BLM: the movement, not the organization?

by J. Pharoah Doss
For New Pittsburgh Courier

After the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter demonstrators took over urban streets demanding city councils to defund the police. After months of civil unrest and unfavorable news footage, a different mantra appeared in certain circles insisting: When we say Black Lives Matter, we mean the movement, not the organization.

Sounds like dissension.

Weeks after George Floyd’s death, Rev. Al Sharpton called the “defund the police” slogan “misleading without interpretation.” Supporters claimed it meant transferring police funds to social services that are needed in Black communities and it wasn’t punitive. Sharpton said, “I don’t think that anyone, other than far extremes, are saying we don’t want any kind of policing at all, any kind of public safety.” But at most BLM demonstrations there were extremists with signs that said, “Abolish the Police.”

Two months after Sharpton’s comments, Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times by the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake lived, but was paralyzed. Days after the shooting there was a Justice For Jacob rally in Kenosha. Thousands attended, including the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin, but one of the speakers said, “The Black man is worth something. His life is worth something. I have to say g__-damn-it, if you kill one of us, it’s time for us to kill one of yours.”

The speaker wasn’t identified, but isn’t it time for the “organizers” of “peaceful protest” to identify the extremes that don’t belong?

A month after the George Floyd riots a 2015 video clip resurfaced of BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors stating, we do have an ideological frame, myself and Alicia (Garza fellow co-founder of BLM) are trained organizers, we are trained Marxist, and we are versed in ideological theories.

Detractors immediately labeled BLM a Marxist organization in an effort to duplicate the post-World War II red scare, but their focus should have been on the ideological theories she didn’t name because that’s where the extremes are rooted, and the question remains, what exactly are those doctrines?

One Black columnist made an excuse, “While influential members within BLM, such as Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, identify as Marxist, the organization that is known officially as the ‘Black Lives Matter Global network’ does not describe itself as Marxist (or socialist). It doesn’t matter whether BLM is socialist or Marxist, it’s clear that the organization and most of its adherents are fighting for a dismantling of discrimination that is based on race, sex, gender identity and sexuality. The embracing of ‘liberation ideologies’ is sufficient for many people to oppose BLM—irrespective of particular political label.”

The columnist expects the public to believe the labels Marxism and socialism don’t matter because BLM is actually opposed for embracing liberation ideologies, but liberation ideologies are variants of Marxism and socialism, and within these variants are a variety of extremes. This time the question is, do these extremists belong amongst “peaceful protesters?”

Hawk Newsome, co-founder of the Greater New York BLM chapter, let the cat out the bag during a debate. Newsome proudly stated the BLM movement wasn’t monolithic, “You have communist, socialist, democrats, and anarchist.” Amazingly, Newsome referred to himself as a champagne socialist, which is a person whose middle-class upbringing and luxurious lifestyle contradicts the political theories they espouse.

Three months after George Floyd’s death, Sharpton was back in the news. This time he referred to defunding the police as “something a latte liberal may go for as they sit around the Hamptons discussing this as some academic problem … But the people living on the ground need proper policing.”

It’s understandable why certain circles want to separate BLM the movement from BLM the organization, but I doubt it can be done.

I mean, can you separate a latte liberal from a champagne socialist?

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