In 2016, Anne Sorock conducted a study of Black Lives Matter. Her report, called “The Privileged and the Oppressed,” was based on lengthy interviews with BLM activists and organizers.
Sorock concluded that BLM is a vehicle through which its leaders seek to impose a radical agenda that goes well beyond issues of policing and even race. The validity of Sorock’s conclusion was supported by the demands of BLM.
I documented some of those demands here. Among them were:
Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing and land.
The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release and record expungement of all drug related offenses and prostitution, and reparations for the devastating impact of the “war on drugs” and criminalization of prostitution, including a reinvestment of the resulting savings and revenue into restorative services, mental health services, job programs and other programs supporting those impacted by the sex and drug trade.
Real, meaningful, and equitable universal health care that guarantees: proximity to nearby comprehensive health centers, culturally competent services for all people, specific services for queer, gender nonconforming, and trans people, full bodily autonomy, full reproductive services, mental health services, paid parental leave, and comprehensive quality child and elder care.
A divestment from industrial multinational use of fossil fuels and investment in community- based sustainable energy solutions.
There was also a demand for divestment from Israel on the theory that it is “complicit in the genocide against the Palestinian people.”
The BLM movement seems somewhat less diffuse these days. It now comes across as focused intently on defunding the police or, by demanding defunding, obtaining a severe weakening of that institution.
If so, this reflects a change in tactics, not in underlying objective. As Sorock explained in her 2016 report:
In its dishonest weakening of public trust in the police ofﬁcer, the representative of law and order and equality before the law, Black Lives Matter weakens the very foundations of our country.
If the foundation is weakened, the structure will be in serious jeopardy.
When Sorock issued her report in 2016, I wrote: “It would seem like a longshot to convert protests over a few highly publicized police shootings, some of which have already been found justified, into a mass movement in favor of “total social upheaval.” Today, it seems like less of a longshot, given the blind support BLM is now receiving from the Democratic party, corporate America (including our sports leagues), and, of course, the mainstream media.