No More Games. by Benny Andrews, 1970.
Editorial note: This article was published in Russian in the Essence of Time newspaper on September 25, 2020.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a modern pseudoleftist organization; and as such, it is entirely in tune with the times.
More than three months have passed since George Floyd’s death, but the unrest in major US cities has not stopped. On the contrary, they have become a permanent part of the American social and political landscape. Each time there is a new reason to inflame the anger of the protesters, which, in all likelihood, will not subside until at least the presidential election on November 3.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been a key player in the ongoing protests and riots. It is time to take a closer look at this movement and to examine what this major social force, whose influence has increased dramatically during this strange 2020 election campaign we are witnessing, is all about.
Let’s start by giving the BLM movement itself the floor, and listen to what they have to say about themselves. Someone visiting their official site is told, first of all, that the movement is decentralized from the beginning and lacks a formal hierarchy. Instead of a hierarchy, there is a network of “about 30 chapters” across the US and Canada, as well as everyone who believes in the slogan “Black lives matter.”
Nevertheless, the decentralized BLM movement does not lack a central leadership. Its three co-founders, Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors, and Opal Tometi, speak most often on behalf of the entire organization.
Before BLM, Alicia Garza promoted LGBT rights, sexuality education, and domestic violence. Garza also heads the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Raised in the city of Oakland by a black mother and Jewish stepfather, Garza (maiden name Schwartz) considers herself Jewish. Garza also considers herself a Queer (i.e., someone who is a sexual minority and yet does not have a traditional gender identity). In 2003 she married Malakai Garza, a Latina woman who had changed her gender to male. Malakai Garza is a member of the leadership team of My Brother’s Keeper, an organization founded by former President Barack Obama to advocate for the rights of non-white young people and to promote this youth in public life.
Patrice Cullors is also involved in LGBT rights and has been an activist for prison abolition. An important school of socio-political work for Cullors was the movement to preserve public transportation in Los Angeles, or the Bus Riders Union (BRU). It was while at the BRU that Cullors met the man she considers one of her mentors, Eric Mann, who had previously played an important role first in the Trotskyist organization Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and then in the pseudoleftist terrorist group, the Weather Underground. We previously examined the history of both of these organizations in detail on the pages of our newspaper in the article “Trotskyism in the USA, or the Age of Political Vampirism”. Patrice Callors also mentors Audrey Lorde, a theorist of African-American feminism and LGBT, and Angela Davis, who is well known in our country. Cullors was raised in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses (an organization banned in Russia), but is now fascinated by the Nigerian spiritual tradition of Ifa (one of the varieties of Voodoo) and seeks to integrate its practices into her political actions. Cullors also identifies as a Queer. In 2016, Cullors married , a Canadian black woman who serves as a theorist of transfeminism (an offshoot of feminism that considers transgender rights to be central.)
Opal Tometi is a prominent activist for the rights of undocumented migrants, especially blacks, heading the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, herself being the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and growing up in Phoenix, Arizona. As an active member in the field of political journalism, Tometi has been published by multiple heavyweight publications including the Huffington Post and Time magazine, as well as appearing on the cover of the latter. But her main contribution to BLM is considered to be her work in organizing social media platforms.
It is accepted that the BLM movement grew out of the viral spread of the social media slogan that was created in 2013. On July 13th, 2013 when a Florida state court found neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman (whose ancestors were Peruvian and American Germans) not guilty in the shooting death of African American teenager Trayvon Martin. This verdict sparked widespread outrage in the black community and prompted Garza to create a post on her Facebook page which she ended with, “Our lives matter. Black lives matter.” Patricia Cullors, took the ending of this sentence and created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, which then became the central organizing slogan for those protesting disproportionate police violence against black people.
Alicia Garza says that the movement’s co-founders did not initially have leadership ambitions, but that “co-opting our hashtag”, and that “the media was looking for a black, cis-heterosexual man who could be identified as the leader of the movement” forced them to become more prominent. The co-founders were also annoyed that members of the broad movement, which picked up the slogan “Black Lives Matter,” began to highlight black men as the main victims of violence.
To bring the movement they founded back into the desired direction, in 2017 its co-founders wrote a manifesto called “What We Believe,” which is now on the home page of the movement’s official website. [Editorial note: this manifesto was removed from the BLM website shortly after this article was written] We present this manifesto unabridged to make the movement’s hierarchy of values clearer:
“Four years ago, what is now known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network began to organize. It started out as a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.
Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state.
Enraged by the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, and inspired by the 31-day takeover of the Florida State Capitol by POWER U and the Dream Defenders, we took to the streets. A year later, we set out together on the Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride to Ferguson, in search of justice for Mike Brown and all of those who have been torn apart by state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Forever changed, we returned home and began building the infrastructure for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which, even in its infancy, has become a political home for many.
Ferguson helped to catalyze a movement to which we’ve all helped give life. Organizers who call this network home have ousted anti-Black politicians, won critical legislation to benefit Black lives, and changed the terms of the debate on Blackness around the world. Through movement and relationship building, we have also helped catalyze other movements and shifted culture with an eye toward the dangerous impacts of anti-Blackness.
These are the results of our collective efforts.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network is as powerful as it is because of our membership, our partners, our supporters, our staff, and you. Our continued commitment to liberation for all Black people means we are continuing the work of our ancestors and fighting for our collective freedom because it is our duty.
Every day, we recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.
We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities.
We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.
We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others.
We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world.
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 practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. 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.
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, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).
We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.
We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.”
The manifesto of the movement is presented here in its entirety, without inserts or abridgements. What can we see from it?
The BLM movement, at first glance, positions itself as the successor of the Black civil rights movement of the 1960s and the Black nationalist movement of the same period. In this sense, the support of such early champions of the leftist struggle for black rights as Angela Davis, who was active with both the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party USA, is very important to them.
It should be noted, however, that the Black Lives Matter movement is a modern pseudoleftist organization; and as such, it is completely in tune with the times. From its manifesto, it is not entirely clear what is more important to the organization: fighting for black rights or pushing the agenda of sexual minorities as far as possible into the life of the black community.
The manifesto was written before the events surrounding George Floyd’s death, after which an important new slogan arose, that being to “defund the police” redirecting the “excess” funding received by law enforcement to “local communities,” primarily minority communities, as well as “social programs” and “alternative models of community policing.” Amongst these new demands, reparations for slavery also became a popular rallying cry for those in and aligned with BLM.
With this extremely broad agenda, BLM openly contends for a dominant role among contemporary American leftist movements, using the attitude toward the slogan “Black Lives Matter” as a kind of litmus test to gauge the correctness of other movements. Other leftist movements in the US, practically without exception, support this slogan.
Black Lives Matter does not exist in a vacuum. With the ongoing race riots, sending large donations to the organization has become a means of virtue signaling for major brands. Corporate giants such like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, as well as major retailers, fast food chains, fashion and shoe brands, and health insurance companies have already made donations in support of BLM.
In addition to large one-time donations, BLM receives ongoing financial and organizational support through an intermediary organization called the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). M4BL serves as a platform for BLM to receive sustained financial support from so-called philanthropic donations as well as administrative support from the US Democratic Party and its affiliates.
A central role in M4BL is played by the Ford Foundation, which has consistently played a soft power role in Russia, especially in funding projects related to the promotion of forced foster care, as well as fanning hysteria around implausible data on domestic violence. In other countries, Ford Foundation initiatives have been directly linked to CIA special operations. The most notable among these can be called the Foundation’s role in working with student groups in Indonesia, in the run-up to the coup d’état that overthrew President Sukarno in 1965. The Ford Foundation’s special interest in the United States has long included the promotion of gender ideology.
M4BL uses the US Democratic Party’s online platform ActBlue to collect donations, raising suspicions among Republican supporters that donations to BLM go to fund the Democratic Party’s election campaigns, though at least for now these allegations have not been conclusively proven.
Another important ongoing fundraising mechanism for BLM has been Solidaire, an NGO founded by American social scientist Leah Hunt-Hendrix in 2012 as a coordinating body for philanthropic donations to various minority rights organizations.
Hunt-Hendrix herself is notable as the heiress to the fortune of her grandfather, the Texas oil tycoon Harold Lafayette Hunt, who during World War II openly opposed the US-USSR alliance, was friends with the powerful FBI Director John Edgar Hoover, and who financed the presidential campaign of Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, but then joined Lyndon Johnson’s inner circle. Hunt-Hendrix received her PhD in religious studies, ethics, and political science from Princeton University, working under the mentorship of Cornel West. Leah Hunt-Hendrix’s official biography indicates that she helped found the Occupy Wall Street movement before going to the Middle East and working in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine during the so-called Arab Spring.
Let us summarize the intermediate results.
For most politically inactive Americans, Black Lives Matter is perceived as a slogan around which a loose movement of those who share the slogan has formed, with no clear leadership. However, a cursory examination of the organization’s history and ideological documents reveals a very different picture.
It is a vibrant pseudoleftist network with a decision-making center consisting of its co-founders, who have, in fact, the decisive right to determine the policies of the entire movement. BLM’s current agenda goes far beyond its stated purpose of protecting black people from abusive police violence. The organization’s own manifesto suggests that it purports to be the driving belt for broad social change aimed primarily at the black community itself in the United States, which has traditionally been seen as more socially conservative than other Democratic core constituencies. Indeed, the BLM manifesto almost gives more attention to LGBT issues than to police violence itself.
A cursory examination also reveals that BLM and its leadership are fully integrated into the broader fabric of American social and political life, since the movement’s co-founders themselves cite old leftist leaders, including outright Trotskyists, as their mentors. It is indicative that financial and organizational support for the organization is provided by a representative of an influential Texas oil family, previously engaged in “social science research” in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria during the Arab Spring. The Ford Foundation, which has repeatedly served as a “soft power” tool in the hands of the CIA, shares a supervisory role over the movement with her.
US President Donald Trump’s supporters call BLM “domestic terrorists.” Are these accusations legitimate? This is where the stated decentralization and network-centricity of the organization comes in handy! In the event of a violent incident, the officials of such an organization can easily disown the “lone provocateur” or “group of provocateurs” who used violence.
One such precedent can be seen in the shooting of police officers by a sniper during a BLM protest in Dallas on July 7, 2016. The sniper, Micah Xavier Johnson, a combat veteran of Afghanistan, managed to kill five policemen, wound nine more policemen, and two bystanders. The police eventually eliminated the sniper with a robot explosive device, and BLM officials said they had nothing to do with this lone psychopath’s actions and condemned them in every possible way. Just as it now condemns the new attacks on law enforcement officers during the anti-police hysteria fomented by the BLM movement itself.
As we have previously discussed, the phenomenon of the ghetto, including the black ghetto, generates pathological forms of criminal community self-organization, which then lead to characteristic self-destructive riots. US history knows precedents for using such riots for domestic political purposes, including the destruction and marginalization of the much healthier Black Panther Party, which was removed from the respectable social and political field through a series of covert provocations under the COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO, in turn, is directly related to the Gladio network that was operating at the same time in Western Europe, whose terrorist activities undermined the positions of the Communist Party in NATO countries.
The Black Lives Matter movement, with its bizarre and extremely colorful political agenda, can be seen as a kind of deteriorated second edition of the Black Panther Party. While the Black Panthers initially sought to bring urban black communities out of the ghetto, Black Lives Matter’s aggressive advocacy of LGBT and gender ideology works to exacerbate the chaos of values that already terrorizes the ghetto.
The ideology of the movement, with its layers of identity politics, leads to an even greater fragmentation and reinforcement of the psychology of victimhood among the ghetto’s inhabitants, who are now also invited to see themselves as victims of “heteronormative thinking”. What is such an individual ultimately capable of doing? Such an inhabitant of the ghetto, who has been thrown off balance, as the news feeds show us, is able to vent his frustration only through the most primitive forms of violence. Within the framework of the strategy of tension that Gladio and COINTELPRO operated on, the elements of which can be seen in the contemporary United States with the naked eye, no more is required of him.
So what lives matter in the environment described above? No lives matter!