Black Lives Matter? Sounds great, but what the hell is it?

by WorldTribune Staff, June 18, 2020

Alicia Garza, one of the three co-founders of Black Lives Matter, said recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “Seven years ago, people thought that Black Lives Matter was a radical idea. And yet Black Lives Matter is now a household name, and it’s something being discussed across kitchen tables all over the world.”

What exactly is Black Lives Matter? And what does it stand for?

It is “still not entirely clear who speaks for Black Lives Matter or what it stands for,” Valerie Richardson noted in a June 17 report for The Washington Times.

Niger Innis: ‘You have the right to organize, you have the right to protest, you have the right to come up with an agenda. But I’ll be goddamned if you use the suffering and misery of black Americans and our legacy to the United States of America as your shield and use us as cannon fodder when your agenda really has not a damn thing to do with saving black lives.’ / YouTube

Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, which tracks public policy groups on its InfluenceWatch website, said pinning down the highly decentralized BLM network has been like “trying to untangle a bowl of spaghetti.”

“Early on, the first people to try to ride that slogan were some hard-left socialist slash anarchist slash communist entities,” Walter said. “But if you turn on your TV and you see hundreds of thousands of people protesting, and folks are holding signs saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’ well, most of those people are ordinary citizens who are sincerely upset about police issues or a particular police acts like the George Floyd case.”

Black Lives Matter “began as a hashtag that morphed into an organization founded in 2013 by three leftist activists,” Richardson noted. Along with Garza, co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi emphasized LGBTQ issues early on in the group’s history. The group officially is known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.

There is also a decentralized network of 34 chapters that focus on local issues, such as Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, which has pushed for a “people’s budget” that would shrink the police department’s budget share from 54 percent to 6 percent.

Running parallel is another hub organization, the Movement for Black Lives, as well as groups like Color of Change that promote a Black Lives Matter message.

The multiple entities have even confused donors: A one-man operation called the Black Lives Foundation in Santa Clarita, California, raised $4 million this month even though it has no connection to the 2013 group and works to foster better relations between police and communities, BuzzFeed reported.

“Depending on the group, the agenda can range from support for police body cameras to broad calls for restructuring society at large with race-based reparations, free housing, free education, abolishing prison and retrials for all people of color,” Richardson noted.

Walter said: “The thing to remember is the Left has always exploited and piggybacked on unrest and injustice. And most of the people probably don’t know anything about the parasitic hard-left activists trying to attach themselves to these causes.”

Niger Innis, the spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, said the Black Lives Matter movement takes “their instructions, their guidance from the Marxist playbook.”

Innis told Fox News host Laura Ingraham this week: “Look, I’m going to tell some hard truths that people aren’t going to want to hear.

“The BLM movement, Black Lives Matter movement, was founded by Alicia Garza and a number of other co-founders that were promoting a hard Marxist and LGBT agenda. Look, I don’t have a problem with people exercising their First Amendment rights. You have the right to organize, you have the right to protest, you have the right to come up with an agenda. But I’ll be goddamned if you use the suffering and misery of black Americans and our legacy to the United States of America as your shield and use us as cannon fodder when your agenda really has not a damn thing to do with saving black lives.”

Innis acknowledged that many of the protesters enraged by the death of George Floyd are innocent and mean well but are “misguided.”

Innis, son of the late Roy Innis, a black American activist and politician, criticized the Black Lives Matter push to defund the police and argued that the group has its sights set on eliminating Western values as a whole.

“If you look at their agenda, defunding the police, that would put black lives in danger,” Innis warned. “But it’s even more than that, Laura. They have, as a part of their platform, on their own website that we want to disrupt — disrupt! — the Western-prescribed nuclear family.”

“They want to overthrow capitalism. They want to overthrow Western civilization, and they see America as the biggest clear and present danger to fulfilling that agenda, and they are using black people to do it.”

Innis cited the murder of 77-year-old retired police Capt. David Dorn, a black man who was allegedly murdered by a black looter in St. Louis while attempting to stop the robbery of a pawnshop, which is owned by a friend of his. Innis referred to the killers as “savages committing acts of destruction.”

“It is so gross, and for all of these corporations … that give a dollar or millions of dollars to the BLM agenda, they are destroying black lives. You want to talk about anti-black supremacy, that’s the anti-black supremacy that’s taking place,” Innis said before concluding with the point that “the irony … is that it’s the illusion of black supremacy and the reality of a Marxist agenda that will bury all of us.”

Richardson noted that “The near-universal outrage over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody is being leveraged on the left to steamroll its critics in academia, journalism and public life in the name of Black Lives Matter by branding them as racist.”

Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson said on Fox News’s “Life, Liberty & Levin.”: “It’s a really terrifying reign of terror. And it is so much worse now than it ever was. We always had political correctness and leftism on campuses. But with this new movement, they are totalitarian in nature.”

Jacobson has first-hand experience of this. The Cornell professor has been targeted in recent weeks by alumni calling for his firing and a faculty letter denouncing “commentators … leading a smear campaign against Black Lives Matter,” apparently referring to Jacobson’s comments on his Legal Insurrection website.

In a statement, Cornell Law School Dean Eduardo M. Penalver said he found Jacobson’s comments “offensive and poorly reasoned,” but the university’s commitment to academic freedom “prevents us from censoring the extramural writings of faculty members.”

What did Jacobson say? In a June 4 post, he reiterated that the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative was false — in other words, that Michael Brown never said that before being shot and killed in 2014 by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. In a June 3 post, he said the Black Lives Matter movement was led by “anti-American, anti-capitalist activists.”

University of Chicago economics professor Harald Uhlig was fired last week from his position with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for a June 8 op-ed in which he said Black Lives Matter had “just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice … We need more police, we need to pay them more, we need to train them better.”

A University of Michigan professor is now leading a campaign for Uhlig to resign as editor of the Journal of Political Economy, accusing him in a petition of “trivializing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.”

Richardson noted that “Even public figures who have never mentioned Black Lives Matter have run afoul of the movement.”

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy apologized Tuesday after players threatened to boycott over a tweet showing him wearing a T-shirt on a fishing trip with a logo of the conservative One America News Network (OAN).

“Once I learned how that network felt about Black Lives Matter, I was disgusted and knew it was completely unacceptable to me,” Gundy said in a video.

Gundy’s critics pointed to a four-year-old commentary by OAN’s Liz Wheeler in which she asked a series of rhetorical questions about how police should handle suspects of different races, then said, “Here’s the thing, it’s a false question to trap the movement, because they can’t answer it, and that means they’re a farce. The Black Lives Matter movement speaks not for race but for racial divide.”

“If You Don’t Support Black Lives Matter, You’re Fired,” said the Federalist in a June 11 post listing the incidents of retribution: An LA Galaxy soccer player was cut from the team over his wife’s posts criticizing protesters; UCLA accounting lecturer Gordon Klein was suspended for refusing to cancel final exams for black students; and Sacramento Kings announcer Grant Napear was fired for tweeting “All Lives Matter … Every Single One.”

Another sign of the movement’s growing power is that corporations and social media platforms are increasingly in the corner of Black Lives Matter, which Walter views as the inevitable result of the campus “cancel culture” and “silence is violence” message entering the workforce.

“One thing they’re doing is getting big business to go along, and again, that’s because of ‘woke’ culture,” said Walter. “The wokeness of the campus culture is metastasizing into the boardrooms, into the newsrooms.”

Not even progressives are safe: Earlier this month, New York Times opinion editor James Bennet resigned after a staff outcry over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, in favor of using the military to break up rioting.

Staffers argued that running the op-ed “puts Black @nytimes lives in danger,” as one oft-tweeted message put it.

Meanwhile, critics like Jacobson argued a distinction needs to be made between championing black lives and endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This is not going to end well unless people of good conscience, who support black lives but not the Black Lives Movement as it was founded and currently operates, to speak up and refuse to cower in fear,” said Jacobson.

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