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Thoughts on Black Lives Matters?

+2 votes
Admittedly I don't know too much about them because I don't really pay attention to the news as of recently. What I do know about them comes from their website where they describes themselves as some sort of decentralized groups trying to restart the black liberation movement. I'm not sure if they're more along the lines of a reformist group or a black nationalist group? I also know they disrupt US presidential rallies or try to and use lots of slogans. I was wondering y'alls thoughts on them?
asked Jul 15, 2016 by human (3,730 points)
retagged Jul 15, 2016 by human

A more positive one, since they oppose the current state(but are not anarchists):

"When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.  We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity."

zer0, i don't read that as saying that BLM is against the state, but against state violence, and against how the state treats Black people.
Yes, but have a negative response to the state.

5 Answers

+3 votes
i would say that they're the identity analog of Occupy. there are some cool things that some of them are doing and saying, and they provide a context that might lead to other cool things, but mostly they are liberal, and they are being/will be coopted by politicians, both official and unofficial.

note for reference recent anews story with comments by black anarchists frustrated by their invisibility for BLM peace police.


ps: link includes a white ally's reference to "melanated comrades," a phrase that must live on!
answered Jul 15, 2016 by dot (50,590 points)
+1 vote
I typically describe them as Anonymous for Black people: it's a mantle that any black political group can don, recasting their own independent doings as retroactively part of something much larger in a fashion which automatically contextualizes whatever they did.
answered Jul 22, 2016 by StrawDog (1,390 points)
I don't see how or why you'd describe them as Anonymous for black people? Anonymous are basically hactivists.
they're not similar because of what they do, but because of the role they play and the form they take. both groups are broad based and anyone can do a thing and claim it for the group. so the actions will range from liberal reform to insurrectionary, and so on, but whatever center there is to the group will either form as, or be identified as, whoever most wants to use it to gain power, which always means politicians, either official or in training.
Ah thanks, that makes more sense to me now.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Thanks, Dot!
–2 votes
Black Lives Matter is a liberal movement wanting to just change the state, not abolish it. Since they are not anarchists(liberals), I am not very interested in them. If they were black anarchists, then I would have more of an interest in them(and inspired).

They need to realize that the state is the issue(and capitalism). Instead, they are supported by(and support) politicians.
answered Jul 23, 2016 by Zer0 (300 points)
edited Jul 25, 2016 by Zer0
republicans are also negative towards the current state. so are the kkk.
if BLM was openly anarchist 'liberals' would turn their backs on them as they always do...usually while chanting 'GandhiMLKviolenceisnotheway' or some other such nonsense. gotta keep those property values high and ever higher after all.
"they are supported by(and support) politicians."

that seems somewhat incongruous with your statement that blm is "negative towards the current state".

agree with both dot's and af's comments; extra stars for dot's point and conciseness.
No contradiction for being negative towards the state and supported by politicians. They are both.
no, it just makes "negative towards the state" absolutely meaningless.
being negative towards the state and supporting politicians most definitely seems at odds to me.

"Republicans use politics to change, Black Lives Matter isn't a political party. They are liberals though and want political change."

all political parties and politicians use politics to change (or not change, more often). no offense, but sometimes your posts border on incoherent.

Even if you still want to keep the state, protests are a good thing. If this group and others can fight the state, this can create a chance for a revolution.

zer0, would you explain this train of thought? what does "fighting the state" mean here? and i assume "you" in the first sentence means "they", referring to non-anarchists protesting. but they will be protesting for things that the state can provide--like better trained cops, or cops who only police in their own neighborhoods, or cameras on cops, which increase state power.

and how are protests as protests "a good thing"?
how do you think even pro-state protests could lead to a revolution?

not trying to reject anything, just interested in you being a bit more specific about a fuzzy train of logic.


Fine, if it is that much of a problem, I will edit it.
Revolutions are unpredictable, anarchy(mostly temporarily) can come without others wanting it. Are revolutions only anarchist? You seem to reject that non-anarchist protests can lead to a revolution(which is false).
There is change through politics and change through other means. Change through politics won't get you anywhere out of the state. A revolution is needed.
first, i'm much less interested in you removing ('editing") your statements than in your explanation of why you said them in the first place. it's too bad that you took my query to mean that there was "a problem."

second, i'm not saying anything about revolutions, certainly nothing about them being only anarchist. revolutions are talked about elsewhere on this site.



it's entirely unclear to me that anything will definitively lead to a revolution, which was partly why i was interested in your reasoning.

I never said(or meant) that revolutions are definite. However, they can happen.

"how do you think even pro-state protests could lead to a revolution?"

This is what you said. This, of course, may not mean that revolutions are only anarchistic, but it sure seems like your saying that, or that they are mainly anarchistic.

i was asking you about a statement that you made, not making my own point. odd how you're trying to turn that around.

ps: i would never say that revolutions are only anarchist. most of the time i think revolutions have little to do with anarchy.
arguing against pro-state revolutions - and seriously, has there ever been one that is not statist and "political"? - is not the same as insisting that only anarchistic revolutions are possible. many anti-state communists, and maybe even anti-state capitalists, surely desire revolution of some sort; and neither of them are anarchist. i am really unclear on what your point is.

i find it interesting that no matter how much folks here try to answer your questions and engage you to try to understand what you are really asking/talking about, your responses seem preformed, rigid and ideological.

obviously, many here do not fit into your preconceived notions of anarchy (much less your political spectrum/dichotomy). although you have alluded to being interested in differing ideas, you seem incapable of engaging with them; you merely dismiss those you disagree with, often with definitive statements. if you are not interested in answers that don't align with your preconceived notions, why ask the questions?

"Fine, if it is that much of a problem, I will edit it."

Zer0, you don't need to change your answer or tailor it to agree with the opinions of other folks comments. I saw what you wrote because it goes in my email and I would disagree with dot's comment about republican being negative towards the state since they're all about expanding it. Just because they have a different opinion, doesn't mean you should change yours is all I'm saying.

human, Black Lives Matter is a liberal movement that doesn't care if the state is expanded, just wants equal treatment towards blacks. I never really was positive towards them, but like their negative attitude towards the state. I don't see the issue with changing it and am not trying to edit to agree with others, I just realized my statement on being positive towards violence against the state was pointless.
funkyanarchy, I am simply trying to respond to your points and assumptions. I believe some of you are right, I probably should care less about much of what you people say.
0 votes
There is real potential in the BLM movement.

Those two sentences you took from the BLM website are extremely encouraging. If they can just come around to deleting the word "Black" everywhere it occurs in those two sentences...

They are not completely anti-state yet, but if they continue to explore and reflect on "all of the ways... people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state..." and "the ways in which... lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity" they will necessarily arrive at the conclusion that only anarchy would get them where they want to be, and then the word "Black" would probably disappear from their name and mission statement.

It would be really great if a lot of them came around to anarchism. It could happen: they are angry, active and as yet unorganized. Unless a critical mass of them become anarchists -- like right now -- they will soon find they have wasted their time and energy.
answered Aug 12, 2016 by Syrphant (570 points)
By the way, I feel the same about all the current efforts by us little people to get some dignity: Trump, Bernie, Brexit, Jihadists, Occupy, Anonymous, Wikileaks, Arab spring ... potential. Critical mass. Maybe more than ever in the history of mankind. Do we just hope all these people just reason their way to anarchy? or do we try to help them? I hate feeling like I know what's good for other people, but I am so sad to see so many people so close yet so confused and such easy prey for the power-hungry.
I've since learned blm aligned itself with blue lives matter (wtf?) and have beef anarchists and against anarchists. Something about about anarchists showing up to their events and that rebelling is a white privilege or something. Kinda along the lines that using violence and what not is white privilege because the anarchists wont be killed and they will or something like that.

I don't claim to know all about them, but I really don't see anything anti-state about them. What I see, as of now, is people asking the police to stop killing them.
Where in heavens name did you hear Black Lives Matter joined w Blue lives matter? I follow them regularly on Twitter and have only seen the opposite. There are specific groups truly aligned w Black Lives Matter but the phrase is quickly becoming co-opted by any and everyone. The "Kleenex" of any Black person voicing a view. (kleenex is a brand name but also used generically.)
iirc i read it on some blm website, but  i'm not 100% sure about that since that comment is from a year ago.

I'm confused what you mean by kleenex? like white-washing or just a tissue?
they mean that BLM refers both to a specific thing (the official group, with  various named outlets) (like the brand Kleenex) but also to any action or group that the media (probably mostly, but also cops, politicians, etc) want to call BLM (corresponding to the generic tissue from a box). anyone can #BLM, doesn't mean it's them.

please correct me if i got that wrong.
Ah thanks for the clarification. Metaphors fly right over my head sometimes.

@zz how is it determined that a group is blm or not? Like are there core tenets a group must hold to be consider blm?
Thank you dot for clarifying my metaphor.

If you search "Black Lives Matter", look for an official site called Black Lives Matter. You should find what you are looking for.
"There are specific groups truly aligned w Black Lives Matter but the phrase is quickly becoming co-opted by any and everyone."

My question refers to this point you made. How is it determined when a group is aligned with blm or is blm and vice versa?
0 votes
I think you are not sure of what they are because they are continuing to evolve and cannot be likened to anything in the past. They definitely are influenced by a range of radical activity.

I think the biggest thing is to question anyone that says they are part of Black Lives Matter. As I said in another comment, the phrase has meaning narrower than how people use it. Those who co-opt it, do it a great injustice.

One thing I do know is that some Black activists are about amending the police process. Others are about aboliting the system altogether.
answered Jun 11 by zz (260 points)

"I think you are not sure of what they are because they are continuing to evolve and cannot be likened to anything in the past."

Black Lives Matter seems to be mostly guided by a reformist thought process, as in, having protests and making demands, which is something that has been done way too many times over the past 30 years.

But then again, I dropped out of the whole activist-awareness-raising-thing a long time ago. I would like it better if Black Lives Matter spent more energy on critiqueing the authoritarian assumption that police are good for protecting people, when a lot of statistics and facts show that that is clearly not the case.

Why would you offer a critique of someone something that are not sure of?
since the discussion is about something that is admittedly broad-based and changing, the conversation might be helped if people refer to specific quotations from BLM folks and/or accounts, rather than operating on assumptions or even generalized knowledge.

just my .02

"Why would you offer a critique of someone something that are not sure of?"

...because you opened a conversation, and I'm a member of this forum. I was hoping that maybe you would say "I disgree because...." If I couldn't just blurt out my opinions based on what i want to do at the time, then I would be much less of a happy person than I am.

The reason I asked is that the next person may come on here, read your comment, and presume that you are correct.

I have been asked to attach quotes. I am not prepared to do that. I have been observing the process more than studying the specifics.

I can say that there is a broad spectrum of opinions about the ultimate goal. Since Black people have been fighting the system for hundreds of years, I would think many have figured out that changing the system is futile.
i don't see where Nihilist said they weren't sure of anything...they simply gave their impression. and the question itself asked for thoughts on the subject, not the "right" answer....any person could come to this site and take each comment or "answer" however they want...i don't come here looking for "correct answers", i want to express thoughts and read others' expressions/ideas/thoughts.
to clarify, i'm asking anyone who is speaking about BLM's tendencies to quote or cite specifics about what BLM thinks, means, directions they're going in, etc. not just you zz. fwtw.
Thank you for clarifying. I was trying to live up to my part.

Here is a resource about Black Lives Matter.

As I tried to say, what Black Lives Matter, first point is to define who is being talked about when you say Black Lives Matter? The organization with more than 30 branches? Or Black Lives Matter that media & others use to cover any and all Black groups or individuals working for racial justice?