Black Lives Matter: A Political Campaign Disguised as a Civil Rights Movement

The Black Lives Matter Global Network touts itself as a civil rights movement whose purpose is to oppose racism and police misconduct.  So far, so good — there is not one decent person in this entire country who supports racism or police misconduct.  (I do not regard white supremacists, or their non-white counterparts such as Louis Farrakhan, as decent people.)  Its real priorities, however, seem to lie elsewhere.

Civil Rights? Where?

Let's look first at what BLM is actually doing to promote civil rights and remedy the problems about which it complains.  The home page includes a video called "Now We Transform," which proclaims, "This is the revolution.  Change is coming."  It includes a video of a candlelit rally reminiscent of some torchlit ones in 1930s Germany, and it adds, "This is the watershed moment that brought the world to its knees."  Information about your civil rights as a peaceful protester seems, however, to be in short supply.

BLM and its supporters complain that "fascists," "Gestapo," or whatever are beating up "protesters," throwing them in unmarked vans, and making them disappear as might happen in a totalitarian dictatorship.  Has BLM helped the purported victims of these actions — and I have seen a few videos of questionable use of force by police — use the numerous remedies that are readily at hand under our country's laws?  Conservatives and centrists support the First Amendment as much as (or more than) the "woke" left, so it seems we will have to step in to educate demonstrators, including those with whom we disagree, about their rights and recourses if those rights are violated.

These rights, however, apply only to peaceful and lawful protest.  Nobody has the right to obstruct a road or sidewalk, threaten another person physically, invade private property, vandalize property, loot, commit arson, or assault police officers.  You can't throw a rock at a cop and then expect an attorney to represent you for false arrest when he handcuffs you and reads you your rights, or for a civil rights violation if the cop reciprocates your violence with pepper spray or a baton round.  If you obstruct a highway, the question is no longer whether a cop can use physical force to remove you; the question is only how much is reasonable and necessary.

Now let's assume that you are peacefully holding up a sign in a place where you have the right to be, and it doesn't matter whether I or anybody else agrees with what your sign says.  It is a federal crime to deprive somebody of his First Amendment rights under color of law.  While I can't give legal advice, it looks as though if, for example, the "Gestapo" uses a nightstick, rubber bullet, Taser, or other "dangerous weapon" on somebody for exercising a First Amendment right, that's punishable by up to ten years in prison.  I have yet to see any BLM entity do anything to connect victims of alleged police misconduct with attorneys who handle civil rights violations, or with genuine civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union.  If the "Gestapo" really does handcuff you or throw you into an unmarked van for your lawful exercise of your First Amendment rights, you can also do a Google search on "false arrest" and "contingency" to find lawyers in your state who will represent you in exchange for a share of any resulting judgment.

Here, meanwhile, is where you can file a complaint for deprivation of civil rights under color of law.  This can include not just use of police authority to punish somebody for criticizing the government, but also false arrest or excessive force in making an otherwise lawful arrest.  In addition, "the Department of Justice [has] authority to seek civil remedies in cases where law enforcement agencies have policies or practices that foster a pattern of misconduct by employees.  This action is directed against an agency, not against individual officers."  What, if anything, has BLM done to use these DOJ resources to compel police agencies to train their officers properly and discipline the Derek Chauvins of the world who are not amenable to the training?

What Really Matters to BLM: Using Tax-Exempt Resources to Influence the Election

The Black Lives Matter movement is therefore taking little identifiable action to correct the problems about which it complains, so what is its real priority?  BLM Global Network's #WhatMatters2020 web page provides the answer: "BLM's #WhatMatters2020 is a campaign aimed to maximize the impact of the BLM movement by galvanizing BLM supporters and allies to the polls in the 2020 U.S Presidential Election to build collective power[.]"

This is emphatically not a politically neutral get-out-the vote effort.  "Black Lives Matter Global Network's Statement Regarding Michael Cohen's Testimony" says openly, "[W]e are reminded that the 2020 election is around the corner.  We can make our voices heard by voting this Administration out of office."  Here is a video in which BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors says openly, "[W]e are going to push for is a move to get Trump out[.] ... Our goal is to get Trump out."

BLM Global Networks is supported by ActBlue Charities, the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt arm of ActBlue, "a powerful online fundraising platform for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, progressive organizations, and nonprofits[.]"  IRS regulations forbid 501(c)(3) tax-exempt money to be used to endorse or oppose any political candidate.  The use of tax-deductible donations via ActBlue Charities to support BLM's anti-Trump campaign therefore looks highly problematic.  The same goes for the resources of BLM's fiscal sponsor, Thousand Currents.  Note, however, that donations via ActBlue Charities do not go to the Democratic Party or the Biden campaign; they go to BLM Global Networks itself, which, as shown above, is trying to influence the election.

The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, has a web page that connects directly with BLM Global Network and another BLM page.  Voters need to assess the complete depth of the DNC's coordination with BLM to be fully informed prior to this year's election.

Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way.  The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to "cancel culture" for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.

Image: Annettet via Wikimedia Commons.

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