In short, a nationwide response that promised hope, but, as The Washington Post article above illustrates, offered no guarantee of any lasting change on the part of the white political majority towards their Black countrymen, of an end to white supremacism. Which is what this article presumes to address, since lasting change will involve a change in white Americans' self-identity, a daunting task and challenge. Given this country's checkered history with race, it's likely that this will turn out to be another opportunity lost, and that white supremacism will continue as the ideological root of American imperialism at home and abroad, as well as the bulwark of so-called free market capitalism and the huge inequality in income and opportunity it has produced between the classes.
Black Lives Matter, founded in the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his accused murderer, is taking no chances. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont progressive and Socialist from Brooklyn, my home town, discovered this to his surprise when he was confronted by two women members of BLM who took over the podium and his microphone when he was about to address a campaign rally in Seattle on August 9. White progressives were shocked, myself included -- why challenge the one candidate who would seem to be the most sympathetic to their cause? But as I later learned, Bernie, who had been expected to talk about the unwarranted shootings and killings of black men by police, had begun his speech with his usual spiel about income inequality, failing to mention that this phenomenon had most adversely affected poor Black Americans. The BLM women were having none of this and drove Bernie off the stage. The upshot? Bernie is talking to and learning from BLM organizers about the issues that are of principal concern to them. To summarize, from BLM's website, their national demands:
"form[ation] of a national policy specifically aimed at redressing the pattern of anti-black law enforcement violence in the U.S. "
"discontin[uance by the Federal Government of ] its supply of military weaponry to local law enforcement "
release by "the office of the US attorney general " [of] the names of all officers involved in killing black people within the last five years " so they can be brought to justice "
"decrease in law enforcement spending " and a reinvestment of that budgeted money into the black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools " "
Good Alinsky-style organizing: confront the principal actors, in this case, all those running for President, and don't let them off the hook; create conflict and controversy, gain the public's attention and obtain the moral high ground; promote a public conversation about your demands; secure a place and a voice for yourself and like-minded individuals and organizations in whatever discussion and resolution your actions foment. In short, Joe Hill's mantra: Don't mourn, organize!
END OF PART II
(REFERENCES TO BE FOUND AT CONCLUSION OF PART III)