by William Skink
Man, I hate it when I’m an unwitting dupe of the fascists. If you didn’t know it yet, let me be the first to tell you Black Lives Matter is a movement funded by billionaire George Soros who is obviously using these black puppets who can’t think for themselves to take down Bernie for Hillary.
While that angle is certainly plausible, considering Soros does use his billions to destabilize other countries, what’s more likely is the two woman who stormed the stage in Seattle are opportunists co-opting BLM to get attention for their own message:
According to a group familiar with BLM operations on the ground in Seattle, Johnson and fellow protester Mara Jacqueline are “opportunists” from a group called Outside Agitators 206 who co-opted the BLM label — an easy thing to do considering that BLM is essentially a leaderless movement.
And what is that message? Here is part of the message from their press release:
Bernie’s arrival in Seattle is largely significant in the context of the state of emergency Black lives are in locally as well as across America. The Seattle Police Department has been under federal consent decree for the last three years and has been continually plagued by use-of-force violations and racist scandals amongst their rank and file. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has refused to push any reform measures for police accountability, not even the numerous recommendations of his self-appointed Community Police Commission. The Seattle School District suspends Black students at a rate six times higher than their white counterparts, feeding Black children into the school-to-prison pipeline. King County has fought hard to push through a plan to build a $210 million new youth jail to imprison these children, amid intense community criticism and dissent. The Central District, a historically Black neighborhood in Seattle, has undergone rapid gentrification over the past few decades, with Black people being displaced from the only neighborhood that we could legally live in until just years ago. While white men profit off of the legalization of marijuana, our prisons are still filled with Black people who are over-incarcerated for drug offenses.
This city is filled with white progressives, which is why Bernie Sanders’ camp was obviously expecting a friendly and consenting audience for today’s campaign visit. The problem with Sanders’, and with white Seattle progressives in general, is that they are utterly and totally useless (when not outright harmful) in terms of the fight for Black lives. While we are drowning in their liberal rhetoric, we have yet to see them support Black grassroots movements or take on any measure of risk and responsibility for ending the tyranny of white supremacy in our country and in our city. This willful passivity while claiming solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement in an effort to be relevant is over. White progressive Seattle and Bernie Sanders cannot call themselves liberals while they participate in the racist system that claims Black lives. Bernie Sanders will not continue to call himself a man of the people, while ignoring the plight of Black people. Presidential candidates will not win Black votes without putting out an explicit criminal justice reform package. As was said at the Netroots action, presidential candidates should expect to be shut down and confronted every step along the way of this presidential campaign. Black people are in a state of emergency. Lines have been drawn in the sand. You are either fighting continuously and measurably to protect Black life in America, or you are a part of the white supremacist system that we will tear down in the liberation of our people.
Is this a part of a divide and conquer strategy to benefit the plutocrats? Is exacerbating racial tensions designed to distract from the class issues Bernie Sanders has made the focus of his campaign? Do they truly see Bernie as a threat? I mean, he is now leading in New Hampshire.
Personally, I think presidential politics is a waste of time. I tend to agree with Paul Street’s assessment of why movements shouldn’t get bogged down by presidential electoral politics. Here is an excerpt from his article Why Bernie Sanders is No Great White Hope for Black America:
…there’s a big difference between assisting a great grassroots struggle for social justice like the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and running for the White House under the banner of the corporate and imperial Democratic Party. The first form of activism is a worthy commitment. The second is not. It encourages people to link their hopes for progressive change and social justice to a reactionary political party with a long and deserved history as the graveyard of social movements. It channels popular anger and excitement into a dead, money-soaked political and elections system and its staggered, quadrennial, highly personalized and mass-marketed corporate media-ted candidate-centered electoral spectacles – as if that’s the real and only politics that matters.
The development of grassroots social movements strong enough that they can’t be ignored by concentrated wealth, privilege, and power is far more significant. As Howard Zinn explained seven years ago, criticizing the “election madness” that had “egulf[ed] the entire society, including the left” in the year of Brand Obama’s ascendancy, “Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced [to act in accord with popular needs] by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”
Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be great if Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in the primary battle, but even if Bernie Sanders were to win the presidency, not even an avowed socialist in the White House is going to be able to reverse the destruction of late-stage crony capitalism. More likely, a Sanders presidency would keep American foreign policy tied to the psychotic state of Israel and the western war machine chugging toward a suicidal confrontation with Russia. At least that is what Bernie Sanders’ record suggests.