Infiltrating the #BlackLivesMatter Cult
By Matthew Vadum
It is wrong to think of the Black Lives Matter movement as merely a movement, a racist insurgency that embraces violent attacks on police and white Americans.
It is so much more.
It's a Marxist, anti-American, revolutionary cult whose members aim to unleash a reign of terror on American society. It is religious in the limited sense that the late anti-PC intellectual Christopher Hitchens used that adjective to describe the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. After visiting barren, Stalinist North Korea, where people eat grass clippings and tree bark to survive, Hitchens remarked that it was "the most religious state I've ever been to."
But North Korea doesn't embrace a religion in the sense we in the civilized world use the word. At risk of oversimplifying the politics and culture of the hermetically sealed, oversized gulag run by Kim Jong-un, that country's religion is socialism.
The religion of socialism is a faith utterly impervious to facts and logic. Socialist failure is irrelevant, because only intentions count when you're on the side of the angels. No amount of evidence can pierce the force fields that surround the socialist mind. These people insist they are enlightened, but they are invincibly ignorant.
The Black Lives Matter cult is animated by a hatred of normal American values. Its members idolize convicted, unrepentant black militants and cop-killers Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu Jamal and have declared "war" on law enforcement. While its members openly call for police officers to be assassinated, its leaders, wishing to seem more respectable before the TV cameras, downplay the insurrectionary rhetoric whenever a member kills a cop.
Black Lives Matter disciple Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, a 25-year-old black man, murdered 31-year-old white Kentucky State Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder on Sunday night.
The perpetrator, subsequently shot dead by police, reportedly lived in Florissant, Missouri, near race riot-torn Ferguson, and his (suddenly unavailable) Facebook page indicates that he participated in demonstrations protesting the death last year of Michael Brown, a young black man killed by a white Ferguson police officer after he tried to take the officer's handgun. There is evidence that Johnson-Shanks, a convicted felon, was so preoccupied with the Brown case that he even attended Brown's funeral and graveside service. Of course, Obama advisor Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy at the funeral. (The Daily Caller made copies of some of the photos before they disappeared down the Memory Hole. Infowars screen-grabbed many of the photos as well.)
Among the notable items on Johnson-Shanks's Facebook page is a post that buys into the myth that there is such a thing as white privilege and that black Americans suffer because of it. The post, from a website called Atlanta Black Star, is titled "Watch This Young Black Man Give A Near Perfect Response To A White Male Who's Ignorant About The Systematic Oppression of Black People[.]" It features a video from PBS last year in which a Black Lives Matter leader named Phillip Agnew lectures white American Spectator contributor and talk radio host Ross Kaminsky about white privilege.
"I'm mad at a system every day that stakes its claim on saying that there's a certain segment of society that is a criminal element," says Agnew, executive director of a neo-communist black nationalist group called Dream Defenders.
Agnew has met with President Obama in the White House. Not surprisingly, this fake civil rights leader was warmly embraced by the president, a fellow community organizer. Agnew described those at the meeting as "representatives from a community in active struggle against state sanctioned killing, violence and repression" (italics in original).
"When my fellow young leaders and I walked into the Oval Office this week, we felt empowered and powerless at the same time," Agnew wrote in a December 2014 op-ed. "The president said we shouldn't demand too much, too soon."
Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky, an incrementalist guiding light to both Obama and Hillary Clinton, couldn't have said it better. (And Alinsky, an atheist, specialized in infiltrating religious congregations, especially Roman Catholic ones.)
Dream Defenders isn't merely a liberal group. It toes the radical socialist line, just as Obama more openly toed that line in college and early in his political career. Its website describes the group as "an uprising of communities in struggle, shifting culture through transformational organizing." Its mission statement calls for "the destruction of the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Imperialism as well as Patriarchy" and for "an immediate end to the police state and murder of Black people, other people of color, and other oppressed peoples in the United States, the immediate release of the 2.5 million prisoners of the United States' War on the Poor, and trials by juries of our peers."
The Black Lives Matter cult has the support not just of Obama, but of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which has officially endorsed it. Hundreds of delegates at a recent DNC meeting approved a resolution that accuses American police of "extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children."
In other words, it is now official Democratic Party policy that across America, there are roving death squads manned by police officers who specifically stalk and execute without trial black men, women, and children. Police in the United States today, according to the DNC, are no better than the Sturmabteilung and Einsatzgruppen of Nazi Germany, the Soviet-era Cheka and NKVD, and the (Democrat-led) Ku Klux Klan, all of which used extrajudicial killings for political repression.
The DNC resolution uses the same kind of inflammatory, dishonest wording Bill Ayers and his Weather Underground comrades used to promote the Black Power movement and condemn the U.S. during their bombing sprees that wreaked havoc on American society in the Vietnam War era. It contains leftist boilerplate like that the American Dream "is a nightmare for too many young people stripped of their dignity under the vestiges of slavery, Jim Crow and White Supremacy[.]"
The DNC okayed the resolution on the same day Darren Goforth, a white sheriff's deputy in Houston, was shot to death allegedly by a black suspect in an unprovoked attack. The next day, Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched near the Minnesota state fair chanting violent anti-police slogans and carrying signs reading "End White Supremacy." Activists shouted "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon" while walking (protected by police) on a highway south of the fairgrounds.
The Black Lives Matter cult is also embraced by the high-octane left-wing think-tank in Washington, D.C. known as the Center for American Progress (CAP). Founded by Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta and funded by hedge fund manager George Soros, CAP is a Democrat government-in-waiting whenever the party is out of the White House.
The cult held a service at CAP on May 28 this year titled "Toward a More Perfect Union: Bringing Criminal Justice Reform to Our Communities," at which black activists blamed the rising tide of black violence against police and whites on everyone except the perpetrators. It was a smorgasbord of untruths, cant, and intellectual junk food as co-religionists hurled Alinsky-inspired slogans like "power perceived is power achieved" across the conference room.
No people of color are responsible for their actions, panelists said or implied. It's society's fault. It's capitalism's fault. It's the fault of white privilege. There are too many laws. There are too many cops. Corporations are too powerful, and they are definitely not persons. Campaign finance reform would level the playing field. Everything would be better if tax rates were raised.
The fast-talking, social justice-peddling Rev. Heber Brown III of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in North Baltimore spewed the same politically correct pap heard in universities across the nation. He used tedious religious phrases like "building power," "the institutional racism that is manifested in local communities," "moving out of spaces of privilege," and "rendering space to others."
The problem with Baltimore and the rest of America is that "the system" is evil. By "the system," he meant American norms and the nation's free institutions.
The civil disturbances in his hometown happened because "young people in Baltimore said that enough is enough," Brown said. "No more will we rely on the benevolence of a system that has an appetite for our destruction to decide our destiny. No more."
Stopping homicidal cops, as opposed to criminals, would be a step in the right direction, Brown argued. "With this question of how do we improve relationships between the police and the community, stop killing black people. Stop killing brown people. Stop killing trans – stop killing marginalized and oppressed people and let's start right there and continue."
Separately, black commentator Roland Martin of TV One has proposed stuffing juries with activists in order to guarantee that police officers are exposed to the wrath of the lynch mob. "You can't try a police officer on a jury if you're not registered to vote," he said. Martin urged pastors to encourage their African-American flocks to register to vote so they can get into jury pools. "But not just that, but you have to actually vote and once you vote for somebody you have to hold them accountable as well," he said.
The Black Lives Matter cult met for a synod at a Washington hotel in April this year. Its official name was Populism 2015. The gathering was sponsored by National People's Action, Campaign for America's Future, US Action, and Alliance for a Just Society.
It was a best practices seminar for aspiring arsonists, looters, and riot-inciters.
This freak show was dominated by the usual radical left-wing activists of all skin colors and a range of socioeconomic backgrounds. It was a mixture of retirees, college students, professional agitators, union goons, and the dregs of society – the same sort of deadbeats, welfare recipients, and down-and-outers that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) preyed upon and conned into paying $120 annual membership dues they couldn't afford to pay.
Many of these people are what Karl Marx might have called an American version of the Lumpenproletariat. They are so hopelessly inept at life that they need to explain away their failures. Their list of scapegoats is long. They blame imaginary systemic racial discrimination, markets, white people, police, corporations, Republicans, insufficiently generous welfare programs, and whatever else trickles down day to day from their intellectual betters in the academy.
They need something to believe in. They need something to explain why their lives suck. They hate America, and they want to burn it down. These are Obama's people. They're the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's people. They're Minister Louis Farrakhan's people.
The atmosphere at Populism 2015 was a cross among a rock concert, a Nuremberg rally, and a prayer session at Jim Jones's People's Temple colony in Jonestown, Guyana. It was filled with the same hypnotic, brainwashing call-and-response chanting used by the ultra-violent, similarly religious Occupy Wall Street movement. There was incendiary scapegoating like that employed by the leaders of France's Reign of Terror and Russia's Bolsheviks. There was a palpable hatred of America in the shrieks of the speakers and the audience. (A video of the event is available here.)
There were bands and dancing to keep emotions running high, because without emotion it all falls apart. People collected donations from the audience to a New Orleans-style rendition of "Down by the Riverside." Examined in the light of day, the ideas advanced were worthy of ridicule. Vicious bigoted venom that seeks to tear down society in order to rebuild it along collectivist lines is more compelling when set to music.
At times it was surreal, even comical. With all the chanting and calling and responding, the environment resembled the "you're all individuals ... you're all different" scene from Monty Python's classic movie Life of Brian.
At one point, five young black women took to the stage, pumping their fists in the air in the Black Power salute amid deafening chants of "black lives matter!"
Rian Brown and Malina Kane introduced themselves to the mob as members of the Kalamazoo, Michigan chapter of Black Lives Matter. Wearing a "Black Lives Matter" tee shirt, Kandace Montgomery explained that she was with the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter. In a loud, husky voice, Lourdes Ashley Hunter introduced herself, explaining she was part of the leadership team of Black Lives Matter and the DMV (D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) chapter of Black Lives Matter. Erica Cotton said she was a co-leader of the DMV chapter. "We are part of the team who shut down [Interstate] 395 and snatched the mic from Al Sharpton," Cotton said. "We did not agree with co-opting. Shut it down."
The women slowly led the audience in a call-and-response recitation of the Black Lives Matter guiding principles document that was posted on a screen like a church hymn.
We are committed to ending all violence against black bodies. We are committed to acknowledging, respecting, and celebrating differences. We see ourselves as part of the global black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as black folks who exist in different parts of the world. We are a movement that honors the leadership and engagement of our trans- and gender-nonconforming comrades. We are guided by the fact that black lives matter, all black lives regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression, economic status, ability or disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location. We are committed to ensuring that the Black Lives Matter network is a black woman-affirming space, free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness. We are committed to practicing empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their context. We are committed to fostering a trans- and queer-affirming network and when we gather we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or rather the belief that all in the world are heterosexuals unless she, he, or they disclose otherwise.
Kandace Montgomery broke in, irritated that not everyone was chanting. She taunted white men in order to shame them into chanting.
"I want to make sure everyone is saying these with them," she said. "I see some white dudes in the crowd, especially in the front who aren't saying these. I just want to put you on black and make sure you're working with us."
The calling and responding continued.
We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, shows [sic] up with capacity to lead and to learn. We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagement with others.
The service ended with "Family Affair," by hip hop artist Mary J. Blige, blaring over loudspeakers as dancing broke out in the meeting hall.
But before that musical interlude, Hunter announced that attendees were invited to move to a nearby park for "a healing circle" at which "we will hear spoken word and we will honor the land that belongs to our ancestors. We will honor the fight of black people who have built this nation."
There is no photographic evidence that the healing circle participants smoked peace pipes or sang "Kumbaya," but there was a lot of hugging and fist-in-the-air Black Power saluting. (National People's Action posted photos of the encounter at its Facebook page: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4. The entire series from the conference, healing circle, rallies, and marches may be viewed here.)
An emaciated, young-looking white man named George Goehl also addressed the crowd. Goehl is executive director of Chicago-based National People's Action.
Goehl condemned "trigger-happy cops" and said "banks stole a generation of wealth from African-American families." Turning his attention to next year's presidential election, he preached:
We're looking for the candidate that has a plan to address structural racism in America. I've not heard that plan but everybody in this room knows for too long for communities of color the words "serve and protect" have really meant "kill and deport" and that must stop now. We need a candidate for president who will name how they're going to use the power of the presidency to end racial bias in police departments and if they don't do it they should have all federal funding and support cut immediately. There's a new populism emerging in this country but this time we're going to get it right and this new populism has to be equally committed to class, race, and gender. Everybody in; nobody out.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a black Muslim with ties to Islamic terrorist groups, brought down the house with a sermon that electrified the mob. Ellison, who is co-chairman of the hard-left Congressional Progressive Caucus, urged his audience to fight the "Fergusonization of our whole country" by turning out the vote.
People want to vote, "but there is a well-financed, well-organized group of people who are systematically trying to exclude people from the vote, and I just want to tell you these people are not playing around." He said:
If you think that when the Supreme Court struck section 5 in the Shelby County case of the Voting Rights Act, this wasn't just some Shelby County residents who sued. This was a movement right-wing law firm trolling the country to exclude people, looking for a case to take up and challenge the Voting Rights Act. And the day after they won that case with their right-wing packed Supreme Court they went and had photo ID bills introduced all over so they got a state program. And then they always runnin' around talking about fraud, fraud, fraud. You heard that right? Fraud. Everywhere fraud. Well let me just tell you, the only fraud is, they say there's fraud.
Criminals, who are a natural Democrat constituency, need to have their right to vote restored, Ellison declared.
We have got to have a program in every city, every municipality, every state attacking felon disenfranchisement, attacking, attacking, these forms, these employment forms that always want to know what your criminal record is. You know we call it ban the box.
Clearly, for the cult's members, Ellison is doing the Lord's work.
Matthew Vadum (personal website under construction) is a senior editor at Capital Research Center (Capital Research Center), a think-tank in Washington, D.C. that studies the politics of philanthropy. He is also an investigative reporter and author of the ACORN/Obama exposé, Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers. Follow him on Twitter. E-mail him at matthewvadum [at] gmail.com.