Will Hillary Buckle to BLM’s Demands?
Organization releases radical racial platform to blast apart American society
When Dallas Police Chief David Brown offered his advice to “young black men” who took part in Black Lives Matter protests last month, he told them to avoid being “part of the problem” and to “become part of the solution.”
“We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in, and we’ll put you in your neighborhood. We will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about,” Brown said during a press conference conducted after five Dallas police officers were gunned down and killed during a BLM protest on July 7.
“We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform.”
But the Movement for Black Lives — which is comprised of over 50 organizations and falls under the umbrella of the BLM movement — opted to ignore the leadership of Brown and instead released a series of radical demand on Monday titled, “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, and Justice.”
The extreme platform include six major demands: ending the “war on black people,” seeking reparations for the past and present consequences of “colonialism” and slavery, investments in education and well-being, economic justice, community control of institutions and policies, and political power — manifest with black self-determination and independence.
“We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform,” Michaela Brown, the communications director for participant organization Baltimore Bloc, said in a statement. “As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable.”
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In its section marked “Reparations,” the platform demands that black people be allowed “full and free” access to educational opportunities and the retroactive forgiveness of all student debts, along with funding for housing and food. The platform also demands that black people receive a “guaranteed minimum livable income.” All of these demands fall under the Movement’s push for the immediate passage of H.R. 40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.”
So why is the Movement demanding reparations for past wrongs?
“We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations, and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done,” the platform states.
The platform also calls out the “war on black people” in which it demands “an end to the criminalization, incarceration, and killing of our people.”
“Criminal justice reform also removes from the equation those most affected: the victims of crime — past, present, and future,” Clarke wrote.
But shouldn’t those who commit crimes receive appropriate punishments for those crimes? Why should someone be given a pass simply because of his or her skin color? Isn’t that racism?
Apparently not, according to the Movement, which demands, “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.”
As the Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton has woven many liberal criminal justice reforms into her platform, such as reducing mandatory minimum sentences to aid in reducing perceived racial inequality in the U.S. But there are many who have expressed concerns over a drastic turnover in reducing prison populations — especially for the effects these reforms could have on the black population, itself.
“Indeed, the racial disparity in incarceration is widely acknowledged to be the primary motivation for sentencing reform on the Left, and perhaps in some corners of the Right as well. Those African-American men will then return to their communities, which are more likely to be predominantly African-American,” Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S Commission on Civil Rights, wrote in a letter to U.S. senators in May.
Sheriff David Clarke concurred with these sentiments.
“Criminal justice reform also removes from the equation those most affected: the victims of crime — past, present, and future,” Clarke wrote in an op-ed published in May on The Daily Caller. “For the most part, those who will suffer are black, low-income citizens who must bear the brunt of the fallout from well-meaning but misguided criminal-justice reform advocates.”
Although many of the Movement’s demands are in line with Clinton and the Democratic Party’s political platform, many activists remain wary of Clinton because policies enacted by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and his administration that they say led to the increased incarceration and criminalization of black people.
So will Clinton cave even further to these demands to secure the black vote and portray herself as the Movement’s ally?
“As a Latina, as a progressive leader … I’m not writing today to endorse this national platform,” Jodeen Olguín-Tayler, vice president of policy and strategic partnerships for Demos Action, told NBC News. “The movement for black lives does not need my stamp of approval. Instead, I’m calling on other progressives — especially other light-skinned people of color, white people, and leaders of the Democratic Party — to sit up and pay attention.”
And that’s exactly what BLM wants: for the country to sit up and pay attention — as well as reparations.