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Veteran activists have called out BLM as a tool of the Democrats from day 1. But agenda-driven $MILLIONS drown out the grassroots

Helen Buyniski
Helen Buyniski

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

Veteran activists have called out BLM as a tool of the Democrats from day 1. But agenda-driven $MILLIONS drown out the grassroots
The Black Lives Matter movement has made millions off black Americans’ suffering. A St. Louis activist explains how it comes from a long tradition of white liberals coopting grassroots movements to push a Democratic Party agenda.

The foundation-funded social justice activism of Black Lives Matter is using black pain to cash in on white liberal guilt, dividing American society in pursuit of a Democratic political agenda, St. Louis activist Nyota Uhura told RT.

Uhura founded her website handsupdontshoot.com in August 2014 to counter false narratives coming out of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Having witnessed BLM’s rise up close as the nascent organization swooped into Ferguson amid the calls for justice triggered by Brown’s killing, methodically coopting the genuine protest energy while ignoring or even obstructing those protesters’ demands, Uhura has fought to warn others of what the organization really represents – leveraging black activism into a boost for the Democratic Party.

The science of coopting movements

Plucking a few Ferguson residents from the streets for a veneer of local credibility, BLM raised $33 million on the back of Brown’s death – money Uhura says her community never saw. Six years later, black St. Louis remains poor and plagued with violence, while BLM has found a new community to exploit.

“They overshadow the work of the grassroots, then they insert themselves as leaders and they go out in the media and claim to be leading these movements,” Uhura said.

Outlining the methodology of BLM and other astroturfed movements, she added that sometimes they literally just showed up at a protest they didn’t plan and did a news conference. This is a tradition she traces back to white liberals’ hijacking of the 1963 March on Washington.

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That tradition has been boiled down to a science, she says, with organizations like NetRoots turning out phony ‘activists’ with the ruthless efficiency of an assembly line. “NetRoots is where activists go to audition to be puppets of the Democrats, special interest and white elite nonprofit,” she continued.

“It happens so fast that all the pieces are in place before you even have a chance to know what hit you… Before you even know it, you’re watching the news and they have coopted your movement.”

White liberal and progressive groups “use the energy of our movement to push their agenda” – in BLM’s case, weaponizing the concept of “intersectionality” to broaden the movement’s scope from race to feminism, immigrant rights, LGBT issues, and other causes that directly affect white people.

“In order to mobilize people, they need those black faces out front – because what are they going to look like protesting? Just in terms of optics it’ll look like a Klan rally,” Uhura joked. She has a point – just 17 percent of last month’s protesters were black, according to a Pew Research poll published last week, a statistic the organization’s foes are unlikely to let it forget.

Real activists disenfranchised

Uhura is far from the only grassroots activist to publicly speak out against BLM for pulling a bait-and-switch, substituting the Democratic Party’s pet causes in place of justice for the victims of police violence. The group’s Cincinnati chapter dropped the iconic phrase from its name in 2018, alleging the national organization “capitalized off a nameless groundswell of resistance sweeping the nation, branded it as their own, and profited off [black people’s deaths]” without making an effort to get justice for victims’ families.

The Cincinnati chapter also says that BLM’s 2015 conference in Cleveland – where 12-year-old Tamir Rice had just been gunned down by a cop for holding a toy gun – focused almost exclusively on black transgender rights, further dividing a suffering community.

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Los Angeles activists slammed BLM’s local chapter for ignoring the killing of Ezell Ford, a mentally-ill man shot by police in 2014, to travel to Ferguson and piggyback on the Michael Brown shooting. Upon their return to Los Angeles, where the activist community was demanding the city’s district attorney indict Ford’s killers, BLM Los Angeles not only continued to ignore the injustice, one of its leaders actually bestowed a ‘Women in Action’ award on the same DA who exonerated the cops who killed him.

Others take issue with what they see as obvious grifting by some of BLM’s most prominent representatives. DeRay McKesson has promoted brands from Apple to McDonald’s, and even got himself arrested in a Twitter T-shirt in what many activists believe was a staged promotion.

Shaun King is so legendary for making large sums of money raised “for the movement” disappear that the Daily Beast wrote a story about it. King recently announced a “Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission” in conjunction with three of the same “progressive prosecutors” that activists like Uhura have denounced for failing to police the police.

‘They always march us back into the voting booth’

Like all controlled opposition movements, one of BLM’s primary functions is to derail meaningful change, Uhura explained: “They always march us back into the voting booth.”

Well-heeled movement activists consistently divert money and energy into electing Democratic Party candidates or “progressive” prosecutors, none of whom hold police accountable when they murder innocent black men, whether it’s in Ferguson, Los Angeles, or New York City.

For this reason, she’s not convinced by the group’s recent calls to defund police, or the Minneapolis City Council’s pledge to do just that – the governments of Ferguson and St. Louis promised all manner of reforms they didn’t deliver. Many that did pass were hopelessly watered-down or have since been rolled back, and Uhura sees ‘defund the police’ as just another fundraising tactic.

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The only electoral solution to the black community’s problems is “weaponizing our politics,” according to the veteran activist – all incumbents have to go. They’ve had their chance to make a difference, and proven themselves unwilling to deliver. “It might take one or two election cycles to mold a person into what we need, but right now we’re losing anyway,” she reasoned. “We have to just clean house and get rid of everybody. How can it be worse?”

BLM recently came under fire for doling out just six percent of its donations to local chapters over the past three years, with a whopping 83 percent going to pay consultants and travel costs. The complicated route the money takes from donor to chapter has elicited extensive speculation about the possibility of money laundering, and BLM representatives have been almost cartoonishly cagey when asked by reporters about their finances

Co-founder Alicia Garza has denied the group is backed by foundations at all, even though billionaire currency speculator George Soros alone has given over $33 million to BLM, its founders, and associated groups, and the Ford Foundation pledged to raise $100 million for the BLM-affiliated Movement for Black Lives Coalition in 2016. Fellow co-founder Patrisse Cullors has held up a fact-check by PolitiFact, funded by the same Omidyar Network that funds BLM, as “proof” the group isn’t linked with the Democratic Party.

But it’s the group’s function as an ideological launderer that has thus far insulated it from accountability. From the corporations pouring millions of dollars into its coffers to burnish their woke cred, to the politicians donning Kente cloths and pandering their way to re-election, BLM positions itself as ‘the’ black activism group, overshadowing grassroots campaigners and sucking up all available cash – literally starving out the competition, as genuine movements struggle to be heard by the media and greater public over the foundation-funded din.

This model of activism has been so successful over the decades that it has come to dominate every cause from environmentalism to civil liberties, offering young people a “romanticized view of activism where it’s all hashtags, all patty-cake, all sugar and cream, when nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, grassroots activists place themselves at significant risk, Uhura says - especially when they start calling out their foundation-funded rivals. Between that risk and the financial incentives to leave the topic alone, most media outlets are unwilling to delve into the deep-pocketed networks underlying BLM and its ilk. “For 6 years, people like myself have been trying to educate people on what’s really happening, and it’s a shame it takes RT to tell this story, when this should have been main-page news here. Now, I’m hoping that it will be. 

She believes the phony movement’s true nature will be exposed, citing its own inherent discrimination: “How does Black Lives Matter get to decide WHICH black lives matter when they purposefully omit straight black people and straight black men whose death they profit from?”

But as long as grassroots activists are losing ground to foundation-funded rivals, new BLMs will keep popping up. Real activists must “create an alternative” to foundation-funded movements, she says – or risk losing the next generation to the Democratic operatives and keeping justice out of the reach of black communities forever.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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