- Established in 2013, in response to the acquittal of the man who killed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin
- Seeks to stoke black rage over the “virulent anti-Black racism” that “permeates our society”
- Says America was originally “built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery” and “continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color”
Founded by Marxist revolutionaries in 2013, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a movement that depicts the United States as a nation awash in racism, sexism, and homophobia. Demonstrators at BLM events have been known to: 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 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.”
- At a BLM march in August 2015, protesters chanted : “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.” (“Pigs” was a reference to police officers, and “blanket” was a reference to body bags.)
- On a radio program the following month, the BLM-affiliated host laughed at the recent assassination of a white Texas deputy; boasted that blacks were like lions who could prevail in a “race war” against whites; happily predicted that “we will witness more executions and killing of white people and cops than we ever have before”; and declared that “It’s open season on killing white people and crackas.”
- In November 2015, a group of approximately 150 BLM protesters shouting “Black Lives Matter,” stormed Dartmouth University’s library, screaming, “Fu** you, you filthy white fu**s!,” “Fu** you and your comfort!,” and “Fu** you, you racist sh**!”
- 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!”
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
Cullors in particular has been candid about BLM’s Marxist objectives. In 2015 she stated on video: “We actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia [Garza] in particular, we’re trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super versed on ideological theories.” In the same video, Cullors revealed that for more than a decade she had been the protégé of mentor Eric Mann, a former domestic terrorist who in the 1960s and ’70s was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, whose shared objective was to launch a race war against the “white” United States on behalf of the nonwhite Third World. Mann trained Cullors in Marxist-Leninist ideology and the tactics of political organizing.
For additional information about Cullors’ Communist ties, click here.
For information about Tometi’s Communist ties, click here.
When founding BLM, the principal aim of Cullors, Garza, and Tometi 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.”)
By BLM’s telling, black Americans are “collectively” subjected to “inhumane conditions” in a “white supremacist system.” Demanding that Americans “abandon the lie that the deep psychological wounds of slavery, racism and structural oppression are figments of the Black imagination,” BLM seeks to force the country to become “uncomfortable about institutional racism.” And emphasizing the permanence and intransigence of American depredations, BLM maintains that: (a) 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”; (b) “the ugly American traditions of patriarchy, classism, racism, and militarism” endure to this day; (c) “structural oppression” still “prevents so many from realizing their dreams”; and (d) 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.”
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.”
- “an end to all forms of discrimination and the full recognition of our [Blacks’] human rights”;
- “an immediate end to police brutality and [to] the murder of Black people and all oppressed people”;
- “full, living-wage employment for our people,” to ensure “our right to a life with dignity”;
- “decent housing” and “an end to gentrification”;
- “an end to the school-to-prison pipeline,” a term for the practice of using black students’ behavioral problems as an excuse for pushing them out of the classroom and into the juvenile- and criminal-justice systems;
- “quality education for all,” including “free or affordable public university” enrollment;
- “freedom from mass incarceration and an end to the prison industrial complex,” whose hallmarks include “the over-policing and surveillance of [black] communities,” the enactment of many “racist laws,” and “the warehousing of black people”;
- “access to affordable healthy food for our neighborhoods”;
- “an aggressive attack against all laws, policies, and entities that disenfranchise any community from expressing themselves at the ballot” (e.g., Voter ID laws);
- “a public education system that teaches the rich history of Black people”;
- “the release of all U.S. political prisoners”;
- “an end to the military industrial complex that incentivizes private corporations to profit off of the death and destruction of Black and Brown communities across the globe”;
- the cessation of racially “discriminatory discipline practices” in the schools;
- a comprehensive Justice Department review of “systematic abuses by police departments” across the United States;
- congressional hearings investigating “the criminalization of communities of color”;
- an end to “the use of profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion by law-enforcement agencies”;
- the implementation of a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice by the Obama Administration, addressing “persistent and ongoing forms of racial discrimination and disparities that exist in nearly every sphere of life”;
- the release, by the office of U.S. attorney general, of “the names of all [police] officers involved in killing black people within the last five years … so they can be brought to justice—if they haven’t already”; and
- “a decrease in law-enforcement spending at the local, state and federal levels and a reinvestment [through the federal government] of that budgeted money into the black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools.”
Echoes of the Black Panthers
Several of the foregoing demands are clearly modeled on the “Ten-Point Program” put forth by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. These parallels are consistent with BLM’s high regard for 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.”
Examples of the parallels between the BLM demands and those of the Panthers include the following:
- Whereas BLM demanded “an immediate end to police brutality and [to] the murder of Black people and all oppressed people,” the Panthers had used language that was essentially identical: “an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.”
- Whereas BLM demanded “freedom from mass incarceration and an end to the prison industrial complex,” the Panthers had similarly called for “Black people [to] be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.”
But BLM’s demands were not limited merely to matters involving police and the criminal-justice system. They also included such overtly socialist and racialist agenda items as the guarantee of:
- “full, living-wage employment for our [black] people”
- “decent housing” for black people and “an end to gentrification”
- “quality education for all,” including “free or affordable public university” enrollment, with an emphasis on teaching “the rich history of Black people and celebrat[ing] the contributions we have made to this country and the world”
- “access to affordable healthy food for our neighborhoods”
Three of those four demands are clearly modeled on elements of the Black Panthers’ Ten-Point Program,” which called for assurances of:
- “full employment” or “a guaranteed income” for all of “our people”
- “decent housing [for] our Black community”
- “education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society [and] teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.”
BLM’s Major Principles
In a document titled “What We Believe,” BLM lays out a number of major principles for which it stands. Among the most noteworthy:
- “We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.”
- “We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position….”
- “We see ourselves as part of the global Black family …”
- “We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.”
- “We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.”
- “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”
- “We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.”
- “We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’ so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.”
- “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.” (Note: BLM quietly, and without explanation, removed this item from its website around September 21, 2020, in an effort to defuse the widespread criticism which the item had sparked.)
- “We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking …”
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.
In another tweet, Khogali wrote that white people have a “higher concentration of enzyme inhibitors” which suppress the production of melanin, which in turn is vital to the development of “strong bones, intelligence, vision and hearing.”
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. In an article for Accuracy In Media, economist and investigative journalist James Simpson has identified some of these FRSO fronts that are tied to BLM:
- National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA): seeks to develop “women-of-color leaders” to help domestic workers—who are disproportionately female and nonwhite—gain political power and promote “concrete change”; gave money to CASA de Maryland and the Institute for Policy Studies in 2013; and has received funding from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Oak Foundation, George Soros‘s Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.
- People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER): promotes “social change” by empowering “those people who are most affected by the problems of society”—specifically, “low-income and working class people, people of color, women, queer and transgender people”—to “lead a movement of millions to eradicate those problems”; evolved from the now-defunct revolutionary communist group STORM; and has received funding from the Akonadi Foundation, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation, the Hill-Snowden Foundation, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.
- Right to the City Alliance (RTTC): a nationwide network that opposes inner-city “gentrification” that displaces “low-income people, people of color, marginalized LGBTQ communities, and youths of color from their historic urban neighborhoods”; has received funding from the Akonadi Foundation, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Margerite Casey Foundation, the Soros Funds, the Surdna Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.
- School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL): strives to “lay the groundwork for a strong social justice movement by supporting the development of a new generation of organizers rooted in a systemic change analysis—especially people of color, young women, queer and transgender youth, and low-income people”; claims to have trained 679 organizers in 2013, and has been funded by the Heinz Foundation, the Akonadi Foundation, the Hill-Snowden Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.
- Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI): “educates and engages African American and black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social and economic justice”; has been funded by the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and the Soros Funds.
- Advancement Project (AP): describes itself as a “civil rights law, policy, and communications ‘action tank’ that advances universal opportunity and a just democracy for those left behind in America,” meaning nonwhite minorities; has been funded by the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Soros Funds, the Tides Foundation, and the Vanguard Public Foundation.
- Movement Strategy Center (MSC): dedicated to “transformative movement building” and “equitable distribution of resources”; has been funded by the Akonadi Foundation, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Soros Funds, the Surdna Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.
- Dignity and Power Now (DPN): claims to seek “dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families, and communities”
- Labor/Community Strategy Center (LCSC): works to “build consciousness, leadership, and organization among those who face discrimination and societal attack—people of color, women, immigrants, workers, LGBT people, youth”; is headed by Eric Mann, a former Weather Underground leader who exhorts followers to become “anti-racist, anti-imperialist” activists.
- Black Left Unity Network: a Marxist-Leninist organization that supports a variety of communist causes
- Black Workers for Justice: “believes that African American workers need self-organization to help empower ourselves at the workplace, in communities and throughout the whole of U.S. society to organize, educate, mobilize and struggle for power, justice, self-determination and human rights for African Americans, other oppressed nationalities, women and all working class people”
- Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ): “a national alliance of U.S.-based grassroots organizing groups organizing to build an agenda for power for working and poor people and communities of color”
- Causa Justa/Just Cause: a Black/Latino solidarity organization that aims to build a “multi-racial, multi-generational movement … for fundamental change”
- Hands Up United: works for the “liberation of oppressed Black, Brown, and poor people through education, art, civil disobedience, advocacy, and agriculture”
- Intelligent Mischief: an African-American organization that “design[s] projects that critique the current status quo and re-imagines the possibilities”
- Organization for Black Struggle (OBS): seeks to “build a movement that fights for political empowerment, economic justice and the cultural dignity of the African-American community, especially the Black working class”; is affiliated with the Communist Party USA, and is allied with Black Workers for Justice and the Advancement Project.
- Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC): is dedicated to “uniting revolutionary-minded youth and students throughout the [City University of New York] system in NYC”
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): a “national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice”; quotes BLM co-founder Alicia Garza‘s assertion that “we need you defecting from White supremacy and changing the narrative of White supremacy by breaking White silence.”
- Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE): seeks to “reduce and eliminate structural barriers to social and economic opportunities for poor and economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color”; is led by Anthony Thigpenn, a former Black Panther and board member of the Apollo Alliance.
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:
- Alicia Garza has served as a special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA); executive director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER); a board member of School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL); and board chair of the Right to the City Alliance (RTTC).
- Patrisse Cullors, who was trained by former Weather Underground leader Eric Mann, founded Dignity and Power Now (DPN) and has served as its director.
- Opal Tometi is affiliated with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).
The Influence of Saul Alinsky on BLM
At a July 2015 conference in Cleveland, BLM presented There’s A Method To The Movement: Examining Community Organizing Methods and Methodologies, a workshop that taught, among other things, the tactics and philosophy of the late Saul Alinsky. Known as the godfather of “community organizing” – a term that serves as a euphemism for fomenting public anger and in some cases, violence – Alinsky was a communist fellow-traveler who laid out a set of basic tactics designed to help radical activists destroy their enemies while gaining power for themselves.
Such radicals, said Alinsky, “must first rub raw the resentments of the people” by selecting a particular “personification” of evil and “publicly attack[ing]” it as a “dangerous enemy” of the people. The chief “personification” in BLM’s cross hairs is the white police officer.
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” Alinsky taught, asserting that the primary task of radical activists and political figures is to cultivate in people’s hearts a visceral emotional revulsion to the mere sight of the enemy’s face. “The organizer who forgets the significance of personal identification,” said Alinsky, “will attempt to answer all objections on the basis of logic and merit. With few exceptions this is a futile procedure.” This is why BLM and media leftists invariably avoid addressing even the most glaring contradictions in the narratives they seek to advance, and why they turn a deaf ear to anyone who tries to engage them with logic, reason, or empirical data.
Alinsky taught that in order to most effectively cast themselves as defenders of moral principles and human decency, radical activists and political figures should take great pains to react dramatically – with highly exaggerated displays of “shock, horror, and moral outrage” – whenever their targeted enemy errs, or can be depicted as having erred, in any way. Thus, even though police officers nationwide have some 375 million contacts with civilians each year where they act entirely within the bounds of legality and ethics, BLM chooses to magnify the significance of a handful of questionable cases and characterize them as emblems of widespread police brutality.
Alinsky advised left-wing activists and radicals to avoid the temptation to concede that their opponent is not “100 per cent devil,” or that he may possess certain admirable qualities. Such concessions, Alinsky said, “dilut[e] the impact of the attack” and would thus amount to “political idiocy.” Consequently, BLM does not praise police for anything, ever. Rather, it is 100% attack, 100% of the time, against a 100% devil.
Alinsky also emphasized the need for activists and political radicals to convince their followers that the chasm between themselves and the enemy – in this case, police officers – is vast and unbridgeable. “Before men can act,” he wrote, “an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels, and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.”
Given that the enemy is to be portrayed as the very personification of evil, against whom the use of any and all tactics is fair game, Alinsky taught that an effective activist or political radical should never give the appearance of being satisfied with any compromise proposed by the opposition; that any bargain with the “devil” is, by definition, morally tainted and thus inadequate. The ultimate goal, said Alinsky, is not to arrive at compromise or peaceful coexistence, but rather to “crush the opposition” by remaining vigilantly “dedicated to eternal war.” Alinsky amplified this theme as follows: “A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play.… When you have war, it means that neither side can agree on anything…. In our war against the social menaces of mankind there can be no compromise. It is life or death.”
Alinsky advised the activist and the political radical to be ever on guard against the possibility that the enemy might someday propose “a constructive alternative” aimed at resolving some particular conflict. Said Alinsky: “You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying, ‘You’re right – we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.’” Such a turn of events would have the effect of diffusing the righteous indignation of the radical, whose very identity is inextricably woven into the “struggle” for long-denied justice. If the perceived oppressor either surrenders or extends a hand of friendship in an effort to end the conflict, the crusade of the radical is jeopardized. This cannot be permitted, because “eternal war,” by definition, must never end.
Alinsky also exhorted activists and political radicals to be entirely unpredictable and unmistakably willing – for the sake of their cause – to cause the government, or the society at large, to descend into chaos and anarchy. They must be prepared, Alinsky explained, to “go into a state of complete confusion and draw [their] opponent into the vortex of the same confusion.” One way in which radicals and their disciples can broadcast their preparedness for this possibility, Alinsky taught, is by staging loud, defiant, massive protest rallies expressing deep rage against, and contempt for, their political adversary. Such demonstrations – like the BLM protests and riots of recent weeks – can give onlookers the impression that a mass movement is shifting into an even higher gear. A “mass impression,” said Alinsky, can be lasting and intimidating: “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.” “The threat,” he added, “is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Putting it yet another way, Alinsky advised: “Wherever possible, go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.”
The Michael Brown Case Propels BLM to New Heights
Though BLM was founded in 2013, it was not until the following year that it gained a large measure of public influence. That influence came as a result of the shooting death of Michael Brown. Following is an account of that case:
On August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, a 28-year-old white police officer named Darren Wilson shot and killed an 18-year-old black male named Michael Brown in an altercation that made national headlines and set off a massive wave of BLM-led protests and riots in a number of U.S. cities. The angry mobs claimed that Brown had been shot in the back while fleeing from the officer, at which point the teen had stopped and raised his hands in surrender, begging Wilson, to no avail, to refrain from firing any more rounds at him.
The principal source of this narrative was Michael Brown’s 22-year-old friend Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time of the latter’s fatal encounter with Officer Wilson. After Brown’s death, Johnson told reporters that “me and my friend was walking down the street, wasn’t causing any harm to nobody,” at which point a “white cop” allegedly pulled up in his patrol car and “reached his arm out the window and grabbed my friend around his neck [and] was trying to choke my friend.” When Brown then attempted to flee, said Johnson, he was “shot like an animal” by the officer.
On another occasion, Johnson told CBS News that while Brown was running from Darren Wilson, the officer “shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air and started to get down, [but] the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.” Thereafter, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” became a signature slogan of the newly revitalized BLM movement and its adherents.
The mainstream news media, meanwhile, refrained from speculating that Brown himself may have been anything other than an innocent black victim of bad police work. A New York Times editorial, for instance, lamented “the history of racial segregation, economic inequality and overbearing law enforcement” that allegedly had set the stage for “the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black student … who was a few days from heading off to college when he was shot by a police officer.” A Times news article, meanwhile, reported that “the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager” was being described by St. Louis County’s NAACP chapter president as an instance of “yet another teenaged boy [who] has been slaughtered by law enforcement.” The Washington Post ran a story whose title emphasized that the “Black Teen Shot in Missouri Was Unarmed.” And an Associated Press report, which likewise took pains to note that Brown “was unarmed,” stated that the notoriety surrounding the young man’s death was helping to “solidify the Black Lives Matter movement.”
BLM, for its part, bluntly charged that “Mike Brown was murdered by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson,” and that the demonstrators who subsequently protested that injustice were being unfairly “brutalized by law enforcement,… tear gassed, and pepper sprayed night after night.”
Also in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, BLM and its media allies repeatedly reminded Americans that Brown had now become the civil-rights movement’s latest martyr, an individual whose most noteworthy trait was his extraordinarily meek and mild temperament. Black activist Al Sharpton, for one, described Brown—who stood 6-foot-4 and weighed approximately 290 pounds—as a “gentle giant.” Stories by CNN, The Daily Mail, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many other news outlets did the same. In a similar vein, a writer at Daily Kos portrayed Brown as a “big guy who[m] his family called their ‘Gentle Giant,’” a young man who was “built to be a high school football player—direct from central casting—but … was too timid for the sport” and, “according to friends and family,… had never been in a fight in his life.” Moreover, photos of Brown donning a cap and gown at his recent graduation from St. Louis County’s Normandy High School began to surface widely in the media.
Political figures from across the country likewise embraced the narrative of a trigger-happy, racist white policeman gunning down an innocent black youth. Soon after Brown’s killing, for instance, the Democrat governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, called for a “vigorous prosecution” against Officer Wilson, even before any pertinent facts were known about the case. And Democrat congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, for her part, described Brown’s death as “a tragedy”; called on the Department of Justice to “examine … whether there were any federal civil rights violations” for which Wilson could be prosecuted; and demanded “a credible and comprehensive investigation … to secure justice for Michael Brown’s family and the community.”
Before long, however, a number of unflattering facts about Michael Brown began to surface. On August 15, 2014, for instance, the Ferguson Police Department released an explicit surveillance video that showed Brown committing a strong-armed robbery of a local convenience store—stealing a box of Swisher Sweets, which are cheap cigars commonly used to smoke marijuana—just minutes before his fatal encounter with Officer Wilson. Brown’s relatives and the attorneys representing his family responded indignantly to the video’s release, calling it a “sideshow” and a “strategic” ploy “aimed at destroying the character” of the late victim and drawing attention away from Officer Wilson’s evil deed. Brown family lawyer Anthony Gray urged the public to “not take the bait.”
On August 17, the Brown family released a statement that said: “There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer [Darren Wilson] as he [Michael Brown] held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender…. The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention from … this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.”
- My favorite part is when that body hits the ground.
I soak ’em up like I’m ringing out a sponge
Talking down make me shoot off your whole tongue
- Every time I call you bitch. There b cum.
And when she cum I b cumin all over her tongue
I beat that pussy up and then be on the run (Come on bitch!)
I roll flat blunts that look just like my thumb
- My niggas from the area we don’t play…
Masturbating off my voice on my laptop.
Mother fuckers would have never far I made it in the rap game…
- Lights out. Lights out. I knock your ass out.
Lights out. Lights out… It’s lights out bitch.
I do the hit and I’m gonnna make it hurt….
And count my money while my bitch suck me like a Slurpee.
On August 20, a local grand jury consisting of three blacks and nine whites—roughly approximating the racial composition of Ferguson as a whole—began hearing evidence in an effort to determine whether Officer Wilson should be criminally indicted for the killing of Michael Brown. One of the witnesses who testified before that grand jury was Wilson himself, who told the jurors that:
- When he initially encountered Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson walking in the middle of the street and instructed them to move to a sidewalk, Brown responded by shouting an expletive.
- When he noticed that Brown was carrying a handful of cigars, Wilson suddenly realized that the teen was likely the perpetrator of the local convenience-store robbery that had just been announced over the police radio.
- When Wilson tried to open the door of his patrol car in order to question Brown, the teen slammed it back shut and punched the officer in the face through the open window.
- Fearing that he might get knocked unconscious and thereby become vulnerable to serious injury or death, Wilson drew his gun and told Brown: “Get back or I’m going to shoot you.”
- Reaching through the window of Wilson’s car door, Brown told the officer, “You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.” He then grabbed Wilson’s gun with his right hand, twisted it, and pressed it firmly into the policeman’s hip.
- Wilson managed to fire two shots from inside his car, wounding Brown in the hand and causing him to briefly run away.
- As Wilson gave chase and ordered Brown to stop, the young man suddenly turned around and charged head-first at the officer, who backpedaled while firing his gun in self-defense at the oncoming Brown. At one point, Brown used his right hand to reach under his shirt in the waistband of his trousers, causing Officer Wilson to fear that Brown may have had a weapon there.
But BLM members were uninterested in waiting for this or any other evidence that the grand jury might uncover. They continued to charge that white racism and police brutality were to blame for what had happened to Brown. Toward that end, during Labor Day weekend of 2014, BLM leaders Darnell Moore and Patrisse Cullors co-organized a “Black Life Matters Ride” where more than 600 people from across the U.S. convened in “the occupied territory” of Ferguson “to support our brothers and sisters.” “We understood Ferguson was not an aberration,” said BLM, “but in fact, a clear point of reference for what was happening to Black communities everywhere.” Following the Labor Day event, organizers from 18 different cities returned to their homes and developed local BLM chapters in those places.
Throughout the fall of 2014, supporters of Michael Brown and his family continued to indicate that no amount of exculpatory evidence would be sufficient to convince them that Officer Wilson should not be held criminally liable for the young man’s death. On October 28, for instance, as the grand jury entered the final phase of its investigation, Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump—who also had served as the attorney for the family of the late Trayvon Martin—made it clear that neither the family members nor their backers would be persuaded by any autopsy report or eyewitness statements that supported Wilson’s position. “The family has not believed anything the police or this medical examiner has said,” Crump declared.
A similar spirit shaped the attitudes of other police-haters and Michael Brown supporters:
- The Rev. Tommie Pierson, pastor of Greater St. Mark Family Church in St. Louis, said that if the grand jury failed to indict Officer Wilson, the local community “will feel like it’s open season on young black men” and “you will see an outburst of protest.”
- Revolutionary Communist Party supporter Lou Downey said, “If Darren Wilson walks, America must be brought to a halt. That means no business as usual. It means blocking streets and walking out of schools. It means we refuse to accept this.”
- Eric Guster, a blogger for The Root, wrote: “I have a feeling that prosecutors are getting ready to drop the hammer on us. They want us to be ready for what every tear-gassed, unlawfully arrested, shot at, beaten, harassed, billy-clubbed protester doesn’t want to hear: Wilson probably won’t be charged in the killing of Michael Brown.”
- Democrat congressman John Lewischaracterized Ferguson as a “turning point” for the modern civil rights movement, and predicted that the nation would see massive protests if the grand jury did not indict Wilson.
- The Washington Post reported that “unidentified ‘protest leaders’ have said that once the grand jury announcement is made, they will send a blast text message to a list of 16,000 subscribers—mobilizing them into action across the country” if no indictment was issued.
Through their association with BLM, Michael Brown’s family members gained a stature and a level of public influence far exceeding anything they had ever previously known. On November 12 in Geneva, Switzerland, Brown’s parents—Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr.—spoke before the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT). “We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice,” said McSpadden. “We need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.”
The parents also joined the Organization for Black Struggle, Hands Up United, and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment in submitting to UNCAT a document that: (a) characterized Michael Brown’s killing and the force used by police officers in their effort to quell the subsequent riots, as “violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”; (b) requested that UNCAT recommend the immediate arrest of Officer Wilson and the cessation of “racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson”; and (c) stated that the U.S. Attorney General and Department of Justice “must conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular.”
On November 24, 2014, the grand jury probe into the Michael Brown case drew to a close. After having met on 25 separate days over a three-month period, and having heard more than 70 hours of sworn testimony from approximately 60 people including eyewitnesses as well as medical and firearms experts, the jurors elected not to indict Officer Wilson. Their decision was based on a series of key findings such as these:
- Among the eyewitnesses were more than half a dozen African Americans who provided testimony that largely supported Wilson’s account of the events.
- The physical evidence—including blood spatter analysis, shell casing locations, and ballistics tests—likewise supported Wilson’s testimony.
- Michael Brown’s DNA was found on Officer Wilson’s gun, on the left thigh of Wilson’s pants, and on the inside driver’s door handle of Wilson’s police SUV.
- Traces of Brown’s skin were found on the exterior of Wilson’s vehicle.
- Analysis of three separate autopsy reports indicated that Brown did not have his hands raised when he was fatally shot, and that he was not shot in the back.
- Toxicology test results showed that Brown, at the time of his death, had tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system at levels possibly high enough to trigger hallucinations.
Moments after the prosecuting attorney, Bob McCulloch, had publicly announced the grand jury’s decision, crowds of protesters stormed through a police barricade, pelted law-enforcement officers with objects like rocks and batteries, and poured into the streets of Ferguson where they smashed windows, vandalized cars, set buildings and police vehicles ablaze, and fired gunshots into the air. Many thousands of people rallied in other U.S. cities as well, waving placards and shouting chants of “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” Such protests would continue for weeks thereafter.
In March 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that, after an extensive investigation of physical, ballistic, forensic, medical, autopsy, and eyewitness evidence, it had decided not to prosecute Officer Wilson for any civil rights violations. That announcement was accompanied by the DOJ’s release of an 86-page report summarizing its findings. Key excerpts from the report included the following:
- “The evidence, when viewed as a whole, does not support the conclusion that Wilson’s uses of deadly force were ‘objectively unreasonable’ under the Supreme Court’s definition.”
- “There was no evidence to corroborate that Wilson choked, strangled, or tightly grasped Brown on or around his neck, as described by [Dorian Johnson].”
- “The evidence establishes that the shots fired by Wilson while he was seated in his SUV were in self-defense and thus were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
- “Brown’s DNA was found at four significant locations: on Wilson’s gun; on the roadway further away from where he died; on the SUV driver’s door and inside the driver’s cabin area of the SUV; and on Wilson’s clothes.”
- “The evidence does not support concluding that Wilson shot Brown while Brown’s back was toward Wilson.”
- “Witness accounts suggesting that Brown was standing still with his hands raised in an unambiguous signal of surrender when Wilson shot Brown are inconsistent with the physical evidence, are otherwise not credible because of internal inconsistencies, or are not credible because of inconsistencies with other credible evidence.”
- “There are no witnesses who could testify credibly that Wilson shot Brown while Brown was clearly attempting to surrender.”
- “Not only do eyewitnesses and physical evidence corroborate Wilson’s account, but there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s perception that Brown posed a threat to Wilson as Brown advanced toward him. Accordingly, seeking his indictment is not permitted by Department of Justice policy or the governing law.”
None of this highly compelling evidence, however, made even the slightest impact on BLM’s narrative regarding the Michael Brown case. Indeed, BLM owes much of its subsequent fame and influence directly to the massive publicity it gained as a result of the Brown shooting. As USA Today noted in August 2016: “Since police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown … in Ferguson, Mo., the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ have morphed from a public outcry into a national movement.”
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:
- Through the first five months of 2015 in New York, the incidence of murder was 20% higher than for the same period a year earlier, and shooting incidents were up 9%.
- During the three months that followed August 2014 (when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri), homicides in nearby in St. Louis city rose 47%, and robberies in St. Louis County increased by 82%.
- After the protests and riots over the April 12, 2015 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, shootings in that city increased by more than 60% compared to the same period a year earlier. In May 2015, Baltimore recorded 43 murders—the most in any month since August 1972.
- From January to mid-May of 2015 in Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% compared to the same period in 2014.
- From January through March of 2015 in Houston, murders were up nearly 100% compared to the same period in 2014.
- From January 1 through May 24, 2015 in Chicago, shootings were up 25% and homicides were up 18% compared to the same period in 2014.
- From January through May of 2015 in Los Angeles, shootings were up 23% and other violent crime was up 25% compared to the same period in 2014.
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.
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.
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 Steven Weiss, director of research for the “Officer Down Memorial Page” website. “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 & Quotes
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, D.C. 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 shit 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 motherfuckers 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 fuck 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. 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.
in July 2016, Cornell University professor Russell Rickford declared: “We’ve got to build a grassroots, antiracist movement to defeat capitalism altogether, and it’s not going to happen at the ballot box. There can be no human system under capitalism. Capitalism is an anti-human system.”
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 seven 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 police 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 a group of protesters dancing, shouting, and taunting police. Moreover, BLM sympathizers posted numerous online tweets to express their approval of the mass shooting. Some examples:
- “Y’all pigs got what was coming for y’all.”
- “GIVE A FUCK ABOUT DALLAS AND THEM PIGS FUCK EM ALL”
- “wtf! Is when whites think their superior than us! Dallas must burn,black lives matter now, got the message pigs!”
- “These fucking pigs deserve Dallas, and every incident after Dallas until reform. Fucking disgusting animals.”
- “Next time a group wants to organize a police shoot, do like Dallas tonight, but have extra men/women to flank the Pigs!”
- “dude hell yeah someone is shooting pigs in dallas. solidarity”
- “Shout out to them Dallas shooters !! rapping pigs in blankets”
- “DALLAS keep smoking dem pigs keep up the work.”
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 a black man with a lengthy criminal record who was carrying an illegal gun that had been stolen in a burglary five months earlier. One video clip of the violence showed rioters chanting “black power!” 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) approved a resolution endorsing the BLM movement. The resolution stated that “the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the ‘Say Her Name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children.” It also 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 Brittany 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 October 2015 as well, the DNC invited activists from BLM and Campaign Zero, the latter of which is a BLM affiliate whose professed mission is to help America become a nation “where the police don’t kill people,” to organize and host a town hall forum where the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates could discuss and debate matters related to racial justice. In one of several letters to the leaders of these groups, DNC Chief Executive Officer Amy K. Dacey wrote: “We believe that your organization would be an ideal host for a presidential candidate forum—where all of the Democratic candidates can showcase their ideas and policy positions that will expand opportunity for all, strengthen the middle class and address racism in America.”
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, suffrage, and civil rights 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 officers and wounded seven others — President Obama hosted BLM leaders DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Mica Grimm 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.
During a June 30, 2020 appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced that some of the $1 billion that was being cut from the NYPD budget would be used to fund the painting of the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue, directly in front of Trump Tower. “We’re going to take this moment in history and amplify it by taking the ‘Black Lives Matter’ symbolism and putting it all over this city, including right in front of Trump Tower,” said de Blasio. “It’s an important message to the nation, and, obviously, we want the president to hear it because he has never shown respect for those three words.” In a subsequent photo-op, de Blasio himself actually helped paint the words on the street, as did his wife Chirlane McCray and activist Al Sharpton.
During a July 9, 2020 interview with CNN, de Blasio stated that he would permit BLM protesters to continue marching through New York City’s streets, but that all other large events in the city—e.g., the West Indian American Day Carnival, the Dominican Day Parade, and the San Gennaro Festival—were being cancelled through September because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. “This is a historic moment of change,” said the mayor. “We have to respect that but also say to people [that] the kinds of gatherings we’re used to, the parades, the fairs—we just can’t have that while we’re focusing on health right now.”
In August 2020, Senator Kamala Harris, who had just been named as Joe Biden‘s vice presidential running mate, said, in a reference to BLM and its allies: “[W]e’re experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience to the streets of our country, demanding change.”
During an August 2020 interview with The 19th, a Texas-based news organization, Harris said: “Black women pay attention to the issue issues. Black women are motivated to vote for the people who represent their priorities and their needs. And so when you look at everything that relates to what we’ve discussed in terms of childcare when you look at what we’re talking about in terms of jobs, health care when you look at what we need to do to address racial and not only disparities in terms of the healthcare system and in terms of the economy and education system, we need to speak about systemic racism, and when you have one ticket that can say the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ and another who has full-time sowing hate and division in our country, those are the things that are going to motivate black women to vote. a point in pride about a black woman being on the ticket, it takes more than just that to motivate black women to vote.”
On August 15, 2020, John Thompson, a candidate campaigning for a seat in the Minnesota State House, delivered an angry diatribe during a BLM protest outside the Hugo, Minnesota home of Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll. Claiming that Kroll was the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Thompson shouted: “I didn’t come here to be peaceful…. Why the fuck is we so peaceful in this [homophobic slur] neighborhood? Fuck your motherfucking peace, white racist motherfuckers!” When he saw a local resident holding a Blue Lives Matter flag in honor of the police, Thompson told the man to “stick it up [his] ass,” adding: “Blue lives don’t mean shit to black people. Fuck Hugo, Minnesota!” Suggesting also that the entire town of Hugo deserved to be burned down, Thompson stated: “This whole goddamn state burned down for 20 goddamn dollars”—a reference to the counterfeit $20 bill that George Floyd had passed to a merchant just prior to his fateful encounter with Officer Chauvin—“you think we give a fuck about burning Hugo down?”
During her August 17, 2020 address to the Democratic National Convention, former First Lady Michelle Obama cited the names of two black individuals who had died, at least in part, as a result of altercations they had with white police officers. Said Mrs. Obama: “And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office.”
Former President Barack Obama likewise spoke at the 2020 Convention and applauded the spectacle of “Americans of all races joining together to declare, in the face of injustice and brutality at the hands of the state, that Black Lives Matter.” Addressing BLM and its supporters directly, Obama added:
“To the young people who led us [in protests] this summer, telling us we need to be better—in so many ways, you are this country’s dreams fulfilled…. And what I want you to know is that for all its messiness and frustrations, your system of self-government can be harnessed to help you realize those convictions. For all of us. You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place. You’re the missing ingredient – the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed.”
In an August 2020 photo essay in which Vanity Fair magazine “celebrat[ed] the founders of Black Lives Matter [BLM] … and more on the forefront of change,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called it “profoundly exciting” that the Marxist/anarchist revolutionaries of BLM and Antifa were “discovering their own power” and “educating others” by participating in the massive wave of protests and violent riots that had swept the country since late May.
In that same photo essay,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib said: “When I see this movement on the street—that’s where transformative change really starts and it’s hitting us right here in the halls of Congress. It’s been powerful to watch it happen.”
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 statement included the following:
- “Palestinians on Twitter were among the first to provide international support for protesters in Ferguson, where St. Louis-based Palestinians gave support on the ground. Last November, a delegation of Palestinian students visited Black organizers in St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit and more, just months before the Dream Defenders took representatives of Black Lives Matter, Ferguson, and other racial justice groups to Palestine. Throughout the year, Palestinians sent multiple letters of solidarity to us throughout protests in Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore. We offer this statement to continue the conversation between our movements.”
- “We remain outraged at the brutality Israel unleashed on Gaza through its siege by land, sea and air, and three military offensives in six years. We remain sickened by Israel’s targeting of homes, schools, UN shelters, mosques, ambulances, and hospitals. We remain heartbroken and repulsed by the number of children Israel killed in an operation it called ‘defensive.’ We reject Israel’s framing of itself as a victim. Anyone who takes an honest look at the destruction to life and property in Gaza can see Israel committed a one-sided slaughter.”
- “Israel’s injustice and cruelty toward Palestinians is not limited to Gaza and its problem is not with any particular Palestinian party. The oppression of Palestinians extends throughout the occupied territories, within Israel’s 1948 borders, and into neighboring countries. The Israeli Occupation Forces continue to kill protesters—including children—conduct night raids on civilians, hold hundreds of people under indefinite detention, and demolish homes while expanding illegal Jewish-only settlements.”
- “Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.”
- “Palestinian liberation represents an inherent threat to Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid, an apparatus built and sustained on ethnic cleansing, land theft, and the denial of Palestinian humanity and sovereignty. While we acknowledge that the apartheid configuration in Israel/Palestine is unique from the United States (and South Africa), we continue to see connections between the situation of Palestinians and Black people.”
- “Israel’s widespread use of detention and imprisonment against Palestinians evokes the mass incarceration of Black people in the US, including thepolitical imprisonment of our own revolutionaries.”
- “U.S. and Israeli officials and media criminalize our existence, portray violence against us as ‘isolated incidents,’ and call our resistance ‘illegitimate’ or ‘terrorism.’ These narratives ignore decades and centuries of anti-Palestinian and anti-Black violence that have always been at the core of Israel and the US. We recognize the racism that characterizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is also directed against others in the region, including intolerance, police brutality, and violence against Israel’s African population.”
- “We know Israel’s violence toward Palestinians would be impossible without the U.S. defending Israel on the world stage and funding its violence with over $3 billion annually. We call on the U.S. government to end economic and diplomatic aid to Israel. We wholeheartedly endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) against Israel and call on Black and U.S. institutions and organizations to do the same. We urge people of conscience to recognize the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a key matter of our time.”
- “[W]e aim to sharpen our practice of joint struggle against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and the various racisms embedded in and around our societies.”
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.”
Over the Shavuot festival on May 30, 2020, BLM members carried out a pogrom in Fairfax, a Los Angeles community largely populated by ultra-Orthodox Jews. On that day, the BLMers not only vandalized five synagogues and three Jewish schools in Fairfax, but also looted most of the Jewish businesses on Fairfax Avenue. Moreover, they chanted “Fuck the police and kill the Jews.” Soon thereafter, National Council of Young Israel president Farley Weiss said: “[I]t is sickening to see that the Black Lives Matter movement has been co-opted by people who wear their antisemitic beliefs on their sleeves. Whether it is yelling antisemitic comments during a march in our nation’s capital or vandalizing and defacing synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses in Los Angeles with antisemitic messages during a protest, these blatant expressions of bigotry are intolerable and must end.”
At a July 1, 2020 demonstration in Washington, D.C., BLM protesters tied their own cause to that of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. The rally was billed as a gesture of support for the “Day of Rage” that had been called by the Palestinian Authority and other groups to protest Israel’s plan to annex portions of the West Bank. The BLM protesters chanted: “Israel, we know you, you murder children, too.” Chants also alternated between “Black lives matter!” and “Palestinian lives matter!” The D.C. demonstration was led by Harvard student Christian Tabash, who read a poem condemning Israel’s alleged crimes against Palestinian Muslims, and referring to Israel as the “puppet master of continents.” Moreover, Tabash repeatedly emphasized that the Palestinian movement is “intrinsically tied to Black Lives Matter.”
At a BLM rally of several hundred people in Brooklyn that same day:
- A pro-North Korea activist called for the end of the United States and its “puppet governments,” the liberation of “Palestine,” and for Korea to “be one again” — i.e., a Communist monolith.
- Dequi Kioni Sadiki, the wife of former Black Panther Sekou Odinga, said: “The European Jews who occupy, slaughter and continue to force millions of Palestinians onto their killing fields called refugee and concentration camps, are the relatives of the Europeans … who kidnapped, slaughtered and forced millions of Africans and indigenous” peoples into slavery.
- There were numerous calls to “abolish the police” and eliminate “the Zionistic state of Israel.”
- Activist Nerdeen Kiswani, who co-organized the rally, said: “The land that Israel exists on is still stolen. The 1948 lands are still stolen — Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv … was stolen. We don’t want to go just back to our homes in Gaza and the West Bank. We want all of it. We don’t want a fake Palestinian state that they give us while Israel still exists.”
- Protesters chanted, “Fuck your two states!”
On July 15, 2020, Lawrence Nathaniel, the founder of BLM’s South Carolina chapter and a former organizer for Senator Bernie Sanders‘s 2016 presidential campaign, defended comments that had been made by the black television personality Nick Cannon during a recent podcast. In that podcast, Cannon had asserted that: (a) black people were the true, original Hebrews until Jews eventually usurped their identity; (b) light-skinned people are “a little less” than darker people whose skin possesses more melanin; and (c) historically, this “deficiency” has caused “Jewish people, white people, [and] Europeans” to fear for their own survival and to “be savages” who commit all manner of atrocities in order to eliminate their perceived enemies. “What Nick Cannon believes in,” Nathaniel subsequently stated, “is the beliefs of Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X who taught the same teachings of what white folks was and how they are and how they treat Black people. Personally I didn’t see nothing wrong with his comments at all, I just think that he spoke the truth.”
In July 2020 as well, UK Black Lives Matter announced that “As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand behind our Palestinian comrades. FREE PALESTINE.”
On August 27, 2020, a BLM rioter was caught on video spray-painting the words “Free Palestine” on the driveway of the Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where violence had broken out four days earlier in response to the nonfatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer. Beth Hillel, like other leftist temples, had been openly supportive of the BLM riots. Lamenting that “people have no other outlet but to cry out on the street for justice,” the temple’s rabbi, Dena Feingold, had stated: “I’m a lot more concerned about the loss of life that the Black community experiences on a regular basis because of systemic racism, because of the violence directed at them, than I am about whatever damage or costs are incurred for us because of it.”
Influencing America’s Public Schools
In 2016, BLM started to move beyond street protests and began to establish a growing influence in America’s public schools. In October of that year, teachers in Seattle organized a “Black Lives Matter at School Day.” When the National Education Association subsequently adopted a resolution endorsing that measure, “BLM at School Day” grew into a full “BLM at School National Week of Action,” to be held annually during the first week of February as part of Black History Month activities. In 2018, school districts in more than 20 major cities incorporated “BLM at School Week” into their curricula.
A key resource for BLM-related lessons is a textbook titled Teaching for Black Lives, whose opening sentence reads: “Black students’ minds and bodies are under attack.” The book is replete with narratives designed to stoke fear, anger, and resentment in the minds of black students. One reference to “the continuing police murders of black people,” for instance, declares: “In August of 2014, Michael Brown was killed in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, his body left in the streets for hours as a reminder to the black residents in the neighborhood that their lives are meaningless to the American Empire.” There are additional noteworthy references to “the school-to-prison pipeline” and the “epidemic of police violence and mass incarceration.” The book also includes essays bearing such titles as: “Rethinking Islamophobia: Combating Bigotry by Raising the Voices of Black Muslims”; “Plotting Inequalities, Building Resistance”; and “Racial Justice Is Not a Choice: White Supremacy, High-Stakes Testing, and the Punishment of Black and Brown Students.”
By 2019, “Black Lives Matter at School Week” (BLMSW) was being observed by thousands of educators in public school districts across the United States. BLMSW’s online guide abounds with suggested lesson plans and recommended resources for educating students:
- One suggested lesson recommends that students examine “Economic Injustice through the exploration of credit card debt” using math skills. The lesson asks that students “Read and analyze an article by The Root (a Black news source) that explains how credit card debt is worse for the Black community.”
- A proposed science lesson would have students examine “Environmental Justice in the Context of Fresh Drinking Water.” The teacher’s packet explains, “The goal of this lesson is to initiate the conversation around the meaning and urgency of Environmental Justice…. The goal of Environmental Justice is to establish a spectrum of lenses that will provide our students the vision towards which the equitable distribution of resources and human rights issues are addressed…. It addresses the scientific roots of climate-induced injustices found in society, and it provides social justice based solutions to these problems.”
- A lesson recommended by the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice focuses on the “Introduction of Transgender and Nonbinary Identities with I Am Jazz.” In an effort to teach students from pre-kindergarten to second grade how to “define the words ‘transgender’ and ‘nonbinary’ and give examples of ways to support people of all gender identities,” the lesson plan recommends screening a video of a transgender girl reading her autobiography titled “I Am Jazz.” The lesson plan adds: “When Jazz says, ‘I have a boy body but a girl brain,’ I would recommend stopping the video and reminding kids that there’s no such things as ‘boy bodies,’ but instead that the doctors thought she was a boy by using what they could see.”
Even very young schoolchildren are targeted with BLM propaganda in many classrooms. An early childhood teacher’s guide, for instance, emphasizes the importance of using “age-appropriate language” to help youngsters understand various concepts that are central to BLM’s philosophy. For example, teachers are urged to cultivate “transgender affirming” students by telling them: “Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind. Everyone gets to choose if they are a girl or a boy or both or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose for them.” And to promote what the guide calls “the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the ‘collective village’ that takes care of each other,” teachers are instructed to say: “There are lots of different kinds of families; what makes a family is that it’s people who take care of each other; those people might be related, or maybe they choose to be family together and to take care of each other. Sometimes, when it’s lots of families together, it can be called a village.”
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 follows:
“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. Notably, those demands and priorities are mostly indistinguishable from those of the Democratic Party’s official platform.
Below are verbatim excerpts from the contents of BLM’s 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:
- An immediate end to the criminalization and dehumanization of Black youth across all areas of society including, but not limited to; our nation’s justice and education systems, social service agencies, and media and pop culture. This includes an end to zero-tolerance school policies and arrests of students, the removal of police from schools, and the reallocation of funds from police and punitive school discipline practices to restorative services.
- An end to capital punishment.
- An end to money bail, mandatory fines, fees, court surcharges and “defendant funded” court proceedings.
- An end to the use of past criminal history to determine eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs.
- An end to the war on Black immigrants including the repeal of the 1996 crime and immigration bills, an end to all deportations, immigrant detention, and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids, and mandated legal representation in immigration court.
- An end to the war on Black trans, queer and gender nonconforming people including their addition to anti-discrimination civil rights protections to ensure they have full access to employment, health, housing and education.
- An end to the mass surveillance of Black communities, and the end to the use of technologies that criminalize and target our communities (including IMSI catchers, drones, body cameras, and predictive policing software).
- The demilitarization of law enforcement, including law enforcement in schools and on college campuses.
- An immediate end to the privatization of police, prisons, jails, probation, parole, food, phone and all other criminal justice related services.
- Until we achieve a world where cages are no longer used against our people we demand an immediate change in conditions and an end to public jails, detention centers, youth facilities and prisons as we know them. This includes the end of solitary confinement, the end of shackling of pregnant people, access to quality healthcare, and effective measures to address the needs of our youth, queer, gender nonconforming and trans families.
What is the problem?
- Across the country, Black children attend under-resourced schools where they are often pushed off of an academic track onto a track to prison. Zero-tolerance policies — a combination of exclusionary disciplinary policies and school-based arrests — are often the first stop along the school-to-prison pipeline and play a key role in pushing students out of the school system and funneling them into jails and prisons.
- Each year more than three million students are suspended from school — often for vague and subjective infractions such as “willful defiance” and “disrespect” — amounting to countless hours of lost instructional time. As a result, Black students are denied an opportunity to learn and punished for routine child and adolescent behaviors that their white peers are often not disciplined for at all.
- For Black youth, the impact of exclusionary school discipline is far reaching – disengaging them from academic and developmental opportunities and increasing the likelihood that they will be incarcerated later in life. In addition, current research emphasizes the need to examine the unique ways in which Black girls are impacted by punitive zero-tolerance policies. There are higher disciplinary disparities between Black girls and white girls than disciplinary disparities between Black boys and white boys; yet, Black girls have historically been overlooked in the national discourse around youth impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Black youth are also more likely to experience higher rates of corporal punishment….
- Outside of schools, young Black people are criminalized in ways that limit their life chances at every point. 2010 data shows that while Black youth comprised 17 percent of all youth, they represented 31 percent of all arrests. These disparities persist even as juvenile “crime” rates have fallen. Among youth arrests, young Black people are more likely to be referred to a juvenile court than their white peers, and are more likely to be processed (and less likely to be diverted). Among those adjudicated delinquent, they are more likely to be sent to solitary confinement. Among those detained, Black youth are more likely to be transferred to adult facilities. The disparities grow at almost every step, stealing the dignity of young Black people and forcing them onto lifelong pathways of criminalization and diminished opportunity.
- For Black girls, the U.S.’s failure to address gender-based violence, which they experience at greater levels than any other group, is paramount to the criminalization they experience. In fact, sexual abuse is one of the primary predictors of girls’ entry into the juvenile justice system, with girls often being routed to the system specifically because of their victimization. For instance, girls who are victims of sex trafficking are often arrested on prostitution charges….
- There is a critical need for a coordinated strategy in local communities that addresses rampant racial disparities in the application of zero-tolerance policies and criminalization practices that impact Black boys and girls….
- Tens of thousands of youth under the age of 21 are currently incarcerated for offenses ranging from truancy to more serious charges. Every crime bill passed by Congress throughout the 1980s and 1990s included new federal laws against juvenile crimes and increased penalties against children. Similar trends can be seen throughout state legislation. There is mounting research that children under the age of 23 do not have fully-developed brains and that the cheapest, most humane, and most cost-effective way to respond to juvenile crime is not incarceration, but programs and investments that strengthen families, increase stability and provide access to educational and employment opportunities. Prosecuting youth with crimes is not only cruel; but it also permanently disadvantages them with a criminal record, which makes completing their education, getting a job, finding housing and growing up to be contributing members of society unfairly difficult.
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:
- Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.
- Reparations for the continued divestment from, discrimination toward and exploitation of our communities in the form of a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people, with clearly articulated corporate regulations.
- Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing and land.
- Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities in the form of mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.
- Legislation at the federal and state level that requires the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery, establish and execute a plan to address those impacts. This includes the immediate passage of H.R.40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act” or subsequent versions which call for reparations remedies.
What is the problem?
- Education in the U.S. has always been a subversive act for Black people. During enslavement we were legally barred from the most basic forms of education including literacy. Post-Civil War, and even after the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision, Black people have been locked into segregated institutions that are underfunded, under resourced and often face severe health risk because of the decrepit conditions of their school buildings.
- The current racial equity gap in education has roots that date back to enslavement. In fact, recent studies suggest that racial educational inequalities may be the most (measurable) enduring legacy of slavery. The same study also verified ongoing income inequality correlated to counties where slavery was prevalent.
- The cradle-to-college pipeline has been systematically cut off for Black communities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 23 states spend more per pupil in affluent districts than in high-poverty districts that contain a high concentrations of Black students; and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights shows persistent and glaring opportunity gaps and racial inequities for Black students. Black students are less likely to attend schools that offer advanced coursework, less likely to be placed in gifted and talented programs, more likely to attend schools with less qualified educators, and employ law enforcement officers but no counselors.
- Public universities, colleges, and technical education remain out of reach for most in the United States and policies to help students cover costs continue to shift towards benefiting more affluent families….
- Financial aid is not sufficiently covering the basic needs of students attending public universities and colleges, leaving many of them struggling to eat and pay for housing, transportation, daycare and healthcare….
- The rising costs of higher education and exploitative and predatory lending practices of private and for-profit institutions make Black students more likely to drop-out, and leave them and their families stuck with debilitating and crippling debt….
- [F]ederal and state funding systematically underfunds Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) compared to Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)….
What does this solution do?
- We seek complete open access for all to free public university, college and technical education programs (including technology, trade and agricultural) as well as full-funding for lifelong learning programs that support communities and families. We also seek the forgiveness of all federal student loans. Policies shall apply to all and should focus on outreach to communities historically denied access to education including undocumented, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.
- Cover all living costs, including but not limited to housing, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and food for students attending public universities, colleges, and technical educational programs (including technology, trade, and agricultural).
- Fully fund and provide open access to K-12, higher education, technical educational programs (including technology, trade, and agricultural), educational support programs and lifelong learning programs to every individual incarcerated in local, state, and federal correctional facilities (juvenile and adult).
- Provide full access to all undocumented people to state and federal programs that provide aid to cover the full costs, including living costs, to attend public universities, and colleges, technical educational programs, and lifelong learning programs.
- Increased federal and state investments in all Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs).
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:
- A reallocation of funds at the federal, state and local level from policing and incarceration (JAG, COPS, VOCA) to long-term safety strategies such as education, local restorative justice services, and employment programs.
- The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release and record expungement of all drug related offenses and prostitution, and reparations for the devastating impact of the “war on drugs” and criminalization of prostitution, including a reinvestment of the resulting savings and revenue into restorative services, mental health services, job programs and other programs supporting those impacted by the sex and drug trade.
- Real, meaningful, and equitable universal health care that guarantees: proximity to nearby comprehensive health centers, culturally competent services for all people, specific services for queer, gender nonconforming, and trans people, full bodily autonomy, full reproductive services, mental health services, paid parental leave, and comprehensive quality child and elder care.
- A constitutional right at the state and federal level to a fully-funded education which includes a clear articulation of the right to: a free education for all, special protections for queer and trans students, wrap around services, social workers, free health services (including reproductive body autonomy), a curriculum that acknowledges and addresses students’ material and cultural needs, physical activity and recreation, high quality food, free daycare, and freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest.
- A divestment from industrial multinational use of fossil fuels and investment in community- based sustainable energy solutions.
- A cut in military expenditures and a reallocation of those funds to invest in domestic infrastructure and community well-being.
(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:
- A progressive restructuring of tax codes at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.
- Federal and state job programs that specifically target the most economically marginalized Black people, and compensation for those involved in the care economy. Job programs must provide a living wage and encourage support for local workers centers, unions, and Black-owned businesses which are accountable to the community.
- A right to restored land, clean air, clean water and housing and an end to the exploitative privatization of natural resources — including land and water. We seek democratic control over how resources are preserved, used and distributed and do so while honoring and respecting the rights of our Indigenous family.
- The right for workers to organize in public and private sectors especially in “On Demand Economy” jobs.
- Restore the Glass-Steagall Act to break up the large banks, and call for the National Credit Union Administration and the US Department of the Treasury to change policies and practices around regulation, reporting and consolidation to allow for the continuation and creation of black banks, small and community development credit unions, insurance companies and other financial institutions.
- An end to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a renegotiation of all trade agreements to prioritize the interests of workers and communities.
- Through tax incentives, loans and other government directed resources, support the development of cooperative or social economy networks to help facilitate trade across and in Black communities globally. All aid in the form of grants, loans or contracts to help facilitate this must go to Black led or Black supported networks and organizations as defined by the communities.
- Financial support of Black alternative institutions including policy that subsidizes and offers low-interest, interest-free or federally guaranteed low-interest loans to promote the development of cooperatives (food, residential, etc.), land trusts and culturally responsive health infrastructures that serve the collective needs of our communities.
- Protections for workers in industries that are not appropriately regulated including domestic workers, farm workers, and tipped workers, and for workers — many of whom are Black women and incarcerated people— who have been exploited and remain unprotected. This includes the immediate passage at the Federal and state level of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and extension of worker protections to incarcerated people.
What is the problem?
- In the ten states with the most regressive tax structures, the poorest fifth pay up to seven times as much in taxes and fees as the wealthiest residents, as a percentage of their income.
- While states sometimes shift the cost of some services onto poorer residents, at other times they simply cut services all together. Many municipalities have had to increase public school class sizes, shorten school days, close vital city offices, and eliminate a huge number of public sector jobs.
- As the wealthiest Americans and most powerful corporations continue to evade their fair share of taxes, many programs and initiatives that could contribute to racial and economic justice go underfunded or unfunded.
What does this solution do?
- Taxing income:
- Raise marginal tax rates for high earners, specifically the top percentile (for equity and revenue generation reasons —they pay more than 40 percent of federal income tax revenue, yet their average rate has been reduced to around 20 percent) and begin by gradually raising the top marginal rate first to 50 percent and then up to 80 percent.
- Remove income caps on payroll taxes that fund social security and unemployment insurance.
- Raise corporate income taxes, especially on large corporations and end tax deferral for foreign income of multinational corporations.
- Taxing wealth:
- Increase taxes on capital to the point where they are higher than taxes on labor, as wealth inequality is greater than income inequality. Specifically:
- Increase capital gains tax
- Create anti-speculation tax on property transfers
- Increase estate tax
- Have states shift to an income-sensitized property tax that focuses on homes above a certain threshold and second homes
- Impose a wealth tax (on tangible and financial assets)
- Increase taxes on capital to the point where they are higher than taxes on labor, as wealth inequality is greater than income inequality. Specifically:
- Taxing undesirable activities:
- Taxing “bads” not “goods”: shift from sales taxes to taxing externalities such as environmental damage where it is difficult to eliminate the damage through regulation, and make this approach income-sensitized to hold low-income people harmless.
- Create a Tobin tax for international financial transactions, especially for currency speculation.
- Assess and eliminate tax expenditures such as mortgage reduction, health insurance exemption, etc.
- Make low-wage employer fees or payroll tax rate proportional to wage disparity.
- Expand the earned income tax credit.
- Provide a universal child tax credit.
- Create mechanisms for sharing tax revenues between localities.
(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:
- Direct democratic community control of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, ensuring that communities most harmed by destructive policing have the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary action, control budgets and policies, and subpoena relevant agency information.
- An end to the privatization of education and real community control by parents, students and community members of schools including democratic school boards and community control of curriculum, hiring, firing and discipline policies.
- Participatory budgeting at the local, state and federal level….What does this solution do?
- By requiring all civilian oversight agencies to retain the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary action in cases of misconduct related to excessive and lethal force, determine the funding of agencies, set and enforce policies, and retain concrete means of retrieving information — such as subpoena power — from law enforcement and third parties as it pertains to circumstances involving excessive, sexual and lethal force; communities will be able significantly to reduce the number of Black people impacted by police violence.
(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:
- An end to the criminalization of Black political activity including the immediate release of all political prisoners and an end to the repression of political parties.
- Public financing of elections and the end of money controlling politics through ending super PACs and unchecked corporate donations.
- Election protection, electoral expansion and the right to vote for all people including: full access, guarantees, and protections of the right to vote for all people through universal voter registration, automatic voter registration, pre-registration for 16-year-olds, same day voter registration, voting day holidays, enfranchisement of formerly and presently incarcerated people, local and state resident voting for undocumented people, and a ban on any disenfranchisement laws.
- Full access to technology including net neutrality and universal access to the internet without discrimination and full representation for all.
- Protection and increased funding for Black institutions including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), Black media and cultural, political and social formations.
What is the problem?
- … The criminalization of freedom movements and activists has resulted in the incarceration of hundreds of people, many of whom are recognized as legitimate freedom fighters. Black communities have been disproportionately targeted by the state and have become political prisoners incarcerated in local, state and federal prisons. The FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) outlined the purpose, objectives, methods and tools used to criminalize freedom movements.
- Today, direct victims of COINTELPRO (and similar law enforcement initiatives) remain exiled and incarcerated, while indirectly Black communities remain under surveillance by all levels of law enforcement with the intention of preventing the growth of another nationwide movement….
What does this solution do?
- We are calling for the release of all political prisoners held in the U.S. and the removal of legitimate freedom fighters [like Assata Shakur] from the International Terrorists list. Additionally, we call on Congress to hold hearings on the impact of COINTELPRO as the Church Committee hearings in 1975 did not offer remedies to individuals and communities negatively impacted by this government initiative….
- Cease all current investigations and cold cases into former activists. Some cities like NYC, have ongoing “unsolved.” We know of the recent indictments of activists and freedom fighters from the civil and human rights era of the 60s and 70s like:
- Imam Jamil Al Amin (formerly known as H Rap Brown), captured in 2000
- Kamau Sadiki, captured in 2002 for a case from 1971
- San Francisco 8, indicted in 2007 for a case from 1971
Funding for BLM (and the Former Marxist Terrorist Who Sits on the Board of BLM’s Fiscal Sponsor)
Black Lives Matter also goes by the name “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.” Other names by which it sometimes identifies itself are: (a) “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc.”; (b) “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc.”; and (c) “Black Lives Matter Global Foundation, Inc.” The BLM entity has been a fiscally sponsored project of Thousand Currents, a left-wing, California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, since 2016. As Robert Stilson of the Capital Research Center explains: “What this means in practice is that the organization does not have its own IRS tax-exempt status but is operating as a ‘project’ of an organization that does. In the case of 501(c)(3) fiscally sponsored projects, this allows for tax-deductible donations.”
In 2018 and 2019, respectively, Thousand Currents funneled $2,622,017 and $3,354,654 in donor-restricted assets to BLM.
Among the organizations that have specifically earmarked contributions to Thousand Currents for BLM are the NoVo Foundation ($1,525,000 from 2015 to 2018), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($900,000 from 2016 to 2019), and Borealis Philanthropy ($343,000 from 2016 to 2018).
Thousand Currents holds President Donald Trump in the deepest contempt. As the organization said in January 2018: “If we stand opposed to this president and administration, it is incumbent upon us to support and be in solidarity with struggles being led by oppressed communities fighting for transformation.”
In June 2020, the Capital Research Center revealed that the board of Thousand Currents includes Susan Rosenberg, a former Marxist terrorist with the notorious May 19 Communist Organization. National Review columnist and former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy in 2008 described the 1980s trial in which Rosenberg had been convicted of terrorist crimes: “Rosenberg turned her New Jersey terrorism trial into a circus, posturing as a political prisoner. At her sentencing, she urged her supporters to continue their war against the United States. (‘When we were first captured we said, we’re caught, we’re not defeated, long live the armed struggle. We’d like to take this moment to rededicate ourselves to our revolutionary principles, to our commitment to continue to fight for the defeat of U.S. imperialism.’) She expressed remorse about only one thing: she hadn’t had the courage to shoot it out with the police who’d apprehended her.”
By no means does Thousand Currents represent the only avenue by which donors can contribute money to BLM. For example, when visitors to the BLM website seek to contribute money to the movement via that website, they are transported to the web page of ActBlue Charities, an organization that facilitates donations to “democrats and progressives.” As of May 21, 2020, ActBlue had given $119 million to the presidential campaign of Joe Biden. The worldwide BLM protests that subsequently erupted in response to the May 25 police killing of a black criminal suspect named George Floyd in Minneapolis, sparked a new surge of donations to BLM via ActBlue. As The New York Times reported on June 14, 2020: “The [ActBlue] site’s four biggest days ever came consecutively this month as it processed more than $250 million to various progressive causes and candidates in two-plus weeks…. And on June 2, the collective action day that was known as Blackout Tuesday, ActBlue doubled what had been, before this month, its one-day record: raising $41 million in 24 hours.”
The fact that ActBlue is a major fundraiser that focuses so heavily on supporting the Democratic Party — coupled with the fact that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors candidly stated in a 2020 interview that BLM’s goal “is to get [President] Trump out” of office — has led to much speculation that donations to BLM may end up in the coffers of the Democratic National Committee and its political candidates. As bestselling author F. William Engdahl wrote on June 16, 2020: “Now major corporations such as Apple, Disney, Nike and hundreds others may be pouring untold and unaccounted millions into ActBlue under the name of Black Lives Matter, funds that in fact can go to fund the election of a Democrat President Biden. Perhaps this is the real reason the Biden campaign has been so confident of support from black voters…. The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.”
Another major contributor to BLM is billionaire financier George Soros. Through his Open Society Foundations (OSF), 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, the Google corporation 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. BLMF identified itself as the creation of a number of large philanthropic foundations including not only Ford and Borealis, but also the Kellogg Foundation and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. 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 such entities as 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.”
On July 13, 2020, the Open Societies Foundations, in support of BLM and its allies, pledged to donate $220 million to programs designed to help “build power in Black communities, promote bold new anti-racist policies in U.S. cities, and help first-time activists stay engaged.” The pledge earmarked $150 million in five-year grants for black-led “racial justice” organizations, and $70 million for a range of initiatives such as helping city governments reform policing and criminal justice by “moving beyond the culture of criminalization and incarceration.” “This is the time for urgent and bold action to address racial injustice in America,” said OSF deputy chair Alex Soros, George Soros’s son. “These investments will empower proven leaders in the Black community to reimagine policing, end mass incarceration, and eliminate the barriers to opportunity that have been the source of inequity for too long.” Tom Perriello, executive director of Open Society-U.S., said: “The success of this movement, the largest in U.S. history, will be measured over years, not weeks, and we cannot say that Black lives matter and not make a multi-year commitment to a strategy set by and centering Black leaders and organizations who changed America’s sense of what is possible.”
On August 11, 2020, the Chronicle of Philanthropy wrote that “commitments from foundations to combat systemic racism have topped $1 billion” since protests against systemic racism had begun in late May. “Some are spending money for the first time on efforts to eradicate anti-Black racism,” the Chronicle added.
BLM has received significant funding from Shining the Light Advisors (SLA), a partnership created jointly by United Way, A&E, and iHeartMedia. SLA is a committee of “nationally known experts and leaders in racial and social justice” that oversees grant disbursements. The “advisors” who are part of SLA include Van Jones, Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis, and Rinku Sen, former president of the Applied Research Center (later renamed Race Forward).
- 23 and Me (DNA testing and analysis)
- Airbnb (lodging rentals)
- Amazon (online retail giant)
- Anastasia Beverly Hills (fashion company)
- Aritizia (women’s fashion brand)
- Asai (women’s clothing and accessories)
- Bad Robot Productions (film studio involved in Star Trek, Star Wars, and Mission Impossible)
- Bank of America
- Billie (razor company)
- Biossance Beauty Company (skin care products)
- Boy Smells (scented products)
- BTS (a Korean pop music group)
- Bungie (video game developer)
- Chips Ahoy
- Cisco (electronics giant)
- Deciem (cosmetics)
- Deckers Beands (footwear)
- Democracy Alliance
- Devolver Digital (video game publisher)
- Door Dash (food delivery company)
- Etsy (e-commerce)
- Fitbit (maker of health and fitness trackers)
- Ganni (clothing)
- Gatorade (sports drink manufacturer)
- Deneral Motors
- Glossier (cosmetics)
- Goldman Sachs
- H&M Clothing
- Hourglass Cosmetics
- ILIA (beauty products)
- Intel (technology company)
- Kosas (cosmetics)
- Lululemon Sportswear (clothing)
- MOTHER (denim brand)
- Nabisco (snack manufacturer)
- Pokemon Company (owners of the popular card game and its characters)
- Pretty Little Thing (women’s fashion clothing)
- Riot Games
- Ritz Crackers
- Savage X Fenty (lingerie brand)
- Scopely (mobile phone game developer)
- Skillshare (educational videos
- Sony Music Group
- Spanx (undergarment manufacturer)
- Square Enix (Japanese computer games company)
- Thatgamecompany (video game development company)
- Tinder (online dating network)
- TOMS (shoe company)
- Ubisoft (computer games)
- Unilever (personal hygiene brands)
- United Health Group
- Warner Music Group
- The Weeknd (Canadian R&B singer)
As of June 10, 2020, the following 17 corporations had pledged a combined total of more than $1.6 billion to BLM and related causes (e.g., “to combat systemic racism” and “eradicate anti-Black racism”): Amazon, Bad Robot Productions, Bank of America, Facebook, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Nike, Riot Games, Sony Music Group, Spotify, Target, United Health Group, Universal Music Group, Verizon, Walmart, and Warner Music Group.
Some specifics: During the three months that followed the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd:
- H&M Clothing Company donated $500,000 to BLM and Color Of Change.
- Clif Bar donated $100,000 to BLM and Color Of Change.
- Cisco donated $5-million which was to be split between BLM, Color Of Change, and two other social justice platforms.
- Ritz Crackers joined its sister companies — Oreo, Trident, and Chips Ahoy — in donating $250,000 to BLM, plus another $250,000 to the NAACP.
- Degree, a deodorant company, donated $100,000 to BLM.
- DoorDash donated $500,000 to BLM.
- Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, and his wife pledged $700,000 to BLM and other social justice organizations; they also pledged to match another $300,000 in employee donations.
- Pokeman International donated more than $100,000 to BLM.
- Dropbox donated $500,000 to BLM.
- Spanx donated $100,000 to be split between BLM, Color Of Change, and the Minnesota Freedom Fund (the latter of which used its share of the money to bail violent criminals out of jail).
- Biossance Beauty Company donated $100,000 to be split between BLM, Color Of Change, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, and the ACLU.
- Lululemon Sportswear gave $250,000 to several organizations, including BLM.
- Square Enix donated $250,00 to BLM and pledged to match any contributions made by its employees.
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.
BLM’s Support for Fidel 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 the 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.”
Police Officer Sues BLM
In July 2017, a police officer who had been wounded in a shooting rampage that killed three police officers a year earlier in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sued DeRay McKesson and four other BLM leaders, seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
BLM Falsely Reports That Police Lynched a Black Man
In the early morning hours of August 1, 2017, a black man in St. Paul, Minnesota named Davion Gatlin came upon a dead man hanged by the neck from a tree branch. Gatlin took pictures of the gruesome scene and immediately posted them to Facebook to complain that police had lynched a black man. Gatlin’s post was picked up and shared (with the pictures of the dead man) by the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter chapter, which helped the post go viral among other BLM-related pages: “A man was found lynched in St. Paul, MN this morning. St. Paul PD was quick to call this a suicide while witnesses on the scene say the man’s hands were tied behind his back. We are hurt by the tragic news and know that this despicable & disgusting act of cowardice will not be erased.”
But in fact, the man’s death was subsequently shown to have been a suicide due to mental illness. Moreover, the man, whose name was Michael Bringle, was white, and his hands were not tied behind his back. Police rebuked the false narrative promoted by BLM: “Michael’s passing is incredibly hard on those who cared about him, and their pain has been compounded by the inconsiderate and downright disgusting act of posting and sharing a picture of him hanging from a tree on Facebook. If you have posted or shared the photos, please take them down so the family can begin to heal and Michael can rest in peace.”
BLM Leader Tells Whites to “Give Up Your Home to a Black Family”
In August 2017, Chanelle Helm, a co-founder and lead organizer for BLM’s Louisville, Kentucky chapter, published a list of 10 things that white people should do in order to change America for the better:
1. “White people, if you don’t have any descendants, will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably one that lives in generational poverty.”
2. “White people, if you’re inheriting property you intend to sell upon acceptance, give it to a black or brown family. You’re bound to make that money in some other white privileged way.”
3. “If you are a developer or realty owner of multi-family housing, build a sustainable complex in a black or brown blighted neighborhood and let black and brown people live in it for free.”
4. “White people, if you can afford to downsize, give up the home you own to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.”
5. “White people, if any of the people you intend to leave your property to are racists assholes, change the will, and will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.”
6. “White people, re-budget your monthly so you can donate to black funds for land purchasing.”
7. “White people, especially white women (because this is yaw specialty — Nosey Jenny and Meddling Kathy), get a racist fired. Yaw know what the fuck they be saying. You are complicit when you ignore them. Get your boss fired cause they racist too.”
8. “Backing up No. 7, this should be easy but all those sheetless Klan, Nazi’s and Other lil’ dick-white men will all be returning to work. Get they ass fired. Call the police even: they look suspicious.”
9. “OK, backing up No. 8, if any white person at your work, or as you enter in spaces and you overhear a white person praising the actions from yesterday, first, get a pic. Get their name and more info. Hell, find out where they work — Get Them Fired. But certainly address them, and, if you need to, you got hands: use them.”
10. “Commit to two things: Fighting white supremacy where and how you can (this doesn’t mean taking up knitting, unless you’re making scarves for black and brown kids in need), and funding black and brown people and their work.”
In November and December of 2017, BLM’s Los Angeles chapter organized a “Black Xmas” initiative that urged African Americans to avoid patronizing white-owned business establishments for the remainder of the calendar year. The motto of that initiative was: “#DIVEST from White corporations / #INVEST in Black community / If you must buy, #BUYBLACK.”
BLM Plays Major Role in Nationwide Riots Following the Death of George Floyd
In the aftermath of the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd — a black man who had died after being abused by a white police officer in Minneapolis — a number of U.S. cities were overrun by violent riots in which BLM and Antifa played a major role.
The Toll of the George Floyd Riots
By June 3, 2020, at least 200 cities had imposed nighttime curfews in an effort to quell the mayhem, while more than 30 states had activated some 62,000 National Guard personnel to help restore order.
By June 8, two police officers had been killed in the nationwide riots, while another 700+ officers in 25 states had been injured. In addition, 60 Secret Service agents and 40 U.S. Park Police had also sustained injuries. Fifteen civilians had died in the riots as well.
And the toll on police officers only continued to rise thereafter. On July 17 in Chicago, for instance, 18 officers were injured – some needing hospitalization — when BLMers used rocks, fireworks, frozen bottles, and other objects to attack them. But when police responded by arresting some of the perpetrators, Black Lives Matter Chicago activist Aislinn Pulley said the next day: “We have a right to freedom of assembly. We have a right to protest. What happened yesterday was a travesty. That’s what happens in dictatorships.” At a separate July riot in Chicago’s Grant Park, where protesters attempted to tear down a statue of Christopher Columbus, 49 police officers suffered injuries; 18 of those them were sent to area hospitals for injuries that included a broken eye socket and a broken knee cap.
In early June of 2020, BLM’s New York chairman Hawk Newsome declared: “We pattern ourselves after the Black Panthers, after the Nation of Islam, we believe that we need an arm [firearm] to defend ourselves” against police depredations. Lauding the rioters who were tearing apart so many cities from coast to coast, he added: “People want to destroy because they’re angry and they’re frustrated. They want to go out and grab all those things that America told them that they should have, but they couldn’t have.”
By June 30, at least 14,000 protesters and rioters in 49 separate cities had been arrested. Many of them had attempted to desecrate and/or topple a wide array of federal monuments, memorials, and statues. It is estimated that as of July 3, somewhere between 15 million and 26 million people had participated in the various demonstrations from coast to coast, prompting The New York Times to run a headline that read: “Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History.”
By the beginning of July 2020, the so-called George Floyd riots were projected to become—in terms of losses due to theft, fire, vandalism, and other forms of destruction—the costliest sustained acts of civil disorder in American history. The previous high was the $1.4 billion worth of damage (in 2020 dollars) that had resulted from the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
According to a September 2020 report in the far-left website Axios, Property Claim Services, a company that tracks insurance claims filed due to riots and other acts of destruction, found that the violence that had occurred just during the first two weeks after George Floyd’s death on May 25, had resulted in approximately $2 billion in insurance claims. By way of comparison, the 1992 Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles caused $775 million in damages at that time, which translates to $1.42 billion in 2020 dollars. Moreover, writes John Nolte of Breitbart.com: “If you add up the insurance cost in 2020 dollars for all six major American riots during the turbulent 1960s, the total is a little shy of $1.2 billion — which means the terrorists in Antifa and Black Lives Matter caused more mayhem and property damage in a little over a week than this country saw throughout all of the 1960s.”
BLM & Antifa Take over Parts of Seattle
In early June 2020, an Antifa / BLM mob took over the East Precinct of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after threatening to burn it down, and also occupied Seattle City Hall. Next, the mob announced that it was establishing an autonomous zone of approximately six city blocks in Seattle. As one source explained: “They bar media from entering and screen people coming in. They are walking around fully armed. Talking about making their own currency and making their own flag. SPD is talking about abandoning the west precinct now…. This is just like the Occupy movement. Soon we will have feces and drugs everywhere and people getting assaulted and raped in the encampments.”
The leftists who seized the surrounding blocks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood renamed it the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ). The Seattle Police Department in that “liberated” zone was renamed the “Seattle People Department.” The radical occupiers issued a series of ultimatums entitled “THE DEMANDS OF THE COLLECTIVE BLACK VOICES AT FREE CAPITOL HILL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.” They referred to the Seattle Police Department as a “terrorist cell.” Among their demands were the following:
- “The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition” and the elimination of “100% of funding” for police.
- “We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their [nonwhite] peers in their community.”
- “We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.”
- “We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.”
- “We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.”
- “We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success, and the correlated overwhelming impact of poverty on people of color, as a form of reparations for the treatment of Black people in this state and country.”
- “We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.”
BLM Leader Calls for Armed Black Vigilantes to Wage War Against the Police
In early June of 2020, BLM New York Chairman Hawk Newsome called for Black Panther-style arming of black vigilantes to engage in war with the police. “We pattern ourselves after the Black Panthers, after the Nation of Islam, we believe that we need an arm to defend ourselves,” Newsome said. “I don’t see us working with police. I see us policing ourselves. I see us teaching black people how to police their own communities.” Newsome condoned the rioters and looters who had been ravaging numerous American cities ever since the May 25 incident in which a black Minneapolis man named George Floyd died after having been physically abused by a white police officer. “People want to destroy because they’re angry and they’re frustrated,” he said. “They want to go out and grab all those things that America told them that they should have, but they couldn’t have.”
BLM Leader Calls for Destruction of Jesus Statues & Images
In June 2020, 40-year-old BLM activist Shaun King demanded that religious statues showing a light-skinned Jesus be toppled to the ground. Said King on Twitter: “Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.” Asserting also that “all murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends” should likewise be destroyed, King added: “They are a gross form [of] white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down. If your religion requires Jesus to be a blonde haired blue eyed Jesus, then your religion is not Christianity, but white supremacy. White Americans who bought, sold, traded, raped, and worked Africans to death, for hundreds of years in this country, simply could not have THIS man at the center of their faith.”
BLM Leader Threatens to “Burn Down” the American “System”
In a June 24, 2020 interview, Hawk Newsome, the president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, made the following remarks:
- “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation.”
- “Let’s be very real. Let’s observe the history of the 1960s, when black people were rioting. We had the highest growth in wealth, in property ownership. Think about the last few weeks since we started protesting. There have been eight cops fired across the country.”
- “What is this country rewarding? What behavior is it listening to? Obviously not marching. But when people get aggressive and they escalate their protests, cops get fired, Republican politicians talking about police reform. I don’t condone nor do I condemn rioting. But I’m just telling you what I observed.”
- “[T]his country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution? What’s our diplomacy across the globe? We go in and we blow up countries and we replace their leaders with leaders who we like. So for any American to accuse us of being violent is extremely hypocritical.”
“Fu** The Police” Marches
On June 25 and June 27, 2020, BLM held a pair of anti-police marches in Washington, D.C. They were promoted as “FTP” events, where the acronym stood for “Free The People,” “Fight The Power,” and “Fuck The Police.”
“If we don’t get no justice, they don’t get no peace,” said one Twitter account promoting the rallies.
“Our Goal Is to Get Trump Out”
During a June 19, 2020 interview on CNN, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors said that President Donald Trump was “not fit for office,” and that BLM’s goal “is to get Trump out.” Added Cullors: “Trump not only needs to not be in office in November, but he should resign now. Trump needs to be out of office. And so what we are going to push for is a move to get Trump out…. [O]ur goal is to get Trump out.”
BLM Organizer: “Give Me Money or We’ll Break Windows”
In June 2020, BLM organizer Devonere Armani Johnson — who also goes by the names Yeshua Musa and Jesus Moses — was arrested in Madison, Wisconsin after: (a) following an older white man into a tavern while shouting, “you’re a racist” at him through a megaphone; (b) lecturing the tavern patrons on his opinion that the biblical Jesus “was not a white man”; (c) telling those same patrons that Jesus had in fact been “plagiarized from ancient Egypt” and had been sent by Queen Elizabeth to bring slaves to America; and (d) shouting, “My name is Joshua Musa, and I am fu**ing disturbing the sh** out of this restaurant. I got a fu**ing bat.”
Following Johnson’s arrest, a series of “Free Yeshua” protests and riots erupted in Madison.
Soon thereafter, federal agents busted Johnson again, this time for allegedly blackmailing businesses into giving free food, drinks, and money to him and his friends, lest he “shut down and destroy” those establishments. When one business owner told Johnson that he had already given to Black Lives Matter, Johnson said that was insufficient: “Give me money or we’ll break windows.” On another occasion, Johnson went to a bar and warned, “You don’t want 600 people to come here and destroy your business and burn it down.”
BLM Defiles American Flag & Shuts Down Washington, D.C.
On July 4, 2020, BLM protesters in Washington, D.C. started off their Independence Day activities by dancing and stepping on an American flag at Black Lives Matter Plaza, chanting “Fuck the Fourth of July and fuck the American flag.” Later in the afternoon, a group burned an American flag outside of the White House while chanting “America was never great!” Some demonstrators fought against Trump supporters and police officers in front of the Washington Monument and the Trump hotel. They also brought swarmed onto the highway between Washington, D.C. and Virginia, bringing traffic to a complete standstill.
“The Ferguson Effect” All Over Again
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death in Minneapolis, BLM’s police-hating rhetoric did exactly what it had done five years earlier: It caused law-enforcement officers in large police departments nationwide to become highly reluctant to engage criminals except where absolutely necessary; the result was a massive increase in violent crime and homicide throughout urban America. Consider, for instance, the case of Chicago:
- On Sunday, May 31, eighteen homicides were committed in Chicago, breaking the city’s previous one-day record of thirteen, set 29 years earlier. In fact, over the course of that same weekend as a whole, Chicago police responded to at least 73 incidents in which 92 people were shot, including 27 who died as a result. “We’ve never seen anything like it at all,” said Max Kapustin, the senior research director at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. “I don’t even know how to put it into context. It’s beyond anything that we’ve ever seen before.”
- During Father’s Day weekend, June 19-21, Chicago saw more than 100 people shot in an astonishing wave of gunfire, 14 of them fatally.
- During the last weekend of June, 63 people were shot in Chicago, 16 of them fatally.
- By July 10, shootings in Chicago were up by 76% over the corresponding figure from 2019.
- For July as a whole, murders and shootings in Chicago increased by 139% over the same period in 2019, while shootings spiked by 90%, making it the city’s most violent month in 28 years.
New York City was likewise turned into a cauldron of violence by BLM hatred:
- In a 28-day period from mid-May through mid-June 2020, the incidence of murder, burglary and grand larceny auto crimes in New York spiked dramatically when compared to the same period in 2019. Particularly alarming was the homicide count – 38 murders in 28 days – a total twice as high as the corresponding figure from the year before.
- From June 16-22, the number of shootings in New York City increased by some 358 percent compared with the same time frame in 2019 – from 12 shootings last year, to 55 this year. In those 55 most recent shooting incidents, a total of 74 people were wounded.
- From June 19-27, more than 110 people in New York City were wounded or killed in 83 separate shootings.
- In a 12-hour period during the weekend of June 27-28, eleven people were shot and wounded citywide. This spree of gunfire brought the number of shootings over the most recent seven-day period in New York to 59 – a figure that dwarfed the 26 shootings which had occurred during the same time frame in 2019.
- Between June 15 and July 2, shootings in New York City soared by 205% above the corresponding figure for the same period in 2019, while gunshot injuries increased by 238%.
- Between June 1 and June 30, the incidence of serious crimes in New York City increased dramatically when compared to the same period in 2019. This included a 130% increase in the number of shooting incidents, a 30% spike in murders, a 118% rise in burglaries, and a 51% increase in auto thefts.
- All told, June 2020 became New York’s bloodiest month since 1996.
The NYPD’s Chief of Department, Terence Monahan, blamed these horrific trends largely on the fact that “the animosity towards police has been absolutely unbelievable.” “The violence, the shootings are up,” he said. “We haven’t seen this many [during a comparable time period] since 1996.” The animosity cited by Monahan was on full display in the wee morning hours of Sunday, June 28, when a mob of young people spent several hours hurling bottles and epithets at NYPD officers who tried to break up their massive street party following reports of gunfire at the gathering. The attendees defiantly and repeatedly demanded that the officers “Get the f–k out of here!” Others taunted the cops by launching aerial fireworks from atop a van, and by dancing lewdly in front of an NYPD vehicle. In a subsequent interview with reporters, one young black man summed up his attitude toward the police thusly: “The black people wanted the cops to know that this is our neighborhood and you’re not going to intimidate us.” Meanwhile, a dispirited police officer described the situation as “complete lawlessness.”
And because the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio was highly sympathetic to the protesters and rioters – as evidenced by the enactment of a BLM demand calling for a $1 billion cut to the NYPD budget – many New York City officers decided that it was time to get out while they could. During the 30-day period from May 25 through June 24, no fewer than 272 uniformed cops announced that they were retiring – a 49 percent increase over the 183 officers who had filed for retirement during the same period in 2019.
The atmosphere in Milwaukee had grown equally grim. According to Milwaukee Inspector Leslie Thiele: “Our homicides are way up. We haven’t seen these numbers since 1991. We have 86 homicides this year, compared to 37 to this point last year – so we have a 132% increase. Thiele’s fellow Milwaukee Inspector Terrence Gordon says: “Morale [among police] is terrible. But people don’t have low morale because of something the chief did, it’s because they’re afraid that nobody in this community is going to stand up for them. In 25 years, I’ve never seen it like this. I never thought that I’d see the day where a Milwaukee police officer would withdraw from the community they swore to serve. But I can see it beginning to happen right now, and it’s just terrible, because on the other side of all these crimes are victims.”
The hearts of police officers were likewise torn asunder in Washington, D.C., as evidenced by the fact that in a June 2020 press release, the city’s Metropolitan Police Union said that 71% of the members it surveyed were considering leaving the department. Of those, nearly 40% were planning to leave law enforcement entirely.
Things were bad as well in Minneapolis, whose Democrat city council voted unanimously in June 2020 to approve a measure to disband and abolish the city’s police department. On July 21, The New York Times reported that nearly 200 officers in Minneapolis—roughly one-fifth of the city’s police force—had officially filed paperwork to leave their jobs, citing post-traumatic stress. “It’s almost like a nuclear bomb hit the city, and the people who didn’t perish are standing around,” said veteran officer Rich Walker Sr. regarding the department’s low morale. “I’m still surprised that we’ve got cops showing up to work, to be honest.”
In St. Louis during the weekend of June 6-7, no fewer than 21 people were shot, 6 of them fatally. During the first week of June, homicides in Los Angeles were up 250% compared to the previous week, while the total number of gunshot victims was up 56%. In Baltimore during the month of June as a whole, the incidence of homicide increased by 29% over the corresponding rates for April and May.
On August 2, 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that among the 50 largest cities in the U.S., “reported homicides were up 24% so far this year, to 3,612.” “In all,” the Journal added, “36 of the 50 cities studied saw homicide rise at double-digit rates, representing all regions of the country.” For example, the total number of homicides in Austin, Texas, had increased by 64.3% over the same period in 2019. The corresponding increases in some other cities were: 54.5% in Chicago; 42.3% in Fort Worth; 34% in San Antonio; 31.6% in Phoenix; 31.4% in Philadelphia; 27.1% in Houston; 24% in New York City; 19.4% in Columbus; and 14.5% in Jacksonville.
Flight from the Cities
In sum, cities from coast to coast were disintegrating on a daily basis. Their respective tax bases began fleeing – quite understandably – to safer environs. For instance, the Minneapolis manufacturing company 7-Sigma Inc., which was heavily damaged during the George Floyd riots, decided to move, as quickly as possible, out of the city where it had been headquartered since 1987. Other local businesses said that they fully intended to follow suit.
BLM & Antifa Attack Police & Try to Topple Columbus Statue in Chicago
On July 17, 2020, BLM and Antifa rioters in Chicago attempted to pull down a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park. In the process, they attacked police officers, most of whom were not wearing helmets, with all manner of projectiles including bricks, rocks, sticks, bottles, and even fireworks.
Quantifying BLM’s Responsibility for the Violence and Riots of 2020
A September 2020 Princeton study, sympathetic to the demonstrators, revealed that in the first three months of the unrest which followed the death of George Floyd in May, there had been 570 violent protests in 220 locations. Riots had taken place in 48 of the 50 largest American cities, and 74 of the top 100. There were also “peaceful protests” in some 2,400 separate locations nationwide, according to the Princeton study. But those protests advanced precisely the same Black Lives Matter indictment of America’s allegedly ubiquitous racism, as did the riots. Thus, those “peaceful protests” played a major role in enabling the riots and promoting the notion that the rioters’ grievances were well-founded.
In a separate September 2020 report, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit organization that tracks conflict in every part of the world, indicated that nearly 6 percent of the 12,045 U.S. protests between May 26 and September 5 involved rioting, looting, and other forms of violence, as well as 47 fatalities. Some details:
- Of the 12,045 incidents recorded by ACLED, 1,143 — i.e., 9.5 percent — involved violence of some sort, such as rioting, looting, armed attacks, arson, the launching of projectiles, clashes with police, the use of pepper spray, etc. Of these violent incidents, 84 percent involved BLM.
- When we look only at the 633 incidents that were coded as full-blown riots, 88 percent involved Black Lives Matter activists. But data for 51 of those 633 riots lacked information about who the perpetrators were. Of the remaining 582 riots — i.e., those for which information about the perpetrators’ affiliation was available — BLM activists were involved in 95 percent of those incidents.
BLM Activist Says Looting Is a Form of Reparations
In August 2020, BLM activists in Chicago held a rally to express their solidarity with the 100+ individuals who had recently been arrested after a night of mass looting and criminal activity. One BLM organizer who spoke at the rally, Ariel Atkins, said: “I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes.” “That is reparations,” she continued. “Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.” In a similar spirit, special media post for the rally encouraged supporters to come out and “support the people arrested last night for protesting another police shooting & taking reparations from corporations.”
BLM Demands That White People Give up Their Homes
On August 14, 2020, a group of dozens of BLM protesters in Seattle marched through a residential neighborhood and demanded that the white residents there give up their homes. Said one of the protesters: “Do you know that before your white ass came here, this was all black people? Do you know people like you came in here and basically bought all the land from the black people for less than what it was worth, kicked them out so you could live here? Do you know that? ‘Cause if you don’t, now you f–king do — now do something about it! So how do you plan to fix it? As a gentrifier, because you are part of that problem.” Others in the crowd shouted things such as:
- “Give black people back their homes! You’re sitting there comfortably — comfortable as f—k as if they didn’t help gentrify this neighborhood! I used to live in this neighborhood, and my family was pushed out, and you’re sitting up there having a good time with your other white friends!”
- “Give us our s–t back!” one man yells.
Another protester told a white man who had called police to report that a window at his business had been shattered by protesters: “You’re being racist, you’re being racist. Check your privilege, check your privilege…. “Go back to [your] gentrification business … This was never your neighborhood. This was never your neighborhood.”
BLM Brutalizes White Truck Driver in Portland
On the night of August 16, 2020, a mob of mostly black BLM protesters surrounded a pickup truck on a Portland, Oregon street and attempted to assault the driver and his girlfriend, both of whom were white. When the driver tried to steer his vehicle away from danger, the crowd chased him and caused him to crash into a tree. They then dragged the man out of the truck, pushed him to the ground, and stood around him and punched him as he pleaded for mercy. Before long, one of the crowd members ran toward the unsuspecting victim from behind and kicked him, with full force, on the side of his face, instantly knocking him out. “What the f–k is you talkin’ about, ni**er!” the assailant screamed as the victim’s head hit the ground and bled profusely while protesters rifled through the man’s truck in search of items they could steal. Another man in the crowd repeatedly chanted, “Black lives matter, ni**er!” And even as the white victim remained unconscious, a woman taunted him by shouting, “Get your bitch ass up!”
BLM Participates in “Black National Convention”
On August 28, 2020, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), an anti-capitalist coalition that includes BLM and dozens of other radical organizations, held a virtual Black National Convention whose objective was “to build a BLACK united front” and to “reach and engage four million Black voters across the U.S., build infrastructure of Black political engagement that transcends the 2020 election season, and create and ratify a policy platform for the first 100 days of the next [Biden] administration.” Tens of thousands of people participated in the event, which characterized the upcoming presidential election as “the biggest election of our time, and long after.” Among other things, the convention paid tribute to the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, where such luminaries as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale had first introduced a black national agenda.
One of the featured speakers at the M4BL convention, activist and political strategist Jessica Byrd, said: “The uprising in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and countless other murders from police and vigilante violence along with the alarming Black death rate due to COVID-19 has exposed what we can no longer hide—America does not value Black lives. But we also know that rising up and taking action is how Black communities have secured our rights and dignity throughout this nation’s divided history.”
Other keynote speakers included BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, #MeToo movement co-founder Tarana Burke, and Dream Defenders co- founder Phillp Agnew.
Hundreds of BLMers Chant “Death to America”
On August 30, 2020, hundreds of BLM activists marched through the streets of Oakland, California, chanting “Death to America.” Some members of the 600-to-700-person mob also threw projectiles at police officers, lit fires, smashed windows, and vandalized buildings. (Click here for story and video.)
BLM Supports Ambush That Tries to Murder Two Police Officers
On the night of September 12, 2020, two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies stationed their patrol car near the Willowbrook Metro station in Compton, California. At approximately 7 p.m., a masked gunman slowly crept up to the vehicle and then turned and fired multiple shots through the window, hitting both deputies in what Fox News Los Angeles reporter Bill Melugin described as a “100 percent ambush.” The ambushed deputies were a 24-year-old male and a 31-year-old mother, both recent additions to the department. Both were critically wounded. As Sheriff Alex Villanueva subsequently wrapped up a press conference in which he condemned the shootings, a mob confronted the sheriff’s deputies at the scene, with one member shouting “It’s a celebration! It’s a celebration!” Others taunted the deputies and took videos with their phones.
Meanwhile, the two ambush victims encountered a separate conflict at St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, where a BLM mob assembled outside the hospital chanting “Death to police!” The mob blocked entrance to the hospital emergency room, where family members of the wounded officers were present. “I hope they fucking die,” one man yelled, with another adding “Y’all gonna die one by one. This ain’t gonna stop.” As police struggled to disperse the mob, a woman ignored commands to stay back and interfered with an arrest. She turned out to be Jodie Huang, a reporter for Southern California Public Radio affiliate KPCC, which proclaims that “the statement ‘Black Lives Matter’ reinforces our commitment” to “condemn systemic racism — and racism of any kind.” In July 2020, Huang had tweeted that “Black Lives Matter is a spiritual movement.” She also had authored a report on a BLM action at the Federal Building in Los Angeles, in solidarity with rioters in Portland.
BLM’s Ties to the Chinese Communist Party
In July 2017, BLM co-founder Alicia Garza became the principal at the Black Futures Lab (BFL), which “transforms Black communities into constituencies that build independent, progressive political power in cities and states.” She is also the principal at the Black to the Future Action Fund, which “works to transform Black communities into constituencies that build Black political power in cities and states,” and “to enact policy that improves the lives of Black people, and to elect Black legislators with progressive values who move progressive policies.” In 2020, The Daily Signal’s Mike Gonzalez discovered that donations to BFL did not go directly to the foundation itself but rather to an entity called the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), which is closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party. Wrote Gonzalez:
“According to an authoritative 2009 Stanford University paper tracing its early days to the present, and which can be found on Marxist.org, ‘The CPA began as a Leftist, pro-People’s Republic of China [PRC] organization, promoting awareness of mainland China’s revolutionary thought and workers’ rights, and dedicated to self-determination, community control, and serving the people.’ To this day, the CPA continues to be a partner of the PRC in the United States…. It is clear … that CPA works with China’s communist government, pushes its agenda here in the United States, and is regularly praised by China’s state-owned mouthpieces. It is clear, too, from, this perspective, why the CPA would sponsor a new enterprise by Garza: They espouse the same desire for world communism.”
- “Exposing the Lies of Black Lives Matter” (by John Perazzo, 7-2-2020).
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, pp. 116-117.
- Ibid., pp. 100, 133.
- Ibid., pp. 130-131.
- Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, p. 125.
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, p. 130.
- Ibid., p. 134.
- Ibid., p. 78.
- Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, p. 150.
- Ibid., pp. 133-134.
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, p. 130.
- Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, pp. 150-151.
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, p. 161, p. 127.
- Ibid., p. 129.
- Ibid., p. 127.
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Black Lives Matter’s Support for Killers of Black Cops
By Daniel Greenfield
August 8, 2016
The Various Faces of Black Lives Matter
By Robert Stilson
June 24, 2020
Debunking BLM’s Lies
Exposing the Lies of Black Lives Matter
By John Perazzo
July 2, 2020
The Truth About Police Violence and Race
By John Perazzo
June 2, 2020
The Truth About Interracial Violent Crime
By John Perazzo
June 4, 2020
Black Lives Matter: A Movement Built on Lies
By John Perazzo
July 12, 2016
Interview with Former FBI Official Terry Turchie on BLM’s Origins and Objectives
June 16, 2020
The Russian Origins of Black Neo-Marxism
Jamie Glazov interviews Gary Gindler
July 5, 2020
The Truth About “Black Lives Matter”
By Paul Joseph Watson
July 7, 2016
#BlackLivesMatter Propaganda Exposed Case-By-Case
By Steven Crowder
July 13, 2016
Black Mom Becomes Viral Star with Rant at Black Lives Matter Protesters
By Peggy Hubbard
August 23, 2015