The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. —Ayn Rand
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the organization Black Lives Matter (as distinct from the truth of the statement) has dominated headlines and hashtags daily. And many Americans say they are sympathetic to the organization’s motives. According to a New York Times article by Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy, “an outright majority of Americans agree with the central arguments of Black Lives Matter.” And a Monmouth University poll found that “57 percent of voters thought the anger behind [BLM] demonstrations was fully justified, while a further 21 percent called it somewhat justified.”1
Of course, combatting racism and fighting for the rights of oppressed minorities is a moral and admirable cause. And it’s safe to assume that this is what most Americans think that Black Lives Matter aims to do. But is this truly BLM’s goal?
BLM was founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. On the group’s website, a page titled “What We Believe” begins innocently enough:
[BLM] started out as 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. In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.2
Aside from the ominous “us versus them” language, one might charitably grant BLM the benefit of the doubt with regard to its professed, overarching goal. A little farther down the page, though, we find statements that begin to cast doubt on the organization’s credibility and intentions. For instance: “We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’ so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.”3
What “patriarchal practice . . . requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’”? All women in America today are free to have children (or not) and to work one job, two jobs, or none. They’re free to make choices that necessitate more income, or to make different choices that require less income. These facts are plainly observable by anyone. Who or what is requiring any woman—black or otherwise—to work any particular number of jobs? BLM’s website doesn’t say.
The statement goes on: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”4 Who or what today is “requiring” a nuclear family structure of anyone? Again, the site provides no explanation or evidence.
The website’s “Donate” prompt reads: “We appreciate your support of the movement and our ongoing fight to end State-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.”5 Once again, we’re handed evidence-free assertions. Where is the “State-sanctioned violence” against black people? Where in America today are the black people who need to be “liberated”—and who is keeping them down? Aside from a few borderline-defunct chapters of the KKK, a relatively small number of neo-Nazis, and a smattering of unaffiliated bigots, where in America today are these unnamed advocates of “white supremacy”? The claim that such racism still exists as any significant cultural or political force in America today is a serious one that requires substantial evidence if it is to be taken seriously. Yet BLM’s site provides none.
Such poorly framed, evidence-free claims should give us pause—especially when the issues in question are important, as rights, freedom, and justice certainly are. And the deeper we dig into BLM’s claims, aims, and leadership, the clearer it becomes that this organization is up to no good.
According to Cullors, at least two of BLM’s three founders, she and Garza, embrace a specific “ideological frame” and are “trained Marxists.”6 Cullors began her training in Marxism at the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles—an organization that uses grassroots movements to, in its words, “focus on Black and Latino communities with deep historical ties to the long history of anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, pro-communist resistance to the US empire.”7
In 2015, Tometi (BLM’s third founder) showered praise on the murderous, socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and his regime, saying, “In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world.” This is the same Nicolás Maduro whose police and military forces imprisoned 3,400 anti-Maduro protestors in 2014, killed 34 of them, and killed a further 912 children in 2015 alone.8 All of these heinous crimes (and many more) already had been exposed when Tometi praised the perpetrators. As of this writing, her pro-Maduro tweets and photos remain online.9
Tometi also defended Maduro’s comparably murderous predecessor, Hugo Chavez, against “defamation” by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and others who correctly referred to Chavez as a dictator.10
BLM’s founders take their Marxist and socialist principles seriously. Karl Marx, a founder of socialism and the father of communism, discouraged the use of the word “Marxism.” He preferred the terms socialism and communism. But all three terms mean essentially the same thing. They refer to an ideology that holds that society or the community is the unit of moral and political concern, that the individual has no rights, that the state should control people’s lives and the economy on behalf of the collective, and that the state can justly rob, starve, or slaughter any number of individuals in pursuit of its goals. Only by such a standard can atrocities such as the Holocaust perpetrated by the National Socialists (Nazis), the killing fields of the communist Khmer Rouge, or the orchestrated, intentional starvation of tens of millions of people under Stalin and Mao be committed.11
Marxism, socialism, and communism are fundamentally at odds with the founding principle of America: individualism. The essence of this principle is that all individuals have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (so long as they do not violate the same rights of others). This American ideal holds that all men must be treated equally before the law, and no group or government has a moral right to initiate physical force against anyone.
The difference between the American ideal and what BLM advocates is the difference between liberty and tyranny. Why, then, do so many Americans who presumably appreciate the American ideal claim to support BLM?
The seemingly widespread support of BLM is due to a package deal that BLM leaders have foisted on the American public and that many innocent people have embraced unknowingly. A package deal is a logical fallacy, identified by Ayn Rand, in which essentially different concepts or ideas are packaged together and treated as though they are essentially similar. In the case of Black Lives Matter, the different things being packaged together are socialism (and anti-Americanism in general) and the idea that black people’s lives matter. By covertly putting these obviously dissimilar things together, BLM has been able to garner support for anti-Americanism from those who want simply to support the obvious truth that black people’s lives—along with all others—matter.
Once you see what is being packaged together here, it is clear that these are not similar things. They don’t belong together. Those who recognize and support the obvious truth that black people’s lives matter must come to see what is going on here. They must break up this package deal, support that clearly important truth, and reject the other part of the package: the nonsense that Marxism, socialism, or communism are in any way, shape, or form good. They are not. They are evil.
Marxism, socialism, and communism are political implementations of collectivism. They hold that individuals do not have rights and that the collective—society or “the workers” or the community—may dispose of individuals as they see fit. This was the same notion Southern slaveholders used to claim that they—by virtue of being in the white group—had a right to enslave black people.
The fact is that black people—like white people, Asians, Latinos, and people of every color and shade—are individuals. And by virtue of this fact, they have rights just like every other individual. As Ayn Rand observed and reiterated often, all human rights are individual rights—“group rights” do not and cannot exist:
A group, as such, has no rights. . . . The notion of “collective rights” (the notion that rights belong to groups, not to individuals) means that “rights” belong to some men, but not to others—that some men have the “right” to dispose of others in any manner they please—and that the criterion of such privileged position consists of numerical superiority.12
I think it’s safe to say that most Americans who claim to support BLM don’t do so out of a desire to see Western civilization collapse into the death, torture, and poverty that are the only and inevitable results of consistently applying collectivism in the realm of politics. Most who claim to support BLM generally are decent, busy people who intend only to support the idea that black individuals’ lives matter. They haven’t deeply investigated the history or ideological framework of BLM the organization.
That said, the number of people who do know what this organization is fundamentally trying to do and who support it for that very purpose is alarmingly high. These people reject the very notion of individual rights and so don’t balk at violating them. They have threatened people with violence and committed assault, arson, and even murder in the name of BLM.
For instance, BLM advocate Claira Janover made a video in which she threatens to fatally stab anyone who dares to suggest that all lives (not only black ones) matter. 13A BLM supporter shot Jessica Doty Whitaker in the head, killing her for claiming that “all lives matter.” Jessica’s killer remains at large, and her three-year-old son is now motherless.14 Other BLM thugs—who absurdly were referred to by the Washington Post as “protestors”—smashed through a wrought-iron gate on private property, invaded the yard of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, and threatened them with death when they dared to brandish weapons in defense of their lives and property.15
These people are not confused by the package deal. They are animals who belong in cages.
But the package deal does wreak havoc on many people. Indeed, some victims of BLM violence are so confused about BLM’s nature and goals that they exhibit something akin to Stockholm syndrome. One D.C. restaurant owner said, after BLM arsonists burned her business to the ground: “Any kind of issue like this seems pretty minor. We have been through three months of being closed, we have seen 100,000 people die. I think the protests are great, and I think they are warranted.” Another expressed a similar sentiment after BLM rioters damaged his restaurant and car: “My team and I stand firmly with the message of the protest. The rage is justified. I would rather it be expressed peacefully, but if I need to ‘suffer’ some broken property, let’s be real, that isn’t suffering.”16
BLM supporters have committed countless acts of violence over the past few months alone—not to mention those committed throughout its seven-year history. And far from condemning the violence, BLM’s leadership supports and encourages it.
Hawk Newsome, widely recognized as the leader of BLM’s massive New York chapter, said during a televised interview:
If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation. . . . What is this country rewarding? What behavior is it listening to? Obviously not marching. But when people get aggressive and they escalate their protests, cops get fired, Republican politicians [start] talking about police reform. . . . I don’t condone nor do I condemn rioting (emphasis added).17
Newsome may claim—in an effort to stay out of jail—that he neither condones nor condemns theft, arson, or assault. But for a person in his position to refrain from condemning rioting in this context is to condone it—and indeed to encourage it.
Not only do BLM leaders endorse an ideology that has motivated more than one hundred million (and counting) murders and caused unquantifiable human suffering, none of the organization’s leaders, to my knowledge, has explicitly condemned any of the violence or bigotry perpetrated in its name.18 During an interview, Cullors, like Newsome, conspicuously failed to take an easy opportunity to condemn arson, property destruction, and assault. Instead, she referred to BLM “protests” as “amazing and beautiful,” unequivocally blamed all violence perpetrated at such events on police and “white supremacists,” and rejected the notion that peaceful conversations with police leaders are meaningful—or even acceptable.19
People who voice support for BLM, tweet its hashtags, or buy clothing emblazoned with its slogans may not know who and what they’re endorsing. Nonetheless, in doing so they are supporting an organization and a movement that is dedicated to erasing freedom from the globe.
We who care about the lives of individuals, political freedom, the rule of law, civilized society, and all that is required for human beings to live peacefully and prosper—we must unpack the package deal that enables BLM to lure people to support its evil aims.
Expose the lie that BLM stands for “black lives matter.” And tell the truth: BLM stands for no lives matter.
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1. Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy, “How Public Opinion Has Moved on Black Lives Matter,” New York Times, June 10, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/10/upshot/black-lives-matter-attitudes.html; Fred Backus et al., “ Majority Agree with Black Lives Matter and Say Major Police Reform Is Needed—CBS News Poll,” CBS News, June 28, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-lives-matter-police-reform-opinion-poll-28-06-2020/.
3. “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter.
4. “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter.
5. “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter.
6. The Real News Network, “A Short History of Black Lives Matter,” YouTube, July 22, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCghDx5qN4s&feature=youtu.be.
7. Yaron Steinbuch, “Black Lives Matter Co-founder Describes Herself as ‘Trained Marxist,’” New York Post, June 25, 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/blm-co-founder-describes-herself-as-trained-marxist/.
8. “Uno Por Uno, Estos Son Los 43 Muertos en Las Protestas Contra El Régimen de Maduro en Venezuela” [One by One, These Are the 43 People Killed in the Protests against the Maduro Regime in Venezuela], Infobae, February 12, 2015, https://www.infobae.com/2015/02/12/1626403-uno-uno-estos-son-los-43-muertos-las-protestas-contra-el-regimen-maduro-venezuela/; “Foro Penal Venezolano Presentó Casos de Tortura Ante La ONU” [Venezuelan Criminal Forum Presented Torture Cases to the UN], La Patilla, November 5, 2014, https://www.lapatilla.com/2014/11/05/foro-penal-venezolano-presento-casos-de-tortura-ante-la-onu/.
9. Rafael Valera, “Black Lives Matter Founder an Open Supporter of Socialist Venezuelan Dictator Maduro,” Breitbart, June 13, 2020, https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/06/13/black-lives-matter-founder-an-open-supporter-of-socialist-venezuelan-dictator-maduro/.
11. “Khmer Rouge,” History.com, August 21, 2018, https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/the-khmer-rouge; Arifa Akbar, “Mao’s Great Leap Forward ‘Killed 45 Million in Four Years,’” The Independent, September 17, 2010, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html; Patrick J. Kiger, “How Joseph Stalin Starved Millions in the Ukrainian Famine,” History.com, April 26, 2019, https://www.history.com/news/ukrainian-famine-stalin.
12. Ayn Rand, “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet, 1964), 119–20.
13. Lee Brown and Aaron Feis, “Harvard Grad Claira Janover Says She’s Lost Deloitte Job over Tiktok ‘Stab Threat,’” New York Post, July 1, 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/07/01/harvard-grad-claira-janover-lost-deloitte-job-over-tiktok-stab-threat/.
14. Amanda Prestigiacomo, “Young Mother Shot to Death after Telling BLM Supporters ‘All Lives Matter,’ Family Says,” Daily Wire, July 12, 2020, https://www.dailywire.com/news/young-mother-shot-to-death-after-telling-blm-supporters-all-lives-matter-family-says.
15. Teo Armus, “St. Louis Lawyer Who Waved Gun at Protesters Says He Was ‘Victim of a Mob,’” Washington Post, July 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/01/mccloskey-st-louis-guns-protest/. Note the stunningly disingenuous use of language by many reporters and commentators. Here, the Washington Post video contains text that reads “On June 28, Mark and Patricia McCloskey brandished fire arms [sic] at a crowd of protestors passing their house in St. Louis.” The “protestors” were not protestors at all but rights-violating rioters, and they weren’t “passing” the McCloskey’s home—they destroyed a gate, trampled all over the front lawn, and refused to leave when ordered to. Frustratingly, such blatantly nonobjective “journalism” is common in general, and especially so in many stories related to BLM.
16. Emily Davies and Teddy Amenabar, “Owner of Damaged D.C. Restaurant: ‘Black Lives Matter,’” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/teaism-black-lives-matter/2020/05/31/54c9ce50-a379-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html?arc404=true.
17. Mark Moore, “BLM Leader: If Change Doesn’t Happen, Then ‘We Will Burn down This System,’” New York Post, June 25, 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/blm-leader-if-change-doesnt-happen-we-will-burn-down-this-system/.
18. Nicholas Ballasy, “Black Lives Matter’s Official Social Media Accounts Don’t Address Riots, Looting Amid Its Protests,” Just the News, June 3, 2020, https://justthenews.com/nation/black-lives-matter-hasnt-addressed-riots-or-looting-cities-its-official-social-media.
19. Nouran Salahieh, “‘Just Putting a Bandaid over Decadeslong of Pain’: Black Lives Matter Co-founder Says Talks Not Enough, Calls for Change,” KTLA 5, June 1, 2020, https://ktla.com/news/local-news/just-putting-a-bandaid-over-decades-long-of-pain-black-lives-matter-co-founder-says-talks-no-enough-calls-for-change/.