Three thousand years ago King David’s son spoke these words in Jerusalem: “There is an appointed time for everything, and there is a time for every event under heaven – a time to tear down and a time to build up; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to tear apart and a time to sew together: a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
This newsletter is longer than usual. It takes a serious look at recent events in America catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd, and then asks the question “How did we get here?” There is insight to be gained through examining specific developments over the past hundred or so years which have contributed to the present situation. It is not light reading. The conclusions here call for much thought and prayer. Take the time to chew on this newsletter. We are living in significant days.
Murder in the Twin Cities
On May 25 America and the world were shocked as they watched the video of the asphyxiation murder of 46 year old African American George Floyd by a White Minneapolis police officer. Floyd’s last words were “I can’t breathe!” Anyone who watched the video was overwhelmed by the trauma and agony of this senseless killing. Bishop T.D. Jakes described his own response after watching the video, “It’s hard to be balanced when you’re angry.” He also added a warning, “Anger without effectiveness leads to destruction” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynfCnXOhxXU&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR26WLqfTwK_m6GsKVitBIx6RjeHhVCFmj-1hNctqH5RbXaEa6hYju6Qcnw).
What began as tears of grief quickly morphed into tears of rage. Within one day, thousands of Minneapolitans were protesting, and the four policemen involved in Floyd’s killing were fired. On Wednesday May 27 protests spread to Los Angeles and Memphis. But quickly a new development raised its violent head – vicious looting, arson and rioting broke out in South Minneapolis.
A senior Justice Department official said that the disciplined nature of the arson and looting (“very organized coordination from professional agitators”) raised FBI suspicions that Antifa and Antifa-like groups were involved. Attorney General William Barr said at a press briefing that “three different sets of actors” were involved in the demonstrations – peaceful protesters, looters and “extremist agitators that hijack protests.” By Thursday Barr could add (based on SIGINT – signals intelligence) that there was a “witches brew” of extremists with varying ideologies, including anarchists and those seeking to incite a civil war.
The Attorney General noted that “one of the difficulties is that while there are peaceful demonstrators and participants in these protests, it is the instigators, those committed to violence who basically shield themselves by going among them” (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ag-barr-evidence-antifa-foreign-actors-involved-sowing/story?id=71066996).
- By Thursday May 28 non-violent protests as well as violent looting and arson had broken out in New York City, Columbus, Phoenix and Denver. Minnesota activated the National Guard.
- On Friday May 29 Minneapolis imposed a mandatory night time curfew. Non-violent protests and violent rioting occurred across from the White House at Lafayette Park.
- On Saturday May 30 Minnesota fully mobilized its National Guard, saying that Minneapolis’ violent protests were “no longer” about the death of Floyd but about “attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.” Lafayette Park saw protestors clash with police, damaging three police vehicles and setting fire to a car. Violent rioting and non-violent protests spread to states including Washington, California, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Massachusetts.
- On Sunday May 31 Washington, D.C. imposed a nighttime curfew. Protesters attacked police in San Diego, and looting spread in Santa Monica and San Jose, California. Minnesota’s Attorney General, Keith Ellison (connected in the past with Nation of Islam and Muslim Brotherhood-related groups; https://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/01/politics/kfile-keith-ellison-nation-of-islam/; http://i1.wp.com/powerline.wpengine.com/ed-assets/2006/09/EllisonArticle3.jpg; www.nationalreview.com/2016/12/keith-ellison-islamic-radical/; https://medium.com/@ellisonforcongress/listening-more-talking-less-2bb36e171dca#.k12isqm9a) took over prosecutions in Floyd’s death from the county prosecutor.
The police officer who murdered Floyd has an unusual name – Derek Chauvin (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/01/us/derek-chauvin-what-we-know-trnd/index.html). That family name has French roots. French tradition has it that a Napoleonic soldier named Nicolas Chauvin manifested “a form of extreme nationalism and a belief in national superiority” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauvinism). Today chauvinism is defined as “an irrational belief in the superiority or dominance of one’s own group or people.” This sobering linguistic connection is beyond the ability of mortal men to plan.
Casting the first stone
Two questions here: does Floyd’s murder reveal anything about American society, and are there any unrighteous dynamics here which need to be changed.
Most of the media’s interpretations and proffered solutions to these questions tend to stay close to the talking points of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Most people know little about the historical and ideological foundations of this movement. What are those origins?
Solomon tells us that “the first to plead his case seems right until another comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). Isaiah adds “The crooked will become straight and the rough places plain” (Luke 3:5; Isaiah 40:3-5).
Regardless of one’s stance about these issues, all should be able to agree that the open murder of a handcuffed Black man on the streets of an American city is a horrific travesty of justice. Before people take up battle positions over the ‘correct interpretation of the underlying causes’ of this injustice, for just one minute, first things first: let’s make sure that we get in touch with our hearts, and give ourselves time to grieve. That would be a normal, healthy and open-hearted first response. Tears have a way of cleansing the doors of perception.
Roots and shoots
The roots of American history are intertwined with slavery, though Europe, Asia and Africa have had much longer involvement in these matters. While it’s politically correct to target White Americans regarding slavery and racism, history’s unblinking eye shows that the main on-site operators of the African slave industry were Arab Islamic slave traders and Black African tribal leaders. The biggest slave markets in times past used to be the Islamic countries. Up to the present day Islamic countries are connected to the phenomenon of slavery:
Slavery’s effects on African Americans were huge – families ripped apart, social cohesion destroyed, widespread poverty. African cultural roots and tribal connections for the most part disappeared, except for some aspects of music and dance. Slavery’s power was eventually broken, starting with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 which in principle freed all Southern slaves (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emancipation_Proclamation; www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation/transcript.html). But to make that Proclamation a reality, approximately 854,000 mostly White Union soldiers died in battle for Black freedom (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War#Costs).
Yet slavery’s collateral damage to African Americans lingered on. Congressional decrees do not automatically create brotherhood or change human hearts. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, Black Americans continued “to live with the agony and the continued existence of racism, . . . the constant hurt, the constant insult and the constant disrespect” (‘The Other America,’ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Grosse Pointe High School – March 14, 1968; www.gphistorical.org/mlk/mlkspeech/).
In the same way as Jewish people remember Pharaoh, Haman and the Crusades, so African Americans remember some bloody milestones on their path. The lynching of 4,000 to 4,800 U.S. Blacks between 1877 and 1968 is a somber reminder how racist hearts can catalyze racist hands:
Dare to be a Daniel
The blowback from slavery, lynching and racism still loiters on the outskirts of American society. Yet a balanced approach notes that nearly every people group in the world has its own rancid inheritance of hatred, prejudice and murder. Solzhenitsyn reminds us that the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. Repentance from sin is a divine calling on all human beings, not only on Whites, not only on Americans. Racist anti-White responses heart attitudes and actions are also sin.
- “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? . . . From good to evil is one quaver, says the proverb. And correspondingly, from evil to good” (The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Collins 1974; https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Gulag_Archipelago)
Dr. King once said that “voting is not the key that will unlock the door to racial equality . . . I do not believe that (the problem) will be solved until there is a kind of cosmic discontent enlarging in the bosoms of people of good will all over this nation” (www.apa.org/monitor/features/king-challenge).
There is a place for believers in Messiah Yeshua to enter into identificational repentance under the leading of the Holy Spirit for sinful deeds of previous generations in their own land. Americans can grapple in prayer before the God of Israel, asking Him to forgive and heal national sins in the past and present connected with racism and violence against African Americans. Daniel 9:20, Nehemiah 1:6; 9:2, 2 Samuel 21:3-4 and Psalm 80 are biblical examples of such prayer in a Jewish context.
Many believers already understand this dynamic vis-à-vis repenting for sins against the Jewish people. A helpful book here is James Goll’s ‘Father forgive us’ (www.amazon.com/Father-Forgive-Us-Jim-Goll/dp/0768420253).
The red pill or the black pill?
The 20th Century witnessed many Black leaders proffering solutions to what was then called ‘the Negro problem’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Problem_(book)). Here are some of their names, analyses and endgame suggestions:
West Indian Edward Blyden (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Wilmot_Blyden) viewed ‘a return to the homeland’ – colonizing Liberia – as the solution. In 1898 he published a pamphlet ‘The Jewish Question’, two years after the publication of Herzl’s ‘Der Judenstaat’ (which Blyden read and admired). There he stated, “The Jewish question, in some respects, is similar to that which at this moment agitates thousands of descendants of Africa in America, anxious to return to the land of their fathers.”
Jamaican Marcus Garvey (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Garvey; www.Blackpast.org/african-american-history/1921-marcus-garvey-address-second-unia-convention/) organized a Black nationalist movement in 1920’s America with nearly one million followers (Universal Negro Improvement Association). Known as ‘the Negro Moses’ he preached the racial unity and purity of all Black Africans, Black pride and separatism, anti-colonialism, institution building and self-sufficiency. Garvey advocated against intermarriage and integration, and preached a massive return of all Blacks to the African homeland under his rule. He had a strong influence on the next generation of Black leaders, especially on Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam and Stokely Carmichael (leader of SNCC – Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee). He designed the flag flown today as the Black Liberation or Pan-African flag (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-African_flag). His UNIA convention in August 1924 canonized the Virgin Mary as a Black woman of Ethiopian extraction (see Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons, Roger Hill, p. 408). Vietnamese Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh stated that Garvey’s strategies shaped his political outlook during Ho’s stay in America. African American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has described Garvey as the “patron saint” of the Black nationalist movement (see also www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/ta-nehisi-coates-revisits-the-case-for-reparations).
West Indian Frantz Fanon of Martinique was a political radical, Pan-Africanist, and Marxist writer whose themes included the psychopathology of colonization and the consequences of decolonization. He was a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN), a Pan-Arabist, socialist and Islamic group responsible for breaking the colonialist rule of France over Algeria at the cost of approximately 100,000 killings (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerre_d%27Alg%C3%A9rie). His perspectives on violence and revolution (“having a gun is the only chance you still have of giving a meaning to your death”) have inspired radicals including Malcolm X, Che Guevara and the Black Panther Party (Fanon’s books were required reading for all Panthers, and six of their Panther Ten Point Program were based on Fanon’s teachings). Fanon’s work Wretched of the Earth is quoted approvingly in the preface of Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Ture) and Charles Hamilton’s book, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation (1967; https://mygaryislike.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/Black-power-kwame-ture-and-charles-hamilton.pdf).
W. E. B. Du Bois (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._E._B._Du_Bois) was a sociologist, Pan-Africanist and civil rights activist who fought against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. He believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, supported socialist causes throughout his life, and thought that Communism had the solutions to racism. He opposed Marcus Garvey’s racial separatism, while Garvey denounced Du Bois’ efforts to achieve equality through integration. He was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.) was a Christian minister who became the most visible spokesperson and leader of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. His strategy was the advancement of civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. He was America’s most famous advocate for integration. He was inspired by both his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he organized the Selma to Montgomery marches. Before King’s assassination he strongly organized against poverty, capitalism, and the Vietnam War.
Malcolm X (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X;https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/malcolm-x) was an American Nation of Islam (and later) Muslim minister who advocated for Black supremacy, Black empowerment, and the separation of Black and White Americans. He publicly criticized the mainstream civil rights movement for its emphasis on nonviolence and racial integration, advocating instead that Black people should defend themselves from Whites by force of arms. Malcolm X “made clear the price that White America would have to pay if it did not accede to Black America’s legitimate demands.” He is largely responsible for the spread of Islam in the Black community in the United States. The Black Power movement traces its roots to Malcolm X. Malcolm X taught that Blacks were the world’s original inhabitants, that Whites are a race of devils created by an evil scientist, that Blacks are superior to Whites, and that the demise of the White race is imminent. He advocated the complete separation of Blacks from Whites, and the establishment of a separate country for African Americans in the southern/southwestern United States as an interim measure, until African Americans could return to Africa. Malcolm X declared that the U.S. government owed reparations to Black people for the unpaid labor of their slave ancestors. He was assassinated on February 21, 1965 by three members of his former denomination the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X laid a foundation stone for the Black Power movement when he stated that the entire political system was responsible for Black citizens’ ongoing economic exploitation and political repression. In his “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech (April 1964; https://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/Blackspeech/mx.html), Malcolm X stated that the federal government had failed Black citizens. In a veiled warning to government officials, Malcolm X suggested that, if Blacks didn’t receive the political representation they deserved, they would take up arms to defend their rights.
In an article ‘Zionist Logic’ (September 17, 1974; www.globalresearch.ca/zionist-logic-malcolm-x-on-zionism/12385) Malcolm X declared, “The number one weapon of 20th century imperialism is zionist dollarism, and one of the main bases for this weapon is Zionist Israel. The ever-scheming European imperialists wisely placed Israel where she could geographically divide the Arab world, infiltrate and sow the seed of dissension among African leaders and also divide the Africans against the Asians.”
Trinidadian Stokely Carmichael (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stokely_Carmichael) was a Black activist and advocate for violent revolutionary change in America.
Stokely Carmichael’s legacy has strongly influenced the present Black Lives Matter and related movements. Quotes from his speeches are presented below, revealing some significant ideological links.
According to FBI files (https://vault.fbi.gov/Stokely%20Carmichael), Carmichael said in a February 5, 1966 interview to The Independent in San Rafael, California:
“Our country does not run on reason; it is run on violence. That’s the reality of how things are done here. It is to my benefit to get the Negro out on the streets to stop the machine which is keeping me from my rights. Whether they do it by marching or singing or dancing or fighting is irrelevant . . . Being non-violent is a personal thing; I might be non-violent but I wouldn’t try to push that on to people I am trying to organize. If the people were out there, ready to fight for their rights, I certainly wouldn’t say that they should all be very nice and not hurt anybody. I’d tell them to get what they deserve . . . This nonviolence bit is just a philanthropic hang-up. I don’t see why people keep thinking about that. The violence is inevitable. I don’t try to stop the fight. I try to prepare the people I am organizing so that when the fight comes they will be able to win it.”
“To fight to control the basic institutions which perpetuate racism by destroying them and building new ones. That’s the real question that faces us today . . . This country is a nation of thieves. It has stole everything it has, beginning with Black people . . . This country cannot justify any longer its existence . . . It seems to me the institutions that function in this country are clearly racist and that they’re built upon racism” (UC Berkeley October 29, 1966; http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/Blackspeech/scarmichael.h).
“A ‘non-violent’ approach to civil rights is an approach Black people cannot afford and a luxury White people do not deserve” (Black Power: The Politics of Liberation; Ture, Kwame; Hamilton, Charles, 1967; Random House. p. 53).
Carmichael stated that Blacks’ self-defense from White violence was both legitimate and ethical. At UC Berkeley in November 1966, he compared U.S. law enforcement to the German Gestapo under Hitler, asserting, “Because this is not 1942. And if you play like Nazis, we’re playing back with you this time around. Get hip to that” (www.crmvet.org/info/stokley.htm).
In a Garfield, Seattle speech on April 16, 1967, Carmichael sharpened Malcolm X’s definition of Black Power: “Black Power is the coming together of Black people to fight for their liberation by any means necessary. Now we want to talk about violence. Because I understand now that some of your so-called Negro leaders have been saying that we violent. I won’t deny it. Yeah, I’m violent. Somebody touch me, I’ll break their arm. But the problem isn’t one of violence, see. The problem is one of hitting back White people when they hit you. That’s the real problem ’cause we’ve never done that all our lives. They’ve been able to walk over us, bomb our churches, beat us up, shoot into our houses, lynch us, and do everything they wanted to do and we would just sit there and whisper about it behind closed doors. It’s a new day today! It’s a new day today!” (http://aavw.org/special_features/speeches_speech_carmichael01.html).
In 1967 Carmichael revealed that SNCC’s founders had chosen the acronym SNCC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_Nonviolent_Coordinating_Committee) with subterfuge: “We used the name ‘nonviolent’ because at that time Martin Luther King was the central figure of the Black struggle and he was still preaching nonviolence, and anyone who talked about violence at that time was considered treasonable . . . so we decided that we would use the name nonviolent, but in the meantime we knew our struggle was not about to be nonviolent, but we would just wait until the time was right” (“We Must Destroy the Capitalistic System Which Enslaves Us: Stokely Carmichael Advocates Black Revolution”; http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6461/).
Dr. King was critical of Carmichael, stating in an August 1967 speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Convention: “Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout ‘White Power!’ – when nobody will shout ‘Black Power!’ – but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power” (August 16, 1967; Address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/where-do-we-go-here-address-delivered-eleventh-annual-sclc-convention). He added that the label ‘Black Power’ “connotes Black supremacy and an anti-White feeling that does not or should not prevail.”
NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins also drew a clear line: the Black Power movement was “a reverse Hitler, a reverse Ku Klux Klan” (The NAACP, Black Power, and the African American Freedom Struggle, 1966–1969; Simon Hall; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1540-6563.2007.00174.x). The slogan ‘Black Power’ was “the father of hate and the mother of violence,” and Wilkins predicted that Black power would eventually mean ‘Black death’ (Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America; James Oliver Horton and Louise E. Horton, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001).
After Dr. King (America’s prime advocate of non-violent protest) was assassinated, Carmichael announced to Black Americans, “Go home and get your guns. When the White man comes, he is coming to kill you.” In the wake of King’s assassination, 168 U.S. cities and towns experienced rioting, looting, arson and sniper attacks. There were 2,600 fires and 21,270 injuries. Arsonists in Washington D.C. set 711 fires, including some just blocks from the White House.
Carmichael told a 1966 Cleveland audience “When you talk about Black Power, you are talking about bringing this country to its knees. When you talk of Black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created” (In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s; Clayborne Carson; 1981; pp. 206, 221; www.davidgarrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/DJG2015RAHStokely.pdf).
In April 1996, Carmichael said: “We want to economically destroy capitalism because capitalism goes hand in hand with racism and exploitation” (http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6461/ ).
Carmichael had a warm relationship with Louis Farrakhan (www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm-1998-11-16-3225176-story.html) and his Nation of Islam (www.c-span.org/video/?c4718374/user-clip-snccnation-islam-jewish-proble).
Over the years Carmichael said many times that “the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist” (Stokely Speaks: Black Power back to Pan-Africanism; 1971).
Since Stokely Carmichael exerted a strong influence on the Black Power movement and on the Black Lives Matter movement, it is not surprising that “a growing number of scholars conceive of the civil rights and Black power movements as one interconnected Black Freedom Movement” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Power).
Carmichael died November 15, 1998 at the age of 57, mourned by many African American leaders, including Louis Farrakhan, Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson. Jackson eulogized, “He was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming America and Africa. He rang the freedom bell in this century” (www.caribbeanlifenews.com/prime-minister-of-the-Black-panther-party/).
On a personal note: I was raised by Yiddish-speaking communist parents who were Stalinists. As an 8 year old boy, my heroes were the Freedom Riders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Riders#:~:text=Freedom%20Riders%20were%20civil%20rights,ruled%20that%20segregated%20public%20buses) and I wanted passionately to head down South in order to march and work with them in 1961. Brother Stokely was a personal hero, and when he came to McGill University, Montreal for the Congress of Black Writers in October 1968, I was there in the front row listening to every word he said. I spoke with him after his speech, asking for advice as to what a Jewish kid could do to lend a hand. His response was curt and rude: “We don’t need or want your help.” Carmichael had already made his decision at SNCC during the Atlanta Project to take a Black separatist approach (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stokely_Carmichael#Chair_of_SNCC_and_Black_Power). White kids – Jewish or otherwise – were not needed on the other side of the color line.
The original Black Panther
In 1966 Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale established what is today known as the Black Panther Party (BPP). Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver soon joined the leadership. “These Black Power activists – like their contemporary Black Lives Matter activists – identified racism as a structural issue. They viewed it as part of spectrum of social, political and economic inequality that made America less of a democracy . . . The movement’s panoramic critique of institutional racism anticipated the Black Lives Matter protests” (Black Professor Peniel E. Joseph; www.reuters.com/article/us-social-race-Blackpower-commentary-idUSKCN0Z7329).
The Black Panthers did not discount the use of violence, but embraced Malcolm X’s philosophy of self-defense “by any means necessary.” The Panthers made use of their constitutional right to carry arms in order to shadow and patrol the local Oakland Police Department – “patrolling the pigs” was their term. They taught from a Marxist perspective that “the economic and political roots of racism were in the exploitative capitalist system and that the Black struggle must be a revolutionary movement to overthrow the entire power structure” (www.socialistalternative.org/panther-Black-rebellion/the-Black-panther-party-for-self-defense/). The revolutionary book that most influenced Panther leaders was Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth.
In light of this revolutionary goal of overthrowing the entire capitalist power structure, here is a quote from well-known Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth (a longtime friend of George Floyd) at a recent march in memory of Floyd: “We’re gonna represent him right . . . We are gonna tear the system from the inside out . . . George Floyd is looking down at us now and he’s smiling” (www.reuters.com/article/us-minneapolis-police-protests-houston/george-floyd-a-gentle-giant-remembered-in-hometown-houston-march-idUSKBN2392ZK).
The Panthers campaigned for prison reform, held voter registration drives, organized free food programs and school breakfast programs in several cities, opened free health clinics in a dozen cities and created Freedom Schools in nine cities.
Huey Newton explains: “Malcolm (X), implacable to the ultimate degree, held out to the Black masses . . . liberation from the chains of the oppressor . . . Only with the gun were the Black masses denied this victory. But they learned from Malcolm that with the gun, they can recapture their dreams and bring them into reality.” The Panther appeal to Black youth was directly connected to its willingness to challenge police power by asserting the right of armed self-defense for Blacks (https://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/AmRad/essaysministerdefense.pdf).
Cleaver spoke of the Marxist goals of the Panthers, which involved transforming the government into a Marxist state: “We had a strong economic place in our program … we were also Marxist in our orientation, which is like totally economics… we understood the relationship to our freedom and our access to our economic remuneration victory in those terms would have meant that we would have been able to have a group of people who could get control of the government and administer it . . . We never dreamed that we would be able to overthrow the American government. We didn’t see that as our task. We saw that as the task of the survivors. Our job was to tear down the status quo and leave it to other people on how to rebuild because it was not possible to seize control of the government and install our people” (PBS interview with Eldridge Cleaver, Spring 1997; www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/race/interviews/ecleaver.html). This goal of social destruction finds expression in a way similar to how the devil speaks, “All that exists deserves to perish” (quoted from Goethe’s Faust in ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,’ Karl Marx, 1852).
Saul Alinsky, radical community organizer and activist famous for his influential relationship with Hillary Clinton, agrees with this Panther paradigm in his ‘Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals’ (page 10; https://chisineu.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/saul-alinsky-rules-for-radicals-1989.pdf):
- “A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage – the political paradise of communism.”
In May 1969, three members of the New Haven BPP tortured and murdered Alex Rackley, a Black 19-year-old New York chapter member, because they suspected him of being a police informant. Popular support for BPP in the Oakland area waned after reports of the group’s alleged criminal activities, such as drug dealing and extortion of Oakland merchants. An investigative journalist-filmmaker says regarding the Panthers that “among their own senior ranks were pathological killers, ideological madmen and depraved opportunists” (www.theguardian.com/film/2015/oct/18/Black-powers-coolest-radicals-Black-panthers-vanguard-of-the-revolution-stanley-nelson-interview).
Accolades from leftist academia include the following: “The Panthers have left us with an invaluable experience. Their dedication, will and bravery in the face of what might have appeared as insurmountable odds is an example which any serious Black activist or revolutionary should be proud to follow. They were the highpoint of the civil rights movement” (www.socialistalternative.org/panther-Black-rebellion/the-Black-panther-party-for-self-defense/). In Huey P. Newton: The Radical Theorist (2202), Professor Judson L. Jeffries of Purdue University calls the Panthers “the most effective Black revolutionary organization in the 20th century.” Bloom and Martin posit that the Panthers were “the strongest link between the domestic Black Liberation Struggle and global opponents of American imperialism” (Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party; 2013; Joshua Bloom, Waldo E. Martin).
‘Change we can believe in’?
The accession of a Black man, Barak Obama, to the highest office in the land in 2008 struck many as the final nail in the coffin of racism. Was it not now time to celebrate the collapse of all racial ‘glass ceilings’? Surely a new wave of believable change had crashed on the shores of ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave”? (www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/01/obama-Black-lives-matter-epilogue-170126073428660.html)
Yet within a brief time indeed, it became clear that President Obama did not support the view that a post-racist society had triumphed. “Throughout his tenure in office, Obama used the power of his position to resonate and legitimize positions on race that until then had been relegated to the leftist margins of American politics. Obama cultivated the view that far from being a post-racial society, America is inherently racist and that American racism is structural – that is, it was baked in and impossible to overcome. In so doing, Obama gave credence to the false claim at the heart of the riots: that Black Americans are under continuous, existential threat from the state as a whole and from law enforcement bodies first and foremost. Calls by Hollywood celebrities and Obama administration alumni to defund the police take this view to its logical endpoint” (https://www.jns.org/opinion/the-great-threat-to-america-and-to-american-jewry/).
The criticisms made by Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panthers against America – that it is endemically and systemically poisoned by racism – had now found a sympathetic resonance in the Oval Office. Eldridge Cleaver had once spoken wistfully of the dream of having ‘his people’ in the government who could carry out the aspirations and goals of the Black Power movement. Would Obama’s rule turn out to be the fulfilment of Eldridge’s dream?
Black Lives Matter
It was Black Power’s “panoramic critique of institutional racism [that] anticipated the Black Lives Matter protests” (“Commentary: ‘Black and proud:’ From Black Power to Black Lives Matter”; Dr. Peniel E. Joseph; June 22, 2016; www.reuters.com/article/us-social-race-Blackpower-commentary-idUSKCN0Z7329; www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/02/01/Black-lives-matter-Black-power-movement/78991894/); see also https://Blacklivesmatter.com/herstory/; https://Blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/).
In an article called “Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters” (April 6, 2017; https://newrepublic.com/article/141700/Black-lives-matter-still-matters-new-form-civil-rights-activism) Dr. Peniel Joseph outlines the origins, philosophy and strategies of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
- BLM combines Dr King’s non-violent civil disobedience strategy, as well as Malcolm X’s and the Panthers’ radical structural critique of institutional racism and economic injustice. “In so doing, it has issued a clarion call to an entire generation of social justice activists”
- Like the Panthers, BLM rose to prominence in the wake of incidents of police violence. For a very different take on police statistics: “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism Heather Mac Donald”; June 3, 2020 (www.manhattan-institute.org/the-myth-of-systemic-police-racism; www.nationalreview.com/2020/06/the-institutional-racism-canard/; https://conservativewoman.co.uk/the-lies-costing-Black-lives-and-killing-policemen/)
- The hashtag #BlackLivesMatterwas created in 2013 by Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, and Alicia Garza, three queer, Black activists outraged at the acquittal of George Zimmerman who fatally shot 17-year-old Black Trayvon Martin.
- BLM grew exponentially during the urban rebellions in Ferguson in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015 and sees itself as a confrontational response to institutional racism and economic injustice.
- BLM has forged a movement more inclusive and democratic than the Panthers and civil rights activists. Many active leaders are queer women and feminists. BLM links Black Americans, marginalized and oppressed women, LGBTQ communities, and other people of color. It is social media savvy, and organizes local chapters to articulate a broader political agenda. BLM trumpets the intersectional nature of Black identity. The felt needs of trans and queer Black women, young people, trans teenagers, Latina and queer youth and the poor are at the center of its policy agenda.
- BLM’s agenda “The Movement for Black Lives” makes a host of interconnected demands including defunding policing, greater community control over police, and a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.
The unique blend that is BLM allow for both non-violent protest and violent demonstration to be carried out under the one ‘big tent.’ This blending of strategic positions leads to a difficulty for even BLM followers to know clearly where their movement stands (www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-mind-of-Black-lives-matter). Marxist revolutionary strategies can join in with social engineering activism in ways which are diametrically opposed to what is commonly known as the Judeo-Christian ethic. This can and will lead to open ‘lawfare’ against biblical values (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawfare). The recent mash of violent looting/arson/attacks on police (on the one hand) with other protests more on the non-violent side (on the other hand) may well be a harbinger of things to come.
Specifically regarding defunding and closing down of police forces, it is instructive to read the words of Angela Davis (former Panther spokeswoman) regarding BLM’s strategies here:
- Regarding “all of the Black lives sacrificed on the altar of racist police terror: In asking us to radically resist the racist violence at the very heart of policing structures and strategies, Black Lives Matter early on recognized that we would have to place the demand to demilitarize the police at the center of our efforts to move toward a more critical and more collective mode of justice. Ultimately linked to an approach that calls for the abolition of policing as we know and experience it, demilitarization also contested the way in which police strategies have been transnationalized within circuits that link small US police departments to Israel, which dominates the arena of militarized policing associated with the occupation of Palestine” (Black Lives Matter, Palestine, and the Future of Radicalism; https://lithub.com/angela-davis-on-Black-lives-matter-palestine-and-the-future-of-radicalism/)
Blacks Lives and Jewish matters
On August 2, 2016 ‘A Vision for Black Lives’ was released August 2, 2016 by The Movement for Black Lives, an umbrella group of more than 50 organizations, including the Black Lives Matter Network, the Black Liberation Collective, and the Center for Constitutional Rights. In the ‘Invest/Divest’ section of “A Vision for Black Lives,” classic anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist declarations were made. Since then the pertinent paragraphs on Israel been scrubbed from official internet websites, though they are still found in many secondary locations. The ‘A Vision for Black Lives’ platform statement includes a link to a website promoting the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel (BDS):
“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people . . . Israel is an apartheid state . . . [BLM supporters should] build invest/divestment campaigns that ends US Aid to Israel’s military industrial complex.”
In recently distributed BLM flyers there are calls for boycott of Israel which have historical echoes of Nazi times (www.juf.org/news/local.aspx?id=441953; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_boycott_of_Jewish_businesses).
The ‘Invest/Divest’ section of “A Vision for Black Lives,” was co-authored by Ben Ndugga-Kabuye and Rachel Gilmer. Rachel has an African-American father and a Jewish mother. A former member of Zionist youth group Young Judaea, She no longer identifies as Jewish and is an anti-Israel activist. She is the chief of strategy for Dream Defenders, a black community organizing group based in Florida. (www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Black-Lives-Matter-author-defends-genocide-accusation-toward-Israel-463709).
Dream Defenders released an August 12 statement accusing pro-Israel critics of the new ‘Invest/Divest’ plank of the platform of being “wolves in sheep’s clothing” for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement only as long as it supports Israel. It asserted that Israel committed genocide during its 1948 War of Independence. Fighting Israeli “apartheid,” the statement said, is inseparable from fighting racism in America. It called on its allies to join the BDS campaign:
- “Some Zionist organizations have condemned the platform . . . going so far as to label some in the BLM movement anti-semitic. Their response has made it all the more clear why we stand in solidarity with Palestine and with Black and Brown people around the world fighting for justice . . . It is convenient to endorse black lives matter when it benefits you. And as long as we stay silent about Israeli apartheid, they will ‘stand’ with Black liberation in the US. Now that our movement has taken a stand against all forms of white supremacy and oppression, Black lives no longer matter . . . For those who no longer stand with Black people because of this belief, goodbye. We do not need nor want you in our movement . . . This is why the Dream Defenders . . . fight for the liberation of Palestine . . . What is happening in Palestine is a genocide and we will not allow anyone to bully us into sanitizing our words” (https://portside.org/2016-08-12/dream-defenders-statement-condemnation-m4bl-platform-some-pro-israel-groups; www.foxnews.com/opinion/black-lives-matter-offshoot-embraces-anti-semitism-engages-with-terrorists).
Jewish Voice for Peace (www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/jewish_voice_for_peace_jvp_/) is a leftist advocacy group which supports boycott, divesting and sanctions against Israel. On August 5, 2016 JVP released a statement unconditionally supporting the newly released platform of the Black Lives Matter movement: JVP “endorses the Movement for Black Lives platform in its entirety, without reservation.” Regarding the genocide accusation, JVP responded that “it is not our role to police the language of the ‘Vision for Black Lives’” (www.jta.org/2016/08/05/united-states/jewish-pro-bds-group-unconditionally-endorses-black-lives-matter-platform).
A long and winding road
If you are interested in understanding in greater detail how anti-Semitic and anti-Israel positions have infiltrated the Black Power and Black Lives Matter movements, here are four instructive articles:
- https://momentmag.com/22800-2/ “How The Black Lives Matter and Palestinian Movements Converged”
If you are interested in understanding in greater detail how Palestinian terror groups have cultivated Black movements with one of their goals being the release of anti-Israel statements and declarations, here are four instructive articles:
- www.dci.plo.ps/en/article/2850/January-9,-2015—Ebony-Dream-Defenders,-Black-Lives-Matter–Ferguson-Reps-Take-Historic-Trip-to-Palestine-(By-Kristian-Davis-Bailey) PLO terrorists disseminate anti-Israel perspectives to BLM followers
- www.blackforpalestine.com/read-the-statement.html 2015 Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine
- www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter/photos/a.180522288785691/617271021777480/?type=3 Black Palestinian Solidarity Official Statement BLM
- https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-movement-for-black-lives-stands-with-the-palestinian-people 2018 pro-Hamas statement
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. threw a spotlight on the underlying motives of these attitudes and statements when he noted, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism” (“The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel”; Seymour Martin Lipset; Encounter Magazine, December 1969; http://martinkramer.org/sandbox/2012/03/in-the-words-of-martin-luther-king/; https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/martinkramer/files/words_of_martin_luther_king.pdf).
Black opposition to the BLM declaration
Here are two articles revealing opposition within the African American community to anti-Semitic statements coming out of the Black Lives Matter movement:
- www.indianapolisrecorder.com/religion/article_bd491742-6aed-11e6-9083-77e1f83a8464.html “Churches split over Black Lives Matter’s criticism of Israel”
Other opposition to the BLM declaration
Alan Morton Dershowitz is an American lawyer, a scholar of United States constitutional law and criminal law and a noted civil libertarian. His response to anti-Semitism within BLM minces no words:
- To give Black Lives Matter a pass on its anti-Jewish bigotry would be to engage in racism. Black anti-Semitism is as inexcusable as white anti-Semitism or white racism. There can be no double standard when it comes to bigotry . . . Black Lives Matter should rescind the portions of the platform that falsely accuse Israel of genocide and apartheid. If it does not, it risks ending in the dustbin of history, along with other discredited bigoted groups. (“Black Lives Matter must rescind anti-Israel declaration”; Alan M. Dershowitz; August 12, 2016; www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/columns/2016/08/12/black-lives-matter-must-rescind-anti-israel-declaration/EHDYV3gNLwrTTwfp0JA8QN/story.html).
Earl Bowen Jr., PhD, an African American associate rabbi at Congregation Temple Beth El in Philadelphia, states clearly: “BLM statements are anti-Semitic not only because they are false and modern versions of tradition anti-Semitic blood libel, but also because BLM selectively chooses the Jewish state out of all the states in the world to demonize” (www.meforum.org/7303/black-lives-matter-promoting-anti-semitism).
Gary Gambill presents a history-based warning for us and for BLM as to how the Boycott movement against Israel (BDS) ends up imploding just about every movement it touches (“Black Lives Matter’s Anti-Semitic Bedfellows:; Gary C. Gambill; https://nationalinterest.org/feature/black-lives-matters-anti-semitic-bedfellows-17701).
Co-opting George Floyd for Palestinian terror
Russian communists came up with an important phrase – ‘agitprop’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agitprop). This term refers to political propaganda when spread to the general public through popular media. George Floyd has recently become the theme of street murals worldwide (https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2020/jun/05/george-floyd-murals-worldwide-street-artists).
Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda has specifically co-opted the murder of George Floyd and turned it into agitprop against the Jewish state of Israel. Huge murals of Floyd surrounded by PLO-associated flags and keffiyeh headdress (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh; www.arabamerica.com/may-11-world-keffiyeh-day/) with a backdrop of Israel’s anti-terror wall/fences (https://mfa.gov.il/MFA_Graphics/MFA%20Gallery/Documents/savinglives.pdf), have been hitting the internet in recent days:
Mark Ayash, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Peace Studies Initiative at Mount Royal University, Calgary, ties these propaganda efforts all together:
- This is why the image of Mr. Floyd’s face can make sense within the symbols of the Palestinian struggle. Both black and Palestinian bodies have been rendered bare, opened up for the unleashing of unbound violence that holds no consequence for the perpetrators and oppressors. In the inhuman condition in which the state has thrown them, both black and Palestinian bodies reach into a raw kind of justice that gives us direction and purpose, because it springs from within us to guide us. Not liberalism, not a reformed police system, and certainly not the racist settler-colonial and imperial state can aid or productively participate in this task (www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200604-theres-no-justice-just-us/)
An encouraging response to these false narratives is found in the work of African American Joshua Washington and his Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (www.ibsi-now.org/; https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-palestinian-appropriation-of-black-pain/; www.youtube.com/watch?v=BglGY5cYMEA&feature=youtu.be).
Never let a good crisis go to waste
Sir Winston Churchill, UK Prime Minister during WWII, said “Never let a good crisis go to waste” towards the end of World War II as he considered the prospective alliance between the UK, the U.S.S.R, and the USA (which led to the formation of the U.N.). The quote was later adopted by Saul Alinsky in his 1971 book ‘Rules for Radicals.’ Rahm Emanuel, former advisor to President Obama and later Mayor of Chicago, modified and re-used the same quote. The quote is meant to encourage activists who have political strategies to always be on the lookout for helpful breakthroughs.
The Black Power movement and its offspring Black Lives Matter have a multifaceted agenda. A lot of people are not aware of some of these facets. People for the most part are also not tracking about how the agendas of leftist anarchists (who crashed the latest round of protests) can derail an entire group by moving them solidly onto the violent side of the street.
Some of BLM’s goals (if carried out) would lead to tragically destructive fallout for America. Yet at the same time, some of BLM’s grievances are all too real.
The solutions to real problems are not to be found in failed Marxist revolutionary methods – disastrous strategies including the crippling of government police forces and the forced redistribution of wealth. Another point: the cultic and threatening demands to Whites ‘to kneel before Blacks or be considered the enemy’ are spiritually bogus and have the potential to catalyze socio-racial conflict on a much greater scale. A lot of ‘politically correct’ propaganda is circulating using fuzzy yet dogmatic buzzwords like ‘white privilege,’ ‘white fragility,’ ‘systematic police brutality’ and ‘American systematic racism.’ Many of these claims are overstated and under-substantiated. These are false narratives intended to paralyze Americans and to weaken productive discussion. America’s talking points at this time of crisis should not be those established and guided by the ghosts of Malcolm X, Brother Stokely and the Panthers.
For those who love America and what it could yet be in the sight of God, it’s time to take the knee – in prayer.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for a revelation of God’s justice, love and forgiveness for America
- Pray for a revelation about individual, ethnic and national sin to be granted to many
- Pray for razor-sharp discernment to be granted especially to believers about hidden strategies in the movements discussed here
- Pray for divine strategies to be birthed in the hearts of many Americans on how bring repentance, healing and hope across the board
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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