For some reason, with most subjects of analysis, the credibility level of the person(s) analyzing it is usually a critical factor in determining the value of the assessment. In other words, if someone with no medical knowledge and training weighed in on the techniques required for open heart surgery, most reasonable people would question the ability of that person to make such pronouncements. For some reason, with the struggle for African liberation and forward movement, this logical principle is abandoned. Literally anyone with vocal chords and a computer is able to vomit out analysis and if that analysis lines up with whomever reads it, these people consuming it promote, like, and share it, despite whether its grounded in material reality or not.
The BLM movement is being impacted by this approach, so the effort here is to provide a more class, nation, and gender based analysis of this movement. Unfortunately, many Africans are choosing to focus on the gender politics articulated through BLM gatherings as an excuse to attack the movement. I even saw a picture of one of the BLM so-called founders with that person’s love interest who happens to be European and apparently, transgender. To the people posting and commenting about this picture, this reality evidently is supposed to discredit not only this one BLM person, but the entire BLM movement. I cannot think of a more silly and immature analysis. The only legitimate method to criticize any movement for justice is the principles under which that movement is based, but we will return to that regarding BLM shortly. The point for now is African people are being systemically murdered by the capitalist police states over the world. This is a time for African people everywhere to unite and fight for our dignity. Anyone who is still promoting the exclusion of Africans because you don’t understand or agree with who they are, you are a big part of the problem. And, I’m saying that as a so-called cis, or hetero African man. Any movement we promote for our liberation that doesn’t include every African, no matter their size, height, color, place of birth, location, religion, language, orientation of any type, physical abilities, etc., is not a true movement for our liberation and justice. Trust me, I’ve heard all of the backward arguments before those of you making them did. You still cannot indicate one logical reason how your imitation of xenophobic politics against our LGBTQ family members helps our people’s struggle or what it is exactly that you lose by respecting the humanity of all of our family members. I’ve had this argument with so many Africans who are claiming that LGBTQ Africans are trying to “take over our movement.” I’ve done more work among our LGBTQ family than most so-called cis Africans and I’ve never seen that. Maybe if some of you stopped saying stupid things like the police are shooting “our men” and started saying they are killing our people, especially Trans African women, which is what I hear our LGBTQ family members asking us to do, things would be much better. Regardless of that, I don’t anticipate these people being capable of evolving around this anytime soon. I’ll just say I’ll fight to you to death around these questions.
There is also a trend going around where Africans feel the need to assert that BLM is being financed by some sources outside of our community. This rumor about BLM has been around just about as long as they have and it has been discredited just about as long. The rumor of course initiated through white, right talking points and of course, many of our people blindly repeat the talking points of the very people who are against us.
And then there are those misinformed people who attempt to blame and label BLM as a terrorist movement because of the righteous and legitimate struggles that escalated into righteous street anger against police terrorism aimed against peaceful protesters. A lot of people who couldn’t find a demonstration if it smacked them right in the face (meaning they have never participated in one) feel perfectly comfortable articulating their worthless perspectives of what happens during these protests. We understand that so many of you have PhD’s from NBC, FOX, CIA, etc., but the reality from those of us who regularly have organized and participated in demonstrations of all types for decades is that no violence from protesters is ever going to happen until they are antagonized from violence from police agents. And, often, much of the street acts carried out are conducted by police agents designed to do things to discredit the protests. Yet, even if we can just say for the sake of argument that every broken window, burned car, etc., was carried out by protesters independent of what happened to them by police while peacefully protesting, still, everything they do is justified. This country was founded and is maintained by systemic violence. Violence against Indigenous peoples and Africans. Violence against everyone around the world who dares challenge the hegemony of this backward government. With all of this I’m supposed to focus on a few broken windows committed as a result of the frustration people have at the hypocrisy of this system?
Also, on this last point, too many people are completely confused about the difference between a political party and a movement. A political party, like the one I belong to – the All African People’s Revolutionary Party – is a monolithic organization with one ideology – Nkrumahism/Tureism. In other words, every member of our party subscribes to the same ideological objectives. On the other hand, a movement represents people who have all types of different beliefs. In these protest marches there are communists, anarchists, Pan-Africanists, Marxist/Leninists, liberals within the capitalist system, undercover police, etc. Its impossible to label a march and/or protest as one ideology and direction and anyone attempting to do that, using BLM for their purposes, is someone who is either extremely naïve and ignorant about political struggle or someone purposely injecting confusion to demonize BLM.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is legitimate criticism that needs to be leveled at BLM. Its just not any of the nonsense indicated above. Instead, we should be talking about how BLM can develop more of an advanced political analysis? How it can begin to educate people about systems of oppression and how we must organize to eliminate them instead of being roped into the increment reforms that have come to unfortunately characterize BLM. Also, the question of money coming into BLM has to be raised and this question should be addressed within the context of the political struggle and political education previously mentioned. A movement against injustice cannot become a cash focused movement, but this doesn’t fall on BLM organizers alone. The entire question of political education, the need for it, and the need for permanent organization, specifically wrapped around a worldwide analysis of the problems, and solutions, must be embraced by BLM. Until that happens, every time someone like the African named Coates appears to trade in militant struggle for book deals and more comfortable benefits it will continue to give BLM the look of a sellout movement.
Finally, it has to be said that the way Africans and others are criticizing BLM, using all of the nonstarter critiques identified in the first part of this piece (and other insane attacks), indicates to those of us seasoned in political organizing work how much you are not involved in this work. Anyone involved in the work knows that no mass movement is ever going to be organized by one individual with money. We know what movements are and what they aren’t. We aren’t confused about why things happen in mass movements one way one day, and another way the next day. Those people unversed in political struggle demonstrate their naivete around these types of contradictions. Also, any African who is promoting the isolation of any of our people for any reason clearly has limited to no experience actually organizing our people for long term, sustainable work for our liberation. Those who have this experience learn quickly that we cannot win without all of our people and the sacrifices necessary to engage in this work create a humility that these African separatists are completely devoid of. The least these people can do is join BLM since at least that would place them into some level of African organization for justice. Or, if they don’t want to join BLM, they have the responsibility to join some organization working for our people’s liberation. Anything else and you are just a black rhetoric spewing part of the reason we struggle as much as we do.