To the Editor:
read Joshua Muravchik’s exposé of Black Lives Matter with great interest (“The Truth About Black Lives Matter” December). But in the end, the “truth” promised by the article’s headline proved to be less than shocking. Indeed, it proved to be less than credible.
The fact that Black Lives Matters looks up to the militant black organizations of the 1960s is unsettling, to be sure. But there seems little evidence that BLM has in any way adopted the means or the goals of these groups—at least not institutionally. Do BLM leaders roam the streets carrying guns? Do known BLM members—not disturbed lone shooters—hunt down police or rival activists? What, in fact, do they really do aside from march and make pronouncements?
Some of those pronouncements are unfortunate, but they strike me as standard liberal fare. BLM is hardly the only group on the left to come out against Israel, for example. But other pronouncements strike me as laudatory. Black lives do matter. And there is a demonstrable problem of police aggressiveness toward African Americans—even if there is no evidence of this being a deadly problem. Black Lives Matter is the beginning of a discussion. No more, no less. It’s not a discussion this country can afford to shut down.
Joshua Muravchik writes:
am not sure what in my article Lauren Nichols finds not to be “credible,” and she does not help me out by specifying. She errs in saying that there is little evidence BLM has “in any way adopted the means or the goals” of the Black Panther Party and its ilk. She is right about the means, but wrong about the goals. BLM is quite clear that its goals are the same, declaring on its website that its purpose is to “(re)build the black liberation movement” (parentheses in original), by which it means precisely those violent groups. It treats “our beloved Assata Shakur,” a murderous leader of the ultra-bloody Black Liberation Army, as its patron saint.
As for the means, if BLM deserves credit for not organizing or urging the murder of policemen in the manner of its heroes, would Ms. Nichols also credit the Nazi-imitating white nationalist movement because it has not behaved as storm troopers?
She says BLM’s pronouncements amount to “standard liberal fare.” I quoted BLM’s platform calling for “a global liberation movement [to] overturn US imperialism, capitalism, and white supremacy.” Is this what liberalism has come to?
“Black lives do matter,” adds Ms. Nichols. My question is: Who denies that? If, as Ms. Nichols suggests, BLM “is the beginning of a discussion,” it is a demagogic one. If it is one, nonetheless, then my critique of BLM is a continuation of that discussion. Ms. Nichols closes with a warning against shutting down discussion. As far as I can see, the only ones shutting down discussion are the likes of BLM on college campuses who have blocked speakers, interrupted meetings, forced resignations, demanded censorship and trigger warnings and “safe spaces”—all to silence, intimidate, or circumscribe views they do not share.