The Uprising Is Only Beginning: Building Power To Win Our Demands

| Newsletter

The current uprising against police violence and racism is just beginning. It is rapidly shifting public consciousness on issues of policing, violence against Black people and others, and systemic racism. The movement is deepening and becoming broader as well as putting forward solutions and making demands.

The confluence of crises including recent police violence, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic collapse along with the ongoing crises of lack of healthcare, poverty, inequality, homelessness, personal debt, and climate plus awareness of mirage democracy in the United States have created a historic moment full of possibilities. If we continue to organize and build power, the potential for dramatic change is great.

As we wrote last week, there are dangers coming from liberal Democrats and the black misleadership class who are trying to quell the protests with distractions and weak reforms. To achieve changes that will solve the crises we face, demands must address the root causes of them. And, we must understand the dynamics of demands in social movements – what it takes to win and to hold the ruling class accountable for enacting them.

Anti-police violence protester confronts militarized police at the White House on June 3. 2020. By Oliver Douliery from Getty Images.

Demands to Defund and Abolish the Police

The demands to defund and abolish police are now part of the national dialogue. This is a major advancement for the movement against police violence. The pushback against these demands is coming from across the mainstream political spectrum from Donald Trump to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

When the bi-partisans unite, they are often wrong as they represent two parties funded by the millionaires and billionaires who put their interests first. Bipartisan means the various wings of the ruling class, represented by the two corporate parties, are uniting and that means a united attack on the people. They seek to protect systems that have created horrendous inequality and injustice. The police are the enforcement arm that protects the ruling class from the population impacted by that inequality and injustice.

Christy E. Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law School who co-directs the Program on Innovative Policing, has worked inside the government on efforts to reform and control police for 25 years. Her conclusion: “it has become clear to me that ‘reform’ is not enough. Making sure that police follow the rule of law is not enough. Even changing the laws is not enough.” 

There is tension within the movement against police violence between those who seek reform and those who want to change the whole system – to abolish policing as it exists and create alternatives. In 2016, activists across the country built encampments to heighten awareness for the demand to abolish the police, provide reparations for victims, and invest in black and brown communities. They demanded “community-based forms of policing in its place that are accountable to residents.”

Advocates of abolition consistently make the point that “abolition requires more than police officers disappearing from the streets. . . Police abolition could mean and require society to decrease and eliminate its reliance on policing.” It also means decriminalizing many activities that result in police abuse, i.e. decriminalizing or legalizing drugs and the untaxed sale of cigarettes that create illegal markets. Police spend more than 90 percent of their time on things people find annoying or social and health issues that police are ill-equipped to handle. These lead to police interactions that result in police violence, especially in black and brown communities.

Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson writes that the movement needs to become more radical, not more moderate. He points out that the solutions to the current crisis are deeper than reforming the police, explaining there are “calls to eradicate white supremacy, capitalism, heteropatriarchy, and settler-colonialism that have been on clear display.” The founding of police came out of the most extreme form of capitalism, slavery, where those with money owned other people as unpaid workers. Slave patrols developed into modern-day police so the very root of policing is rotten.

Max Rameau and Netfa Freeman write:

“The core issue is POWER, not racism. We cannot change our reality by ending ‘racism,’ or the attitudes and opinions others hold of us. Our conditions will only change when we shift power into our own hands and exercise self-determination, thereby rendering the opinions of racists irrelevant.”

When it comes to changing the power dynamic, one demand — democratic community control of the police — stands out among the others. Communities being able to hire and fire police officers, review their budgets, impanel a grand jury to investigate crimes, and approve police contracts among other changes, reverse the power dynamic. The people would be in democratic control of how their communities are policed and by whom. This is a long-term demand dating back to the Black Panthers, as Green presidential candidate Howie Hawkins points out. This transition to people-power over police is seen by many as the key transition step to abolition or replacement of the police.

Rameau and Freeman conclude that “the police MUST exist in order to protect property and wealth from those who do not have.” They argue that defunding police without changing that dynamic means the wealthy elites will find other ways to protect themselves, private police who are even less accountable than the public institution.

Akuno urges “the demand for abolition should be raised to heighten the contradictions. But, it must be accompanied by the call for revolution, and the organizing effort to dismantle the entire system.” He adds we “have to resist the elevation of the liberal and Democratic party narratives and positions. We have to assert a counter-narrative in all arenas — one that aims towards transforming the Floyd rebellion into something potentially transformative.”

People stand in front of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct sign in the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” while continuing to demonstrate against racial inequality and call for the defunding of Seattle police in Seattle on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.By Lindsey Wasson / Reuters.

Building Power for Positive Change

The power structure has started to make some concessions over the past few weeks of protests, but none of these has altered the systems that maintain the current inequalities and injustices.

Some police have been fired and charged for committing violence and murder. It remains to be seen if they will be convicted and kept from policing anywhere in the future. Some cities are talking about defunding or disbanding the police, but it remains to be seen what the details will be. Schools are breaking contracts with police. More segments of the population from the media to athletes to tech companies are challenging racism and oppression in our society. These changes are happening because the people power being displayed has exposed injustice, garnered support and put the elites in a panic. The elites need to give the people something to stop the protests.

The widespread actions of militarized police using extreme violence across the country backfired and resulted in the protests growing. Federal courts in Colorado and Washington ordered governments to stop using chemical warfare against US citizens. Adding 17,000 National Guard troops in 23 states caused the National Guard troops’ morale to plummet in embarrassment over using military force to stop people from exercising their constitutional rights. President Trump’s threat of military force caused divisions in the military as retired and active generals, GI’s and National Guard troops spoke out against it.

Popular power is growing in the United States, but to build enough power to win demands that significantly alter the economic and political systems will require sustained effort. While some reforms are significant because they may meet some needs of those in the movement, we can’t stop there.

As we describe in the second class of the Popular Resistance School, if movements make concessions too early, before they have the power to make sure their demands are met and to hold leaders accountable for their actions, they will fail. The ruling class will often feign concessions to quiet the rebellion knowing all along that they are still in control.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, after signing a police reform bill, exemplified this when he said, “You don’t need to protest, you won. You accomplished your goal.”

When negotiating demands, it is all about power. If the sides coming together to negotiate do not have equal power, then the weaker side will lose. They may be given promises, but they can’t force the power holders to keep them. It is significant that elements in the society are opposed to military attacks on people expressing their First Amendment rights, but we must continue to heighten the conflict until there are real splits within the power structure.

In order to maintain their power, the ruling class requires support from the people.

  • They require people to give them authority. That is why the autonomous zone in Seattle is so powerful, it is challenging that legitimacy.
  • They require people to do the actual work, from the bureaucrats to city maintenance workers to other essential workers. That is why the call for a general strike is so powerful. If workers slow down or withhold their labor, governments and cities won’t function.
  • They require skills and knowledge of people. The ruling elites don’t know how to run the machines or systems on which they depend.
  • They require control over material resources such as energy, water and property. Last December, electrical workers in France cut off power to the police stations, big businesses and management and turned the power on for workers and the poor.
  • They require the ability to punish people who disobey them. If guards and police refuse to stop people, courts refuse to prosecute and jails refuse to hold people, the power elites lose that control.

The bottom line is that we have the ability to remove power from the ruling class and that must be our goal if we are to win the changes we need in this moment of multiple crises. The seeds of transformation have been planted, now it is our task to nurture them.

We do that by putting out a vision of the changes we require and continuing to protest in support of that vision. We need to build relationships with others in our community to raise awareness of the crises and how to stop them. We need to support each other through mutual aid and building alternative systems to meet basic needs. Through our collective effort, we can stop the destructive machine and create a new world.

  • jim james

    I read some right-wing websites and I couldn’t help but notice on your front-page the main headline (?) reads general strike 2020–remember that?

    Well, I couldn’t help but think on right-wing websites they think the George Floyd protests are not organic but rather color revolutions and I can’t help but think maybe they have a point–was George Floyd used to distract people and/or divert people away from the Socialist agenda of rent-strikes, wealth inequality, et al.?

    Me thinks it’s an intriguing question. This is on top of the sad fact that everybody knows BLM took $100,000,000 from the Ford Foundation, meaning it instantaneously became a non-credible organization. Buying off the opposition has been the m.o. of the power elite for decades, if not centuries. This is besides the fact that they infiltrate these organizations with rats and moles.

    Food to think about.

  • ThisOldMan

    And, we must understand the dynamics of demands in social movements – what it takes to win and to hold the ruling class accountable for enacting them.

    Actually, I think the ultimate goal is to eliminate the “ruling class” and replace them with democratically accountable “leaders.” That means, first and foremost, taking away their extreme wealth and thereby priviledge. As has been vividly illustrated by the Venezuelan opposition in that country, as well as Bolivia and many other places over the years, that is what they’re really afraid of.

  • pajarito

    When racism stops production will resume, the climate emergency can be ended, pollution can be ended and the exploitation of women will cease. So, until racism stops the economy will keep on tanking and destroying the power of the elites. Strike!!

  • dmorista

    This is an important article addressing a vital question. Whether I agree with every point that Zeese and Flowers made here is nowhere near as important as the fact that they have tried to address these issues. The discontent and disillusionment with the U.S. socioeconomic and political order has been steadily growing. The general populace of the U.S. (and any other society for that matter) will tolerate ongoing oppression and outrages against it for many years without much outward resistance. Then, often for reasons the more politically aware and active members of society do not really understand and/or are unable to accurately predict, the people rise up in defiance and rebellion. This is such a moment, and it is vitally important that the left generate the leadership needed to move this inchoate people’s rebellion into a more comprehensive and long-term movement; that addresses the many underlying issues of the socioeconomic and political distress in the U.S.

    A national political movement cannot be sustained that only looks at the rate of police killings of African-American men. It certainly precipitated the events we have seen over the last 3 weeks. There are many serious issues that most of the population confronts and that could unify the population in their resentment and resistance to the elites. The costs of housing, education, health care, and the shambles of a society in which most areas do not have any serious public transportation, and in addition the growing environmental problems are just a few. The “liberal” media operations are trying to draw peoples’ energy toward very limited reformist and identity politics areas. The right-wing media is trying to mobilize a fascistic response by the many right-wing Whites. We cannot allow those initiatives to triumph over our potentially much wider movement..

  • dmorista

    You bring up the vital issue of how can the left sustain a viable movement when much of the dissent is funded by the very oligarchs, and their various foundations and action committees, that are the real problem?

    You stated that “… that everybody knows BLM took $100,000,000 from the Ford Foundation …”. I tried looking that up and found various articles; Influence Watch, (whose ideological bias I do not really know, but that certainly seems to be right-wing judging by their article on BLM), in an article “Black Lives Matter” claims that “Liberal funders such as George Soros, Rob McKay, and other Democracy Alliance donors have given millions of dollars to groups associated with the movement, which have in total raked in over $133 million.” That statement cited two articles for the source of information supporting that assertion. One, a Politico article, “Major donors consider funding Black Lives Matter” from Nov 13, 2015, Kenneth P. Vogel & Sarah Wheaton, in fact, notes only a total of $315,000 allocated as of the time of that article. The other, an article in the far-right wing Washington Times, “Black Lives Matter cashes in with $100 million from liberal
    foundations”, August 13, 2016, Valerie Richardson, stated that:

    “The Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy recently announced the formation
    of the Black-Led Movement Fund [BLMF], a six-year pooled donor campaign
    aimed at raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives coalition.

    “That funding comes in addition to more than $33 million in grants to the Black Lives Matter movement from top Democratic Party donor George Soros through his Open Society Foundations, as well as grant-making from the Center for American Progress.”

    That relatively short Washington Times article did not bother to discuss the convoluted relationship between the wealthy funders and such organizations as the Center for American Progress (itself financed by grants from Liberal funders), but does find room to mention other parts of BLM’s agenda: “… defunding police departments, race-based reparations, breaking (that nonsensical one word note is how the text read, dm) , voting rights for illegal immigrants, fossil-fuel divestment, an end to private education and charter schools, a “universal basic income,” and free college for blacks.

  • maineman1

    We have 40 million unemployed, some of their jobs are going away forever.

    We have industries in trouble, many have gone away or are dying.

    We have mass evictions about to happen, thousands of new homeless.

    Folks all over the country are marching and demanding justice.

    The economy is entering a depression, depression.

    We have 114000 dead and 250000 more predicted deaths.

    We have a war brewing with Venezuela.

    We have no vaccine.

    We may not have an election and if we do have one it will have been hacked, voters will be denied the right to vote, and it will involve rigging.

    The stock market will continue to have historic plunges.

    Our kids will no longer be educated in schools and no more day care, no more summer camp.

    Climate change will continue its march to the destruction of life on the planet.

    The rich get richer of the misery of the people.

    Children get killed by simply going to school. Guns are out of control.

    Police shoot citizens down in the street like dogs.

    Soon the government will force workers to come back to unsafe and deadly workplaces so that the rich can survive.

    Want to end this madness?

    Don’t participate, stay home don’t consume.

    The rich are bleeding money, they need you to risk you life for their greed.

    Screw them, stay home.

    Make them pay for impoverishing and preying on you.

    Payback is a bitch eh? The rich are now finding out the nature of power, it resides with the people.

    Show them who’s the boss!

    We are, screw trump and his frat boys!

    Stay home

    Don’t feed the beasts.

    General Strike!

  • jim james

    While I look for a citation, I can only tell you one thing, taking one penny from the Ford Foundation is too much. If you want, as you agree in your first sentence, to be taken for real then you don’t take dirty money, and the Ford Foundation is as ugly as it gets. For that matter, all foundations and think-tanks are corrput. I don’t care who they are, they’re a product of imperialism/capitalism, just like lobbying, they are all ultra-vires, unconstitutional and a threat to liberty, that is to say if they are involved in public policy. If they want to study history, religion, or whatever but they cannot be involved in public policy or they violate the principle of one-person, one vote.

  • ANTONIO

    REACTION TO OPPRESSION. Capitalism forces the transition to socialism by way of its heartless exploitation of labor, the rapacious monopolies that victimize the middle class and small farmers, the offensive against democracy and toward fascism, the threat of a new world war. ALL have their origin in capitalism. This push for oppression cannot but result in a push back. That push back is socialism.

    Socialism starts as a political act, capitalist power is overthrown and the workers are installed in power. But because this involves millions, with different agendas, the revolution is much more complex. Today, with a conscious working class, with instant means of communication, the passage toward revolution is much more secure. The success of the revolution is based on four things; the widely held conviction that it is worth the struggle, the degree of consciousness and organizational capacity of the workers, the class struggle as a thing that is never abandoned, the raising of political consciousness and capacity to fight. The very development of capitalism pushes the population into a socialist way of life, by providing the things that are denied to them by capitalism. This is what “sharpening of contradictions” means. This is so intransigent that it becomes an objective law. It is this imperative that fills the workers,along with their vanguard, with unending energy in the revolutionary struggle.

    ONE STEP BACK. Nevertheless, the working class are not always up to the task. The ruling class makes its business to join the workers’ movements in order to divide it, sometimes with trickery, sometimes with violence. Most dangerous are leaders of social democracy of the right, exemplified by blue dog Democrats, who will do anything to separate the workers from the struggle for socialism, and this in spite of the fact that that struggle is unstoppable. Workers are shaped in the daily struggles, in the fight for a fair salary and working conditions, in the solidarity with others. Even a simple strike will teach the workers something about their strength, and be a reserve for subsequent struggles. The movement becomes a school of political and organizational education, preparing the masses for higher yet forms of struggle.

    RESILIENCE. The right wing ruling class will not succeed in destroying the movement with repressive measures, nor with violence. There’s a saying in Spanish, mientras mas te empinas, mas el culo se te ve. The harder they try, the worse it gets. There is a point of open terrorism, as was practiced in Chile and Argentina, where the movement for socialism had to go underground, but it always came back due to the need that people have for fair treatment and justice. The terror, the massacres of innocents, are so much dry wood that will turn into a blaze at the first spark.

    VARIOUS ASPECTS. Because there is no “pure” capitalism, there can be no “pure” socialism. We have to deal with per-capitalist forms of trade, sequels of feudal relations (as in religion), small mercantile production, etc. Conflicts can be obscured when the workers benefit from the monopolies, or have strong nationalist or religious feelings. That is why the leading vanguard must always be ready and never falter, for on its shoulders rest the hopes an aspirations of hundreds of millions of the population.

    The Worker’s Party has to gather all the aspirations of the workers and recognize the moment when the workers become convinced that the only way to solve the problems of starvation and exploitation is through revolution. In recent years pro-democracy movements have proliferated. Even though they may not propose socialism as a solution, in certain circumstances they are amenable to be swept up in a revolutionary tide, since they nevertheless are a part of the worker’s struggle.

    Different types of struggle that can lead to socialism are; the struggle of farmers against the monopolies that pauperize them, the movements of national liberation, as manifested among African-Americans, Chicanos/as, Latinos/as, Indigenous people, etc. the struggle for the defense of democracy, the movement for peace against war, the fight of intellectuals to free expression and defense of culture. Democratic movements can also struggle in favor of nationalizing monopolies, for women’s and gender rights, and many struggles that come to the fore precisely because of the oppressive heel of the capitalists. There is also nothing new about these struggles. They are capitalist-democratic, not socialist-democratic. They were very much alive in the revolutions against the monarchy, where the masses demanded equal rights and recognition, separation of church and state, etc. that was the agenda of a ruling class democracy, correct for its time. In the crash of the 30s, the ruling class sought salvation in fascism and war. This inspired the antifascist movements, such as the popular front in France and Spain, and ultimately in the triumph of the USSR over fascism. But now we are seeing a new kind of democracy, democracy of a capitalism in crisis, democracy that demands the end of stock market crashes and the pauperization of the middle class.

    CAPITALIST OPPRESSION. The ruling class acts in a way that is harmful to the rest of society. It suppresses democratic movements, (such as with gerrymandering and the electoral college) it finances the race to the most weapons, it engages in adventurist aggression in foreign politics, it exploits its colonies (eg, through NAFTA).These activities are directly contrary to the well being of the national population and to that of the population being attacked. It is exactly these activities by the ruling class that spark democratic movements everywhere.

    The ruling class answer to democracy is to strengthen the dictatorship of the monopolies. In wartime Germany it took the shape of open fascism, with the suppression of of Parliament and all democratic institutions. In France, the reactionary dictatorship was installed by degrees, castrating established institutions bit by bit. In the US democratic processes are conserved on paper, while the corporations make out like bandits. In every capitalist country there is a monopoly dictatorship, some more obvious, some more subtle, but everywhere in control, according to internal and external conditions.
    _________________________________

    THE TIME IS RIPE. This situation today is rife with the possibility of democratic revolution. Such a revolution has the characteristic of being against the monopolies, supporting the working class, the small farmers, the middle class, and the democratic intellectuals are its primary impulse. Such as revolution would embrace the widest possible levels of society.

    RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEFT AND THE MIDDLE. The ultra left, to their detriment, will ignore the rich possibility of working within a middle class revolution. All oppressed levels of society can participate in a successful socialist revolution as long as the working class is at the head of it. The workers, because of their position in the society, are the only ones who can bring it about without corrupting its ideals. A revolution led by the middle class (for which there is a strong tendency today) is not the same as a revolution led by the working class. The middle class revolution, for example, wants the “freedom” of same sex marriage, even though the participants are dripping with money. Women want to be CEOs and dominate men. There is not that much that is revolutionary about it. In the meantime, the workers want decent jobs and security, and the only way to achieve this is by seizing the levers of power, a very different thing. Nevertheless, the capitalist-democratic revolution can be a stepping stone to reach the socialist-democratic revolution, because they both demand change. In the first place, the capitalist system has reached a point where it cannot give any more, and more and more people are fed up with it. Second, People are beginning to realize that we have an empire that exploits others but at the same time takes away our own livelihood, as evidenced by NAFTA and all the other mechanisms for keeping the peoples of the world in line. Third, The working class has matured, developed grown, become more prescient and is ready willing and able to seize the moment. In this conditions, the workers have the duty to take over the middle class and seize power for the benefit of all.

    THE SOCIALIST PROGRAM. The democratic revolution under the working class can demand and implement a “democratic dictatorship’ that is, forcing people to act democratically and not selfishly. They can nationalize the capitalist ruling class and proclaim a democratic republic, turn the land over to small farmers, raise the living wage and benefits, etc. The next step is to transform the capitalist democracy into socialist democracy by, organized as the ruling class, putting an end to exploitation. Agribusiness and industrial corporations, the military, will all belong to the people, who will decide policy. They will make sure that everyone has annual paid vacations, free hotels and spas, free medical care, free education including university, culture by and for the people, equality for women child care centers.Unemployment will be done away with, trade unions will assure that workers cannot be fired, homelessness will be done away with, rent will be less than 5% of income, all debts will be canceled. War propaganda will be outlawed, as war itself.Poverty will be ended with the recovery of the vast resources now wasted in war production, corporate profits and the extravagant lifestyles of the filthy rich.As production increases, science and technology are advanced, and the environment is protected. Crime will disappear or be greatly reduced. It is the profit system that corrupts the vulnerable, and breeds crime.

    COUNTERREVOLUTION, The right wing Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians, with the help of international reactionaries, will do everything in their power to stop this and protect Wall St. They will try to deviate the course of the revolution by dividing the working class and pushing for capitalist democracy, which changes little. Failing this, they are capable of counterrevolutionary acts, violence and terrorism. The revolutionary movement must incorporate strong elements from the Army and police, as well as other workers who are erroneously working for the ruling class against their own interests. (Bolivia’s failure to do this is an example of how important this is). A strong worker’s party, with millions behind it supporting it, can, hopefully peacefully, overcome the counterrevolution that has now been put in a defensive position.

  • Nylene13

    Good Article. Thank you Popular Resistance.

  • mmckinley

    If what you say is true—especially the Washington Times summation of the BLM agenda—then I nominate the BLM movement to lead us all in this revolutionary moment. Let the leaders stand forth and America will follow! Let anti-racism unite us and lead us forward to destroy the life-killing and soul-killing capitalism at racism’s heart! The blood-sucking continual concentration of wealth and property that is the result of monopoly. The racism and violence of our police and incarceration state is it’s most profound manifestation. It is Black Lives that will save us all, as all of America joins under their leadership and unites, understanding that this fight is for the liberation of everyone, of the people.

    Working in order to live—whether it is Lenin’s dictate that one must work in order to eat, or Calvin’s dictate (and Hitler’s promise) that one must work in order to be saved, or the slaver’s dictate to work or die under the lash, it’s all the same tyranny and slavery at the heart of capitalism, where work is defined as suffering to produce far more value for The Man than he pays you.

    The real revolution will begin with a Universal Living Income, paid for with a heavy tax on wealth derived from rent (not just rent on property, but rent as interest, dividends, royalties on intellectual property, capital gains, premiums, subsidies, inheritance, monopoly, and the like—money made from money, not from work). MIT’s minimum living income index says that this right now would be about $3,000/month for every adult, $750 for each dependent minor. It should be strictly tied to inflation. This must be matched with quality Universal Health Care, a single payer insurance that makes quality health care free at the point of service.

    The leadership of Black Lives Matter, if it arises, if we unite, may just save us all.

  • Steven Berge

    It sure would be great to see a clear written demand that could tackle the root of the problem and that the people could rally around. Don’t mean to co-opt the movement to stop excessive police violence targeted much more against people of color. Real change to policing needs to be part of it too. I think if people could see what it would be like if we ended our system of legalized bribery, and thought we could achieve it, bet it would be unstoppable. The only “manifesto” I saw seemed to have too many demands, maybe it was 18 demands. Hope to see boycotts and general strikes soon. Go exploitation resisters!

  • dmorista

    I agree fully with you that you cannot take money from wealthy interests and seriously work to end their power. Clearly BLM got money from the Ford Foundation and the Borealis Philanthropy, and likely from the Open Society Foundation and the Center for American Progress, and whatever others. I sincerely doubt they got $100 million, that looks to me like the figure, plus the $33 million that Soros donated, that was given to all of the African-American organizations working on this and other issues, by a consortium of left/liberal donors called the Democracy Alliance. The crafty capitalists no doubt realized that they could “buy” or “rent” the BLM activists for far less than $100 million.

    ThisOldMan posted a link to another story about this situation, at Snopes, that points out that a blog post from Allen West incorrectly reported that Ford Motor Company gave $100 million to BLM that he called “this radical hate group”. The Ford Foundation was originally a tax-dodge, that was formed when the Ford fortune was passed along from Henry 1st to the next generation. It no longer has anything to do with the Ford family.

    But let’s not quibble. I agree with you that taking tainted money compromises true revolutionary positions. But the people who run BLM are not necessarily true revolutionaries, still they have achieved some significant things, especially in the last 3 weeks.

  • dmorista

    I fully agree with that. The only change I would make is to say that tuition free college, at state run institutions should be available to all. That, or very low tuition. was the norm up into the 1960s. I paid $250 a semester at the University of Michigan in the late 1960s, now it is over $7,500 a semester. An increase of 2,700%, wages have maybe tripled, so it was an increase that keeps poor kids from going to school there. And it was intentional

  • Harbinger

    Big money interests always try to co-opt movements through the use of foundation funding and messaging, etc. Corporations are falling all over themselves to get on the BLM bandwagon. None of that should be surprising.

    However, that should not be used to discredit or invalidate the massive street protests nor the cause. Nor should we be spreading anything similar to the right wing “Soros is funding the riots” and “the Floyd murder was staged as a distraction” idiocy.

  • chetdude

    Here’s my favorite “demand” (GOAL):

    Worker and Community (THE PEOPLE’S) OWNERSHIP of the means of production coupled with democratic processes for decision making that allows the people to achieve consensus about where, when and what to produce, how much and how to do it along with how to fairly and equally distribute what’s produced.

    Sustainability must be the main goal. By sustainability I mean:

    1. The integration of human social and economic lives into the environment in ways that tend to enhance or maintain rather than degrade or destroy the environment;

    2. A moral imperative to pass on our natural inheritance, not necessarily unchanged, but undiminished in its ability to meet the needs of future generations;

    3. Entails determining and staying within the balance point among population, consumption and waste assimilation so that bioregions, watersheds and ecosystems can maintain their ability to recharge, replenish and regenerate.

  • dmorista

    Fully agreed and thank you for a succinct and excellent statement of the facts. The finer points of who is funding BLM or other similar issues don’t count for much on the streets of American cities. Overall what has happened is the most positive development and heartening occurrence in many years. I am a Vietnam era person, I refused induction and went to a lot of famous events. The courage and determination of the many young people, of all groups, shown over the last 3 weeks has given me new hope. The exact path that they will move over is not up to me, but I wish them well and will support them in any way I can.

  • mmckinley

    Oh yes, there is much more that needs to happen. I mentioned the two things that I thought would drive the knife into the heart of capitalism the farthest, and the soonest, with the most likelihood of happening (not much if we don’t unite and fight). Especially Universal Living Income, which would completely invert the power relationship between the 1% rentiers and workers, eliminate poverty, and revolutionize our entire concept of work, while restoring some semblance of wealth equity. And Universal Health Care would socialize about 20% of the U.S. economy. But yes, I agree, College for All and Free Education in general needs to be a priority. As does Justice for All—decarcerating and de-policing our racist, classist Justice system, and providing equal state legal representation so that Justice is not impunity for the wealthy. And breaking up the monopolies in the MIC, Energy, Agriculture, the Media, and all other industries, nationalizing many and reworking our tax structure to eliminate subsidy and encourage democratically owned and run small local business (such as cooperatives). And healing our democracy with things like election reform, automatic universal voter registration, campaign finance reform, and the restoration of public space for free public assembly and conversation. And more besides. Oh, yes, there’s plenty of work to do!

  • iowapinko

    My early experience was with the Vietnam era peace movement (attended the 1970 Moratorium, when Nixon and Kissinger hid out in the ‘bunker’ because they were worried we were “coming” for them), the United Farmworkers’ boycotts and the civil rights’ and women’s lib movements, and the social/political environment right now is the first time I can recall where the power of the people is equally engaged and dynamic.

    These ‘kids’ have the leaders of the oligarchy once again hiding in the bunkers. If we can manage to maintain our purpose and our solidarity we will move forward.

  • Nylene13

    I tried to send him the link to the Wobblies, but I guess links are not allowed anymore?

  • jb

    Eliminate money (defund the economy), replace with a reciprocal labor exchange economy. From each per his/her ability, to each per his/her ability. Strictly regulate and punish hoarding or using commodities as incentive.

    Poor Lives Matter.

  • jb

    Really? More likely to turn the attention away from the coming forced CoV19 vaccine. Well, I digress……95% of compliant, well behaved consumers called citizens, will without protest, submit…..not knowing the history of vaccine damage or virus science.

  • Jay Hansen

    Das ist treue!

  • jb

    Let me add to my reply to jim james that in addition as a distraction to the medical industrial complex designs on its vaccine profits, we must all realize the BLM protests distract us from the massive wealth transfer to the royal bourgeoisie. Not that it, BLM, is an illegitimate mass action but……….it is a co-opted organization.

  • jb

    As long as you’re talking about money, you’re going nowhere. Black lives matter is a petty bourgeois, elite funded movement that has it’s roots in pseudo left reactionary reformist dogma. MLK had it right, it’s the poor working class who will form a contiguous unified struggle, not identity politic, nationalist antifa anarchist, unionist, Bernie Sanders, Malcom X sycophants.

  • jim james

    I certainly didn’t mean to discredit or invalidate the protests or the cause…Hah-wow, that’s really interesting, it reverts back to my original comments, will this movement be as narrowly construed as possible such that it will focus on police brutality and black lives, or even ‘defunding police’ vs. fundamentally dismantling/restructuring the US of A, which is what I want. I want a wholly new State, like Barbara Lee wants to gut the Pentagon budget. That’s where the movement’s got to, ahem, move. So, at the end of the day, the question hasn’t changed, is this about black lives or fundamentally altering the economic/political realities of a place called America? Sadly, far too many would be ‘bought off’ with a bit of tinkering or pretense.That’s on top of the fact they’re inextricably linked, as MLK said injustice to one is injustice to all. It’s why governments have always reacted to protests, they always go beyond the cause that got them started, like the protests against a Stamp act.

  • sabelmouse

    nice idea!

  • Mensch59

    Yep. And more than an idea. An opportunity for action on the field of real social justice — if….
    “The confluence of crises including recent police violence, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic collapse along with the ongoing crises of lack of healthcare, poverty, inequality, homelessness, personal debt, and climate plus awareness of mirage democracy in the United States have created a historic moment full of possibilities. If we continue to organize and build power, the potential for dramatic change is great.” ~ Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

    I’d like to know what this “power” actually IS that the authors refer to. It must be something more real than a buzz word.

  • Jay Hansen

    The only general working people need.

  • Harbinger

    The path to fundamentally altering the economic/political realities lies through the protests that are happening now.

    Yes, of course there will be attempts to limit. to co-opt, to neutralize the movement. That is a good sign.

  • chetdude

    Links are allowed but they automatically trigger a hold on your post until someone from Popular Resistance can check and OK the post.

    If they didn’t do that, this site would be flooded with links to RW swill and corporate lies (fake “news”) in no time at all.

  • Tonyandoc

    There are three words in the heading, that accurately reflect the theme of the article, that guarantee failure. They are “Power”, “Win” and “Demands”. How does that strategy differ in principle from the ambitions of the individuals controlling the institutions we hope to reform, or at least change? How does it differ from Trump’s tactics?

    Far better would be to aim to cooperate and compromise. Power corrupts, winning implies losers and demands imply inflexibility.
    We’ve learned nothing if we go down that well-trodden path that is paved with flag stones commemorating failures for all but the few at the top. It leads nowhere other than back to where we started.

  • Nylene13

    That makes sense. Thanks chetdude.

  • dopfa

    Agreed. Without systemic change of entire systems created by the white male capitalist “Christian” patriarch, in which one “king” rules all of his “subjects,” nothing will change. Workers’ co-ops, community gardens and farms, green energy programs including INDUSTRIAL HEMP, and true healthcare for all is a good start to creating a whole different world than the one the power-hungry, patriarchal elite created. It’s failing, and like this article says, We the People need to band together to pick up the pieces and create the change we want to see.
    We need to demand that all big ag money goes to “little ag” in the form of supporting everyone in growing their own food in some way. Community gardens and farms, local food forests everywhere. Food is easy to grow and should be grown in every vacant lot in every town and city. Plant seeds of revolution in your yard today!
    We need to demand that all industrial prison tax dollars go to social programs instead. An average of $55,000 a year is spent to abuse inmates, making them more dangerous when they come out than when they went in. Prison farm projects that connect people to growing and caring for stuff is a good start.
    All drug war money needs to be reallocated to social programs and community gardens and farms.
    The insanely bloated military budget needs to be diverted to community farms and gardens, a national industrial hemp program, as well as to the best educational system in the world, which We the People will create from our dreams of the world we want to see.
    Big step too – Get money out of politics!

  • Stephen Morrell

    To imply the Black Panthers were for ‘community control’ of the cops is a gross distortion. The full name of the Black Panthers was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Not Black Panther Party for Community Control of the Cops. They brandished loaded weapons in public, and patrolled black neighbourhoods to protect them from the cops. That’s how the Black Panthers ‘controlled’ the cops, as an armed militia that kept them physically at bay. Not by advocating committees or ‘boards’ of worthies to somehow ‘control’ the violent, racist professional armed thugs of the bourgeoisie.

    Anti-gun legislation was enacted in California as a direct result of the Black Panther initiatives, which was the only anti-gun legislation ever to be supported by the racist NRA. Gun control historically has been directed primarily against blacks.

    Community ‘control’ of the cops is a deadly illusion and to say that power relations will somehow be ‘reversed’ by it is ludicrous and shows a touching faith in the bourgeois state. From where else does the power emanate to hire and fire the cops, or empanel juries, etc? Heaven?

    But why on earth would the protests stop at or be placated by community ‘control’ of the cops? Of course if there were ‘left’ water carriers to help sell this lie, then there’s a good chance the protests will be defused. In reality, such reversal of power relations will be non-existent, at best legislative window dressing that disguises the real power relation whose essence will remain unchanged.

    Is there one example of where community ‘control’ of the cops has worked even partially in favour of blacks and the oppressed and against the interests of the ruling class? One at all?

    In the end, community ‘control’ of the cops will only ensure their continued existence, by ‘legitimating’ them, and by perpetrating the delusion that they can be ‘reformed’.

    As for relations of power, it’s also a deadly illusion to hope that “If guards and police refuse to stop people, courts refuse to prosecute and jails refuse to hold people, the power elites lose that control.” On what planet has that ever happened, where cops have refused to smash a strike or a picket line? Sure they might refuse to write tickets or otherwise ‘work to rule’ to win further privileges from the rulers. But an uprising is a very different kettle of fish, where law and order are on the line, and where the cops must continue to persecute those they’ve always persecuted and only stop when forced to. Not ‘refuse’ to, which is very different, as if to imply them ‘striking’ or ‘mutinying’ in solidarity with an uprising. Like ‘workers’.

    The cops and prison screws aren’t the same as the military, and unlike the military during revolutions, they don’t split along class lines. Instead, in a revolutionary situation most cops and screws melt away like the cowards they are because deep down many of them know that when the oppressed or those they’ve beaten and brutalised in the prison hellholes or on the streets will finally take revenge on them, and quite rightly. The remainder end up joining the local fascist bands, if they’re not members already, or become private guard dogs of the bourgeoisie to carry on defense of themselves and of the existing order.

    And the cops and screws can never be considered workers in uniform’, with ‘unions’ as some in the left ludicrously contend.

  • jim james

    Check out this website’s republication of Paul Street’s 2017 article, ‘What would Black Panthers think of BLM,’ which is currently atop this website’s Recent News, discussing Ford Foundation granting the 100 million, though you’ll note people are playing games with BLM vs. M$BL, er, M4BL.

  • dmorista

    Thanks I read it, quite good overall, and with a brilliant analysis of the role of careerist PR flacks in controlling social movements. I commented on the funding at that article, that included a copy of comments I made in reply to you a few days ago, but augmented with some other material.

  • zak1

    Thanks for this clarification – do you know what else can trigger a hold here? For some reason I find my comments on this site repeatedly getting flagged – even though I am careful to remain on point and respectful, and usually very supportive, too

  • chetdude

    Alas, there are some insecure people who love to flag other people’s posts when they don’t agree with them.