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Black Lives Matter Not Endorsing Presidential Candidate

Above photo: Members of the Black Women’s Rountable hold a forum on the power of African American women at the polls at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 in Washington. The Black Lives Matter network will not make a presidential endorsement but will keep up its political activism by confronting candidates about the treatment of African-Americans in the United States. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke).

NOTE: Popular Resistance applauds Black Lives Matter for refusing to endorse a presidential candidate. History tells us that transformational change comes from independent movements working in collaboration with independent candidates, particularly candidates who come from movements and are accountable to them.

We especially applaud Alicia Garza for speaking this truth at the Congressional Black Caucus annual meeting in Washington, DC this week, a gathering of Democrats called ‘the misleadership class’ by Black Agenda Report for their alliance with large corporations and failure to address critical needs of the people.

In the early days of Occupy, the movement worked hard not to be co-opted by the Democratic Party. Many in that time understood that independence of the corporate parties when fighting corporate power is essential. Sadly, a few from Occupy have joined in the Democratic primaries to support the Sanders campaign. It is no surprise that this is being broadcast widely as if it represents the majority of Occupiers. We hope that participants in the Black Lives Matter movement takes note of this.

The Democratic Party nomination process is rigged to exclude ‘insurgent candidates’ that would represent movement views. This is important to understand so that when Sanders loses the nomination people realize it was an undemocratic process and does not show that the issues raised by Sanders were unpopular. The corporate media will be saying that Sanders message was too radical, too anti-corporate and socialist. The movement will need to combat this false analysis. Already the media is saying that Sanders is un-electable because of his ‘extreme left positions’ on the economy which in fact are representative of a majority view by people in the US.

We also hope that the rigged nature of the primary process convinces people to leave the Democratic Party and not follow Sander’s support for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or whatever corporate Democrat is nominated.  It is essential for a political movement to have an electoral arm, a party independent of the corporate duopoly. We hope that the various strands of the movement can come together and either create such a party or build on an existing party that shares their values, like the Green Party.

To understand how the Democratic Party primary system is rigged, Kevin Zeese writes:

The tools have been foolproof throughout the history of Democratic nominations since put in place in the early 1980s. There have been insurgents in every primary, none have won. Here are some of the tools the Democratic Party uses to ensure the result:

1. Superdelegates. They make up 20% of the delegates needed for the nomination. They have mostly all already endorsed Clinton, they will switch to Biden if she falters. This puts Bernie behind by 20% and requires landslides across the country to make it up. That is impossible. (By the way, the Republicans have 0% superdelegates.)

2. Frontloading of primary votes. Twenty-three states vote during March. This makes it impossible for a challenger without hundreds of millions of dollars to compete. A candidate cannot physically campaign in 23 states in 30 days except superficially. This requires hundreds of millions in television and other mass media advertising. You have to sell out to Wall Street and big business for mass campaign dollars to compete.

3. Minimal debates. This was actually added this year because the Democratic Party leadership knows they are unpopular and there is an uprising even within their political base. When Obama ran in 2008 there were more than two dozen debates, this year there are six and four of those are before Iowa. Once the primaries and caucuses get going the only way to get national TV attention is mass advertising, again requiring a sell-out to big business.

There are many informal powers. Recently, a pro-Clinton historian wrote in the NY Times about how Sanders was wrong to claim the US was founded on racist principles. Sanders was right and this article is laying the foundation for painting Sanders as an anti-American socialist. The mass media is corporate in the US. They have members of their board from Wall Street and big business interests. They serve oligarchic control of the government. They have destroyed insurgents, remember Howard Dean and his scream after Iowa. Mass media finished his campaign. The media is filled with Democratic Party hacks and talking heads from the party like Barney Frank, a supposed liberal who wrote Sanders is helping the Republicans by challenging Hillary Clinton. The corporate media will control the narrative, Sanders does not have the media access to change it. One reason we publish the techniques the Democratic Party uses to ensure someone like Sanders cannot win is to arm people in the movement with the truth so they can correct the corporate narrative.

No candidate has overcome all of this. The Democratic primaries are really an anti-democratic process that works well to keep the power structure of the Democratic Party in place. Sanders made a gigantic tactical error running inside the Democratic Party. He actually would have had a better chance running as an independent where he would have been in the race through election day and could have won with less than 40% of the vote in a three-way race. There would have been obstacles but he was in a good position to overcome them, especially if he could have united all the left progressive parties.

Our power comes from building a broad-based movement, staying strong on the fundamental transformational changes that are necessary and building an alternative political structure that comes from and is accountable to the movement.  – Margaret Flowers

Co-founder says Black Lives Matter won’t be co-opted by mainstream politics, and might one day run its own candidates.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Black Lives Matter network will skip a presidential endorsement but keep up its political activism by confronting candidates about the treatment of African-Americans in the United States, one of the group’s founders says.

In an Associated Press interview, Alicia Garza discussed the organization’s refusal to settle on a preferred candidate in the 2016 race to succeed President Barack Obama and pledged to press ahead with protests and interruptions during the campaign.

“Sometimes you have to put a wrench in the gears to get people to listen,” said Garza, who spoke at the 7th Annual Black Women’s Roundtable Policy Forum last week.

The Black Lives Matter movement traces its roots to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, and gained national ground after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer. Since then, deaths of other unarmed black males at the hands of law enforcement officers have inspired protests under the “Black Lives Matter” moniker.

Some are affiliated with the original network founded by Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, Garza and their allies. Some are not, although they use the slogan.

Black Lives Matter activists grabbed headlines when they disrupted a Seattle rally last month right before Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, was about to speak. Others claiming to represent Black Lives Matter have met with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush.

The Congressional Black Caucus, a group of African-American lawmakers in the House and Senate, also was focusing on criminal justice and police reforms during its annual legislative conference this weekend.

The Democratic National Committee acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement at its Aug. 1 meeting in Minneapolis with a resolution saying it “joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black lives matter’ and the ‘say her name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African-American men, women and children.”

The network said the resolution would not get its endorsement, and Garza reaffirmed that the official Black Lives Matter organization will not endorse any political party or candidate this election cycle.

“Black Lives Matter as a network will not, does not, has not, ain’t going to endorse any candidates,” Garza said. “Now if there are activists within the movement that want to do that independently, they should feel free and if that’s what makes sense for their local conditions, that’s fantastic. But as a network, that’s not work we’re engaged in yet.”

In the future, the organization may become more involved with candidates and parties, and even run candidates, she said, but added that “we’re not there yet.”

“It’s too early in the development of the network and it’s too early in the genesis of the movement to rally around anyone in particular who hasn’t demonstrated that they feel accountable to the Black Lives Matter movement or network,” said Garza, who also works with the National Domestic Worker Alliance.

“What we’ve seen is an attempt by mainstream politics and politicians to co-opt movements that galvanize people in order for them to move closer to their own goals and objectives,” she said. “We don’t think that playing a corrupt game is going to bring change and make black lives matter.”


Jesse J. Holland covers race, ethnicity and demographics for The Associated Press. Contact him at, on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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