Bernie & BlackLivesMatter
You need to know this… Over 28,000 people came out to see Bernie Sanders speak at the Moda Center in Portland - Oregon last night.
It was the largest crowd yet for the Sanders campaign - and - this is even more impressive - the largest crowd for any candidate of any party this election cycle.
Even Bernie himself seemed surprised as he took the stage - calling the crowd “unbelievable” before pushing - as he always does - for a political revolution right here - right now in America.
Three straight months of rallies like this should make it obvious to anyone who’s paying attention: Bernie is for real. His message is catching on - and - for now at least - it looks like he’s going to give Hillary Clinton a real run for her money - and maybe - just maybe - win the Democratic nomination for president.
But even Bernie’s surprisingly successful campaign has had its controversies.
A few weeks ago at Netroots Nation - protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement stormed the stage while Bernie was hosting a question and answer session and demanded that he come with a “plan to end structural racism.”
The incident caught the senator by surprise and touched a nerve because one of the big narratives that’s popped up over the course of Bernie’s campaign - and it’s a false one - is that Bernie is “bad on race.”
That narrative faded into the background as Bernie began talking at his rallies about police violence and white supremacy - but then on Saturday - one day before that 28,000 rally in Portland - it erupted out into the open once again at an event in Seattle.
As Bernie took the stage to give a speech about Social Security and Medicare - two women who said they’re part of Black Lives Matter Seattle - stormed the stage and demanded that they be given a chance to speak.
They then called the crowd “racist” - called for a four and a half minute of silence honoring Michael Brown - and shouted that they would shut the whole rally down unless they were given the mic.
Event organizers did end up giving the two women the mic - and they got their minute of silence. Senator Sanders - though - left the stage - and didn’t even get a chance to speak.
This latest confrontation between Black Lives Matter protesters and the Bernie Sanders campaign has left many progressives frustrated - angry - and confused. They want to know why the Black Lives Matter people seem to be picking on the one candidate who could actually do their movement some good - the guy who marched with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and the guy who has the strongest record on civil rights of any of the Democrats running for president.
So what the heck is going on?
I went to the LA Sports Arena last night to hear Bernie. We had 27,500. There were 5 different television trucks outside. ABC, NBC, CBS and a couple of local stations. I did not see a Faux truck.
The lead off speaker spoke about Michael Brown and the other blacks who were victims of police murderers. She spoke passionately of black lives mattering.
The spokesperson for the Nurses' Union was one of the next people to speak. She, of course, said they support Bernie. She then said the nurses' union was composed mostly of women. Do you think there was a message about Hillary there?
I was at the rally at Westlake Center in Seattle on Saturday 8/8 and I do not think the two women who prevented Bernie from speaking were representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement. The program included Gerald Hankerson, president of the King County NAACP. He wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, talked about how a disproportionate number of African Americans are dependant on Social Security as their sole source of income (tieing it to the event) and many of the same topics that were the supposed grievances of the two disrupters. At one point he had the audience chanting, "Black Lives Matter." Most of the speakers leading up to Bernie talked about these issues, as well. Then, these two women get up and deliberately try to anger a crowd that had been standing in the hot sun for two hours waiting to hear Bernie speak and, when the audience started shouting for them to get off the stage and, "let Bernie speak", they call the audience racists. This seemed to be orchestrated deliberately to provoke the audience to behave in such a way that they COULD call them racists. Their facebook page, Black Lives Matter Seattle, was just set up the day of the event. Where were they for other BLM events, such as the protest march in May in reaction to the death of Freddie Gray? After the event was shut down, a reporter from the local TV station, King 5, asked to interview them and they said no and made obscene gestures to their cameras. If their agenda was truly to get support for the BLM movement, why wouldn't they make the most of this opportunity to reach a wider audience? Because their only "agenda" was to stop Bernie from speaking and give the impression that Bernie is indifferent to Black lives. I wonder who paid them to do this?
August 11 2015 Hi there. If some folks from a group with important progressive ideas demand to speak at a Bernie Sanders public event - come on, give them the mic and let them speak. But FIRST ask them to provide some contacts you can call to see if there really is a respected progressive organization like Black Lives Matter who actually knows who they are - other than the FBI / CIA / NSA / Agenda 21 / NWO / CFR / Trilaterial Commission / U.S. Chamber of Commerce / Koche Bros. Think Tank / RNC / Jeb Bush / Ran Paul / Fox News / Warren Commission / 911 Commission / Police Benevolent League / Ted Turner & Bill Gates Depopulation Brigade / DARPA / JADE 3 AI Software Systems / U.S. Air Force Nondisclosure Center for PR. There may be some folks who want Bernie to stop talking about lots of stuff. Ya think? Stay tuned.
Had a scathing comment ready until I read the one by Oberlin36. He could very well be right about someone behind the idiots that interrupted Bernie. Can't put anything past the lower than snakes gop. I'd bet we can expect more. Thanks for pointing that out Oberlin. Saved me from my comment, it was not nice.
I agree with you.
I think most Americans of all colors know that Senator Sanders is the only chance we have to unseat the fossil fuel funded fascists running our country (and the world) into pollution perdition.
Expect bought and paid for faux progressives (see Counterpunch recent attacks on Senator Sanders) resort to the old Divdem Et Impera Empathy Deficit Disordered skullduggery that the fossil fuel industry funds.
The Fossil Fuel Industry has given us Degraded Democracy and Profit over Planet Pollution
As those of you that still possess a modicum of reading comprehension will understand, the fossil fuel industry has ALWAYS been involved in DEGRADING OUR DEMOCRACY while they REFUSE to admit they are degrading the biosphere along the way.
A portion of the American populace, that doesn't want to face that fascist reality, continues to rationalize our "need" for this fossil fuel burning planetary plague with BALONEY about civilization, high energy density or, for those Empathy Deficit Disordered quislings that work for the planet polluters, having to pay for student loans or put food on the table.
Human society has always had Empathy Deficit Disordered people totally devoid of foresight. But only with the advent of the Industrial Revolution did these cause and effect challenged greedballs succeed in running our society. The fossil fuel industry actually believes it has a 'you need us' gun to our heads. They've got power and they've got a gun. Although they are too blind, too greedy or just too stupid to see it, that gun has already gone off in their faces, as well as ours.
Senator Sanders is the only person with a chance (and a slim one at that even AFTER he is electeded POTUS) of stopping this insanity. Let us hope that those of us that are still sane prevail.
The leaders of the BLM, want those two radical Christian fascist and Sarah Palin supporters to NOT speak on behalf of BLM and demanded that they appologize to Bernie:
The Puppetmaster wins...there is no reality...
agelbert -- I like your words so much I feel inadequate in contributing anything.
Do you not think we were winning many battles against "fossil fuel funded fascists" from 1933 to 1980?
Also, why are you leaving out the bankster fascists?
Step back from the "issue" for a moment. Consider this. Whoever these people are that took the mic away from Bernie does not excuse the fact that they were able to take the stage - get so close to Bernie that they could have harmed him. They could have been anybody with any cause.
I would think that Bernie's campaign learned a basic security lesson from this unforgivable breach. No one should be allowed to get that close to Bernie unchallenged. I have already emailed Bernie and hope steps will be taken to prevent anything like this in the future.
Thom, please relate this concern to Bernie's campaign.
Being disabled in Seattle, this incident greatly upset me. The event was a very expensive celebration for Social Security. These young girls must be very ignorant of what that means, or extremely rude. The disabled comprise all colors and walks of life. The majority of us live in extreme poverty. We experience discrimination every day. We understand BLM and what they stand for. We too , have had many disabled people murdered by police. We are their allies. To interrupt one of the very few opportunities we ever have to get together and have people recognize us, is just so disappointing. We would never dream of wheeling up to their stage and taking over. We are also oppressed and sympathize. Please remember this. This was not a political rally it was a celebration and a way to share ideas to get us out of poverty. I wish the press would recognize this. The disabled are young and old and come from every race, religion, and sexual orientation. We deserve respect too.
I was wondering the same thing...why aren't Black Lives Matter protestors disrupting the Fascist/Capitalist political gatherings? Is it because you need to shell out $1000, maybe $10,000, per seat in a closed venue? ...or is it because they know they'll get pepper sprayed, tear gassed, arrested, beat sensless, and maybe even shot if they disrupt the Confederate States of Merica candidate rallies....who knows?
I know one thing, all I hear in the corpse media is hoopla about the Trumpster..... but nothing , zero, zilch, about the candidate taking the country by storm....Bernie. The media can hype spousal rapists who marry trophy women a couple decades younger than themselves all they want...it still won't change the ugly and totally out of touch American that Trump really is.
My question exactly. Makes no sense & seems to be at best counter productive.
At first it seems BLM is attacking "the white American world" for its indifference to America's racist issue, but success will not come from broadcasting anger.
Structural racism is real, and Thandeka has a great essay at http://sjwar.blogspot.com/2010/01/6-essential-points-from-thandeka-anti.html which shows the flaws in anti-racism as often practiced--or even as understood. Her discussion of religion, liberal activity, and politics at http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/thandeka-on-americas-new-spiritual-pioneers gets at many things I had not realized. My eyes opened, though the facets are both obvious and hidden, some of racism's most destructive force is wielded in secret.
These two women were rude, ill mannered and just plain awful. They are not furthering their cause by this behavior. I can't understand why the police weren't called to have them removed? They were pushing and demanding something that didn't belong to them. The sad thing is they would have been allowed to talk if they were civilized. I wasn't there and only saw a clip of this incident. Bernie Sanders needs to do something about security. This no security and these women breaking the law is unacceptable. Yes, they were disturbing the peace and probably othert violations and should be charged if you want a civilized society. No one should be above the law!
Do you not think we were winning many battles against "fossil fuel funded fascists" from 1933 to 1980?
The answer is NO, we weren't! If you don't know what Prohibition was REALLY all about, I suggest you learn a thing or two about ethanol. If you don't know why hemp cultivation and chemurgy was crushed in the the 1930's, I suggest you learn that a viable method of converting plant matter (carbohydrates) to biofuels, paint, textiles, plastics, clothing, phamaceuticals and even car bodies threatend the paper industry, the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the fossil fuel industry.
chuckle8 asks, Also, why are you leaving out the bankster fascists?
Because, as bad as the banksters are, they would not have contributed with their fiat funny money to the trashing of the planet if the fossil fuel industry hadn't taken control of our government's foreign and domestic policies.
How the Promise of Chemurgy Was Dashed by Big Oil
We had money to develop Solar in the 1970's but the fossil fuel industry strangled it. They did it AGAIN in the 1980's along with killing wind turbine research and development.
Reagan was VERY involved in that.
The Fossil Fuel Industry has a long history of profiting from our blood and treasure while they despoil the biosphere.
The following quote from a peer reviewed book is of extreme importance to all Americans:
Dilworth (2010-03-12). Too Smart for our Own Good (pp. 399-400). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
"As suggested earlier, war, for example, which represents a cost for society, is a source of profit to capitalists. In this way we can partly understand e.g. the American military expenditures in the Persian Gulf area. Already before the first Gulf War, i.e. in 1985, the United States spent $47 billion projecting power into the region. If seen as being spent to obtain Gulf oil, It AMOUNTED TO $468 PER BARREL, or 18 TIMES the $27 or so that at that time was paid for the oil itself.
In fact, if Americans had spent as much to make buildings heat-tight as they spent in ONE YEAR at the end of the 1980s on the military forces meant to protect the Middle Eastern oil fields, THEY COULD HAVE ELIMINATED THE NEED TO IMPORT OIL from the Middle East.
So why have they not done so? Because, while the $468 per barrel may be seen as being a cost the American taxpayers had to bear, and a negative social effect those living in the Gulf area had to bear, it meant only profits for American capitalists. "
Note: I added the bold caps emphasis on the barrel of oil price, money spent in one year and the need to import oil from the Middle East.
This totally unjustified profit, never mind the needless lose of lives, then increases the power of the fossil fuel corporations to perpetuate a biosphere harming dirty fuel status quo. How? By "funding" politicians with rather large "donations" to keep renewable energy from competing with dirty energy.
If all this was just about power politics, I might not be that concerned. Humans, particularly the overly ambitious and aggressive ones, have always fought and schemed to control and fleece the population at large.
But now we know the future of our biosphere is at stake. Now we know the entire edifice of dirty energy is a knife in the back of the biosphere that will destroy our species and many others.
Reply to #3: Oberlin- EXACTLY.
I also think Cheerful Clips (post #4) makes excellent suggestions.
I do not believe for a moment that those two obnoxious twits represented the Black Lives Matter movement. Even if they were genuine BLM activists, they are doing the BLM movement no favors; quite the contrary, they are harming it by behaving like goddam idiots. Calling the crowd “racist” simply for wanting to listen to Bernie Sanders is the stupidest, most ridiculous accusation they could have made.
Please do not misunderstand me, folks. I am a huge fan of the Black Lives Matter movement. Racism is real. What’s more, I see the evidence of it all over this website on a daily basis. I’ve locked horns with more of my fellow whites on these blogs than I could count. This is the first time in recent memory I’ve seen any person of color make claims of “racism” I could not support.
The question that keeps popping up for me is: Why Bernie? Why not any of the other candidates, who (unlike Bernie) couldn’t care less about black lives, let alone anyone outside the Billionaire Welfare Queen Lucky Sperm Club. Just makes no bloody sense.
These dumb-ass twits oughta think twice about the battles they choose. In this instance they accomplished nothing more than to make complete asses of themselves. Were such incidents to continue, they’d only weaken what I view as a viable and necessary social movement. This kind of behavior is hugely destructive. It insults those in the Black Lives Matter movement whose butts are on the line, who carry a message of real substance. It also runs the risk of rendering words like “racist” or “racism” meaningless; much as the word “terrorist” has become, from over-use and abuse where it clearly does not apply.
Remember how the GOP fascists dismantled ACORN? This smells like a deja-vu type moment to me. Those GOP impostors were black too; remember? Not ALL black people reside on the left side of the political fence. A small minority are rightwing fascist pigs with no allegiance to social justice movements and no moral compass, who would throw their black brothers & sisters under the bus in a heartbeat for a nice fat paycheck. I kid you not, they’re “out there”. If it happened once, it could happen again.
One more thought: I'd just like to applaud JKRASNER's excellent points as well. Bernie's campaign team really needs to get their security act together FAST. If that man was assassinated, I'd cry me a river. He represents hope to me. No other candidate does.
delonix; I ,like you, deplore racism in any form but we must remember that our system of government allows all views to be aired despite any one group or any one individual's personal beliefs. Senator Sander's believes that Socialism is a system of economy that is far more compatible with a Democratic form of government and his belief has long been shared by many of our European partners and their populations that have a host of social options denied to most Americans. A system of economy that has long been forced to endure attacks and eventually complete censorship by Capitalist forces in this country. In the case of racism, many people may not subscribe to this system of belief but those who do embrace this blatant form of discrimination are entitled to their views per the Constitution ! In the mid sixties Progressive and Liberal forces in the Democrat Party came together to introduce and pass legislation that finally clarified in no uncertain terms the government's position on racist motivated attacks against minority ethnic groups. That was as far as we could go without moving to an authoritarian form of government which no one wants. To their credit, Progressive Democrats moved on to other pressing issues but the Liberal Wing of the party continued to push the legal boundaries essentially giving many Black Americans unrealistic expectations of what could be expected over the short term. This move drove the South to leave the Democrat party in 1968 and cross the isle to the Republican side thus blocking the Democrat Party from any substantive political actions for the next twenty four years. The Democrat party of today, in fact of the last twenty three years, has been controlled by a Neoliberal leadership that has moved the party to the Right of moderate Republican views. Yet the White Liberal Left continues to stoke the flames of descent that have encouraged many average Black citizens to take the law into their own hands. To paraphrase a line from an early Star Trek movie, "you can take on the authorized police force if pain is something you enjoy !". I do have to agree with Trump on one thing, the curse of Liberal PC has been a direct attack on every Americans right to speak their mind and it has been a major factor in the precipitous fall of the Democrat party !
I was with Occupy here in Chicago and many of the same people are now with Black Lives Matter. Many of those are of the element that was, with Occupy, always promoting an often wildly extreme, "damn the consequences" far left agenda and, it seemed, largely for the purpose of an adolescent minded (they were, by and large, very young) thrill seeking or to impress their similarly adolescent minded peers.
There were many far left groups and tendencies trying to hijack Occupy for their own purposes and thus threatening to make it irrelevant and marginalize it to the fringes. These groups and tendencies opportunistically exploited the naïveté, innocence and immaturity of these kids and their adolescent cluiqishnesses and herd mentalities to manipulate them to their cause. (For my part, I was of the "wiser elders" - debatable whether wiser but certainly elder - who tried to prevent that and tried to keep everything mainstream and relevant to the average American and not give in to the usual far left tendency of intellectual elitism - and be led down the path of yet another losing far left campaign.)
In all of the frantic activity and confusion of the moment, it was often unclear who was doing what and where so it would've been quite possible for some Wall Street lobbying or PR firm operatives or some government intelligence or police operatives to be committing a sabotage on the movement in that way. It is not unheard of and was even being reported as being done by lobbying firms and the government intelligence agencies had, in the past, created false, "astro turf", far left groups for the purpose of spying on and undermining genuine far left groups and movements and PR firms have made many of a variety of astro turf organizations and false flag operations to neutralize environmental, consumer and labor movements and campaigns.
Thus I suspect this of Black Lives Matter. I don't think the whole group or movement is bogus but parts of it could well be. In any case, some among them, particularly those that participated in the action against Bernie, nominally pursue a typically quixotic far left agenda of "presidential elections are bad for movement building", sufficiently vague so it can be applied to the harming of the presidential election campaign of the candidate friendliest to their ultimate goals.
All I have to do is glance at the comments and see that you people cannot hardly comprehend at all the position of someone outside the framework where you white people have the luxury of defining for everyone else what is "reasonable".
Those two women who broke up Bernie's Oregon event appeared made it pretty clear that thier main intention was to sabotage Bernie's event. As you have pointed out, their arguments were totally irrational when applied to Bernie. It was as if they were being paid by the Koch Brothers or another politician's campaign to sabotage that event. Bernie's audience clearly did NOT appreciate what they were doing, so they did serious damage to the Black Live Lives Matter movement.
nimblecivet -- Being a white male, thank you for the warning of what we need to always keep in mind.
In return, you need to consider those comments that are suspicious that the 2 protestors were co-opting your position and using it inside the framework.
agelbert -- Thanks for the info. You didn't mention the cotton "billionaires" also fighting hemp.
You mentioned all the battles we lost. I was trying to highlight the battles we won. Those movements started by Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader. As Thom has mentioned, they scared the billionaires sh&$#ess. Lewis Powell arose to the occasion to save the billionaires.
My emphasis, as always, was to point out the effect of the New Deal and the Great Society. The policies that arose from these made possible the dialogue of Rachel and Ralph to be heard.
nimblecivet, I don't see how anyone here has tried to define what's reasonable. But one of the interrupters yelled "We're not reasonable." (emphasis mine) How does that help? How is someone supposed to respond to that? If you take reason out of a situation, all that's left is force, but the use of force is the problem that BLM is trying to solve.
I don't know mathboy. But consider Chris Hedges' opinion for example as indicative of the mindset which is not peculiar to black radicals.
...What’s not to like?” Nader asked Hedges.
“Because he did it within the Democratic establishment,” Hedges said. “He’s lending credibility to a party that is completely corporatized. He has agreed that he will endorse the candidate, which, unless there is some miracle, will probably be Hillary Clinton.”
Chomsky has taken a more balanced approach and said that the Sanders candidacy might do some good but isn't the be-all and end-all which I think is the takeaway lesson: let's stop the Wave of Whining about being interrupted, admit that sometimes we need a little corrective amongst ourselves and simply respond that people are in fact waking up but we need to do more than gather in large numbers and wave signs around and break windows.
But the Black Lives Matters movement is in fact informed by more than that, even if you disagree with its premises:
The Movement Has a History
— Melina Abdullah
So you know what happens? The police union steps in and has the report sealed. The court reversed itself two weeks ago and unsealed 80% of the report. Why I’m saying I’m optimistic about it is because that report shows how systematic and intentional this kind of policing is. I think it really opens it up for us to reimagine what public safety looks like.
We can do things like demanding really radical transformations of public safety where we say things like, “If police can’t control their weapons, maybe they shouldn’t have them.” Maybe we should not only demilitarize the police, but disarm them. Maybe we should think about what all the data says really creates safer communities, and invest in things like after-school programs, like livable wage jobs, like full employment, and do that kind of work, instead of overspending on police.
Reply to post #21 -- HUH?! What the fuck provoked that sanctimonious outburst, nimble? Not only sanctimonious but vague. For the record, I don't view the act of commenting on forums like this to be a "luxury" or the exclusive domain of anybody; white, black or in-between.
Reply to #26: Bernie is running on the Democratic ticket for strategic purposes only. Were he to run as an independent, as a socialist, as a Green, etc. etc. he would be guaranteed to lose. I hate this two-party system as much as anyone but unfortunately, for now and the forseeable future, we are stuck with it.
No matter what this man does, there will always be someone criticizing him from the sidelines. With all due respect to Hedges, whose analyses and observations are stellar, I have to disagree with him on this. The stakes are just too damn high now; we can't afford not to have Bernie win the presidency. No other candidate comes close to addressing issues affecting our daily lives.
This man is among the very few politicians I have trusted, because he is consistent. He doesn't change his tune at election time just to win votes; he's delivering the same message he's been delivering literally for decades. And for this, he's got my vote.
ok you win, but all I was trying to point out is that if you read the post from the solidarity website explaining the history of BLM you will probably agree that at least it is a legitimate opinion that african americans see the legacy of mainstream politics in a less idealistic light than white liberals. That is because white america has long viewed african-americans as "seperate but equal" if only in a de-facto if not de-jure way. I could go on about how I think the neoliberal paradigm, the changes in public education, etc. factor into the development of that attitude but I'm sure you already know all that. True, Bernie Sanders and Thom already have spoken on many of these issues but focusing on BLM it is understandable that they see the idea of black community if not black nationhood as vital to the well-being of their people and therefore see themselves as needing to stake out a militant position beyond the mainstream political discourse even if it is "dialectical" in some sense.
Actually, it seems that BLM just has a lack of organizational discipline http://www.politicususa.com/2015/08/10/real-black-lives-matter-wsnts-act... and pretty much anybody can jump on anybody's stage and say they are acting on behalf of the group. Thus the protesters were acting and speaking mostly for themselves.
No, nimblecivet, whites mustn't dictate to blacks how they are to conduct their freedom struggle but, when the methods of blacks affects whites or the freedom struggle of white workers, whites have a right to raise objection. They aren't necessarily right in their objection but not necessarily wrong either. If they are wrong they can be called on it and vice versa, back and forth, until an understanding is reached. That's the only way.
Thanks nimblevet, for your reasonable response. And again, for the record… “neoliberal” is an obscenity to my ears and eyes.
White as I am, I don’t identify with “white America” and don’t view black people as “separate”, even as segregated as our society has remained in various ways. This is not to argue against BLM’s concept of “black community”, which I certainly don’t begrudge them. From their perspective, I reckon that’s a matter of survival as well as comfort and familiarity.
While I don’t know this for a fact, I think Mark is correct in stating those two twits were acting and speaking for themselves.
The only other thought I’d like to throw in is that the freedom struggles of white workers oughta be beneficial to all workers, not just white workers. The labor issues Bernie is addressing affect the lives of everyone except the idle rich. I certainly don’t blame the people at Bernie’s rally for getting pissed off at those stupid girls.
AIW -- Isn't neo-liberal what they call RWNJ in Europe?
I realized last night that what the ostensible BLM people have done is equivalent to Kanye West jumping on stage to interrupt Taylor Swift. "We're going to let you finish, but Black Lives Matter has one of the most important issues of all time." Kanye is universally recognized as a jackass for that, but we're supposed to accept that BLM is employing an appropriate tactic? I don't think so.