Beyond Black Lives Matter’s drive to eliminate police brutality is a far more extensive leftist ideology that would upend American economic and social life, according to an examination of BLM leaders’ writings and interviews.
BLM’s principal founders have sought guidance from Karl Marx, Mao Zedong and Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. One talks of the “psychosis of whiteness.”
BLM leaders say they want capitalism abolished. Sixty years since the civil rights era began, America is still a place where the state routinely oppresses Blacks, as the world seeks their “demise,” the group alleges.
“Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise,” the BLM website says.
BLM’s leader in Greater New York talks of pending violence.
“If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it,” Hawk Newsome said on Fox News.
BLM’s Philadelphia leader wants the police department gone and prisons emptied in five years.
An affiliated organization, Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), has developed a national platform that includes abolishing capitalism.
“We believe that prisons, police and all other institutions that inflict violence on Black people must be abolished and replaced by institutions that value and affirm the flourishing of Black lives,” M4BL says.
A BLM Los Angeles website lists 10 “teams” whose aims include bringing down President Trump (“Sacred Resistance”) and inserting BLM ideology into public education (“Youth Vanguard”).
“The Sacred Resistance Team was built following the installation of the 45th President of the United States in 2017, recognizing that the toppling of the White-supremacist patriarchal-heteronormative-capitalism that he embodied requires significant Spiritual work,” a BLM website says.
Three feminists — Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza — sparked the movement with three simple words on Facebook the day in July 2013 when a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of murder. Mr. Zimmerman said he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
A year later, a white police officer’s killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and ensuing protests, shot BLM to new prominence.
Six years later, the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody has mobilized BLM into a truly national movement. The liberal media and the Democratic Party offer little, if any, criticism of the weeks of violent protests that followed. Four Minneapolis police officers face criminal charges in Floyd’s death.
BLM says it uses “direct action” protests, not violence.
Conservatives, some on the streets with video equipment, say BLM supporters have taken part in looting, arson and rampant destruction of property in cities across America. A special tactic is to block roads, harass drivers and damage cars forced to stop, videos show.
A BLM chant at some protests — “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” — has been interpreted by some police and conservative activists as a call for violence against officers.
BLM’s economic message is clear: the end of capitalism. What would replace it under BLM policy is unclear. There is an embrace of 19th century communism founder Karl Marx and his anti-capitalist views.
“Black lives can’t matter under capitalism,” Ms. Garza told SF Weekly in 2015. “They’re like oil and water.”
Her Black Lives Matter profile states that “as a queer Black woman, Garza’s leadership and work challenge the misconception that only cisgender [gender at birth] Black men encounter police and state violence.”
Ms. Tometi, who heads a Black immigrant rights group, has endorsed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Critics say his brand of police state socialism and reliance on communist Cuba has plunged the country into rampant poverty, unemployment, food shortages and a huge spike in homicides.
Ms. Tometi, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, honored Mr. Maduro when he visited Harlem in 2015 during a United Nations conference in New York City. That December, she visited Mr. Maduro’s country and tweeted, “Currently in Venezuela. Such a relief to be in a place where there is intelligent political discourse.”
This month, the “virtual” U.S. Embassy issued a statement on the killing of a Venezuelan opposition activist: “This senseless killing is continued evidence that Maduro will continue to kill his people, steal from the Venezuelan nation, and lie to the world to stay in Miraflores Palace.”
The Black Lives Matter profile for Ms. Cullors says: “Patrisse recently toured her multimedia performance art piece, ‘POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied,’ a gripping performance piece highlighting the impact of mass criminalization and state violence in Black communities across the United States.”
Ms. Cullors, whose active Twitter page is encouraging unrest in Portland, Oregon, has been open about her admiration of Marxism.
“We actually do have an ideological frame,” she said on The Real News Network. “Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on sort of ideological theories.”
In her memoir, “When They Call You a Terrorist,” she says, “I read, I study, adding Mao, Marx and Lenin to my knowledge …”
She adds the names of late writer Audre Lorde, who described herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” and of bell hooks, the pen name of feminist writer Gloria Jean Watkins, a college professor who writes of the “white-supremacist-capitalist patriarchy.”
Ms. Cullors’ constant mentor is longtime community organizer Eric Mann, now 77, a leader of the Weathermen terrorist group in the late 1960s. Early in life he was sentenced to two years in prison after being arrested on attempted murder and anarchy charges.
“I meet and build with Eric Mann, who started the Strategy Center and who takes me under his wing. Eric is older and white and fearlessly anti-racist,” Ms. Cullors writes.
She speaks in absolutes. On NPR in 2018, she referred to the “psychosis of whiteness”: “The reality is if you live in this country, if you’re born and raised as a white person, you most definitely are racist. And you have to contend with that. And I think Black Lives Matter puts it in people’s face to deal with not only the ways in which they benefit from whiteness and white supremacy but deal with the ways in which Black people actually must be free. And I think that’s actually hard to contend with.”
She also told The Real News Network, “The U.S. is very clever at turning other groups white and making them white. We’ve seen that throughout history … When white power structure is threatened, they figured out a way make groups white.”
Black parents “are seen as worthless,” she told La Progressive in 2015: “The reality is we live in a culture that not only leaves no room for pregnant people and their children, it devalues us. If you are Black and pregnant or a Black parent you are seen as worthless. Our worth and value is wrapped up in what we produce for others, not what we produce for ourselves. Historically, capitalism has only allowed for Black parenting so that Black children could continue producing goods for a system that is in direct contradiction to our own livelihood. I grew up watching my Black mother live to survive, instead of living to thrive. This is not a judgment of Black people it’s a judgement and deep criticism towards anti-Black racism.”
BLM is influencing politicians. The seemingly radical view of a few years ago of defunding or abolishing police is now catching on in liberal Democrat-run cities such as New York, Minneapolis and Seattle.
In prepared remarks to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr seemed to issue indirect criticism of BLM.
“The threat to black lives posed by crime on the streets is massively greater than any threat posed by police misconduct,” he said. “The leading cause of death for young black males is homicide. Every year approximately 7,500 black Americans are victims of homicide, and the vast majority of them — around 90 percent — are killed by other blacks, mainly by gunfire. Each of those lives matter.”
Note: BLM writes that Michael Brown, shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, was the victim of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The Barack Obama Justice Department in 2015 cleared Mr. Wilson in a civil rights investigation after local officials declined to bring charges. The 80-page report rebutted witnesses who had said Brown had his hands up at the time of the shooting.
Witnesses backed Mr. Wilson’s testimony that Brown had reached inside his patrol car, struck him and tried to take his gun, the report said.
A history of communism
The fact that the Black Lives Matter movement was founded by two “trained Marxists” would indicate that some type of communism is the group’s future thinking.
Karl Marx in 1848 co-wrote “The Communist Manifesto” and later the anti-capitalist “Das Kapital.”
His philosophy became Marxism-Leninism, a guide for communist tyranny in the Soviet Union and later in China and other nations. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin killed millions through famine, slave labor and other imprisonment.
Historians Jung Chang and Jon Halliday begin their biography, “Mao: The Unknown Story,” with this sentence: “Mao [Zedong], who for decades held absolute power over the lives of one-quarter of the world’s population, was responsible for well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other twentieth-century leader.”
Investigative reporter and lecturer James Bovard wrote in USA Today in 2018, “Marxism in practice didn’t work out so well. Communist regimes produced the greatest ideological carnage in human history, killing more than a hundred million people in the last century. While some apologists claim it is unfair to Marx to blame him, the seeds of tyranny were there from the start.”