Thursday, November 19, 2015

Black Lives Matter: The Only Game in Town

There is a good story, sort of a roundup, on Black Lives Matter by John Eligon ("One Slogan, Many Methods: Black Lives Matter Enters Politics"). At this point, as I see it, Black Lives Matter is pretty much "the only game in town," if you exclude efforts to struggle in the Augean Stables of the duopoly. The $15 Now movement has largely been adopted by the mainstream. Efforts continue to raise the minimum wage at the city level and for large university systems, but by and large $15 Now has carried the day.

Ferguson, where Black Lives Matter took off, is now almost a year-and-a-half gone, but Black Lives Matter, as Eligon's piece makes clear, is still going strong. It has plenty of grass-roots mojo, as well as insider chops. In a potentially troubling sign, a Black Lives Matter super PAC is being set up, as Eligon reports, to raise money from wealthy Democrat funders:
“At this point, marching and protesting, it’s not going anywhere,” said Tarik Mohamed, treasurer and a founder of the super PAC. “So we’re trying to find new avenues of engaging people for change.” 
And, in a sign of its growing influence, the movement is attracting the attention of deep-pocketed Democratic donors, who met with activists in Washington this week to discuss how they can support the budding movement.
The Black Lives Matter Super PAC, in addition to contributing to campaigns next year, hopes to capitalize on new technology, such as virtual reality software, to help people understand experiences like solitary confinement, Mr. Mohamed said.
Members of the Democracy Alliance, an influential club of liberal donors, met on Tuesday with groups allied under the Black Lives Matters banner — including, Black Youth Project 100 and the Black Civic Engagement Fund — to discuss possibly directing funds to the movement, said Leah Hunt-Hendrix, an alliance member. The organizations represented only a sample of the groups that donors wanted to shed light on, she said.
“It was just a really real conversation about the complexities of funding movements and the need for more infrastructure, especially black-led infrastructure,” said Ms. Hunt-Hendrix, who has inherited wealth from an oil company her grandfather started. 
Specific funding commitments were not made, she said, and it would be up to individual donors to follow up with organizations they want to support.
“We don’t want to raise expectations that this is a secretive group of donors hoping to raise tons of money,” she said.
As soon as "gee whiz" whiz-bang technology is trotted out as a growth strategy for a social movement run for the hills, preferably the Sierra Maestra.

Nonetheless, Black Lives Matter has been around now and is organizing, growing and influencing perception and governance longer than Occupy Wall Street, an organization I thought would be able to successfully redefine itself with its Occupy Sandy volunteerism after its main encampment was demolished. No such luck,

There needs to be an egalitarian mass movement that is not appropriated by one of the two devilish hands of the duopoly. Obama's legacy will be that he proved adept at suckering people back into belief and participation in a corrupt and failed political system. There are no avatars of the mainstream who will better our lot because the mainstream is choked with lies and is sped along by warfare and concentrated wealth.

There is a powerful, expanding understanding that the system has failed. Black Lives Matter so far has walked the talk.

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