Black Lives Matter declares its opposition to TPP

Originally published at:


I was not aware that BLM was actually an organization. I thought it was a rallying cry.

Having now been corrected in that assumption, it seems to me that BLM is following the same sort of topic drift that affected both Occupy and the Tea Party. They started out as movements with very specific and tightly focused concerns, (both of which I agreed with btw), but evolved into generic leftist and rightist movements which sadly made it impossible for them to recognize what they had in common.


What is; Not a damn thing, Alex. (*vague, but appropriate reference)

Most of my white friends that I talk to about BLM have little knowledge of how and why it started. Most seem to associate it with police shootings only. Fact is, BLM was formed after Sanford - not Ferguson. It was the character assassination of Trayvon Martin that motivated the founders of this orginization to action. I think it’s important to understand that.


People worried about their bodily safety can’t engage in other political areas? Why not? What’s the problem with doing so.

And I’d say at best, there is a very scattered organization, but it isn’t one that’s necessarily a top-down, more traditional sort of political organization. I’d guess there are plenty of BLM activists who want to stay focused on their core issues. Some might see a larger connection to other matters, though.


Saying black lives matter in more ways than just not being demonized or shot doesn’t sound like that much topic drift to me.


mission creep can result in unwanted results and is not a rare cause for the self-liquidation (or -destruction?) of a movement/group/whatever.

one example is the Pirate Party in German: they were rather successful with the original narrow platform (copyright, surveillance and similar topics) but tried (imo: too) fast to broaden the scope and become a normal party. as party the pirates are mostly politically dead, mere 5 years after they won the first mandates.


You think “mission creep” is the only reason organizations like this end up falling apart, though? Just look at the history of the Black Panthers - while infighting was a major problem, they were also being infiltrated by the FBI and being destabalized from within. I’d guess that we have similar things going on with groups like BLM or the German pirate party, too. Almost any group that challenges the status quo is going to be targeted.

And as @chenille, illustrating other areas of life that impact black lives negatively isn’t necessarily a step too far outside their original mission.


I wrote this? shit, my English is much worse than I thought.


Ha! No. That came off as hostile a bit didn’t it (me, I mean, not you)? I just meant that there are other explanations for an organization having problems staying on track, and that is often from hostile people from the outside, seeking out weaknesses and exploiting them.

But I do agree with @chenille that focusing on economic issues can be part of trying to dismantle white supremacy. Needs to be, in fact.


People can and should claim membership in any number of groups, but there’s definitely an argument to be made that the groups themselves will do better if they remain focused on a limited remit. Supposing that like, 90% of people are in favour of black rights advocacy, and 90% of people are in favour of women’s rights advocacy. Ignoring correlation, if you were to start an advocacy group in support of black persons’ rights and also women’s rights, that’s like 81% of the population who would be willing to fully get on board.

Think of it as the Jack White model of political activism. Rather than using a single band to do all of the things that he wants to do, if he wants to change style or band members he just creates another band. This avoids alienating fans of his older stuff, while giving them the freedom to try out the new stuff. You can buy a White Stripes shirt even if you hate the Raconteurs.

It’s been a while since I read anything about it so I’m hazy, but I think the Suffragette movement in America might be a good counterexample. Where BLM appears to be a single group that’s diversifying its stated goals, the suffragettes were a number of different groups, with varying identities and goals, that came together and focused on a single issue that was to all their benefits.

But that’s all kind of hypothetical, as you say there are other factors that will make or break such a movement and also it’s true that TPP opposition isn’t such a stretch for a group with BLM’s stated goals.


Do you think we can disconnect racial and economic injustice, effectively though?

I’m not sure about that. They got the vote, but what became the mainstream movement also actively purged non-conformist radicals, including women who saw that is was more than just about the vote (such as marriage reform and birth control) and black women who also pointed out that they suffered from a double oppression.


Hmmm. I’m well out of my depth in this discussion, but I do know that the suffragettes succeeded in getting the vote and that’s not a bad effort. They could have gotten more, but maybe if they’d tried they would have ended up with less? Birds, hands, bushes, etc.

That’s about all I know though, so if anyone has a different view I’d be interested to hear it :slight_smile:


Agree. It was big and important. I’d argue it happened because it played to the center as much as possible, which can be both good (larger coalitions) and bad (excluding some issues/voices). Part of the problem here is that when we talk about the first wave, that is generally the ONLY thing that gets discussed, when there was a ton of other stuff happening too, including a very radical free love movement and an active African American women’s movement. We (meaning public historical narratives) tend to get the progressive, triumphant narrative which makes everything neat and easy, when it’s generally anything but.



It reduces the number of potential allies?

The more points of unity you have, the fewer people are going to agree with all of them.

That’s the argument, anyway.

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In other words, some people are still invested in the politics of respectability.


I think you spelled ‘golden parachute’ wrong.


Hey, that mural in the photo is like 3 blocks from my house! Cool to see it on boingboing.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with that model of activism but it’s pretty limiting to tell the BLM folks they should start a new movement every time there’s a new topic for them to engage in activism for.

Imagine the local anarchists start a food kitchen and now they want to teach people to knit or something.

They could start a new group and not alienate the hypothetical “only food, no clothes” anarchism or start a “no cooking” anarchism group so they don’t alienate anarchist knitters who hate eating (if your revolution doesn’t have good food, me and Emma will be knitting and dancing elsewhere). It’s kind of counterproductive if your activism is based on communities though.


Isn’t the point of BLM to be a voice for black lives? I always scratch my head when I hear people telling one particular group to “stick to their issues”. I mean, black people are effected by the same globalized economy as we are?


There’s a difference (and, ideally, some overlap) between protest-based activism and… I don’t know if there’s a name for it, maybe “service-based” activism? The community kitchen’s role isn’t diminished by also having knitting classes, but the message of a protest (which necessarily involves explaining its issues to the media) is diluted or even hijacked when the people with the “Free Mumia” or “Israel Out Of Palestine” or “Meat Is Murder” signs show up to steal face time at every unrelated event that’s intended to have a specific focus. And that’s not even getting into the problem children just looking for an excuse to throw a brick through a Starbucks window.

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