The Radical Socialist Roots of 'Black Lives Matter'

“Black Lives Matter” is both a movement and an organization, but underpinning both is a deep connection to radical Marxism and a desire to not just protect and improve black lives, but to destroy the foundations of free society and build on their remains a new collectivist vision.

On July 13th, 2013—the day neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida—leftist activists Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garcia, and Opal Tometi began using the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to call attention to what they viewed as a miscarriage of justice and, once the hashtag went viral, founded the organization Black Lives Matter.

The following year, the organization saw an explosion in support following the officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and officer-involved chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City.

The group was at the forefront of demonstrations against police actions across the country and became a national rallying cry. The organization’s radical politics, though, have been largely ignored, even though its leaders haven’t been afraid to voice them.

Cullors in particular was open about her political ideology, calling herself “a trained Marxist” in an interview with Democracy Now!

"The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame," she said. "Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk."

What exactly does it mean to be a "trained Marxist?" For years, Cullors was mentored by Eric Mann, a member of the 1960s radical groups Students for a Democratic Society and its more violent splinter group The Weather Underground.

In 1969, the U.S. Government declared the Weather Underground a domestic terror organization after it declared "a state of war against the United States" and started launching "Days of Rage" riots and bombing attacks against the U.S. Capitol in 1971, the Pentagon a year later, and the State Department building in 1975.

Fortunately, no one was ever killed in any of the Underground’s attacks, but three members died when one of their explosives accidentally detonated in their hideout in New York.

Cullors said in her memoir, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” that Mann taught her from an early age to use the organizing and protest tactics he honed during his time as a campus radical.

Using this teaching, her self-described “first political home” was the Labor/Community Strategy Center, whose organizing principles center “focus on Black and Latino communities with deep historical ties to the long history of anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, pro-communist resistance to the U.S. empire.”

According to its website, the group is openly Marxist, as it appreciates the work of “Black communists” within the U.S. Communist Party as well as “the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, Young Lords, Brown Berets, and the great revolutionary rainbow experiments of the 1970s.”

Cullors’ Black Lives Matter co-founder, Opal Tometi, is similarly radical, as she has spent years championing the disastrous Socialist Revolution in Venzuela, writing of dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime, “In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world.”

This embrace of socialism is evident in the mission statement of Black Lives Matter, which explicitly states “We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities.”

What does such “nationalism” encompass? Apparently the nuclear family, which Black Lives Matter aims to destroy.

“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,” the group says in a section of its website entitled “What We Believe.”

Black Lives Matter does, however, have a very loosely organizational structure, as it leaves its operations to its 16 local chapters and partner organizations such as “Movement for Black Lives.”

Among its demands are an end to “all jails, prisons, and immigration detention,” an end to “pretrial detention and money bail,” reparations for slavery, and “progressive restructuring of tax codes at the local, state and federal levels to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.”

As radical as this stated platform is, it pales in comparison to the far-left beliefs of local Black Lives Matter leaders, who seem to have no qualms about using violence to achieve radical transformation of America.

Black Lives Matter New York leader Hawk Newsome openly said as much in an interview with FOX News anchor Martha McCallum.

"I watched you talking on a bunch of different interviews today and you said, burn it down," McCallum said. "You said it, burn it down, it’s time. So that makes me think that you want to burn it down."

"If this country doesn’t give us what we want then we will burn down the system and replace it, all right," Newsome answered. "And I could be speaking figuratively, I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation. Like let’s be very real and observe the history of the 1960s. When black people were rioting we have their highest growth and wealth, in property ownership. Think about the last few weeks.

"Since you started protesting there have been eight cops fired across the country. Remember they were telling us that there was Due Process? That’s why the cop that choked Eric Gardner kept his job and kept receiving raises for five years. Anytime a cop hurt child or elders, there was always a call for Due Process. But the moment people start destroying property, now cops can be fired automatically.

"What is this country rewarding? What behavior is it listening to? Obviously not marching. When people get aggressive and they escalate their protests, cops get fired, now, you have police officers and Republican politicians talking about police reform. I don’t condone nor do I condemn rioting but I’m just telling what I observed."

In other words, riots work; which is why Newsome won’t condemn them. Violence in the name of a just cause is justified and righteous. This, of course, is the exact same rationale the Weather Underground used 50 years ago: America won’t listen to protests, but it will listen to riots and violence.

And it has. For more than a month, activists who support Black Lives Matter have burned buildings to the ground, viciously beaten people who oppose them, and torn down statues of supposed oppressors like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Do those seem like the actions of a movement that simply wants to improve black lives? Or do they seem like the actions of a collection of groups that want to burn America to the ground and build a communist utopia on its ashes.

Black Lives Matter DC, for instance, openly calls for “creating the conditions for Black Liberation through the abolition of systems and institutions of white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism.”

Black Lives Matter Chicago says it works “to end state violence and criminalization of Black communities by deconstructing white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy.”

Black Lives Matter Detroit is even more explicit in its desire to rip apart the fabric of American society, saying:

We mean that the current societal intersection of governance and commerce was built upon a legacy of implicit bias; one that values the lives of Black bodies as inherently less than our white counterparts.
Or, said a different way: Our society was built to be intentionally racist!
Our society was built this way -- not our systems of government, commerce, or policing independently -- but our entire way of being (and, if you think we’re wrong, take a moment to re-read the Constitution).

As the Movement for Black Lives puts it, these groups "seek not reform but transformation" by creating "a fundamentally different world" resulting from "a complete transformation of the current systems."

This radical call and its attending recognition that such change can only occur through violence has in turn radicalized Black Lives Matter adherents to adopt increasingly hateful and vitriolic rhetoric. In New York, chants of “Pigs in a Blanket, fry em like bacon” and “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now” have been realized by ambush attacks on police officers for years.

In 2017, an ex-convict who often ranted about police officers killing people and getting away with it shot and killed officer Miosotis Familia.

Three years earlier, a gunman posted online that he wanted to "put wings on pigs" in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner and drove from Maryland to ambush and kill New York Police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

In Dallas, a gunman opened fire on police officers working at a protest of the officer-involved killings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. He killed five officers and injured nine others as well as two civilians before police killed him with a robot-delivered bomb. Before negotiations with the killer failed, he told investigators that he wanted to kill as many white police officers as he could.

Black Lives Matter of course disavowed this violence, but it tragically echoes the domestic terror campaigns of the Weather Underground movement that radicalized followers to the point where a handful believed that violence in the name of social upheaval was the only way America would ever listen and change.

Across the country today, calls for change under the Black Lives Matter slogan are often ignorant to the Black Lives Matter organization’s commitment to such radicalism.

The organization is rooted in Marxism and dedicated not just to a reform of policing and the betterment of black lives, but a fundamental belief that America as constructed is a fundamentally racist, colonialist, awful nation that must be taken down and rebuilt in its own radical image.

Radicalism inevitably begets violence, and in their tacit (and sometimes open) approval of violence in the name of righteous change, Black Lives Matter leaders not only contradict the message that nearly all of America supports, they prevent that message from being heard and the change they seek from being enacted.

While much of America agrees on the need for police reform and the affirmation that people of all races matter and deserve equality, rioting, violence and the destruction of American history and culture in the name of destroying America itself are radical means to radical ends that, sadly, many Black Lives Matter supporters don’t even know that they’re supporting.

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