"Most of this stuff is still trueeeeee"
Investigating a Colleague's Facebook StatusIn the modern United States, the young adults of our nation seem to have been swept up into a fad of pretending as if the currently instilled government hasn't changed since the 1950's and 60's. During the dark period of our country's history where Jim Crow was the law of the land, the oppressed did the only thing that they were capable of doing by protesting against an oppressive system of laws and governance in order to pursue a status of personhood, one where a man can be granted his civil rights as afforded to him by the constitution regardless of race, religion, or creed.
In our modern popular culture, we as a society have come to worship the champions of this era of change, and rightly so when considering the incredible feats performed by the men and women who had fought hard to achieve their equality. Unfortunately, the youth of any nation tends to look upon the past with somewhat of a thick pair of rose tinted glasses. For the American youth, they have often been afforded the privilege to not only learn about the heroes that deserve their praise but also receive a romanticized version of the plentiful amount of more questionable social and political movements that also took place during the Civil Rights movement. Because of this, I believe that the act of protesting has now been reframed amongst my collegiate colleagues; during the Civil Rights movement, a protest was an event that meant to deliberately break a law that was violating a human right, but when one considers the most common method of protest used by modern social justice movements, a striking contrast between the two eras appears. Protesting segregation in public schools seems to be a little different than the current #BlackLivesMatters' preferred method of political activism, and I would argue that they more closely resemble the Chicago Riot of 1968.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's our youth's choice to ignore the more questionable events during the Civil Rights Movement, especially since something such as the many violent riots that occurred throughout the '60's is often left out of our public education system. There also exists a great deal of censored educational material and popular media that heavily overemphasize the rebellious attitude of youths and the counterculture that formed after the end of World War II in a way that inhibits the next generation from learning the true extent of our nation's history. The Civil Rights Movement, however important and necessary that it was for our nation and society, had plenty of flaws that we chose to ignore or are not allowed to criticize or investigate.
I believe that this failure of our public education system has led to the popularity of movements such as #BlackLivesMatters. With this bias, I often am tempted to challenge myself and indulge in the content produced by the leaders of the #BLM movement or the movements that I sometimes associate with their philosophies, however I often rarely see the writings of the actual leaders and am far more likely to read statements such as Facebook post from a colleague of mine:
Although it is just a Facebook post, it is an attempted argument at it's core. In my investigation into the school of thought that pushes more people to support the #BLM movement, I'll attempt to dissect my colleague's post, and although I may find myself either agreeing or vehemently disagreeing with the statements, I would hope that I and the reader have an opportunity to learn something about the social issues in our society that would spark such a famous/infamous hashtag.
1) It's important to recognize what #blacklivesmatter ACTUALLY stands for.
"for the record y'all, #blacklivesmatter is not saying that black people don't commit crimes, that black people shouldn't get punished for the crimes they commit, or that black people deserve "special treatment" from police. there are variations within any group so maybe a few people will share those views but it's important to recognize what #blacklivesmatter ACTUALLY stands for."I find this as a somewhat intriguing thesis to this passionate Facebook post for the reason being that it seems to be not only criticizing members of the #BLM movement but somehow also refuting some facet of the movement's credibility. To begin by saying that "[#BLM] is not saying that black people don't commit crimes [and etc.]" but then immediately contradicting one's self with the statement "there are variations withing any group so maybe a few people will share those views" is in my interpretation a somewhat questionable alienation from the movement in which he is demanding others' support. Personally, I would question the philosophy that fuels a movement such as #BLM if there is some faction of the movement's population for which a spokesperson must identify, alienate, and disenfranchise from the majority altogether.
Currently, the spokesperson for this movement is my colleague since he has made the post and is the one publicly arguing for the support of #BLM, and I have to say how I appreciate his confidence and the way he has asserted his authority over the philosophy that motivates #BLM activists and what "[#BLM] ACTUALLY stands for." I must admit however that I did not exactly trust my colleague with this authority, and after reading his opening statement, I decided that it was about time I went to the source so that I could see what the leaders of the movement actually believed in regards to their social and political pursuits.
After my decision to pursue this knowledge, I quickly ran into some troubling aspects about the #BLM movement, especially in regards to how there isn't a single organization for the movement but rather a vast collection of different nonprofits and agencies that are spreading different messages under the hashtag.
Allegedly, the #BLM hashtage was started by a woman named Alicia Garza after the death of Trayvon Martin, and on her organization's website she writes;
"I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements."On the website's "Herstory" page, Garza continues by defining the movement in better detail;
"[#BLM] goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within some Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all. Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement."
The Origins of the Black Liberation Movement - The Black Panthers
To relate this document back to my colleague's original Facebook post, I can immediately identify certain areas of the Panther's philosophies that don't exactly align with my peer's original statement. If I were to cherry-pick a few of these points listed in the Panther's documents:
Point 6: We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
Now this isn't exactly special treatment by the police, however the police are nothing but an extension of the military, and furthermore the military is nothing more than the government's duty to protect her citizens in accordance to society's social contract. However, this isn't exactly a perfect argument considering that the United States was enduring a time of military conscription due to it's involvement with the Vietnam War, but it is still a statement demanding an exemption of a law, i.e. demanding special treatment from law enforcement.
Point 8: We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
Unless the Black Panther Party believed that Black men were physically or mentally incapable of committing crimes or somehow incapable of not committing crimes, this point is a demand for Black men to not have to face punishment for their actions. The document expands on this point in the section titled What We Believe which gives an interesting argument as to why they believe all Black men should be relieved of their sentences and charges, thus being "We believe that all Black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial."
Point 9: We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
In the What We Believe section of the document, this is expanded to say; "The 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peers. A peer is a persons from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical, and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of 'the average reasoning man' of the Black community." This is a difficult point to analyze, especially when considering the Black Panther's argument in the historical context of 1967. Although it is not an uncommon fact that racist members of the government actively fought for all-White juries during this period of time, the argument that all Black men have been tried unfairly doesn't exactly make logical sense. In accordance with the Constitution, the right to "[trial] by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed" is granted under the Sixth Amendment, whereas the Fourteenth Amendment states that "[States shall not] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The phrase "jury of peers" is not stated within the constitution, and it is not a right that American citizens are afforded; furthermore, the Sixth Amendment's right to an impartial jury from the district where the alleged crime occurred is only granted if the maximum sentencing for the charge exceeds sixths months, whether it be a federal crime or a state crime. To bring this back to the Black Panther's argument of unfair trials against Black men due to the absence of an all-Black jury, it's important to point out that not every person in prison or jail had the right to an impartial jury. What makes this point even more bizarre is the Panthers' definition of "peer." The United State's adoption of the use of peers in trials comes from the British where "peer" was congruent with "class," i.e. peasants would not be fit to cast judgement over nobility, and nobility would not be fit to cast judgement over peasants. In the United States legal code, a "peer" is more commonly a placeholder for the term "equal" due to the American belief that all men are created equal and are therefore fit to cast judgement upon all men equally. To assume that a White man cannot cast judgement upon a Black man with whom he shares a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, and historical background is to assume that White men are not equal to Black men due to the difference in skin color, and that's a troubling statement since it would mean that one of the races is superior to the other. Now, when it comes to the Black Panthers, I wouldn't think I'd be able to adequately interpret which race they thought was superior, but the thought alone that White men and Black men can't be equal solely because of their race is something that seems socially constructed to me. From my personal experience I can say that I know my fiancée and I consider ourselves equals as we cast judgement upon each other all of the time (especially if I don't answer her phone call or if she hogs the covers!). If I were to ignore the philosophical aspect of the Black Panther's statement and switch to the practical side of the law, it would be foolish to assume that a Black man who was charged with a crime in a district that had no Black residents would be awarded a jury of Black men who had to have been recruited from outside of the district. In the modern day, there are many states that are taking action to reform this kind of action, including states that are mandating each jury must contain a jury that adequately represents the diversity of it's district on a statistical level; however, the fact of the matter is that the right to an impartial jury is not the right to a jury of peers. If one commits a crime in a district, they deserve to be judged by the members of that district's community.
Point 2: We want full employment for our people.
Not only is such a thing theoretically impossible, but the true nature of the Black Panther's founding ideology is represented in the follow-up point in the document's What We Believe section; "We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American business men will not give full employment, the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living." This is a textbook example of attempting to use Marxist philosophy to solve social issues which is a tactic used by critical theorists and Cultural Marxists. From this statement the Black Panthers are assuming that they are the proletariat and the White business men are the bourgeois who are actively withholding the means of production from the minorities. Although I do understand the historical context of the document in regards to the racial discrimination plaguing minorities in 1966, racism is not a substantial reasoning for universal income. I would argue that in 1966 the culture was still geared towards racial discrimination, however the ball was already rolling by then for change, and there was definitely significant progress by 1980. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had already been passed. Although there wasn't any effective way for the federal government to enforce the Civil Rights Act, President John F. Kennedy had already signed Executive Order 10925 in 1961, which would later be finalized by President Lyndon B. Johnson by signing in Executive Order 11375 in 1967. These Executive Orders, which we know today as Affirmative Action in the United States, may not have been stringently enforced when they were signed in, however the Civil Rights Act of 1964 created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate hiring discrimination, which would later be granted the legal teeth to indict without external referral by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. Obviously it would be foolish to think that the United States was free of racism within it's society by 1980, but the demands of the Black Panthers remained the same; however, Huey P. Newton shifted his focus from assessing the social struggle of Black men to assessing the struggle of minority groups as a whole, and he made minor amendments to the Ten Point Program to include things like demanding free healthcare and demanding the end of robbery by "capitalists" of Black and oppressed communities.
Huey P. Newton's murder charges were overturned by 1970 due to the prosecutor no longer wishing to pursue the allegations. After his release, Newton worked to change the focus of the Black Panther Party from gun fights with policemen and gang violence with other social activist groups such as the US Organization to assessing the inter-communal struggles faced by all minorities as opposed to issues that solely pertain to Blacks. During this period, Newton worked to continue the purging of Black Panther Party members who were assumed to be police informants, which was most likely inspired by the murder of Alex Rackley, a 19 year-old party member who was thought to have been an FBI informant and was allegedly ordered to be executed by Bobby Seale. Following a nationwide withdrawal of support in 1971, Newton would later go on to shut down many of the major factions across the country and expel long time leaders of the party such as Seale. One leader named Eldridge Cleaver was expelled by Newton on national radio due to their differences in approach to social change. Cleaver, who thought that the party was reforming itself as opposed to continuing with it's confrontational method of action, later went on to take control of the Black Liberation Army, an underground, militant faction of the Black Panther Party. In 1974, Newton murdered a prostitute named Kathleen Smith and then later fled to Cuba in fear of prosecution. When he returned, members of the Black Panther Party then attempted an assassination on a key witness of Newton's prosecution; however, the assassins targeted the wrong house and got caught in a firefight with the home's resident. One Panther was killed, but two were able to escape, including a Panther named Flores Forbes who fled to Las Vegas with a Panther medic named Nelson Malloy. Due to Newton's paranoia and desire to purge the Panther's of any hidden threat of dissent, Malloy was ordered to be shot and killed so that he couldn't discover the truth behind the assassination plot. Malloy was shot and buried alive, however he managed to escape his grave and testify against Newton in court. Ultimately, Newton was acquitted, since Crystal Gray, the potential victim of the Panther's assassination plot who witnessed Newton's murder of Smith, admitted on the stand that she had smoked marijuana on the night of Smith's death. The last remaining piece of the party was the Panther-sponsored school in Oakland, California, but it was shut down when Newton was discovered to have been embezzling the school's funds to fund a drug addiction. Newton died August 22nd, 1989, after being shot by a drug dealer named Tyrone Robinson. Nelson Malloy later went on to serve in the city council of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Origins of the Black Liberation Movement - Assata Shakur Disagrees with the Black Panthers
So I'm sure at this point the reader is most likely thinking to him or herself, "That was a neat, quick little history of the Black Panther Party, but even though it didn't touch on half of the other crimes and murders in which they were involved, it still seemed a little pointless." Well, the point here is that in order to understand Alicia Garza's stances that govern #BLM's social action, it's very important for me to be able to understand the history of political activist groups of the radical left.
Now, if the reader is like me and knows that the Black Panther Party was not the only anarcho-communist faction masquerading as a civil rights activist group in the 60's through 80's, then I would guess that the reader is probably wondering as to why I chose to start out with the Panthers for my investigation of their philosophy. To go back to Alicia Garza's "Herstory" on the #BLM website, Garza continues by discussing how other social justice movements have appropriated the "Black Lives Matter" slogan (i.e. Asian Lives Matter, Latino Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and etc.):
"In 2014, hetero-patriarchy and anti-Black racism within our movement is real and felt. It’s killing us and it’s killing our potential to build power for transformative social change. When you adopt the work of queer women of color, don’t name or recognize it, and promote it as if it has no history of its own such actions are problematic. When I use Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work, I always begin by sharing where it comes from, sharing about Assata’s significance to the Black Liberation Movement, what it’s political purpose and message is, and why it’s important in our context."Garza is alluding to the message of this "Assata" person, and due to the nature of the #BLM movement and it's praise of Joanne Chesimard, who is more famously known by her self-appointed Arabic name Assata Olugbala Shakur (in English, 'She Who Struggles,' 'Love for the People,' and 'Thankful One,' respectively). Shakur started engaging herself in political activism in her early 20's while she attended the City College of New York where she found herself enjoying the academic counterculture of the progressive movements, radical leftist ideologies, and organized protests. After she graduated, she joined the Black Panther Party and would later move up the ranks to become a party leader of the Harlem faction. She is also accredited with helping organize the Free Breakfast Program for community children, planning a free health clinic, managing party member health care, and being heavily involved in community outreach through rallies and community education programs.
Her contribution to the evolution of the Black Liberation Movement is not only connected by her work with the Black Panther Party. When Eldridge Cleaver was publicly expelled from the party by Newton in a humiliating display of self-destructive paranoia, Shakur was one of the party leaders that left the Party in disagreement:
"When they brought the Black Panther newspaper to the office, the one that branded Dhoruba, Cet, and Cet's wife, Connie Matthews Tabor, as enemies of the people, i [sic] refused to sell it and attacked it as an outright lie. I had been so outspoken about my criticisms that i knew it was just a matter of time before i, too, would be expelled. Sick and disgusted, i decided it was time for me to leave the party"Her motivation to abandon the Black Panthers did not come solely from her own fear of being expelled; she vehemently disagreed with Newton's philosophical shift in a way that was similar to Cleaver's complaints:
"Politically, i [sic] was not at all happy with the direction of the Party. Huey went on a nationwide tour advocating his new theory of intercommunality. The essence of the theory was that imperialism had reached such a degree that sovereign borders were no longer recognized and that oppressed nations no longer existed, only oppressed communities, within and outside the u.s. The problem was that somebody had forgotten to tell these oppressed communities that they were no longer nations."What Shakur is describing seems to be a loose description of Newton's intercommunality that seems to justify open borders. As a modern day example, I could imagine Newton describing Mexico as if it no longer were a sovereign state, but somehow an extension of the United States. Even though the United States still currently (as of May 2017) has an over $30 billion trade deficit with Mexico, they are not at fault for the nation's impoverished state due to the systematic form of racism that the United States exudes over the Mexican people. Of course, the same could be said about any country who's citizens do not retain the collective wealth that the U.S. has, which is virtually no other country except the European governments that serve relatively small, homogeneous cultures and communities of people. Shakur furthers her disagreement with Newton on the Panther's concept of self-defence;
"An aboveground [sic] political organization can't wage guerrilla war anymore than an underground army can do aboveground political work. Although the two must work together, they must have completely separate structures, and any links between the two must remain secret. Educating the people about the necessity for self-defense and for armed struggle was one thing. But maintaining a policy of defending Party offices against insurmountable odds was another. Of course, if the police just came in and started shooting, defending yourself made sense. But the point is to try and prevent that from happening."Newton believed in open confrontation with the police and the societal oppressors. It's a belief that can be seen when looking back on the early days of the Panthers, by which the time Assata left the party would be about fourteen years. Newton and Seale started their operation by arming young Black college students to the teeth with commercially available assault weapons and following police officers as their way of "policing" the police. One of the core beliefs of the Black Panthers Party is that society is broken; it's so broken and corrupt that it has to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up. The action of following police officers with their loaded weapons was their method of destroying the police. It's not as if the Black Panthers, who at their height accrued not much more than ten thousand members, had the physical manpower to overthrow the government and reinstate their own perfect system. If they wanted to achieve the Black-only socialist haven that they desired, then they had to change up their battle plan. How do ten thousand people take over the most powerful country in the world, or even just a small portion of the most powerful country in the world?
The Panthers did it by spreading fear. They pushed to strike fear in the hearts of the police officers that might unfortunately cross their path. They convinced entire generations that police officers are not only racist and are actively trying to kill or enslave Blacks in the United States, but also any Black person (or any person whatsoever) that disagrees is an enemy of the Black people. Interestingly enough, this is not what garnered disapproval from Shakur. She understood the importance of the Black Panther's ability to provoke police officers to attack party members (whether it be racially motivated or motivated through intimidation) on a public platform to help convince the Black people to not trust the police, but her disapproval came from the Party's connection to it's clandestine militant actions. She believed that the Panther's role should have been to convince the people of the importance to protect themselves from an oppressive regime so that it would be easier to convince the people to support the underground militant activists that are working to make the first strike. Shakur was the radical extremist group who isn't connected with the majority party, and Newton was the majority party that refused to denounce the radical extremist. Shakur wanted Newton to hear of the terrorist that's waging war against the White supremacist and educate the Party supporters about the brave young woman whose fighting for the Black man. After all, the Black Panthers did not wish to coerce their supporters into killing policemen, however they did wish to teach their supporters that policemen are evil and subhuman.
"Of course, if the police just came in and started shooting, defending yourself made sense. But the point is to try and prevent that from happening."Personally, I find this quote chilling. The way she is describing her justification almost feels as if she is telling the reader of her autobiography how she intended to reeducate the Black youth of the United States. Defending oneself makes sense to all people. All people need to have a feeling of security, but if the Panther's can convince them that their protectors, the police, are not giving them the defense that they need, then the Panthers supporters will start to mistrust policeman. They Panthers supporters will start buying guns by any means necessary since the oppressive government doesn't want the Black man to be able to hold his own ground. If the Panthers can convince the Black youth that it's possible that the police could come in at any moment and start shooting and they need to protect themselves for that sort of situation, then the Panthers can convince the Black youth to support the guerrilla war tactics and the cop-killing, because the secretive heroes who are unaffiliated with the Panthers are willing to prevent that (police brutality) from happening.
I have an analogy; Let's say my neighbor gets bit by a dog, and he has to go to a hospital. I might not think I'd be in danger of getting bit by a dog because it doesn't seem very likely to me. I don't see many dogs, I don't bother dogs, I don't even like dogs and I prefer to keep my distance from them. Now, what if I have a friend who's part of a club that's trying to raise awareness about dogs, and every day he tells me about every known dog-biting incident in the United States. Maybe after hearing this guy talk about dogs and dogs biting people for a few days, I might just think that he hates dogs or something. To be fair, I don't like them either, right? I try to keep my distance from them. But when it comes to my friend, he doesn't just seem to me like somebody who only talks about dogs a little too much. He's also a funny guy, and he's cool to hang out with. Let's say one day his casual dog-biting talk is suddenly a little more passionate. Maybe someone that he knew, like a coworker or a friend of a friend's grandmother, got bit by a dog, and he's really beaten up about it. I'm a compassionate guy, I share with him my frustration of dogs biting people. It's the worst! The next day, instead of casual dog conversation, my friend is telling me about how he really thinks the world would be better off without dogs. Well, for me, my only view of dogs, this animal that I have always tried to stay away from to begin with, are the two times where I've seen or heard about a dog biting a person. Beyond that, I have no real experience or history with dogs. The only thing I can think is, "You know what, if there weren't any dogs, your friend's friend's grandmother wouldn't have gotten bitten. I saw my neighbor get bitten one time!" The next day, the "dog awareness" club that my friend is involved in released a privately funded study about dog bites that concluded that the rates of dog-related attacks have increased forty percent in the past two years. In reality, the study was nothing more than a mail-in survey sent to a small village that's only inhabited by about a hundred people, and last year one kid got bit by his dog four times, so it would be ludicrous to assume that a volunteer survey with such a small population size and low level of cultural and economic diversity could possibly represent the other two hundred and fifty of three hundred million people in the United States. But here's the thing; it's 1970, and I don't have an internet connection. Even if I did happen to come across another dog-attack statistical analysis, I'm sure that the sample size would be just as ridiculously small, especially since a study like that has never been done before. But now, my friend is telling me I'm forty percent more likely to get bitten by a dog. That's a big number. He might as well have told me I was nearly two times as likely to get bitten by a dog, but that's not what the study says; because forty percent is a large number, but our human brains still interpret it as something much smaller than fifty percent and therefore find it more believable. But I can say that I'm safe from the dogs because I don't do much other than work, eat, and sleep. I don't have a nice job, and I don't have a lot of free time. The only times I ever see those filthy mutts is on the rare occasion I'm walking to the store and I see some mangy, disgusting animal being led by a leash on the sidewalk. I know for a fact that dogs are evil creatures; I know because that's what my friend has told me, and he knows more about dogs than anyone I've ever met. Or at the very least, that's what I have to trust, because neither do I have a computer to search for dog information on nor the spare time or the real desire to go to the library and read about dogs. Honestly, why would I try and disprove my friend? Does he really want me to tell him that dogs aren't actually so bad, especially after what they did to his distant friend's family? I hate dogs. I don't want to think dogs are great pets, I don't want to look at dogs, I don't want to hear about dogs unless I'm hearing about their extermination, and I don't even want to be indifferent about dogs. If I was indifferent, it would mean that I didn't care about all the people who have been bitten! I don't want people to think that I value dogs over my own kind! I hate dogs. I wish dogs would die. Tomorrow my friend tells me about a guy who shot three dogs on the road last night. I bet the dogs deserved it.
Origins of the Black Liberation Movement - The Black Liberation Army's Political Philosophy
I'm sure that if the reader has made it this far in my blog post, then he or she is thinking, "Joe, get to the point for God's sake! Of course the Black Panthers Party wanted to destroy the police, they openly state that in their political messages and public demonstrations! They were founded to speak out against the police brutality of Oakland, California, so clearly they weren't too happy with the cops there!"
Here's what I'm hoping the reader will begin to understand: the sole idea that "the police force in the United States needs to be destroyed because the police force is evil" is stupid. It is not however stupid to think that the only way to destroy the police is by killing policemen and by tricking supporters into romanticizing the policemen's murderers, and because of this, I don't think Assata Shakur is a stupid person.
The Black Liberation Army, who's internal history remains somewhat clouded due to it's more clandestine approach of dismantling the establishment, wasn't created by Shakur or Eldridge Cleaver. It's somewhat of a matter of debate as to when and where it's genesis occurred, however it is known that after Newton's purging of Black Panther's Members, the control of the Army was seized by Shakur and Cleaver. Between 1970 and 1976, members of the Army have been credited with the murder of thirteen police officers, and seventy total acts of violence. One reported case that I have found to be really fascinating is the hijacking of Delta Air Lines Flight 841, an event where five members of the Black Liberation Army and three accompanying children used smuggled firearms to overpower the flight crew and hold the passengers hostage. The hijackers were originally given a $1 million ransom sum, requested provisions such as cigarettes and apples, and a flight engineer who was capable of refueling the aircraft and piloting it to an overseas destination. The hijackers then flew from Miami to Algeria where they were apprehended for their crimes, yet they were ultimately released by the Algerian police force. Some of the hijackers would later be arrested in Paris, and one man would be arrested in Portugal.
Although the Black Liberation Army doesn't have a "Top Ten Points of Black Power" like the Black Panther Party's "Ten Point Platform," they do have a small pamphlet titled Message to the Black Movement: A Political Statement from the Black Underground that was rumored to have been written by Shakur and her co-defendants in 1975 while she awaited trial for the murder of Werner Foerster.
After the introductory page, the pamphlet gives a broad overview of the Black Liberation Army's overall political philosophy, and the driving force that motivates its members to do things such as hijack jet airliners:
"We will start with the basic fact that Capitalism and Imperialism as an economical system is in a deep crisis at home and abroad. The basis of this crisis is, of course, the exploitive [sic] relationships that capital must maintain in order to function. It is these economic, social and political relationships that signal the eventual doom of our oppressors and this system of oppression under which we all live."On the same overview page, it continues:
"We, as blacks in North America must realize, that to seek inclusion into the prevailing socio-economic system is suicide in the long run, for the prevailing system cannot withstand the irresistable [sic] world trend of history which is opposed to continued U.S. exploitation, racist domination and subjugation. To fool ourselves into believing that "equal opportunity", "justice", and social equality is the same as the capitalist system is a grave mistake with genocidal implications for every person of color. Our first obligation is to ourselves, this means our first obligation is to secure our total liberation from those forces that maintain our oppressive condition. Related to this self-obligation (not distinct form it) is our obligation to all oppressed people throughout the world, for in striving to liberate ourselves we must abolish a system that enslaves others throughout the world. This, in essence, is our historical duty, we can either carry it out or betray it, but we most certainly will be judged accordingly by the world's peoples [sic]."So according to the Black Liberation Army, the system of oppression that is enslaving communities all around the world is capitalism. The Black Liberation Army had become convinced that the socio-economic system of the United States of America has somehow failed, or is continuing to fail due a "world trend of history" that opposes the continuation of the system in place in 1975.
Anti-capitalists such as the BLA and the Black Panthers often say that capitalism isn't a form of equal opportunity due to the fact that they use a different definition of the world "equal." The word has grown to be defined in many different ways, and the choice of definition usually determines one's core political ideology. The capitalist is more likely to suggest that "equal" is defined (according to Merriam-Webster) "regarding or affecting all objects in the same way." In a political context, "equal" is used to describe a scenario where all groups of people are set to abide by the same laws and are expected to live up to the same standards that they have given one-another. The concept is that since all people regardless of race, religion, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, are to be considered as individuals, they are capable of achieving anything they wish provided they are given an equal opportunity under the law. The Marxist will define "equal" as "of the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another," meaning that they view equality as a redistribution of wealth and population amongst the races, religions, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations.
The difference between the use of these two definitions displays a striking quality from it's user. The capitalist, who believes in equal opportunity under the law, understands that although mankind is unique and incredibly diverse each individual deserves equal treatment; furthermore, if every individual is to receive equal treatment under the law, then every individual will have been provided the opportunity to make his or her own choices so that he or she may succeed and live a free, successful, and healthy life. The capitalist believes that if an individual is left to make his or her own choices, then the individual will most likely make the best choices for him or herself.
On the contrast, the Marxist believes that not all people are capable of making their own choices due to various reasons. There have been many reasons concocted by Marxist political groups that tend to be specific to the target demographic of the group, but in regards to political movements such as the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and #BlackLivesMatter, the reasoning that individuals must not be allowed to make their own choices in order to create an equal society is that Black people, if given equal opportunity under the law, are incapable of making choices that lead to success. In a true free market, there are no laws penalizing or benefiting a single individual or a specific group of people, and therefore all people have been given a fair chance at success and life as a whole. The idea that capitalism oppresses the Black man is to state that freedom is slavery.
"We have found the democratic process under capitalism to be merely a means by which capital controls the masses. It is a means of mass diversion designed to keep the powerless classes politically impotent while at the same time fostering the illusion that real power can be gained through the electoral process. Black People should know better. In a nation based on the false principle of majority rule we are a marginal minority and therefore our right to self-determination cannot be won in the arena of our oppressor."What the Black Liberation Army has failed to understand about capitalism is that capital does not control anybody or anything. Capital is a tool, and just like any other tool, it's use is determined by the craftsman. Money doesn't control the world and instead is just a tool of those trying to control it. The Black Liberation Army also fails in it's ideology to understand the United States' government. Our nation is not a democracy. When studying the classical Greeks, one can see that true democracy is not an adequate form of government due to the issue of how marginal minorities are overlooked in the democratic process. Majority rule has proven to be vastly detrimental to the marginal minorities of the community, and therefore the founding fathers who wrote our constitution have discovered a system that allows the freedom that democracy provides while still managing to represent would-be forgotten interests of the minority community. The idea is to divide the nation into multiple, smaller nations that form their own laws to meet the needs of their individual communities and cultures while creating a system of government representation to further empower minority interests. For example, I'd like to invite the audience to imagine a scenario where there was a U.S. state with the name "Green" that was inhabited by ninety thousand green people and ten thousand purple people. If the state was run by a true democracy, then the interests of the purple people would always be forgotten, as the general principle of democracy is that whoever has the loudest voice has the greatest power. Instead, the purple people are given a smaller form of government where those who inhabit the borders of this smaller Purple state are given the opportunity to vote in politicians who will specifically meet the needs of the purple culture and community. The smaller purple state is also given the opportunity to elect a set of representatives who will travel to the capitol of the state of "Green" so that they may represent the purple community and culture in grander issues facing the nation state. This form of government empowers the purple people, and although it may not provide a completely equal voice on the national level of government, it gives the purple people ultimate power over their own local government. This form of governance is what's called a Democratic Republic. In the United States, the levels of government are divided even more so; at the national level there exists the federal government, at the state level the state government, and at the city and county level the local government. Although the purple people of the state of "Green" may not have a large amount of representatives at the federal level, it would be far easier for those representatives to convince a smaller number of people to appreciate their issues than to convince the entirety of the green people. This form of government is not perfect, however it is the closest possible system to a truly fair and equally representational government that mankind has achieved. Of course, the system is far more complicated, especially when considering every other system of checks and balances that exist within our government frame to further protect the individual private interest, however this blog post is not meant to be a lesson on U.S. government.
In regards to the Black Liberation Army, they believe that capitalism is oppressive to the Black man because they do not believe that if a Black population and a White population were to be placed in a fair arena of financial competition, the Black population would never be able to fair well compared to the White population. They do not believe that Black persons should be allowed to think and chose for themselves because they do not trust the Black man with his own choices and thoughts. To an extent, the authors of a Message to the Black Movement: A Statement from the Black Underground admit this sentiment with the statement, "Black People should know better."
"We therefore do not view the "law" of our class enemies as valid, nor do we feel restricted in struggle to his laws. On the other hand, we understand the "tactical" value of using the law and consequently we understand the tactical value of reform in the liberation process. For example, school takeovers by community parents, rent strikes by tenants, labor union takeovers by dissident members, etc.; utilizing their systems and built-in safeguards to obtain certain goals that place the enemy at a temporary disadvantage. But we maintain there is only tactical value to reform when there exists other forms of revolutionary struggle against the whole of the capitalist structure. Reform as such is inherently reactionary and perpetuates psychological dependence on the enemy, while confusing the true class contradictions between ourselves and the enemy. Considering these factors, we maintain that reform can never be anything more than a tactic, never a complete strategy, never be the road to self-determination for the entire black populace."Because the Black Liberation Army does not trust the Black population to adequately vote for themselves, they view the idea of voting to reform the 1975 socio-economic system as useless. The idea that the system can reform is to suggest that Black people and White people could possible exist together in a fair and equal society, however the Black Liberation Army considers this idea as a perpetuation of "psychological dependence on the enemy" since the belief that mankind as a society may seek help from their fellow man and that all individuals need the help and support of their neighbors constitutes the existence of a dependence. The Army did not wish for Black people to assume that White people may need the help of Black people or that Black people may need the help of White people, as this cohabitation contradicts the need for cooperation in a capitalist economic system. The act of reformation develops the dependency because it suggests that Black people and White people are somehow equal, and the Black Liberation Army confirms this ideal by stating how reformation would be "confusing the true class contradictions between ourselves and the enemy." The "true contradictions" are whatever inequalities the Black Liberation Army believes exist between the Black and White man.
"We also strongly condemn those who claim to be progressive, yet depreciate revolutionary violence of an oppressed peoples in their struggle for liberation. There can be no conditions on our fight for freedom except those set by the oppressed themselves. Those who claim that revolutionary violence gives the enemy the opportunity to repress the movement in general are profoundly mistaken if they think the reactionary government needs such excuses for repression, or that the government does not recognize the real danger in allowing a movement to develop the full blown capacity to wage armed struggle. The B.L.A. has undertaken the task of building just such a capacity, along with other comrades on the clandestine level... [sic]"In the second section of the pamphlet titled "Why Build the Armed Front," the reasoning for politically motivated violence continues:
"Our ultimate or strategic goal at this point in creating the apparatus of revolutionary violence is to weaken the enemy capitalist state, creating at the same time objective-subjective conditions that are ripe for the formation of a National Black Liberation Front composed of many progressive, revolutionary, and nationalist groupings, and in this same process create the nucleus of the armed clandestine organs which such a front would need in order to carry out its political tasks."The Black Liberation Army was convinced that the only possible way of achieving their goals was through violent means. Although it may seem odd to think that one must use violence to spread awareness of police brutality, I would hope that at this point the reader is starting to understand the true nature that encompasses the Black Nationalist ideology. The ultimate goal is not Black freedom, the end to police brutality, the end of Black enslavement, or even the end of discrimination against Blacks in the workforce. The goal is for the complete destruction of the current system of government so that a socialist utopia may take it's place. The BLA recognizes that this goal cannot be achieved through democratic reform due to the fact that there exists the free market of ideas, another staple of a capitalist society. In a free market of ideas, man is left to debate different philosophies, and due to the logical nature of man, only the most logically sound philosophies may survive. It's a way of applying capitalist economic policies to philosophical debate where every opinion is given an equal opportunity to persuade others into support with the general principle being that if man is left to freely make it's own choices, man will make ultimately make the best choices. Black Nationalist organizations and other radical leftist groups see the free market of ideas as a threat and as something that needs to be destroyed or influenced. If the free-market is influenced, thus sparks the "objective-subjective conditions that are ripe for the formation of a National Black Liberation Front." To provide some perspective as to what exactly those conditions are, I am inspired to allude to Saul Alinksy's book Rules for Radicals which was published just four years before the Black Liberation Army's Message to the Black Movement: A Statement from the Black Underground:
"Men don't like to step abruptly out of the security of familiar experience, they need a bridge to cross from their own experience to a new way. A revolutionary organizer must shake up the prevailing patterns of their lives - agitate, create disenchantment and discontent with the current values, to produce, if not a passion for change, at least a passive, affirmative, non-challenging climate.
'The Revolution was effected before the war commenced,' John Adams wrote. 'The Revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.' A revolution without a prior reformation would collapse or become a totalitarian tyranny.
A reformation means that masses of our people have reached the point of disillusionment with past ways and values. They don't know what will work but they do know that the prevailing system is self-defeating, frustrating, and hopeless. They won't act for change but won't strongly oppose those who do. The time is then ripe for revolution."Alinsky's book is a description of his step-by-step process for convincing a public into allowing a violent takeover of an established system of government. The idea is to strike enough fear into the heart of the people that they would either support a violent reaction or at the very least feel indifferent towards politically motivated murder. This strategy is in tandem with the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army, as the Panthers were those who spread the fear while the Army were those who acted upon it. Despite the Panther's constant embezzlement of party funds, internal fighting, and substance abuse by high ranking officials, they along with the Army ultimately failed their goal by attempting to revolutionize too early. Although in the Army's pamphlet Message to the Black Movement they state that the conditions have not yet been met, they had conveniently forgotten while writing their manifesto that they had already committed several acts of violence including policemen assassinations and various other terrorist plots. Since the Panthers had failed to spread enough fear (which was in part caused by the massive amount of corruption inside the party along with Huey P. Newton's paranoid purging of members), the Army was instigated in a losing battle of public opinion with their hasty realizations of their terrorist plots. In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky describes the consequences for the Army's impatience:
"The masses of people recoil with horror and say, 'Our way is bad and we were willing to let it change, but certainly not for this murderous madness - no matter how bad things are now, they are better than that." So they begin to turn back. They regress into acceptance of a coming massive repression in the name of 'law and order.'"
Origins of the Black Liberation Movement - Inspirations for #BlackLivesMatter Activists
So this is the moment that the reader has probably been waiting for, and I think it's safe to assume that he or she is probably thinking, "Joe, I've had far too much of this. At this point, your ramblings about the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army have made me grow bored of your blog post, and I barely even remember why you went into this history lesson in the first place!" In response to this hypothetical complaint, I want to bring the reader back to Alicia Garza, the woman who has credited herself with creating the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and has written in her "Herstory" about her praise of Assata Shakur. Now that I have gone into detail about Shakur and the history of the ideology that she follows, I can now begin discussing the #BLM movement and Alicia Garza's attempt to "reform" it.
"Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes. It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within some Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all. Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement."The primary distinction between the ideology of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the Black Panthers Party/Black Liberation Army lies in the groups' position towards masculinity. It has been theorized that during the 1960's, many young Black males began to feel emasculated by the peaceful forms of protest and social change propagated by civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., who was inspired by what most historians have agreed upon as the ultimate symbol of peaceful revolution, Mahatma Ghandi. Due to the violent reaction of the southern state's police forces to the peaceful gatherings and rallies, some of the Black men felt as if the inability to fight back against the police portrayed a direct attack on their manhood. Here is an excerpt from The College of New Jersey Journal of Student Scholarship article titled "Women in the Black Panther Party: An Internal Struggle for Power, Equality, and Survival" by Robert James Seither that provides a little more analysis:
"In summary, along with active defense from police, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale began their party with an explicit goal of reaffirming the masculinity of African American males, who 'had been metaphorically castrated [Josephs, 405]' by racist mistreatment, as they cowered from lynching threats and often watched their wives bring in more money than they could manage themselves. Thus, from the very birth of the BPP, women were left out of its mission and goals."In a time where young Black men where struggling to find their own identity, the militaristic aspect of the Panthers became irresistibly attractive to those who felt it was unmanly or unfair to allow police officers' heinous brutality against peaceful protesters without bringing some form of self defense. As a hypothetical example, I would like to invite the readers to imagine a Black man and his partner attending a sit-in protest at their local "whites-only" restaurant. At first the protest might be peaceful, yet their is always the threat of a police infiltration and clearing; furthermore, when the police inevitably arrive to clear the protesters, it is promulgated by Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy that the Black man has to watch the police take his partner away without retaliation. Scholars have suggested that these intimate moments of the release of a man's inherent instinct to protect his loved ones from harm created the conditions for a political movement that emphasized the reclaiming of one's manhood. A more extreme example might be Fidel Castro's view of masculinity as a material tool for patriarchal rule. Although he was able to gain support from the young Cuban men who wished to "prove their manhood" in the fight for Cuban freedom and justice, the extreme masculine philosophy led to many heinous acts such as mass internment of openly gay and lesbian peoples. Although the Black Panthers did not have the power to commit mass internment of homosexuals, they did however hurt their cause through sexist beliefs towards women:
"Assata Shakur, another Party member, reinforced this idea, using shocking, aggressive and foul language as a necessary means of garnering respect and attention from male comrades who would otherwise overlook her as a leader [Josephs, 413-22]. The sexism of the party was clear. According to Elaine Brown, who would later become chairman of the party in 1974, '[a] woman in the [...] movement was considered, at best, irrelevant. A woman asserting herself was a pariah. A woman attempting the role of leadership was,To continue, the Black Panthers Party was also notorious for their sexual assault of female party members:
to my proud black Brothers, making an alliance with the "counter-revolutionary, man-hating, lesbian, feminist white bitches" [Brown, 357].' To be respected at all, women had to present themselves in a ‘manly’ way. This further reinforced women’s subordination in the Party because they were not being respected for who they were as women, but rather for the masculine façade they were often forced to wear. It was also clear that, especially during the Party’s early years, founders had no clear plan for integrating women into the Party’s leadership."
"In addition to struggles with male leaders and members, BPP women also endured acts of physical violence. In the early to mid 1970s when the Party began to face mounting federal suppression and internal challenges, Huey Newton and other BPP leaders began to deviate from the original goals of the Party, and in many instances, turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the dire situation. Newton, in particular, became increasingly violent towards women in the Party. He, and other men in the Party, also treated women as sexual objects. Even after declaring that women were the 'other half' of men and should thus be treated equally, the men of the party still expected the women to satisfy their sexual advances [Josephs, 425.]. If the men continued to think of and treat the women as objects of pleasure, clearly in their minds they were not on equal ground, no matter how much they attempted to express this in writing. Bobby Seale attempted to defend the Party’s image, arguing that the Party had created rules such as '"Do not take liberties with women"' and had punished members for acts of violence against women [Spencer, 103]. This appeared to be a feeble attempt to save face, however. As historian Robyn Spencer points out, male leaders were not expected to follow these rules in their intimate relationships, and ultimately, were not held acceptable by Party leaders [Spencer, 104.]. Women without Panther affiliation had even less say when it came to challenging assault they experienced behind closed doors. Before his apparent change of heart, Eldridge Cleaver even spoke of his overtly vulgar titled theory of using a woman and her body as a reward for political success [Spencer, 104.]. Thus, the Party leaders’ attempt to advocate gender equality and respect for women, appeared to be a half-hearted attempt to sweep the issue under the rug."Seither's article even goes so far as to blame the attempt to include women in the party as one of the primary factors that led to the movement's demise due to the inability to heal the wounds that the sexism and sexual assault left on Black women:
"Ultimately, women appeared to make steady gains within the hierarchy of the BPP and certainly made significant contributions to the black community through food and clothing drives and educational programs for Black youth. However, even as women took the places at the forefront of the party, which were left vacant by male members who were dead or incarcerated, women in the BPP were never able to gain full equality with their male counterparts. Though women spoke widely of their increased status and some male leaders made statements of level ground, this verbal evidence was outweighed by the undeniably chauvinist actions of men. While support from women kept the party above water for a short time, in the end issues of gender added to the turmoil and discord within the party. The issue was a disruption and a distraction from the party’s goals that eventually led to the collapse of the Black Panthers."The solution to this problem in regards to the #BlackLivesMatter movement has been to not only include Black women's demands on the forefront of the party's goals but to also include the demands of Black LGBTQ persons. Beyond the movement's stance on masculinity, not much about the #BLM movement's goals are different from those of the Black Panthers, except for the adaptation of the philosophy where all of the demands from the "Ten Point Platform" are no longer only expected for Black men, but to be expanded to Black people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
At this point in the article, I would like to post again the picture of my colleagues' status for the ease of referencing; now that I have adequately informed myself of the Black Liberation movement, I believe I am now ready to deconstruct my colleague's post.
2) "for the record y'all, #blacklivesmatter is not saying that black people..." - An Analysis of what #BlackLivesMatter Is and Isn't Saying
#BlackLivesMatters is not saying that black people don't commit crime, shouldn't be punished for crime, or deserve "special treatment" from the police.
I believe that my colleague's statement that #BlackLivesMatter "is not saying that black people don't commit crimes, that black people shouldn't get punished for the crimes they commit, or that black people deserve 'special treatment' from the police" is somewhat disillusioned from the demands and justifications made by #BLM affiliate groups. I would argue that it's less about #BLM believing that Black people are always innocent or that they do not deserve the punishment being dealt to them when being charged with crime, and it's more about how #BLM doesn't believe Black people have to follow the laws that our society has collectively agreed upon due to their skin color.
As a note, I would like to point out that I have followed a pattern of addressing the #BlackLivesMatter movement as if it were a singular operation; however, as I have stated in the beginning of this post, beyond the website created by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrise Cullors, #BLM is nothing more than a hashtag. The website contains a "bottom line" that determines it's use as a social tool stating, "#BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement." There is a page where one may choose a local city to contact organizations that are associated with #BLM, however the names of the organizations are not listed, and I have yet to have heard back from whoever is behind the Durham, North Carolina submit-box.
"4. An end to the use of past criminal history to determine eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs."In an event where crime has been committed, it is universally understood that when an individual decides to break a law for whatever reason, the individual is voluntarily forfeiting certain rights that have been afforded to them under the law. One of those rights is the individual's eligibility to vote. It's a statute of American ideals that criminals have lost their voice in the legal system due to their inability to abide by the legal system that is currently in place. The argument to be made is that most people who are currently incarcerated have been convicted of a non-violent crime such as drug use or petty theft, however it is still the individual's responsibility to understand the risks and consequences of committing a non-violent crime. The most common argument that I personally see used is the ethical implication of anti-drug laws and their relations to marijuana smokers. Although their is a big push in modern pop culture to normalize and decriminalize the use of recreational marijuana, the consequences of being caught are still understood by every responsible individual contemplating the idea of smoking the drug. It is in my personal opinion that a responsible individual would have the capacity to understand the rights that he or she is in risk of losing and be able to take responsibility for their choices, and therefore those who value smoking a drug over their right to vote or their reputation in regards to housing, education, licensure, credit, and employment, shouldn't have the right to hide their irresponsible actions. To assume that a system such as this is unfair to the Black man is to assume that the Black man is incapable of following the law, which I believe reverts back to the underlying principles of the Panther's and the Black Liberation Army's core ideology, that being how Black people and White people are not equal. If the current legal system was unfair to the Black population, then it would have to contain laws by which Black people are physically or mentally incapable of following. I do not believe the legal system contains any of these laws due to the fact that Black people, White people, and any people are equally capable and are not hindered by their skin color.
"5. 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."A statement such as this can only be made through arrogance, i.e. the belief that one's skin color makes them immune to the laws. One of the most common misconceptions about the United States government and legal system that I personally see is that of the rights of immigrants. The #BlackLivesMatter movement believes that illegal immigrants are being oppressed due to the laws that govern the United States system of immigration and her borders. First and foremost, those who are not citizens of the United States are not granted the civil rights listed in the United States constitution. This does not only affect undocumented people but all other foreign aliens attempting to enter the country. The core function of a government is to protect it's citizens, and part of that protection is monitoring and controlling the population of immigrants who are trying to enter the nation. When considering the use of one's common sense, one might assume that a nation's citizens would most likely wish to only grant citizenship to immigrants who will follow the nation's laws; when a person enters the country illegal, he or she immediately proves that he or she is unwilling to follow the nation's law. When an individual does enter the country legally but fails to maintain his or her immigration status or commits a crime after entering the country, then the individual has proven that he or she is unwilling to follow the nation's law. People who are unwilling to follow the law are called criminals, and they do not have a right to enter a country who's laws they refuse to follow; and furthermore, the citizens of that country are not obligated to tolerate the criminals' actions. The #BlackLivesMatter movement doesn't believe an immigrant is obligated to abide by the immigration laws solely due to their skin color, and this once again reverts back to the idea that Black people and White people are not equal. The only justification for this stance that I could imagine is that Black people are incapable of following immigration laws due to some sort of physical or mental defect, or that Black people are somehow impervious to the United States legal system due to their superiority over White people. It is obvious that both assumptions are wrong due to the fact that Black people are as equally capable as White people and all other peoples.
"10. 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 all 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."This point is such a mess of statements that it's hard to analyze. Where else would a society place it's criminals if it were not some sort of area of confinement? How could one justify destroying the current system without an immediate solution to the problem, no matter how bad the current system is? How could the #BlackLivesMatter movement justify the destruction of jails, detention centers, youth facilities, and prisons without some other means of quartering criminals, especially since, after all, not every criminal is non-violent? Where would our society place the murderers, rapists, manslaughterers, assaulters, etc.? To be completely honest, I find the second sentence of this point to be completely incomprehensible. Solitary confinement is a necessary measure taken to protect non-violent criminals from overly violent criminals. Although it is wrong to mistreat pregnant women, that does not give pass to their actions; if a pregnant woman has proven herself to be unsafe for minimal-security means of imprisonment, then what other choice is there than to have her restrained? Is she somehow incapable of acting responsibly due to some physical or mental detribute? Now, access to healthcare is something that does need to be provided to our society's criminals, however I would believe that #BlackLivesMatter's time would be better spent addressing this issue on a case-by-case basis as it is not a universal truth of all criminal institutions. There are prisons that treat their prisoners well, and there are prisons that do not; however, why destroy the entirety of the system for the actions of a minority group? To suggest dismantling every criminal institution due to the actions of a minority group of those institutions is the rationale of a child.
I think I am obligated to say that not every point listed on the "End the War on Black People" page is entirely unreasonable (e.g. abolishing capital punishment and the death penalty), however the ultimate goal of these demands is to abolish the system as a whole or at least as how it applies to the Black population. They demand that either Black people are exempt from the current legal system and are only obligated to follow Black-only laws, or that the entire system as a whole must be torn down and rebuilt. In this manner, I agree with my colleague. #BlackLivesMatter does not want special treatment from the law; they want to separate from the law altogether and establish their own system. The idea of Black Liberation is synonymous with Black Separation or Black Segregation.
This is the strength in the heinous ideology that is spread by the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Every citizen who has heard of #BLM, whether the person is in support of the movement or not, immediately associates it with a fight against police brutality. This is only the surface of the underlying ideology. The ultimate goal of #BlackLivesMatter is not to reform the current legal system, but to destroy it by any means necessary. To return to Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals:
For a radical leftist movement to succeed, it must do whatever it takes to convince the public that the current system is failing, whether it be through statistical analysis and logical debate or by pure deceit. As I have been writing this blog post, I have been debating on whether or not I will want to spend the time debunking the various statistical claims that were mentioned in my colleague's post, however I believe that this article is getting too long, and many readers will most likely lose interest by this point."The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments. In the field of action, the first question that arises in the determination of means to be employed for particular ends is what means are available."
My message to the reader is this; organizations like #BlackLivesMatter manipulate their target audience with fear to push a Marxist revolution. If you are living in what you believe to be legitimate fear of the police (provided that you are not living in one of the more racist areas of the United States, e.g. yee olde Forsyth County in Georgia) or if you believe that the United States is systematically racist due to it's capitalist society, then you have been emotionally manipulated by a Saul Alinsky brainwashing tactic as it has been described in his own words. I understand that readers who have decided to read this post will only have three opinions regarding my writing with those being either; the author is a racist who is trying to undermine the fight for racial justice, the author is making valid points but I am far too intelligent to be emotionally manipulated and therefore the author is wrong or misguided, or the author is correct and these are things that have already been known to me. It may be because of my own personal experiences with the supporters of these movements, but I have lost hope in convincing my peers of the tactics used by radical leftist political movements and their ultimate goals. What always saddens me is that I usually only relate to the methods that they are using or the words that they are saying, yet somehow the people who have already decided upon following these doctrines are always convinced that I am trying to deceive them. In the perfect Marxist society, any kind of dissent against the movement is deemed evil; in order for the revolution to work, the rights of the individual must be neutralized for the good of the people.
In the past, history has always been taught that communist dictatorships were able to take away the freedom of speech through force and violence, yet now that Marxist philosophies have become so incredibly popular in the United States it has become clear that people are willing to give their rights away. Ultimately whether or not you decide to follow #BlackLivesMatter or any other radical leftist group depends on either one of two factors. The first would be whether or not you actually understand what the movement is and what it is trying to achieve. The second would be whether or not you as an individual believe that you matter. The radical leftist believes that the individual is a danger to the people, and the individual is only capable of harming those around him or her with his or her greed and selfishness. I believe in the goodwill of the common man. I believe that you as an individual are important, and that you are capable of contributing to society without governmental oversight. The government was not established to force its citizens into being good people, as that is an individual's responsibility. The government solely exists to protect those who wish to detribute society and from alien forces that do not have the nation's citizens' best interests. Although I would like to hope I may convince someone to reject the Marxist's idea of a perfect society, as I truly believe that those who never manage to break away generally tend to contribute to their own lives' detriment; however, I do maintain the belief that they are good people and do not wish to do the world harm. It's unfortunate that Marxists have developed a system to manipulate emotions for political control."The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth in the individual, and faith in the kind of world where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible. Great dangers always accompany great opportunities. The possibility of destruction is always implicit in the act of creation. Thus the greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself."
In all honesty, I understand that there are flaws in the United States' society, however I see them in different areas. I do, however, believe that the current system has so far been the most fair and equal society in regards to equal representation and equal opportunity when comparing the mass diversity of our country with any other society in history. It's the closest mankind has gotten to a perfect society, and I believe it shows in our wealth as a people and our strength and influence as a nation. If it weren't for our freedom, there wouldn't be a massive amount of people trying to emigrate to our nation. Even in countries like Cuba, where Fidel Castro has been praised and given a great multitude of international awards for his efforts, and Assata Shakur now considers her political assylum as she escapes prosecution for her involvement with the murder of Warren Foerster, the people fled from the perfect Marxist society in droves, sometimes even by trying to row their way to America
Revisiting Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals reminds me of a time when I was following a mandatory attendance for a lecture about "social change" that was being given by Tony Woodcock. At the end of his lecture about the artist's duty to carry out social change, I asked him what the end goal was for all of the change. He asked me to clarify, and I said, "What are we trying to change society into?" He returned, "Well, I guess I've never thought about it like that." He stated that if there is something wrong with society, then it needs to be changed. The problem is that there will always be something wrong with any society. I believe in the good will of mankind, however I know that it is not a perfect animal. I found the real answer to the question in Alinsky's book:
"Knowing that the mountain has no top, that it is a perpetual quest from plateau to plateau, the question arises, "Why the struggle, the conflict, the heartbreak, the danger, the sacrifice. Why the constant climb?" Our answer is the same as that which a real mountain climber gives when he is asked why he does what he does. "Because it's there." Because life is there ahead of you and either one tests oneself in its challenges or huddles in the valleys in a dreamless day-to-day existence whose only purpose is the preservation of an illusory security and safety. The latter is what the vast majority of people choose to do, fearing the adventure into the unknown. Paradoxically, they give up the dream of what may lie ahead on the heights of tomorrow for a perpetual nightmare—an endless succession of days fearing the loss of a tenuous security."
Hell hath no fury like the followers of social change. Regardless of ethics, logic, or outcome, these groups will continue the wanton destruction of societal norms at the cost of the individuals freedom. The ultimate goal is the perfect Marxist society that doesn't exist.