Is Black Lives Matter really Marxist?

I’ve been sitting and stewing (no pun intended) for weeks, researching and organizing material and thoughts about Black Lives Matter, which many of my friends on the Right call “Marxist.”

Black Lives Matter protest. (Photo: CNN)

I think they just don’t like BLM, so they reach for a familiar club, one that has a handle with grooves that fits their fingers. Like the Left does with “racist.”

BLM is two things, maybe more. It is a widespread, amorphous movement for social change, and also an organization, that in its own words is “a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

Vigilantes such as George Zimmerman, who was acquitted after he killed Trayvon Martin. That sparked the creation of Black Lives Matter and I am not going to relitigate Zimmerman here.

The BLM organization  has no authority over its 40 local chapters or individuals who march under the BLM banner.

So, yes, you have heard BLM protestors chanting “death to cops,” and “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.”

If the national BLM condemned that — as opposed to explaining that — I haven’t heard it.

That is on them.

Many of you know that my operating principle is “reality determines my political positions, not vice versa.”

The reality is I find nothing Marxist on the BLM website, although there is some other objectionable stuff. Leftist, for sure, but so are Democrats.

BLM was founded by three women of color — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and Opal Tometi — who describe themselves as radical, two are Marxists,  Garza identifies as queer and Tometi is a “transnational feminist.” Their principles lie heavily on Blackness, women, and queerness (not surprising when you remember where they came from).

I know what some of you are thinking: BLM wouldn’t admit to being Marxist.

That is 20th Century thinking. Today’s Marxists aren’t ashamed of what they are — they brag about it. When presidential candidate Bernie Sanders toots about being a (democratic) socialist, you know Marxists have little to fear. 

What you might be fearful of is this idea (like everything else here, taken from  the BLM website): “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families….”

Also, “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 the Black community.”

BLM still believes that Michael Brown is some kind of martyr, despite several official inquiries — one by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice — that could find no charges to bring against the officer who killed him. “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a lie

“We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege,  and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.” 

Also: “We know police don’t keep us safe — and as long as we continue to pump money into our corrupt criminal justice system at the expense of housing, health, and educational investments — we will never be truly safe.”
And: “We build  space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism,  misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.”

The website is filled with la-de-da feel-good sentiments, actually ignoring men, but, that’s their movement — queer, feminist, Black.

But not Marxist, not to me, anyway.

As I told you at the beginning, I’ve thought about this subject for many weeks, and just a few days ago a Facebook friend shared a piece by another writer, headlined, “Is Black Lives Matter Marxist? No and Yes.”

It’s an extensive piece of reporting by Brad Palumbo.

 And I hope you will follow the link and read it.

14 thoughts on “Is Black Lives Matter really Marxist?”

    1. That’s fine. My column said they were admitted Marxists, but there is no Marxist theory in their goals. I am a registered Democrat. I do not accept all Democratic ideas and I vote for candidates from other parties, if you get my drift.
      And if they ARE Marxists — so what? It’s legal. But that’s not what it is.

  1. Just another diversion to me. I remember when J.Edgar Hoover branded MLK a communist and other freedom fighters as well.

  2. One may espouse Marxist ideas, ideals, or aims without being a Marxist. What does it matter anyway? It’s just a word. I remember when being called a communist could kill a career (Dalton Trumbo, call your office). And the word ‘liberal’ could end a budding political career (so liberals got smart and changed the word to ‘progressive’). Now the magic buzz words that frighten us gravitate toward race and gender, with politics taking a back seat. I am too far down the road of life to worry about black power movements, or white power movements, or high taxes, or covid-19, or transgender bathrooms, or Marxist college professors…or whatever fear-du-jour is being touted today. Those fears, or relatives of those fears, have circulated through my life for many years and caused me to waste too much emotional pelf on them. Hey, if America wants to be socialist (or Marxist, or whatever), that’s why we have a vote.

    And so, another debate on a very hot topic. The problem is trying to stick to the question. “Do black lives matter”? Easy enough. Of course they do. Just as all lives matter. Then you start to dissect the mantra. Then you bring in the founders of the organization. Then you add confusion, not resolution.
    As always, we play on one’s ability to manipulate another’s effort, conscience, beliefs, etc. It is true that the BLM is associated with the dims. They push their candidates, we push ours. Are they a bit on the sneaky side ? Welcome to America, kid. Who isn’t trying to get something from you.
    Me. I’ll have nothing to do with the organization. It took us a few hundred years to get this far. Over a hundred to rid ourselves of slavery. I don’t look at slavery as our “original sin”, either. It was a courtesy of the countries that were instrumental in founding us. Just as farming, manufacturing, etc was also a product of our ancestors, so to was slavery.
    Hopefully, we will all combine our talent as a nation and solve this and other problems sooner rather than later. I really don’t think that there was ever a united effort to rid ourselves of the racism and inequalities that have always existed.

  4. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu & readers,

    You raise a good question–worth some attention.

    The BLM founders are not classical “Marxists” in any case. It is very evident that they resist the old Marxist “class analysis,” and there is little sign of the traditional “historical materialism,” with its prediction of the “inevitable” revolution, rule of the proletariat, classless society, and etc.

    Your quotations illustrate what is sometimes called “cultural Marxism,” and the typical academic chatter of the left on (some) university campuses–concerning varieties of victim-hood and related, politicized “identities.” In my personal experience, at least, I have not heard such chatter in the classroom. It is chiefly a matter of items for media consumption –designed to polarize the mass audience.

    I take it that most who demonstrate under the banner of “Black Lives Matter,” are in fact concerned with instances of police brutality –which is not surprising given the way the police have been militarized post 9/11. At a still deeper level, there is simply a great deal of discontent in the country due to high levels of economic insecurity, the financial burdens placed on students, and the consequences of the present epidemic. The authorities faced with violence arising from demonstrations would do well to concentrate their attention on the comparatively few radicals who provoke rioting and genuinely aim to polarize. Put those guys in jail, and the situation might well change.

    “Black Lives Matter” is a great slogan, but a very doubtful organization –“Marxist” or not.

    H.G. Callaway

  5. Once again your column is spot on. From the get go I have had mixed feelings about BLM such as “You have convinced me that Black Lives Matter, now how about convincing yourself.” Demanding the death of Law enforcement isn’t going to help any thing. Yes, Black Lives Matter, but I get the sense that some Black Lives matter a lot more than others. Black lives lost that can be used to further a progressive agenda seem to matter the most, at least to the main stream media.

  6. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu & readers,

    On the excesses of media attention to the political fringe:

    “MSNBC producer pens scathing exit letter: Ratings model ‘blocks diversity of thought and content’.” I quote from the opening of the article:

    Producer Ariana Pekary recently resigned from MSNBC with an open letter accusing the news network of predicating its editorial process on ratings and alleging that its model “blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events.”

    “I don’t know what I’m going to do next exactly but I simply couldn’t stay there anymore,” Ariana Pekary, a producer for MSNBC’s second-most-watched program, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” wrote on her website. “My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.”

    —End quotation

    There we have it “from the horse’s mouth.”


    H.G. Callaway

    1. Personally I don’t care what they are called. I’ve seen what they’re capable of, and don’t like it. I’ve seen how persuasive the movement has proven to be. BLM (sugar coated label) won’t change how dangerous they are.
      What life doesn’t matter?

      I’ve lived long enough, thank God, to see the many good changes in our growing country, but why is there still generational poverty? I have always thought, ‘it doesn’t have to be this way.’ As long as there is someone, an evil reason, to exploit a situation, real ‘progress’ is not possible. There in, I believe, lies an answer. At least a start.

      One other thought is the missed opportunity that Obama had on racial healing! Good chance there’d be no BLM to discuss.

      Stu, I used to always split my vote, but a vote for a dem today is a vote against Trump. My local rep, a dem., speaks the party line. He’s young and ambitious. Scary!

        1. still HAPPY WEDNESDAY !!!
          You are correct, sir. Real progress will not take place until real people with the population in mind, remove all of the obstacles stopping the real progress.
          I always believed that the almighty buck speaks volumes. The average person does not have a clue, as to how much money is made through the various government subsidy programs.
          This time voting, it jas to be a straight Republican vote. Drain the swamp of as many swamp creatures as possible. The next election, finish the job ! Out goes the RINOs, dead wood, hangers on – everybody. We had a chance to start off right in 2016. Let’s not blow this golden opportunity ! Just imagine what our President can accomplish with some real help !

  7. Very interesting read. I did not “get” why so many right wingers were calling the Black Lives Matter movement “Marxist” but now I understand based on your description of the leaders. Still, most of those that are screaming “Marxist” are, IMHO, using it blindly to attack the organization, and are, (dare I say it?) racist. For the first time I looked at the BLM website. I didn’t read anything elevating Michael Brown as martyr, though did see a picture of him. Also, his death intensified the movement at that time. Thanks for clarifying the topic. Someone on this thread commented that “Black Lives Matter” is a great slogan but a doubtful organization. Makes sense to me.

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