See also: Alicia Garza Patrisse Cullors Opal Tometi
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Founded by Marxist revolutionaries in 2013, Black Lives Matter (BLM) depicts the United States as a nation awash in racism, sexism, and homophobia, and openly promotes the murder of white police officers. Demonstrators at BLM events routinely: smear white police as trigger-happy bigots who are intent upon killing innocent, unarmed black males; taunt, and direct obscenities at, uniformed police officers who are on duty; throw rocks at police and threaten to kill them; and celebrate in the streets when a police officer is killed. Some examples of BLM's racist and incendiary rhetoric:
At all BLM events, demonstrators invoke the words that the Marxist revolutionary, former Black Panther, convicted cop-killer, and longtime fugitive Assata Shakur once wrote in a letter titled “To My People”: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” (The fourth line was drawn from the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.) In Shakur's original letter, she described herself as a “Black revolutionary” who had “declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heart-less robots [police] who protect them and their property.”
Another figure greatly admired by BLM is Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who in the 1960s was renowned for threatening that blacks would "burn America down," and for urging blacks to murder "honkies." In the spring of 2000, Al-Amin shot two black law-enforcement officers in downtown Atlanta, killing one of them.
The Roots of BLM
BLM was established as an online platform in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. Their objective was to stoke black rage and galvanize a protest movement in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the “white Hispanic” who was tried for murder and manslaughter after he had shot and killed a black Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin in a highly publicized February 2012 altercation. Before long, “Black Lives Matter” became a rallying cry for writers, public speakers, celebrities, demonstrators, and even rioters who took up the cause of demanding an end to what BLM terms the “virulent anti-Black racism” that “permeates our society.” In 2014, BLM also adopted the slogan “Hands Up–Don’t Shoot!,” which was first popularized by Dream Defenders and grew out of that year's death of Michael Brown, a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri who was killed by a white police officer after he had tried to take the officer's handgun during a confrontation. (In the immediate aftermath of that incident, numerous racial agitators circulated the false narrative that Brown had been shot after raising his hands in submission and pleading, "Don't shoot.")
Demanding that Americans “abandon the lie that the deep psychological wounds of slavery, racism and structural oppression are figments of the Black imagination,” BLM aims to force the country to become “uncomfortable about institutional racism.” Emphasizing the permanence and intransigence of American depredations, BLM maintains that the nation's “corrupt democracy” was originally “built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery” and “continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color”; that “the ugly American traditions of patriarchy, classism, racism, and militarism” endure to this day; that “structural oppression” still “prevents so many from realizing their dreams”; and that blacks in the U.S. are routinely “de-humaniz[ed],” rendered “powerless at the hands of the state,” “deprived of [their] basic human rights and dignity,” and targeted for “extrajudicial killings … by police and vigilantes.” In sum, says BLM, black Americans are “collectively” subjected to “inhumane conditions” in a “white supremacist system.”
Though BLM professes to articulate the needs and grievances of black people as a whole, the organization deems it vital to go “beyond the narrow nationalism” that “merely” urges black people to “love Black, live Black, and buy Black.” That is, it focuses an added measure of attention on those blacks who, in the past, “have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.” These include, most notably, black “queer and trans,” who “bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us”; black “undocumented immigrants” who are “relegated to the shadows” of American society; black “disabled” people who “bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy”; and blacks who self-identify along non-traditional points of the “gender spectrum.”
To improve the allegedly abysmal condition of blacks in the United States, BLM has issued a series of non-negotiable demands. These include:
Several of the foregoing demands are clearly modeled on those that were put forth by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Prominently displayed on the BLM website, in fact, is the previously cited quote from Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
In December 2014, a group of BLM protesters in the San Francisco Bay area rejected efforts by three regional police unions—in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose—to initiate “constructive dialogue that calls for a common sense approach to very complex issues.”
Racist Co-Founder of BLM Toronto
A co-founder of BLM's Toronto branch is a young woman named Yusra Khogali, who in late 2015 posted the following message on Facebook: “Whiteness is not humxness. infact, white skin is sub-humxn.... White ppl are recessive genetic defects. this is factual. white ppl need white supremacy as a mechanism to protect their survival as a people because all they can do is produce themselves. black ppl simply through their dominant genes can literally wipe out the white race if we had the power to.”
In the spring of 2016, Khogali issued a Facebook threat against a Toronto police officer: “The police officer who killed Andrew Loku. We. Are coming for you. U better believe it. You are going to spend the rest of your life without your family like how Andrew Loku’s 5 children will have to go on without their father. Justice will be served.” Around that same time, she tweeted: “Plz Allah give me strength to not cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today. Plz plz plz.”
In February 2017, Khogali participated in a protest in front of the U.S. consulate where she shouted into a microphone that Canadian Prime Minister “Justin Trudeau is a white supremacist terrorist,” and she exhorted the crowd to “rise up and fight back.” “Look at us, we have the numbers,” she added.
Ties to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization
BLM is closely allied with numerous groups that are fronts for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), a Marxist-Leninist entity that calls for the overthrow of capitalism. Economist and investigative journalist James Simpson has identified some of these FRSO fronts that are tied to BLM:
As evidenced by these numerous ties between FRSO and BLM, Black Lives Matter is in essence a project of FRSO. All three of BLM's co-founders have been employed by, or affiliated with, one or more of FRSO's aforementioned front groups at various times. Specifically:
The Consequences of BLM's Rhetoric
In 2013 and beyond, a number of black criminal suspects who had died in the course of confrontations with police officers joined Trayvon Martin as new, martyred icons of the BLM movement. Prominent among these were Eric Garner (New York), Michael Brown (Ferguson, Missouri), Tamir Rice (Cleveland), Timothy Russell (Cleveland), Malissa Williams (Cleveland), and Freddie Gray (Baltimore). High-profile political leaders such as President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the mayors of the cities where the aforementioned deaths took place, routinely depicted race as a major underlying factor in those deaths.
In December 2014, for instance, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio—explicitly exhorting New Yorkers to remember that “black lives matter”—lamented the “centuries of racism” whose legacy was still influencing the actions of too many police officers. The mayor called not only for the retraining of police forces “in how to work with [nonwhite] communities differently,” but also for the use of body cameras to bring “a different level of transparency and accountability” to police work.
And in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death in April 2015, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, citing her desire “to reform my [police] department,” called on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a civil-rights investigation to determine whether Baltimore police had been engaging in unconstitutional patterns of abuse or discrimination against African Americans. Moreover, when violent riots were overrunning parts of her city following Gray's demise, Rawlings-Blake, by her own admission, “gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that as well.” In other words, the police were in effect sidelined.
In New York, Baltimore, and elsewhere in urban America, law-enforcement officers responded to the newly rising anti-police climate by becoming less proactive in apprehending criminals, particularly for low-level offenses. This, in turn, led to a dramatic rise in crime rates in a number of U.S. cities. For example:
For 2015 as a whole, America's 56 largest cities experienced a 17% rise in homicides; in 10 heavily black cities, murders increased by more than 60%.
Moreover, some criminals deliberately made police officers the targets of their violence. Less than three weeks after Mayor de Blasio's December 2014 condemnation of police in New York, for instance, a black gunman named Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed two uniformed NYPD officers, execution-style, as they sat in their marked police car. In a Facebook message he had posted just prior to carrying out his double murder, Brinsley made it explicitly clear that his motive was to avenge the recent deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
And of the nineteen police officers nationwide who were killed in the line of duty (by gunshot, assault, or vehicular assault) during the first five months of 2015, ten were killed in the month of May alone; i.e., the month following the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore.
The spike in urban violence nationwide continued into 2016. During the first quarter of that year, homicides in the nation's 63 largest cities increased by 9%, while nonfatal shootings were up 21%. For the statistics on rising violence rates in a number of specific cities, click here. Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald characterized this spike in urban violence -- and in attacks on the police -- as "The Ferguson Effect" -- a reference to the rage and anti-police hatred sparked by the aforementioned police shooting of Michael Brown, a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri.
These attacks against police officers, and the aforementioned increases in urban crime, are not at all troubling to BLM, because, notwithstanding the movement's constant professions of deep concern about black lives, the reality is quite different. What matters most to BLM is finding a spark—e.g., allegations of police vigilantism—that can be used to ignite a race war; to take America back to the “long hot summers” of the 1960s, when criminals were seen as radical “heroes,” police had a bull's-eye on their backs, and the streets of America’s inner cities ran red with fantasies of “revolutionary violence.”
The "Ferguson Effect" Is Confirmed
In January 2017 the Pew Research Center released a 97-page report titled “Behind the Badge,” which – based on the results of a questionnaire that had been sent to nearly 8,000 officers in more than 100 police departments nationwide – confirmed the reality of the so-called “Ferguson Effect.” As Breitbart.com sumarized:
“The survey reveals that officers are dealing with two conflicting concerns that create doubt, hesitation, fear, and uncertainty – things that can put officers’ lives, and those of the public, in danger. Officers have become more concerned about their personal safety. But they are also more concerned about the repercussions of using force, even when the use of that force is fully justified.... The Pew Research Center learned that 95 percent of officers in large departments, and 88 percent of those in smaller ones, are more concerned about their personal safety than they have been in the past. These concerns were likely intensified during the past year when officers experienced a 61 percent increase in the deaths of their fellow officers from hostile gunfire.”
“The 61 percent increase in law enforcement officers shot and killed in 2016 versus 2015 and a 53 percent overall increase in officers murdered in the performance of duty are deeply troubling statistics,” said “Officer Down Memorial Page” director of research Steven Weiss. “Included in that statistic is a disturbing increase in officers killed in ‘ambush-style’ murders, such as the incidents in Dallas and Des Moines. These types of murders are particularly disconcerting because they are not born out of a criminal’s desire to avoid arrest, but out of a hatred for not only law enforcement, but for our society as a whole. It is the type of attack that, for the most part, tactical training or increased vigilance may not help to prevent.”
The Pew survey also revealed that 85 percent of officers in large departments, and 63 percent of those in small departments, had become are more reluctant to use force against criminal suspects when appropriate. Similarly, 86 percent of officers in large departments, and 54 percent of those in smaller departments, said that, in an effort to avoid potentially violent encounters with criminals, they had grown less likely to stop and question people who seemed suspicious.
More BLM Activities
At a December 2014 BLM rally in New York City, marchers chanted in unison: "What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now."
In April 2015, BLM held a "Populism 2015" assembly at a Washington, DC hotel. The event was sponsored by National People's Action, the Campaign for America's Future, USAction, and the Alliance for a Just Society.
On May 28, 2015, BLM held an event at the Center for American Progress titled "Toward a More Perfect Union: Bringing Criminal Justice Reform to Our Communities." At this gathering, writes journalist Matthew Vadum: "[B]lack activists blamed the rising tide of black violence against police and whites on everyone except the perpetrators." They cited such root causes as the evils of capitalism, white privilege, excessive numbers of laws and police officers, corporate malfeasance, and insufficient taxes levied on the wealthy.
In a July 2015 Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona, BLM-affiliated protesters disrupted talks by two Democratic presidential candidates—U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley—shouting at both men: “Say that black lives matter! Say that I am not a criminal! Say my name!” O’Malley, for his part, responded by appealing for a sense of unity: “I think all of us have a responsibility to recognize the pain and grief caused by lives lost to violence. Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” These remarks by O’Malley caused the demonstrators to become enraged, and they proceeded to boo loudly and shout him down.
At that same Netroots Nation conference, BLM activists led much of the crowd in the following chant (click here for video):
"If I die in police custody, don't believe the hype. I was murdered!
Protect my family! Indict the system! Shut that sh*t down!
If I die in police custody, avenge my death!
By any means necessary!
If I die in police custody, burn everything down!
No building is worth more than my life!
And that's the only way motherf***ers like you listen!
If I die in police custody, make sure I'm the last person to die in police custody.
By any means necessary!
If I die in police custody, do not hold a moment of silence for me!
Rise the f*** up!
Because your silence is killing us!"
On August 29, 2015—just hours after a lone black gunman had murdered a white sheriff’s deputy in Texas while the latter was pumping gasoline into his car—demonstrators affiliated with the St. Paul, Minnesota branch of BLM disrupted traffic as they marched—with police protection—to the gates of the Minnesota State Fair. Carrying signs bearing slogans like "End White Supremacy," they repeatedly chanted in unison: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.” “Pigs” was a reference to police officers, and "blanket" was a reference to body bags. The slogan echoed what gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsleyan had posted on the Internet—"Pigs in a blanket smell like bacon"—in December 2014, just before he murdered NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
During the September 1, 2015 airing of a blog-talk-radio program associated with BLM, the hosts laughed at the recent assassination of Texas Deputy Daron Goforth, a husband and father who was shot 15 times at point blank range from behind while he was gassing up his patrol car. One host, a self-described black supremacist known as King Noble, said the execution of that "cracker cop" was an indication that "it's open season on killing whites and police officers and probably killing cops, period." "It’s unavoidable, inescapable," he added. "It’s funny that now we are moving to a time where the predator will become the prey." After claiming that blacks were like lions who could win a “race war” against whites, Noble declared: “Today, we live in a time when the white man will be picked off, and there’s nothing he can do about it. His day is up, his time is up. We will witness more executions and killing of white people and cops than we ever have before. It’s about to go down. It’s open season on killing white people and crackas.”
On September 14, 2015, BLM supporter/demonstrator Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, a 25-year-old convicted felon, shot and killed a rookie Kentucky state trooper named Joseph Cameron Ponder after a high-speed chase. The perpetrator lived in Florissant, Missouri, near the town of Ferguson, and had participated in local demonstrations protesting the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a young black man killed by a white Ferguson police officer after he had tried to take the officer's handgun. (Click here for details of that case.) Johnson-Shanks was so preoccupied with the Brown case, that he even attended Brown's funeral and graveside service in August 2014.
On October 24, 2015, members of the BLM-affiliated Black Youth Project (BYP) took down an American flag during their #StopTheCops street protests in Chicago, replacing it with one that read “Unapologetically Black.” Like BLM, BYP opposes increased spending on law enforcement, as one of its activists, Maria Hadden, explained: "To provide better education, to provide access to basic human needs, housing and healthcare, those are the ways that we address crime. Those are the ways we improve the city, not by spending more money on police. So we believe we need to spend less money on policing, more money on community services.” Some BYP protestors taunted the police by singing, “Stop cops, stop cops, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when we defund you?” to the tune of the Bad Boys theme song from the television show COPS.
On November 12, 2015, a group of approximately 150 BLM protesters shouting "black lives matter" and racial obscenities stormed Dartmouth University's library, shouting, “F*** you, you filthy white f***s!," "F*** you and your comfort!," and "F*** you, you racist s***!” A report in the Dartmouth Review said:
"Throngs of protesters converged around fellow students who had not joined in their long march. They confronted students who bore 'symbols of oppression': 'gangster hats' and Beats-brand headphones. The flood of demonstrators self-consciously overstepped every boundary, opening the doors of study spaces with students reviewing for exams. Those who tried to close their doors were harassed further. One student abandoned the study room and ran out of the library. The protesters followed her out of the library, shouting obscenities the whole way. Students who refused to listen to or join their outbursts were shouted down. 'Stand the f*** up!' 'You filthy racist white piece of s***!' Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group. 'If we can’t have it, shut it down!' they cried. Another woman was pinned to a wall by protesters who unleashed their insults, shouting 'filthy white b****!' in her face."
In mid-November 2015, students gathered at Kean University in New Jersey to stand in solidarity with BLM protests that were taking place at the University of Missouri. One of the participants at the Kean event was 24-year-old Kayla-Simone McKelvey, a Kean alumnus and self-proclaimed black activist who had graduated six months earlier. About midway through the rally, McKelvey slipped away and went to the university library, where she secretly and hastily created an anonymous Twitter account, @keanuagainstblk, and stated in its description that it was an account "against blacks" and "for everyone who hates blacks people."[sic] McKelvey then sent her first "anonymous" tweet: a bomb threat to the campus. She followed that up with tweets that read: (a) "i will kill every black male and female at kean university"; (b) "i will kill all blacks tonight, tomorrow, and any other day if they go to Kean university"; and (c) "tell every black person that you know they will die if they go to #Keanuniversity". According to police, McKelvey then returned to the rally and began spreading the word that she had "discovered" the aforementioned Twitter threats against black students. McKelvey was subsequently charged with third-degree "creating a false public alarm" and was ordered to appear in court on December 14.
In a February 2016 interview with Fox News, the co-founder of BLM's Seattle chapter, Marissa Jenae Johnson, described the phrase “All lives matter” as a “new racial slur.” “White Americans have created the conditions that require a phrase like ‘Black Likes Matter,'” she said. “Do you know how horrific it is to grow up as a child in a world that so hates you? While you’re literally being gunned down in the street, while you’re being rounded up and mass incarcerated and forced into prison slavery.” “Black Lives Matter is not a strong enough statement for me,” she added.
On July 7, 2016, BLM activists held anti-police-brutality rallies in numerous cities across the United States, to protest the recent shootings of two African American men by white police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana. At a rally in Dallas, Texas, demonstrators shouted “Enough is enough!” while they held signs bearing slogans like: “If all lives matter, why are black ones taken so easily?” Then, suddenly, at just before 9 pm, a gunman opened fire on the law-enforcement officers who were on duty at that rally (in Dallas). Four policemen and one transit officer were killed, and six additional police were wounded. The perpetrator, Micah Xavier Johnson, subsequently told a hostage negotiator that he had acted alone, was angry about the recent police shootings of two black men, and was determined to kill white people -- "especially white officers."
In the wake of the carnage in Dallas, a number of BLM activists taunted uniformed police officers who were standing guard in front of a gas station. Some Twitter users posted footage of a local news report that showed approximately 300 to 400 protesters dancing, shouting at police, and raising their middle fingers to them. Moreover, BLM sympathizers posted numerous online tweets to express their approval of the mass shooting. Some examples:
On July 9, 2016, activists participating in a BLM protest in Phoenix threw rocks at police officers and threatened to kill them.
In July 2016, a BLM activist speaking to a CNN reporter shouted: "The less white babies on this planet, the less of you [white adults] we got! I hope they kill all the white babies! Kill 'em all right now! Kill 'em! Kill your grandkids! Kill yourself! Coffin, bitch! Go lay in a coffin! Kill yourself!"
On August 13, 2016, BLM activists in Milwaukee engaged in violence after police in that city shot and killed an armed man with a lengthy criminal record who was carrying an illegal gun that had been used in a burglary. One video clip of the violence showed rioters chanting “black power!”, vowing to "beat up every white person," and trying to drag white drivers out of their cars and assault them. The rioters also targeted local reporters for violent assaults, including one Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter who was thrown to the ground and punched. In another video clip, rioters could be seen burning down a gas station while chanting “black power!” This was just one of numerous businesses that were set on fire. In a Facebook post the following day, the Black Lives Matter Coalition For Justice wrote: "What happened last night was not the result of greed or an ignorant display of anger as some have called it, but rather pain and frustration built up from over 400 years of oppression. The rioting and looting that occurred last night in the city of Milwaukee is a demand for justice on every level.... What happened last night was a revolt and an uproar, not just a disturbance.... The people are angry. The people are fed up, and the people are demanding their freedom."
In September 2016, BLM activists rioted in Charlotte, North Carolina after a black police officer there had shot and killed a gun-wielding black criminal named Keith Lamont Scott. Prior to that killing, Scott had been: convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in two different states, convicted of assault in three states, charged with “assault with intent to kill” in the 1990s, and spent 7 years in jail for “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.” In multiple requests for domestic violence protective orders, one of which had been filed in 2015, Scott's wife claimed that the man had stabbed her, hit one of his children, and threatened to kill his entire family. The woman also reported that Scott carried a 9mm handgun but had no permit for it. (According to Fox News: "The gun recovered at the scene of Scott's shooting had been stolen and later sold to Scott.") At least 20 police officers were injured in the Charlotte riots, and National Guard troops were called in to help restore order. During the mayhem, protesters threw things at police, sometimes shot one another, looted and destroyed local businesses, set vehicles on fire, attacked white people who happened to be in the vicinity, decorated the landscape with BLM graffiti, and chanted slogans like “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Support for BLM from President Obama and the Democratic Party
In August 2015, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) officially endorsed BLM by approving a resolution that condemned "the unacceptable epidemic of extrajudicial killings of unarmed black men, women, and children at the hands of police"; stated that the American Dream "is a nightmare for too many young people stripped of their dignity under the vestiges of slavery, Jim Crow and White Supremacy"; demanded the "demilitarization of police, ending racial profiling, criminal justice reform, and investments in young people, families, and communities"; and asserted that "without systemic reform this state of [black] unrest jeopardizes the well-being of our democracy and our nation."
On September 16, 2015, BLM activists Brittney Packnett, DeRay McKesson, Johnetta Elzie, Phillip Agnew, and Jamye Wooten met at the White House with President Obama as well as senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and other administration officials. For Packnett, it was her seventh visit to the Obama White House. Afterward, Packnett told reporters that the president personally supported the BLM movement. “He offered us a lot of encouragement with his background as a community organizer, and told us that even incremental changes were progress,” she stated. “He didn’t want us to get discouraged. He said, ‘Keep speaking truth to power.’”
In October 2015, Obama publicly articulated his support for BLM's agenda by saying: “I think the reason that the organizers [of BLM] used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
In a December 2015 interview on National Public Radio, Obama described Black Lives Matter as a positive force on policing in America, notwithstanding the violence and incendiary rhetoric exhibited by many of its members. Noting that “sometimes progress is a little uncomfortable,” the president claimed that BLM was doing the vital work of shining “sunlight” on the fact that “there’s no black family that hasn’t had a conversation around the kitchen table about driving while black and being profiled or being stopped” by police. “You know,” he elaborated, “during that process there’s going to be some noise and some discomfort, but I m absolutely confident that over the long term, it leads to a fair, more just, healthier America.”
At a Black History Month event at the White House in February 2016, Obama welcomed BLM leaders DeRay McKesson and Brittany Packnett (the latter of whom was one of the key "Hands up, don't shoot" propagandists who in 2014 promoted the lie that a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri had shot black teenager Michael Brown in cold blood as he tried to surrender). Obama also welcomed such notables as activist Al Sharpton, Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson, and NAACP Legal Defense Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill. In the course of his remarks, Obama said: "But we’ve also got some young people here who are making history as we speak. People like Brittany [Packnett], who served on our Police Task Force in the wake of Ferguson, and has led many of the protests that took place there and shined a light on the injustice that was happening. People like DeRay Mckesson, who has done some outstanding work mobilizing in Baltimore around these issues. And to see generations continuing to work on behalf of justice and equality and economic opportunity is greatly encouraging to me.... They are much better organizers than I was at their age. I am confident they are going to take America to new heights."
On July 10, 2016, Obama likened BLM to the abolition and suffrage movements of yesteryear, saying: "The abolition movement was contentious. The effort for women to get the right to vote was contentious and messy. There were times when activists might have engaged in rhetoric that was overheated and occasionally counterproductive. But the point was to raise issues so that we, as a society, could grapple with it. The same was true with the Civil Rights Movement, the union movement, the environmental movement, the antiwar movement during Vietnam. And I think what you're seeing now is part of that longstanding tradition." (Obama also said: "[W]henever those of us who are concerned about fairness in the criminal justice system attack police officers, you are doing a disservice to the cause. First of all, any violence directed at police officers is a reprehensible crime and needs to be prosecuted. But even rhetorically, if we paint police in broad brush, without recognizing that the vast majority of police officers are doing a really good job and are trying to protect people and do so fairly and without racial bias, if our rhetoric does not recognize that, then we're going to lose allies in the reform cause." This assertion, however, was entirely inconsistent with the many statements the president had previously made about the allegedly systemic bias and racism of the entire criminal-justice system.)
On July 13, 2016 -- six days after a BLM supporter in Dallas had shot and killed five police officer and wounded seven others -- President Obama hosted BLM leaders DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Mica Grimmat at a four-and-a-half-hour meeting at the White House. Also invited were Al Sharpton, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), and some police chiefs.
BLM's Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Orientation
In January 2015, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors joined representatives from the Dream Defenders as well as a number of likeminded anti-police-brutality protesters in taking a 10-day trip to the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank. Their objective was to publicly draw a parallel between what they defined as Israeli oppression of the Palestinians in the Middle East, and police violence against blacks in the United States. A complete list of the delegates who made this trip included five Dream Defenders (Phillip Agnew, Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, Ahmad Abuznaid); Tef Poe and Tara Thompson from Ferguson/Hands Up United; journalist Marc Lamont Hill; Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez of the Justice League NYC; Charlene Carruthers from the Black Youth Project; poet and artist Aja Monet; and USC doctoral student Maytha Alhassen.
In August 2015, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors was one of more than 1,000 black activists, artists, scholars, politicians, students, “political prisoners,” and organizational representatives to sign a statement proclaiming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people”; demanding an end to Israel's “occupation” of “Palestine”; condemning “Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank”; urging the U.S. government to end all aid to Israel; and exhorting black institutions to support the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement against the Jewish state. Key passages from the letter included the following:
In late July 2016, a BLM delegation arrived in Israel to promote “the fight for dignity, justice and freedom” against the Israeli "occupation" and the “genocide” of Palestinian Arabs. In a July 28th Facebook post, the delegation's members wrote:
"In the fight for dignity, justice and freedom... the Movement for Black Lives is committed to the global shared struggle of oppressed people, namely the people of occupied Palestine and other indigenous communities who for decades have resisted the occupation of their land, the ethnic cleansing of their people, and the erasure of their history and experiences.
"In this violent, political climate, it is urgent that we make clear the connection between violence inflicted on Black people globally that is encouraged and permitted by the state and the profiling, harm, and genocide funded by the United States and perpetrated by Zionist vigilantes and the Israeli Defense Forces on Palestinian people. Our collective oppression mandates that we work together across geography, language and culture to decry and organize an end to capitalistic, imperialist regimes.
"We commit to global struggle, solidarity, and support of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement to fight for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinian people and to end international support of the occupation."
Prominent BLM Activist Arrested on Sex-Trafficking Charges
In May 2016, 33-year-old BLM activist Charles Wade, who had been profiled in several newspapers and had recently been invited to the Obama White House along with others from his organization, was indicted on seven criminal charges including felonious sex trafficking (for pimping out a 17-year-old girl). The charges carried sentences of up to 25 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
BLM Blames "White Supremacy" and the "Conservative Right" for Jihadist's Mass Murder in Florida
On June 21, 2016 — a few days after a self-proclaimed Muslim jihadist used an AR-15 rifle to murder 49 people and wound 53 others in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida — BLM posted an article on its website that blamed "white supremacy, patriarchy and homophobia of the conservative right" for the atrocity. It read, in part, as folows:
"Despite the media’s framing of this as a terrorist attack, we are very clear that this terror is completely homegrown, born from the anti-Black white supremacy, patriarchy and homophobia of the conservative right and of those who would use religious extremism as a weapon to gain power for the few and take power from the rest. Those who seek to profit from our deaths hope we will forget who our real enemy is, and blame Muslim communities instead....
"Homegrown terror is the product of a long history of colonialism, including state and vigilante violence. It is the product of white supremacy and capitalism, which deforms the spirit and fuels interpersonal violence. We especially hold space for our Latinx family now, knowing that the vast majority of those murdered were Latinx, and many were specifically Puerto Rican. From the forced migration of thousands of young people from the island of Puerto Rico to Orlando, to the deadly forced migration throughout Latin America and the Caribbean — we know this is not the first time in history our families have been mowed down with malice, and we stand with you.
"Religious extremism is not new to America and is not unique to Islam. For centuries, religion has been used to subjugate queer people of color and lay the groundwork for our deaths. We live in a society that gasps at mass murder but does little to produce the policies or radical ideological shift needed to keep LGBTQ people and our families alive and safe....
"We will not allow our movement to be dominated by white progressives that still attempt to define our solutions and limit our leadership. We will not allow the vision to be stunted by a gun control agenda with neither racial context nor a clear history of the relationship between white supremacy and guns in the United States.... You cannot decry guns without also decrying how those guns were used to take Native land, to enslave Black bodies, to remake “Latin America”, and to redefine the western hemisphere. We need more than legislation, more than vigils and prayers, more than donations — we need a deep transformation at the cellular levels of this nation....
"We need a world that realizes that the word 'terrorist' is not synonymous with Muslim, any more than 'criminal' is synonymous with Black. The enemy is now and has always been the four threats of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and militarism. These forces and not Islam create terrorism. These forces, and not queerness, create homophobia. These forces unleash destruction primarily on those who are Trans, and queer, and brown and Black, and we are the first to experience its violence.... Until these systems are defeated, until anti-Blackness no longer fuels anti-Muslim and anti-queer and trans bigotry, exploitation, and exclusion — we can never be truly free."
BLM's Updated Demands & Agendas
On August 1, 2016, BLM, under the name "Movement for Black Lives," issued a major Statement articulating its updated policy agendas and demands. Titled "A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice," the Statement consisted of 6 core demands and 38 policy priorities. Below are verbatim excerpts from the contents of those demands and priorities:
(1) End The War On Black People
We demand an end to the war against Black people. Since this country’s inception there have been named and unnamed wars on our communities. We demand an end to the criminalization, incarceration, and killing of our people. This includes:
What is the problem?
We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done. This includes:
What is the problem?
What does this solution do?
We demand investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people. We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations. This includes:
(4) Economic Justice
We demand economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access. This includes:
What is the problem?
What does this solution do?
(5) Community Control
We demand a world where those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us – from our schools to our local budgets, economies, police departments, and our land – while recognizing that the rights and histories of our Indigenous family must also be respected. This includes:
What does this solution do?
(6) Political Power
We demand independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society. We envision a remaking of the current U.S. political system in order to create a real democracy where Black people and all marginalized people can effectively exercise full political power. This includes:
What is the problem?
What does this solution do?
Funding for BLM
Through his Open Society Foundations (OSF) billionaire financier George Soros in 2014 gave at least $33 million to support already-established groups that, as The Washington Times put it, "emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson," Missouri, where anti-police protests erupted in the aftermath of an incident where a white police officer killed Michael Brown, a black teenaged criminal who was attempting to steal the officer's gun. "The financial tether from Mr. Soros to the activist groups gave rise to a combustible protest movement that transformed a one-day criminal event in Missouri into a 24-hour-a-day national cause celebre," said the Times. The recipients of this $33 million were mostly supporters of BLM, though the money was used for many different purposes, and not just to advance the BLM agenda. In 2015, Soros's OSF gave $650,000 to “groups at the core of the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement.”
In 2015, Google pledged to give the Ella Baker Center (EBC) a grant of $500,000 which was to be used to fund the efforts of BLM co-founder (and EBC fellow) Patrisse Cullors, to create -- in conjunction with the ACLU -- a police brutality app that would enable people to report instances of police misconduct via their cellular phones. Noting that "the real cost for a simple app like this should be under $5,000," Ed Straker wrote in the American Thinker: "Why is Cullors getting $495,000 more than the cost needed to design a useless app? Well, here is another statistic: Google is only 2% black. It looks as though Google is giving hush money to black radicals so they won't attack Google's 'racist' employment statistics, much as companies used to give hush money to Jesse Jackson for much the same reason."
In the summer of 2016, the Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy announced the formation of the Black-Led Movement Fund (BLMF), a six-year pooled donor campaign whose goal was to raise $100 million for the aforementioned Movement for Black Lives coalition. Said the Ford Foundation: “The Movement for Black Lives has forged a new national conversation about the intractable legacy of racism, state violence, and state neglect of black communities in the United States.” According to Borealis, “The BLMF provides grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working to advance the leadership and vision of young, Black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America.” In a joint statement, Ford and Borealis said that their Fund would “complement the important work” of charities including the Hill-Snowden Foundation, Solidaire, the NoVo Foundation, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the Neighborhood Funders Group, anonymous donors, and others. In addition to raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives, the BLMF planned to collaborate with Benedict Consulting on “the organizational capacity building needs of a rapidly growing movement.”
BLM's Partnership With the International Development Exchange
In 2015, BLM quietly established a legal partnership with a small San Francisco-based charity, the International Development Exchange (IDEX), which in November of that year began acting as a manager of BLM's financial affairs. In this role, IDEX gained the ability to receive grants and tax-deductible donations on BLM's behalf. In 2016, the BLM-IDEX relationship evolved into a contractual partnership that was scheduled to run through at least the middle of 2017. In lieu of paying an administrative fee for IDEX's financial-management services, BLM agreed instead to make donations to IDEX's partners in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Prior to the formation of this BLM-IDEX partnership, IDEX executive director Rajasvini Bhansali had known BLM co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors for about a decade through their work in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Support for Castro
Shortly after former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, BLM published an article titled "Lessons from Fidel: Black Lives Matter and the Transition of El Comandante." The piece began by stating: "We are feeling many things as we awaken to a world without Fidel Castro. There is an overwhelming sense of loss, complicated by fear and anxiety. Although no leader is without their flaws, we must push back against the rhetoric of the right and come to the defense of El Comandante. And there are lessons that we must revisit and heed as we pick up the mantle in changing our world, as we aspire to build a world rooted in a vision of freedom and the peace that only comes with justice. It is the lessons that we take from Fidel."
The article praised Castro for having taught people "that to be a revolutionary, you must strive to live in integrity." "As a Black network committed to transformation," it added, "we are particularly grateful to Fidel for holding [cop-killer/fugitive] Mama Assata Shakur, who continues to inspire us. We are thankful that he provided a home for [cop killers/airplane hijackers] Brother Michael Finney, Ralph Goodwin, and Charles Hill[;] asylum to Brother Huey P. Newton[;] and sanctuary for so many other Black revolutionaries who were being persecuted by the American government during the Black Power era." Expressing gratitude to Castro for "attempting to support Black people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when our government left us to die on rooftops and in floodwaters," BLM lauded the late dictator for having "provided a space where the traditional spiritual work of African people could flourish." The piece closed by saying: "As Fidel ascends to the realm of the ancestors, we summon his guidance, strength, and power as we recommit ourselves to the struggle for universal freedom. Fidel Vive!"
Calls for Murder of White People and President Trump
During an anti-President Trump protest in Seattle in late January 2017, a female activist associated with BLM took a megaphone and, for four minutes, shouted obscenities, anti-capitalist rhetoric, and incitements to violence against white people and President Trump. Among her remarks were the following: "Fuck white supremacy, fuck the U.S. empire, fuck your imperialist ass lives. That shit gotta go. Fuck that shit. You know what America thrives off of? Capitalism. We use our mother fucking, fucking black and brown bodies to live and survive while white people own fucking properties after that.... White people, give your fucking money, your fucking house, your fucking property, we need it fucking all. You need to reparate [sic] black and indigenous people right now. Pay the fuck up, pay the fuck up. It ain’t just your fucking time, it's your fucking money, and now your fucking life is devoted to social change.... We're all operating under white supremacy.... And we need to start killing people. First off, we need to start killing the White House. The White House must die. The White House, your fucking White House, your fucking Presidents, they must go! Fuck the White House.... Capitalism is ... fucking racism...."
BLM Planned to Riot if Police Officer Was Not Indicted
In February 2017, former BLM activist Trey Turner reported that his comrades had planned to burn down the Minnesota state capitol in Saint Paul and the governor’s mansion if Saint Paul-area police officer Jeronimo Yanez -- who fatally shot a black man named Philando Castile during a July 6, 2016 traffic stop -- was not prosecuted. For details about the Castile shooting, click here.
BLM Chapter Bans White People from Event
In April 2017, BLM's Philadelphia chapter banned white people from attending one of its events, explaining that it was being held in a “black only space,” and that its meetings were “black centered.” “If you identify as a person of the African Diaspora [a reference to people who were taken out of Africa during the transatlantic slave trades] You can attend our meetings and become a member,” Philadelphia BLM said in a tweet. “If not you can support us in other ways.” In another tweet, the group noted that the late Malcolm X had likewise banned whites from his meetings on race: “Malcolm took our same stance. White people could not attend the meetings but could support his organization.”
The Influence of Saul Alinsky
BLM included a course on the late community-organizing guru, Saul Alinsky, at one of its conferences.
For additional information on BLM, click here.