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From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation: Taylor, Keeanga …
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Match the search results: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Taylor’s writing and scholarship engage issues of contemporary Black politics, the history of Black social movements and Black radicalism, and issues concerning public policy, race and racial inequali…
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Summary: Articles about Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black … (10:27) An examination of the Black Lives Matter movement allows us to do 3 things: it helps us reject the romantic delusions of the past while also exposing …
Match the search results: (26:28) In 1964 political activist and strategist Bayard Rustin argued that the civil rights movement and the new emergence of Black rebellions in that year must be prepared to shift from, what he described, protest to politics. He argued, ‘It is clear that Negro needs cannot be satisfied unless we …
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America’s great promise of equality has always rung hollow in the ears of African Americans. But today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act…
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Match the search results: "The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Bl…
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Transcription by Rey Smith
Jini Palmer (00:15):Welcome to the Seattle City Hall Civic Series. In this episode, renowned social and political writer Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor takes our big stage to examine the historical and contemporary brutality of racism and its perennial structural inequality in the United States. Reflecting on the fatal shooting of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri five years ago, an event that sparked a backlash and stirred up the Black Lives Matter movement, Keeanga said of her book:Out of.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (01:01):Thanks. how is everyone OK. I would like to thank the organizers of today’s event. Some of you may know that this is the third attempt I’ve made to actually come here to speak. So I’m glad I’m finally here. So I thank the organizers for working persistently to make this possible. I will speak for 45 or 50 minutes and I am always happy to say that I am giving my words as a provocation, in a friendly way. Provocative to think about, not for the sake of provocation. So I hope that people will think what I’m talking about and that we can talk about some of these ideas. So I begin.
The autopsy report confirmed what her neighbors said last May at an apartment complex outside of Houston, Texas. Pamela Turner, 44, a grandmother of three, sat on the floor trying to locate the humanity of the police officer who had been standing behind her by shouting that she was pregnant. Officer Juan Delacruz ignored her pleas, stepped back, unbuckled his gun, and pulled the trigger five times. Three bullets from his gun pierced Pamela Turner’s body, ending her life. A bullet entered her left cheek and shattered her face, another went through her left breast, and the last pierced her abdomen. Her life was cut short by the police. Type of Death: Murder.
(03:18)What happened after that was rehearsed many times. Police placed Delacruz on a three-day paid administrative leave. The family has secured the services of civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. Bishop Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy. And a well-organized and well-attended protest forced police to stretch their comments beyond typical topics of conversation. Five years after the streets of Ferguson, Missouri erupted in black rage, rebellion and terror. Many thousands more have left. Since 2014, police in the US have killed more than 3,000 people, a quarter of them African Americans. Do Black Lives Matter Five Years Later? Faced with a multitude of internal and external obstacles, the movement stalled when a white supremacist walked out of the White House. The murder of Mike Brown Jr. and the Ferguson riot that he inspired ushered in a period of bold organizing and protests aimed at ending the reign of police terror in poor black and working-class communities, and in cities and suburbs across the country. For those who find this type of language excessive, consider the conclusion of the Chicago Police Commission formed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2016 following the brutal murder of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald. That report read in part: “The outrage over the killing of Laquan McDonald exposes the profound and enduring faults between the Black and Hispanic communities on the one hand and the police on the other, which, while rooted in police shootings, are also common everyday violations affecting people of all ages.” , race, ethnicity, and gender throughout Chicago from having freedom because of regular commuting in their vicinity; was stopped without reason, verbally and physically abused, and in some cases arrested and then detained without legal representation. ‘ Color. The report itself reveals the intense pressure activists are putting on a Democratic president in the White House on the eve of a historic election. Black voters have become Obama’s president, and if the party has any hope of retaining its presidency, they need at least some semblance of progress for a new movement to denigrate police abuses. For what began as a local movement to secure the arrest and prosecution of a local police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, quickly exploded into a much broader, nationwide movement of black people becoming victims of violent politics fueled by the popular experience. A grand jury failed to indict the police officer who killed Mike Brown Jr. in Ferguson, followed by the grand jury’s failure to indict New York City police officer Michael Pantaleo, despite the deaths of millions of people from Staten Island.
(7:01)In a fury of stunned disbelief, with hope shattered like glass hitting hard ground, experiences of police brutality and intimidation have united black young people across the country. The basins of Ferguson, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Staten Island, and countless other streams fed streams that became Black Lives Matter in the late fall and early winter of 2014 and 2015. In December 2014, tens of thousands of people across the country engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience: lawyers, doctors, students, high school students, nurses, professional athletes and ordinary citizens. On December 13, 2014, 50,000 people marched through the streets of New York with chants that connected Ferguson to New York City and then to the nation as a whole: “Hands up, don’t shoot. I can not breath. Black lives are worth it, too.” There have been protests across the country in cities big and small, and these scattered protests meld through chants, demands, proclamations, “Black lives matter,” akin to the civil rights movement’s “Free Now” cry, as pro- Experts who declared the movement dead after a backlash persisted despite lead poisoning, poverty and charter schools. The movement almost never existed, judging solely by the number of organizations from which it sprang, but it thrived in the hearts and minds of young Black people who always keen to be heard and seen. The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement played an important role in expanding our understanding of the deeply systemic, racist, abusive and exploitative nature of American politics. The movement pushes us to the limits of reform and why we take the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 when he called the Necessary possibility of a radical reconstruction of the United States if it were to become a just, free, and socially democratic nation. In an essay by King published a year after his assassination, he wrote about the black struggle’s focus on this radical reconstruction. In these trying circumstances, he wrote: “The Black Revolution is not just a struggle for black rights. It’s forcing America to confront all of its attendant shortcomings: segregation. Racism, poverty, militarism and materialism The entire fabric of our society It exposes systemic errors, errors do not have to occur, and suggests that the radical restructuring of society itself is the real problem that needs to be faced.
(10:27)Examining the Black Lives Matter movement enables us to do three things: It helps us erase romantic fantasies of the past while uncovering the flaws associated with racism, poverty, democracy and racism, militarism, and materialism in America today. Finally, it shows us the explanatory power of social movements, but also the limits of reform in a society where oppression and exploitation are so intertwined that they are constitutive of society itself. For many whites and much of the liberal establishment, the anger and revolt unfolding in Ferguson appeared to come as a real shock. In previous years, the United States had been rocked by protests over police brutality, including a nationwide campaign to rally people to press ahead with the arrest of George Zimmerman, who led the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin The FBI’s crackdown on the occupation camps. The emergence of the Occupy movement itself was evidence of overwhelming frustration with the Obama administration, but Ferguson’s protest pierced the media narrative of the rise of races with Barack Obama’s ascension to the throne. In the weeks and months following Obama’s 2008 election, the question arose as to whether the United States would become post-apartheid. Hard to believe that such a discussion is possible when we have a white supremacist in the White House today. But many people confuse the symbolic value of a black president with the tangible, measurable gains made by the vast majority of black people. Segregation in the United States hides many of the harsh realities that the working class and black poor face every day. And while disproportionate poverty and unemployment rates are readily available for analysis, the broader reality is that most poor and black working-class communities exist under police occupation and police-state-like conditions without comment.
(12:59)While whites might have been shocked when Ferguson blew up, most African Americans knew it was only a matter of time. But mostly for young black people who are more torn between campaigning and voting to push through an election for a black president than ever before, and yet Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood. Tamir Rice, a child, was shot dead by police within seconds of arriving at his location in a city park. A week earlier in Cleveland, she was killed by Tanisha Anderson, unarmed and hit in the body by police. Eric Garner, smothered. John Crawford, 22, was in a Walmart minding his own business when he was shot dead by police. Even as Barack Obama mused on the greatness and uniqueness of the United States, a country he has repeatedly said is the only one on earth where his history could be. Even as Obama almost biblically accepted the greatness of American freedom and democracy, black men, women and children were being killed by those who swore to obey the laws of the United States. And no one can meaningfully resolve these contradictions – how can this be the best place on earth when 12-year-old black boys are being murdered by state agents? — Conveys a deep sense of anger and resentment, but also maintains feelings of exclusion and marginalization. The working class and poor African Americans have lifted the cloak of police abuse and violence, revealing its connection to broader systemic flaws. Ferguson showed how politics can be used to discipline blacks in general with the threat of physical or economic violence. We’ve learned that Ferguson and police across Missouri look to the arrest or punishment of African Americans as a revenue stream to offset taxation on whites. The protest drew thousands of black people into the system of legal fees and fines because they were viewed as disposable items in civil and societal terms. In the eyes of the law and legislators, the law is respected, black lives don’t matter. They treat African Americans in a way they can’t avoid treating most whites.
(15:47)Then Ferguson’s heroism stemmed from the way they overcame a fear that had been fueled for generations by cruel and racist treatment by the police. And in doing so, their protest, their revolt, generated an enormous sense of solidarity. The Ferguson riot also showed us what true democracy could look like when it refused to give in to a chorus of Liberals and Democrats urging them to take to the streets. For them and for us, democracy will be forged in freedom in the streets, street meetings, night marches, demonstrations but no movements, go on because it should or even because that goal is just. The rise or fall of a movement is ultimately determined by a complex calculation combining strategy, tactics, politics, moves, and countermeasures. The Black Lives Matter movement has always faced two external challenges, not to mention the internal struggles that every movement faces. Externally, the movement suffered in such a way that its very existence became a rallying point for white-owned white supremacists and white-owned ultranationalists to unite. For the most visible activists, this means confronting more typical types of harassment, such as racism, sexism, homophobia and homophobia, alongside credible death threats.Everyday nationalism and nationalism. From the start, candidate Trump made the Black Lives his enemies, declared them terrorists and pledged unwavering support to the police. And the FBI, true to its history, began questioning black activists, inventing new political genres in the process to convey what they called dangers, what they called radical black identity. This isn’t surprising, but it’s exhausting and can be very scary. When Trump decided to turn the BLM into a shield for his white supremacist party’s candidacy, making naked calls for law and order and tailoring his campaign to the Blue Lives Matter hysteria, activists and organizations were in a tough spot has brought. But what might be even more difficult to navigate is how the Democratic political establishment is attempting to divide the movement between the so-called pragmatists and those who are quick to radicalize in the face of brutality and wrongdoing. The Obama administration had a virtual open door policy for activists. Your strategy is to paint a picture where busy activity looks like progress. This means having regular contact and meetings with activists, joining national oversight committees, and empowering the Justice Department to initiate investigations and report on serious police agencies.
(19:10)However, in this busy life, it is difficult to grasp what is changing. Where’s the effect? The urgency with which Democrats want to address these issues is so that liberals and progressives, including activists, can then focus fully on the 2016 election, and that means the Liberal party is constantly questioning the motives behind the Structure and the needs of the party provides movement in the hope that it will continue. “Who are your leaders? Where are your needs? What are your needs? Give us a solution,” are some of the questions or accusations addressed to the movement’s most visible leaders. Reflecting the influence of NGOs, effectiveness in measurable success, organizational methods, urgency and implementation of policy initiatives or solutions are seen as realistic and measurable ways of addressing policy problems. When some activists disputed this particular framing, they were attacked as purists. For example, when an activist — a black woman from Chicago named Aislinn Pulley — refused to attend a White House gathering because he doubted the integrity of the Obama administration, President Barack Obama himself called her out. Obama said, “You can’t keep yelling at them and you can’t refuse to meet because it might compromise the purity of your position. The value of social movements and activism is in getting you around the table, standing in the room, and then trying to figure out how to solve this problem. Then it is your responsibility to prepare an achievable, institutionalized agenda. Make the changes you want and bring the other side on board.” But for many activists, their thought process is more complex. Of course, the Black Lives Matter movement is not homogeneous in its thinking strategies or tactics. And different ideas about political goals and the process by which the movement arrives at these decisions are hotly contested within the movement. Some people welcome a seat at the world’s most powerful table, the White House, they welcome access and believe it means they will be heard in the White House. Maximum level.
(21:54)Brittany Packnett, who was in St. Louis and Ferguson in 2014 and explained why she and others attended this meeting with Obama. She wrote an article in The Guardian: “To achieve the liberation we seek there are still critical times when we must act, and we would do well not to limit ourselves to what is legal. Our fight will never be won in politics. Protesters take risks, building organic democratic accountability in the streets and forcing organized tactics to take control Organizers mobilize people with strategic and direct action to promote systemic politics and institutional change Politicians and institutional leaders are influenced and set by everyone’s influence continue to pressurize every possible space to see lasting changes. I believe the collective, diverse work of this movement can and does build mountains, young, but each of us and each tactic will be at his disposal to achieve the freedom we seek.” Aislinn Pulley, Chicago Black Working Class Woman , who was personally chastised by Obama, had an altered vision very different from that of the President or even Brittany Packnett. She wrote in her own open letter in response to his criticism, quoting: “I cannot with any integrity to engage in such an appearance would only serve to legitimize the false story that the government is working to end the brutality of the… end police and institutions. It encourages racism. As more and more families fighting for justice and dignity for their loved ones are killed by police, I refuse to identify the perpetrators and accomplices of the political cover-up by using their last names. We affirm that genuine revolutionary and systemic change will ultimately only be realized by ordinary workers, students and young people who organize, march and wrest power from the elites. ‘
(24:13)The issue here is not whether one of these views is more correct than the other. The fact is that all social movements are manifestations of a deep desire to change or reform the current situation. As for Black Lives Matter, this could be expressed as a hope that the police would quote: stop killing us. “But ultimately it is a movement to reform the status quo of politics. But what often happens in these movements is that through events, movement participants begin to come to completely different conclusions about what their goals should be. Many BLM activists are coming to the conclusion that the police really cannot be reformed, which then brings them into conflict with the reformist nature of the movement itself. What is becoming a bigger problem is the inability to find space for debate or resolution within the movement between the tension between reform and revolution, or more roughly between body cameras or the abolition of prisons. All movements face existential debates about their viability and longevity. There are always important decisions to be made about its direction and the best way to get there, but without the opportunity and space for collective assessment, discussion or even reflection on what the movement is about, what or how it should be, unforeseen Debates and conversations can suck. But beyond issues in the movement, Obama’s intervention shows that much of the criticism is aimed at undermining the deeply radical conclusions reached by many activists. These included calls for the abolition of the police and prisons, and calls for a massive redistribution of wealth and resources from the wealthy to the working class. In many ways one can see how the Black Lives Matter movement contributed to the conditions that led to Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and this is the real problem for the democracy movement and its freedom advocates.
(26:28)In 1964, political activist and strategist Bayard Rustin argued that the civil rights movement and the new insurgency of Negro uprisings that year must be prepared to move from what he described as protest into politics. He argued: “It is clear that the needs of the Negroes cannot be satisfied unless we go beyond what has hitherto been placed on the agenda. How to achieve these level goals The answer is very simple, deception is so challenged to broaden our social horizons to develop functional programs with specific goals in mind.” In many ways this is a very reasonable proposition. In fact, Rustin advocated this approach in 1964, and that is the way black politics is. One could say that the election of Barack Obama in 2008 was the culmination of this strategy of going from protester to black president.” Pulley not only revealed strategic losers in relation to the goals of social movements, the Black Lives Matter movement also revealed deep and sharp internal divisions in Black politics. Thus, despite the fact that some ranchers clearly show a generational gap, there has come to be an emphasis on the role of voting for activism as the most consistent way to transform lives. Black in America – as Obama said last year, “Voting is the single most important political activity you can do with your life. ‘ — it is also evidence of a deepening class divide in black communities. Some activists ridiculed the cronyism that permeated the Obama administration, such as when he rebuked black voters by claiming not to be Black America’s president while codifying fools to punish African Americans for voting.
(28:49)But it’s not just Obama. His racist antics are a bitter reminder of the way black elected officials often rise up and devour black votes, only to give little but their own as a sign of supposed racial progress. But the fact that in many cities Black mayors, Black councillors, Black police chiefs and Black police officers are creating unequal and oppressive conditions has provoked the local Black Lives Matter movement. The brutal racism in Donald Trump’s description of Baltimore as a wormhole where “no man wants to live” has helped obscure the ways in which elected officials locally and nationally have betrayed many of their black constituents by ignored the institution and then relied on the extremely brutal and brutal police force to deal with the ensuing crisis. The young insurgents in Baltimore did everything they could to expose the brutal conditions in which they lived, but it wasn’t enough. Indeed, the focus on electoral politics, especially since Black Lives Matter, misses the way in which the social movement, the social movement itself, along with protests and demonstrations, is fundamental to achieving what we call progress consider in this country. In the 1960s, when African Americans were almost out of positions of power, it might have made sense that the next step was electoral politics, but a linchpin for elections then and now. and most effective organization possible. The social movement is the mechanism that upholds the interests of outsiders under the corrupting and stabilizing influence of electoral politics. Collectively, the transformative power of social movement lies not only in its compelling influence and policy-making or our country’s governmental institutions, but we must also consider the power of collective organizations and movements over ourselves.
(31:15)The critic and radical artist John Berger wrote of mass protests in 1968: “Theoretically, protests should reveal the power of popular opinion or sentiment. In theory, they are an appeal to the democratic conscience of the state. In this sense,” Berger writes, “the numbers present at a rally are significant, not because of their effect on the state, but on the participants. The meaning of the numbers involved must be found in the direct experience of those who attended or sympathized with the demonstration. Numbers are no longer numbers for them, but evidence of their senses, the conclusions of their imagination. The larger the demonstration, the stronger and more immediate the metaphor, the visible, the audible, the tangible becomes for its collective power. ‘ Based on the disruption of a few, social movements can create arenas in which we ourselves can be transformed. Mass movements break out of the isolation of everyday life. In a society that despises the lies of this gross individualism—an idea that mistakenly attributes our success to our own individual ingenuity and our failures to our own shortcomings, individual weaknesses, and inadequacies—the mass movement is rallying us to this arena of struggle over our mistakes share and express our connection and relationship with each other. The ideas that prevail in our society reinforce the sense of fragmentation and fragmentation, but the struggle reveals what we have in common and it permeates the shared perception of our society. What you see is not what you get and we need to question the simple stories we make up to make sense and in some way simplify the world we live in. . Black feminist and organizer Ella Baker understands this. She writes that if we are serious about transforming society then we need to understand society, and if we want to understand society we need to look deeper and not accept what we are must. She said in 1969: “In order for us who are poor and oppressed to be part of a meaningful society, the system in which we exist today must be radically changed. That means we have to learn to think radically. I use the term radical in its original meaning, going deep to the root, adapting to your needs and developing means for you to change this system.’
(34:22)Black Lives Matter opened up that possibility, but raised more questions. What does Pamela Turner’s shattered face – exploded by a police officer’s bullet – tell us about the Black Lives Matter movement’s efforts? It shows us how absolutely central politics is to maintaining the status quo of racism, sexism and inequality. Police unions and elected officials love to portray the police as dangerous, some kind of sinister last line of defense between us and some sinister, menacing, or disorderly criminal element. In fact, most of politics consists of questioning and bullying the poor and the working class. When Blacks and Browns comprised the majority of the poor and working class, it was these people who bore the brunt of encounters with the police. Being killed by police is a leading cause of death for black youth. Sociologist Frank Edwards has said that young black men are “more likely to be killed by the police than to win the lottery.” Transgression brought them together. Last April, when she was served with an eviction notice that resulted in her being charged with a heinous crime and encountering the same police officer who would eventually kill her a few weeks later. Policy making is the ultimate public sector service that our government uses because it defines and ignores all other aspects of civil infrastructure. As public facilities are denied across the country, almost miraculously, hundreds of millions of dollars are being unearthed in retaliation for allegations of police brutality and police homicides. The city of Chicago alone has spent more than $800 million since 2004 to settle lawsuits alleging police brutality in homicides. The NYPD has paid an average of $100 million in settlements for police brutality in death row lawsuits each year for the past decade, the equivalent of $1 billion. Last year, New York City paid $232 million to settle the claims, and in 2017 it paid $302 million. Between 2010 and 2016, dollar amounts in the top 10 largest US cities increased by 48% to US$248 million to settle lawsuits or respond to court rulings in cases of police misconduct. If another public entity incurs this type of spending or debt, that organization’s budget and services will shrink and it will shut down. When the Chicago Board of Education announced in 2012 that it was running a $1 billion deficit, its solution was to close 52 public schools. It was the largest school closure in US history.
(37:42)But amid a scandal surrounding the Chicago mayor’s office, Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to cover up details pointing to police misconduct in the Laquan McDonald murder has earned him the blessing of most Chicago city councilors to take new action. Police Academy valued at $95 million. No matter how corrupt, violent or racist the police are, their budget will never shrink. Elected officials, and the rich and powerful they often represent, know that as public spending is slashed – good works with benefits become increasingly unattainable – abuse and violence by the police will lead to a potentially irreversible situation. The pain and suffering of Pamela Turner’s grandchildren, or Laquan McDonald’s mother, or Mike Brown Jr.’s mother and father, are collateral damage in this struggle to maintain the status quo. That’s really the price of business. That said, five years later, much of the institutional discussion about police reform is still centered on bad apples, implicit bias, and better education. As a result, the most important policy change was the widespread use of body cameras. Since 2014, police forces across the country have spent up to $192 million on body cameras. In Ferguson, where the movement found its heart and soul, there are now more black cops than white cops. Ferguson has finally caught up with the rest of the United States. Today blacks are 5% more inactivated and whites 11% less than in 2013. The definitive admission of police abuse and violence is less pessimistic than it is about mental health. There is no quick fix to police brutality. It’s difficult to fight because the bipartisan political establishment needs it, especially when the political establishment decides it has nothing left to offer the public.
(40:11)It took alleged New York City Police Department executives five long years to fire the officer who strangled the life of a man who clearly said, “I can’t breathe” 11 times on camera. It took the Justice Department five years to rule that it would not pursue federal civil rights charges against Daniel Pantaleo, as if the wrongful arrest that claimed Eric Garner’s life wasn’t the textbook definition of civil rights violations. In the context of such a blatant and willful disregard for the individual’s right to life, to live freely in the name of defending the “rule of law” quote, the way the law itself reflects what is valued by the elite while it ignored, what is valued by most of us is exposed. In other words, the inherent malleability of the law was recognized and seen by Pantaleo, while at the same time obliterating Eric Garner. Ultimately, neither the law nor law enforcement were on our side, making the reform movement extremely difficult. So it often happens that by putting pressure on the political classes, their establishment, their laws, to see and hear them, we achieve the kind of change we want. And that depends on how we organize ourselves, what we think, what we demand, what we imagine and hope for. In a way, these are key values for any social movement. Democracy, where we all see our aspirations, failures, and efforts intertwined, means we try to get as much out as we can and find a way to make it work. Black lives may matter, but it will take a fight, not just to change the police, but to change the world that relies on the police to tackle the unequal distribution of things that don’t work. We must survive. Black Lives Matter as a movement exposed police brutality as something deeper and more brutal in American society, but also encouraged a generation of young people to want and demand more. And we must use it as an opportunity to see how racism allows for a politics of violence and abuse that also allows for the subjugation of undocumented immigrants who, in turn, face some kind of politics of violence and abuse at the border and across the country . Billions of dollars spent on addressing social crises will force us to question whether that money can be used to create a more just society.
(43:06)The best of the black radical tradition have always understood that Negro emancipation – the idea that Negroes can live free from physical, economic and social coercion – is unattainable under capitalism. However, the dialectic of reform and revolution cannot be liberated by emphasizing one over the other. Instead, the struggle for our daily lives serves as a premise for imagining a completely different world. Black Lives Matter as a belief, statement, collective song and possibility is an example of this. From Ferguson to the Baltimore riots, the commitment, solidarity and struggle of young black people have given a glimpse of freedom to those who have had the support of police officers their entire lives. But these struggles are just the beginning. Thatmanifesto of the black woman,published in 1970 by the Third World Coalition of Women, describes how we can move from the struggle of one to the struggle of many: “The new world in which we fight for creation must destroy every kind of oppression. The value of this new system will be determined by the status of those currently most depressed. If women in an enslaved country are not fully emancipated, this change cannot really be called a revolution. ‘ Result of this engagement. Once you’ve grasped freedom or had a taste of self-determination, you can’t go back to the old ways established under apartheid capitalist regimes. Another world is possible, but we are the only ones who can create it. Nobody came to save us. We must unite to save ourselves. Thanks.
(45:39)Thanks very much. And now we will discuss.
Viewer 1 (45:46):Thanks very much. BLM was the most powerful and prestigious movement of my adult life. How has it inspired similar movements around the world? Like the movement in Hong Kong right now? You have to gather thousands of people on the streets for everyone on our planet to take notice. How has BLM inspired similar movements in other countries?
K-YT (46:18):That’s an odd American question. I mean, in a way, the United States is the center of the universe for all the horrible and horrific reasons. But I think there are very specific situations where you can look, for example, where Black Living Matter has become a backdrop for other oppressed Negroes in other places, be it Canada or Brazil. I was in Spain last summer and the Senegalese refugees – a large group of migrants who traveled to Spain via dangerous routes across the Mediterranean – were being terribly repressed because they were unable to obtain the relevant documents and access all the means of the resort to temp work. I was in Pamplona and a Senegalese street vendor was killed by the police and they were trying to organize a protest – in the midst of this immigrant community – and then the Spanish activists from the house there weren’t really sure how to bring the two communities together, and they joined around a banner reading “Black Lives Matter” in the central square of the old town in Pamplona. And so there are examples that you can use to show where the movement is here — because the United States takes up so much space — so what’s happening here can go way beyond that. But I also make sure to talk to people when I speak across Spain – I’ve given seven or eight presentations – and like Americans there is a lot to learn from the struggles that have taken place outside of that country. I think, rather than thinking about how what happened here might have inspired people elsewhere – I mean, sometimes that’s appropriate – but I think we should also pay attention to what’s going on, what’s going on, what this country is doing to other places and people and what we can learn from the global struggles.
Spectator 2 (49:35):Of course we still have a lot to do. What do you think white people can or should be doing, both on a personal level and what should we be pushing forward in terms of politics? And more specifically, what do you think of chargebacks?
K-YT (49:52):I’m thinking about what is what—
Spectator 2 (49:53):Substitute.
Spectator 2 (49:55):Oh, what’s it called? We’re sorry.
Spectator 2 (49:57):We’re sorry. All right, great.
K-YT (49:59):I think that’s the alternative. I want compensation. I think there is so much historical and contemporary evidence on paper of how black communities have been looted, how black people have been exploited, and that the exploitation is for the benefit of others. This is the country that gives nearly $1 trillion to the Department of Defense annually. I think the United States has money to try to repair some of the damage that government and private organizations – with the support of this government – have done to African Americans. Some people make it really complicated and for me the compensation is very simple. I don’t know what white people should do. I think we need people in general, people who recognize that there is a problem, that something has to happen in order to do something. I think there is often a realization that something is wrong and then a lack of action. And so I think if we cared less about what we should be doing and what people are doing and acting together with other people, it would have a tremendous impact on what’s happening in this country. And I think it’s important not to see this — the ability to act — as an act of altruism, that somehow, for most white people in this country, everything is fine, and just because I have an odd sense of humor, I do should do something. I think that’s not an accurate picture of what’s going on for most people. And so I write in my book that racism is a burden for black people, and it really is, but it’s also a white problem, for most white people. The fact that this administration spends $80 billion a year to keep the criminal justice system running — that they use racism to do it — isn’t great, even if the target isn’t you. I mean, Negroes make up a quarter of the people killed by the police; I mean most of the people that the police kill are white, that’s the majority of the people that the police kill. But apart from that, the problem of longevity among working-class whites argued against it. This doesn’t happen in the developed world where your lifespan is reversed. And this reversal is due to drug addiction, suicide and alcoholism.
(54:10)So I think action is needed, but action is not altruistic. And it’s different, if we want to look at who’s up and who’s down, you can do that, but the fact is that we have a Congress — in the Senate, the average fortune is $3 million. Inside, that’s $990,000. And there’s a billionaire president. And elsewhere the median income for black families is $47,000, so it’s hard for you to understand that people live in the United States so much, and for whites it’s $60,000, you know, don’t spend it all. once. And so not everyone suffers in the same way, but I think we are all interested in doing something about the autocracy that is strangling almost everyone else on Earth in this country. For me, the question therefore arises as to what we must do to solve this problem. How do we fight racism? How do we fight xenophobia and Islamism and anti-immigrant racism and all that, to really be able to create a society where all life means all of us? And you know, that doesn’t really exist right now.
Viewer 3 (56:15):Hi. I’m just digging a little in your head about the avant-garde concept on the left. And I wonder what you would imagine is yours –
K-YT (56:24):And that’s why I think we need a group of socialists that we need – and a big group, don’t we? America’s Democratic Socialists have swelled to 60,000 since the election of the White Supremacist Party. And this is one of the manifestations of it. And so I think that’s important. A pioneer party? I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’m interested in mass movements and mass struggles. I don’t care what a group of dozens, a handful of people have figured out but can’t seem to convince anyone what they want to do. I am interested in building a mass movement.
Viewer 4 (57:29):Hi. We wonder what is your advice to black students trying to make a difference in a predominantly white school, especially with a governing body that is most prone to stand up against discrimination?
K-YT (57:40):Responsible for. I think the most important thing is — that’s a good question — I think you need to find other students who have the same concerns about similar issues on campus, meet up and talk about their experiences, you and then what you’re doing about it want to see what can be done with it. So that means finding a meaningful moment to put up the flyers – do people still do that today? I still love handing out flyers – flyers, electronic announcements – I sound like 64 years old – so do it and spread the word and have a meetup. I think the most important thing is not just to complain. It’s okay to complain, but it’s more effective to find other people who are upset and upset about the same issues and empower yourself to try to change that.
Viewer 5 (59:12):Thanks. What changes would you like to see public school teachers make in their curriculum so they can teach children the story behind what’s happening today?
K-YT (59:27):I mean, that’s a tough question because city councils and state legislatures have made it difficult for public school professionals, educators to teach past the test, and the like. Can you talk about a perfect world, what should people teach? Everyone should teach Howard ZinnNational History of the United States of Americaand then there are all sorts of things in production, the 1619 series inNew York Times. I mean this is great stuff. But I think we also need to address the situation in public schools that is making it difficult for teachers to teach. We must deal with the struggle for public education and the theft of public funds to pay for charter schools and privatizations. And so we’ve gotten to a point where we’re trying to address the existence of public schools, which we should be talking about, the curriculum content is part of that, part of the need — as they say in Chicago — our students’ schools deserve, but I think we need to figure out how to tackle both.
Viewer 6 (01:01:19):Hello, I was asking for your opinion on the role of trauma treatment and healing in this country. So one of my teachers was Resmaa Menakem and he wroteMy grandmother’s hand, about healing the trauma of racism. I’m curious if you feel that matters.
K-YT (1:01:42):I mean, for me, I think fighting and winning and fighting is the most effective way to combat what is clearly a crime being committed against African Americans and those affected by it, racial and ethnic oppression in this country . I worry that I’m focusing too much on myself as an individual and how they get through this is not possible, I can’t change the way collective participation fights, politics, interacting with others as a possibility , which exclude and actually create means to do something about it. So I can have a very different perspective on how to react to something like this, it’s not a special or internal treatment but sees a way to challenge by trying to experience it with others in the same way as I said have. to students on how to deal with racism on their campus.
Viewer 7 (01:03:51):Hi. Given what you’ve said so far in your talk about electoral politics and social movements and mass movements and this form of political activism, what do you see when people get involved? , what do you think is the right thing to do to motivate young people of color and just young people in general to engage in electoral politics as a short-term solution to this country’s challenges and problems?
K-YT (01:04:22):Well, I think the main point is that you really have to have something to say, and if America is already great or what a stupid thing Joe Biden is talking about — I mean, do you want to vote for that? You may think they really want to cheat this. That’s why I think electoral politics is complicated. I’m a Sanders supporter. And I think the Democratic Party is a deadly spiral hellhole, but that’s the race he’s in. And so I think part of what’s attractive about Sanders, beyond his political platform, is that his understanding falls short. That’s right? And that’s what he meant during the political revolution, getting a mass movement to support his election project in a way that I don’t believe in — you know, Elizabeth Warren has been telling people she has a plan — but in your ability to have him a plan doesn’t matter; get something through the Senate and House of Representatives. It’s a political movement that has the potential to put a lot of pressure on those millionaires who care most about their wealth and power and don’t care – I mean, that’s crazy. If you listen to politicians and congressmen talking about health care, you would think that there are some really heated debates in the United States about whether or not there should be universal health care. But when you look at the actual polls, 84% of people think there should be universal health coverage. But then you have this congress funded by insurance companies and drug lobbyists, and so it distorts the whole discussion. It distorts the whole argument. So I think that electoral politics is not enough: I have already said that the problems we face in this country are problems of the market. You know, there is no candidate who could vote to end police brutality because police brutality is necessary in our inequality based society. And you can go through the list of things that shouldn’t exist because this is the richest country in human history and it exists for the benefit of one of those little parasites that have a controlling number of resources. . And I thought, what does that mean? I think everyone has to do both. I think Sanders’ platform would fundamentally change the lives of people in this country if there were an actual movement to help push through these kinds of reforms. And I think most of the problems we face can ultimately only be solved outside of the market. So it’s not all one. It’s a combination of things that I think reflect the complexity and complexities of the society we live in.
Viewer 8 (01:08:48):Thank you for coming today. Our system is designed to fail and prevent Negroes from the K-12 pipeline from going to jail and dying. So what do you think we can do to change the steps so we can see the light at the end of the tunnel?
K-YT (1:09:14):Well, I think for me at least – and I’ve tried to convey some of that – Black Lives Matter shows how the social movement can transform people in this broad collective political engagement. It can be a source of hope that we are generally able to change the circumstances around us, where I think most of the time people feel completely overwhelmed and hopeless about our ability to do anything ‘Cause it feels like the other side has already done it more resources at hand, the influence of which is pervasive, it’s everywhere and it’s overwhelming, too much to handle. And I think that’s probably how most people feel most of the time. It’s not that people don’t necessarily know they are being oppressed or exploited, they just don’t know what to do about it. And they don’t know if there’s anything they can do about it, because it feels like — you know, if that’s the experience of your parents, your neighbors, and everyone in your family — that feeling is eternal, enduring, and unchanging. And so, a movement has a way of changing that and changing people’s perceptions of what they’re capable of. But movements don’t exist just because they should, and they don’t go on just because they have the right idea of how things should be organized. So when we eventually stop participating in the way we organize and engage in politics, that adds another dimension of despair about whether we can. Can you really change your situation? And so I think that in a way, that means more political participation: that we need more opportunities for people to talk to each other about ideas, to exchange ideas, to change our minds, to think about the kind of society we want to live in. and thinking about what needs to happen to get there. And then make an organized effort to try and make it happen. And, you know, it can be tough, but yeah, we can’t spend them. We can’t go out with them. For the most part, resources don’t work that way, so we have to rely on our collective ability to overpower them. Similar [to] what happened in Puerto Rico and the overthrow of the governor there, what happened in Hong Kong – really, what happens in every mass movement and every social uprising, which association. The challenge is always: How do you turn this from concrete and targeted action into a general revolt against the status quo? It is very difficult, but what else should we do?
Viewer 9 (01:13:43):Good evening. I am pleased to hear that after March 1963 in Washington, you consulted Bayard Rustin’s guidance and recommendations for action. I mean, many would argue that it’s by far one of the most effective movements in the world, certainly in this country. What do you think on this subject – there seems to be a disconnect or some sort of conflict between the leadership of intergenerational Black Lives Matters and the veteran civil rights defender who’s like Jesse Jackson, Bobby Rush. How do you think these personal views can be reconciled and a shared vision created so that action can be taken across generations? Because I remember there was an economic boycott of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. However, it is disheartening to see that there is conflict, disagreement and such a complete lack of respect on the part of some Black Lives Matter leaders towards the former guard that there is actually no place for them, at least not in this particular case. So what are your thoughts on this topic?
K-YT (01:15:22):Thank you for this question. That’s a very good thought and question. I think that – and I actually write quite a bit about it in my book Black Lives Matter – I think in a sense it’s generational in that I think every time there’s a new movement there are people – and for It’s not really about age, it’s about what you’ve been through – and when you have activists, different experiences, but when you have activists who have been through a range of things over a period of time, it’s almost inevitable that that because they’ve been through a bunch of things they can come to more conservative conclusions about how to go on doing something, the way beginners in a movement give up almost recklessly, that’s a good thing. I mean, that’s why students in the 1960s – black students – went on a suicide mission at school. . But there are young people who don’t feel attached to the past, who don’t feel attached to past mistakes. And so you end up with a conflict about should we slow down? You know, should we be – “I’ve been through this, I know what I’m doing here” or should we have some more reckless, youthful dedication? So in that sense there is a generation gap, but I think the gap is more substantial than in terms of politics and ‘what is the most effective way for us to do this?’ years ago or 1968 – was a senior member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago and – so you have Bobby Rush, you have Jesse Jackson. These are the people that go into Ferguson and tell these young people to get out on the streets and register to vote and calm down. And that is the nature of the conflict; it’s not that you’re old, you’re young. We only miss each other because there are older locals like Jesse Jackson who are opening their churches to help those dealing with tear gas inhalers and who have stayed away from young people. And so I think, especially Jesse Jackson — from the moment you spoke to him — I think this whole group of Blacks of Congress people, this whole group of elected officials, just had a completely different approach to politics, what they focus vote and who do you know and how do you get in touch and make a backroom deal? And Al Sharpton, you can throw him in the mix. And that’s something these young people don’t care about, you know. They take care of one thing, how do we stop the police from killing us? And you’ve been doing your little protest for 40 years and you haven’t stopped the police. So what exactly are you trying to tell us? So there is this element. And then it’s just insider politics that some activists, as I’ve described, have come to the much more radical conclusion that the police and criminal justice system don’t care about putting up a voter’s badge. They are much more interested in radical politics. And that’s not to say people can’t work together, because there are all kinds of political coalitions that bring people with different viewpoints and different viewpoints together to fight over a single piece of legislation or a specific issue and then everyone goes back and makes her own thing. But I think in the end the movement lacked the political commitment to be able to collectively decide what those issues were, what the plan was, and then go back and see if we were successful with any of those issues. If not, how do we recalibrate? If so, how do we generalize the lessons from this? So I think there’s a more systemic issue with the organization of the movement that’s ultimately at the heart of the conflict, and not just what’s been labeled generational segregation. I will say that. The last.
Viewer 10 (01:21:50):So we have a collective question. What is your advice to the black community on how to take care of our mental health, how to deal with the fear of prosecution and everything else that is going on?
K-YT (1:22:03):For law enforcement, that is -?
Viewer 10 (1:22:07):There’s other things like racism and things like that, especially with this one.
K-YT (01:22:15):That sounds like a broken record, but I really think it’s difficult for people to try and figure these things out individually. Of course there are certain things that people can do, but I think there’s a special space to talk regularly about these experiences with the police, with activists, with meetings of all kinds, fear and depression, fear – I think that I deal with it by not trying to deal with it on my own. And that just means being in the community with other people to talk about how the experience was. And that doesn’t always end with an action plan to do something. But I think a lot of what’s happening might be an inability to discuss these things – even if you’re willing to – but the lack of opportunity to be able to interact with people means it gets acidic. It is internalized. It became something that seemed insurmountable and pushed people out of politics. It makes people not want to be involved in what is happening in the world. And it makes our potential to build the kind of movement necessary to combat this at a system level impossible to organize because the people who are suffering the most can’t participate because they don’t have enough time and opportunity to think about it to speak Deal with these issues so they don’t become intrusive and corrosive to the person facing the issue. I don’t know if that’s it – does it help?
Viewers 10 (01:25:11).That’s right.
K-YT (01:25:13):Thanks. Thanks to all.
JP (01:25:22):Thank you for listening to our series on Seattle City Hall. I’m Jini Palmer. Our theme music is by Seattle-based artist David Bazan and Seattle-based Barsuk Records. Special thanks to our sound engineer Moe Provencher. Watch our new Townhall Seattle Original Podcast,In that moment. In each episode, a local Seattle reporter interviews someone who comes to City Hall. They get you excited about upcoming events by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the content, personality and interests of the speaker. If you enjoyed our civics series, listen to our arts and culture and science series. For more information, to view our calendar of events or to support City Hall, visit our website at townhallseattle.org.
Video tutorials about from black lives matter to black liberation
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Michelle Alexander on the history and politics of the most recent phase of the Black Freedom struggle.
First published in 2016, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation is an indispensable account of the history and political trajectory of the most recent stage in the Black Freedom Movement. To mark the timely release of an updated and expanded edition of the book, Taylor will join Michelle Alexander for a wide-ranging discussion of the history, present, and possible futures of the struggle for Black Liberation.
Order the expanded second edition of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation here!
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. She is author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, which was a semifinalist for the 2019 National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2020. She is also editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBQT nonfiction in 2018. She is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, and a Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.
Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness — the bestselling book that helped to transform the national debate on racial and criminal justice in the United States. Currently she is a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.
Over five years after the #BlackLivesMatter mobilizations began to reshape how we think about the oppression of black people in the United States, renowned author and Princeton University professor of African-American Studies Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor joined Loren Balhorn and Katharina Pühl of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung to discuss the movement’s trajectory, the state of US society under Donald Trump’s presidency, and possible hopes for the future.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is the author of the book “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” (Haymarket Books, 2016) and editor of “How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective” (Haymarket Books, 2017). Her newest book, “Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s”, will be published this fall by University of North Carolina Press. She spoke at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in a joint lecture hosted by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung and the Humboldt University’s W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Lecture Series.