus cannot be eradicated, only confessed to.

          BLM, whether its participants know it or not, is there to insure that ever more bombs are dropped overseas by an acceptable race and gender cohort; likewise with houses foreclosed upon, medical care denied, and schools and postal service privatized. As long as it’s done by the right racial and self-defined gender placeholders, it’s all good.

          Meanwhile, enjoy and nod along with that anti-racist training by the kid with the nose ring, or else.

          Reply
    1. Baldanders

      Pure prophecy.

      All “anti-racism” is boiling down to is a new bunch of management-speak believers tasked with reprogramming society.

      I’m sure it will completely change everything, much like all those classes after the Anita Hill/Thomas story blew up.

      Reply
    2. Dirk77

      I’m not quite old enough to remember the Panthers in their heyday, only really Eldridge Cleaver when he ran for Berkeley city council in the ‘80’s. So one thing the protests last summer accomplished was to allow me to learn about them and Fred Hampton. All that promise in the late ‘60’s…I hear there is a film out now about him?

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Jedgar Hoover’s FBI understood Fred Hampton’s promise very well. They engineered his assassination by police raid to prevent that promise from being realized.

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      2. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, and that film apparently focuses disproportionately and sympathetically on the police informer who helped set Hampton up.

        Reply
  9. jpr

    An excerpt from article linked above:

    In August 2016, when I first heard that BLM had scored $100 million from the Ford Foundation and other elite philanthro-capitalists (including the Hill-Snowden Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, Solidaire, JPMorgan Chase and the Kellogg Foundation), I wrote it off as “fake news” from the right-wing noise machine. The story struck me as too perfect a match for the Republican and white-nationalist narrative that black protesters were in pay to the evil “liberal and left elite.” It seemed too perfectly timed for the election season and too close a fit for Trump and Steve Bannon’s racist and fake-populist liberal- and left-bashing, Archie Bunker-like talking points.

    But the story checked out. The remarkable grant—a vast sum of money off the charts of normal foundation giving—was a matter of public record. Fortune magazine wrote that the gift “would make anyone sit up straighter if they read it in a pitch deck.” It was a curious statement: A “pitch deck” is a presentation venue for start-up businesses seeking investor backing.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps these Big Donors were buying control of a movement to head it off and ground it out.

      Perhaps they were paying to Wokewash themselves in the public eye.

      Perhaps both at once.

      Reply
      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Perhaps my age is showing, but since when is a hashtag a movement?

        Short of helping cancel a few older media figures under questionable circumstances, what has BLM ever accomplished?

        Reply
  10. richard

    Thanks for posting this. My school district does some partnership with BLM-global for a curriculum we teach; our learning community deserves to know about this.

    Reply
  11. Paul Jurczak

    Even now, the Demoractic party continues to support imperialism, killing African heads of state, bombing Somalia, abusing immigrants (including those of the Black diaspora), and spreading the U.S. military throughout Black and Brown countries around the world.

    And they put Empire right at the end of their name…

    Reply
      1. Paul Jurczak

        Since I’m an inhabitant of the regions outside the capital city, I’m provincial. I should have googled this name first, but my argument still stands. With the left being so hypersensitive about words, e.g. “chest milk”, and oftentimes rightfully upset about historical names, I expected that the name coined in 1914, which includes the term not very friendly to minorities, would raise some eyebrows.

        Reply

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