Deep Marxism of Black Lives Matter
A spectre is haunting Europe – a spectre of political ignorance*. And those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it**.
I'm stumbling upon these phrases again and again: alt-right is accusing #BLM movement of being “Marxist”, while less perceptive BLM supporters innocently ask “what's wrong with it, #Marxism is for equality after all”.
As often, both claims have some clue but completely miss the point. One of BLM founders, Carol Swain, said in an interview she's a “trained Marxist”. Politfact ran a pretty good fact-check on all these “he said, she said”, but then it does what everyone does today:
Marxism usually means analyzing social change through an economic lens, with the assumption that the rich and the poor should become more equal
Sorry, but no.
Marxism, as conceived by Marx and Engels, had a number of very specific postulates that distinctively differentiated it from other socialist movements in mid-19th century.
Marx and Engels specifically, and categorically, required that two things happen in order:
- violent revolution,
- dictatorship of the proletariat.
As result of these two, the #bourgeoisie would be destroyed as a class, the state would “wither away”, and only then whoever was left alive would be equal. These items were subject of fierce debates between Marx, Engels and social democrats, who believed an evolutionary way to equality is indeed possible without violence.
These specific features of Marxism — fixation on violent #revolution and class conflict as some kind of “cleansing agent” for society were its distinct and fundamental postulates.
Each time you propose “evolutionary Marxism” or something like that, Marx and Engels turn in their graves, as you are undermining the very basics of what they were arguing for their whole lives.
How does Marxism fit BLM?
In short, it does not, not even slightest.***
For BLM to be Marxist, it would need to propose a violent revolution of Black people against White (and insist on it categorically), dictatorship of Blacks over Whites and eventually eradication of White people as a race.
If this sounds like nonsense regardless of you being a supporter or opponent of BLM, it's because it is. Nonsense created by mixing a century-old radical political philosophy that responded (poorly) to then-challenges, with a modern political movement operating in a society created almost entirely to the recipe of Marx's primary adversaries — the social democrats.
- * Paraphrase of the starting sentence of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”
- ** George Santayana
- *** Black Lives Matter UK has a nice summary of BLM postulates: “Those of all ethnicities and from all nations who believe in racial equality are anti-racists, they stand together, can choose to kneel together in peace and solidarity asserting black people are treated as equals to white people and is a human right to receive racial equality, social and criminal justice”.