Patrisse Cullors is the faculty director of Prescott College’s MFA degree (Social and Environmental Arts Practice) in Prescott, Arizona. A seasoned organizer, Cullors is also one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Along with its parent organization, the Movement for Black Lives, the organization is dedicated to the abolition of police, direct action to combat what Patrisse deems as systematic racism, and has maintained an active presence in the nationwide riots that followed the death of George Floyd.
BLM was founded following the death of Treyvon Martin and the trial of George Zimmerman for his murder. After a jury acquitted Zimmerman of the murder in 2013, Cullors (who refers to Zimmerman as “white-passing” even though he is Hispanic), joined with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi to form an organization, as stated on its website.
“….whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
BLM came to further prominence following the riots in Ferguson, Missouri in reaction to the acquittal of police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of robbery-suspect Michael Brown. Although later determined that Brown had attacked the officer, BLM was instrumental in spreading the lie that Brown was shot at point-blank range with his hands raised.
Although purporting to be a civil-rights organization dedicated to fighting police brutality and white supremacy around the world, Cullors, BLM, and the Movement for Black Lives advocate for positions championed by radical leftists. BLM advocates for the abolishment of prisons, defunding the police, dismantling the nuclear family, cutting off aid to Israel (which they label a racist state), are inspired by the Black Panther Party and other prominent Marxists, and encourages rioting and looting, all the while receiving millions of dollars through organizations connected to the Democratic party.
BLM and its affiliates have been inspired by a litany of figures from the radical Left. Cullors herself has boasted of being mentored by Communist Eric Mann of the Labor/Community Strategy Center. Mann was also a member of Students for a Democratic Society, which was founded by domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers. In an interview from 2015, Cullors herself stated that she and her co-founders are “trained Marxists.”
“…we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia, in particular, are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.”
On the podcast The People’s Party with antisemitic rapper Talib Kweli, Cullors described how the Black Panther Party’s 10-Point Program inspired BLM’s guiding principles. The Panthers were a Marxist-Leninist organization, co-led by Huey Newton, whose involvement is suspected in multiple murders allegedly committed by the Panthers. Cullors has also spoken of her affinity for and appeared at events with Angela Davis (who wrote the forward to Cullor’s book, When They Call You a Terrorist). Davis, who frequently toured and vocally defended the Soviet Union, is an open Marxist and former Communist Party candidate for President, whose firearms were used in a courtroom shoot-out in 1970 that left 4 dead.
Cullors and the Movement for Black Lives have routinely condemned the nation of Israel. In their policy platform, the Movement for Black Lives describes Israel as a genocidal, apartheid state;
“….approximately 3 billion dollars in US aid is allocated to Israel, a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades.”
“The US justifies and advances its global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian People…it makes US citizens complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”
“Every day, Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded apartheid wall.”
Cullors has made her anti-Israel stances a focal point in her activism. She has bragged about how one of BLM’s first delegations was sent to Israel, in which Cullors used the trip to degenerate Israel as an apartheid state. She claimed,
“This is an apartheid state. We can’t deny that and if we do deny it we are part of the Zionist violence.”
Speaking at the US Campaign for Palestinian rights, she accused Israeli’s of “Jewish supremacism” and oppressing “black folks in Palestine.”
“Zionists have used anti-Semitic rhetoric to uphold Jewish supremacism and the illegal state of Israel.”
One of the most striking aspects of BLM’s platform is the call to abolish the nuclear family.
Their official website claims, “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”
Core to BLM’s actions is the central belief that America is an inherently racist nation. On a number of occasions, Cullors has described how black Americans are at a fundamental disadvantage and are actively discriminated against in America. She has also indicated that in order to fight racism, black Americans have to separate themselves from other whites.
Rather than citing specific acts of racism, Cullors states that “all white Americans have inherent white supremacy” during a radio interview in New York. She claimed that “…if you’re white…you have white supremacy in you, you have racism in you, that’s just what happens with whiteness”
In a separate interview, Cullors suggested that black people have to re-assert their “blackness” in order to resist becoming white.
“The US is very clever at turning other groups white, and making them white, and we’ve seen that throughout history when groups were not white and when the white power structure was threatened, they figured out a way to make groups white. And I think as we move forward we have to figure out political alignments that hold blackness as a broader framework than just sort of the skin we are in, but as a political statement.”
To Cullors, revered American institutions like law enforcement are the pillars of systematic racism. She, along with BLM, regularly vilify police as racists who disproportionately target African-Americans. Following the death of George Floyd, BLM released an official statement alleging that police don’t protect black communities. The statement read:
“George Floyd’s death was a breaking point – an all too familiar reminder that for Black people, law enforcement doesn’t protect or save lives. They often threaten and take them.”
BLM then encouraged the reader to sign a petition below the statement that called for a defunding of police departments nation-wide:
“We call for an end to the systematic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken. We call for a national defunding of police. ”
In calling for the defunding of police, the policy platform for the Movement for Black Lives actually equates funding law enforcement with an increase of rapes committed in black communities.
“The investment in punishment over prevention has not made us any safer. On the contrary, it has contributed to skyrocketing levels of police killings, rapes, and sexual assaults, physical violence, harassment, and criminalization in Black communities.”
The Movement for Black Lives has listed as a resource the National Jericho Movement, under their End Criminalization of Political Activity Policy Brief. The National Jericho Movement is an organization that advocates for the release of convicted cop killers, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, and Anthony Bottom.
Cullors herself has repeatedly called for abolishing the police. In an interview with NowThis News, she called for defunding police departments and that law enforcement is “rarely used” as a source of justice for the black community. She stated that defunding the police is the best available option because officers are trained to use force first, and that cannot be untrained. Answering the obvious question as to what would replace law enforcement, Cullors suggested that social workers would be sent to settle cases of domestic violence
When she was invited to address the Democratic National Committee, Cullors used the platform to advocate for abolishing the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). and all prisons and federal detention centers.
“Until and unless our leaders become a signatory to the BREATHE Act — to legislation that eliminates the federal government’s ability to give multi-million dollar grants to militarize police forces; dismantles punitive like ICE, Border Patrol, and the DEA; ends the use of surveillance systems being used to target protesters, and bans the use of police agencies to suppress political dissent — the Democratic Party of today will be remembered as the party of complicity.”
“Without the sea changes our movement recommended for the 2020 Democratic platform, any to claims ally-ship in solidarity with our work to fight for Black liberation are for not.” @OsopePatrisse‘s speech to the DNC Platform Committee https://t.co/U9FXxAgoNZ pic.twitter.com/VSd5rXOkVO
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) July 27, 2020
Writing in the Harvard Law Review, she further detailed her positions and so-called “struggle” against “racism, patriarchy, and capitalism.” Going further than just condemning law enforcement agencies, Cullors designates the United States as the premier violator of human rights in the world. She wrote, “The United States, the world’s largest jailer, is also the world’s greatest perpetrator of war and the most extensive purveyor of human rights atrocities at home and abroad, laying claim to over 800 military bases around the world.”
Seemingly written as a warning, Cullors describes exactly how she will confront the “white supremacy” that she considers embedded in the fabric of our society. She continued, “Abolition calls on us to not only to destabilize, deconstruct, and demolish oppressive systems, institutions, and practices, but also to repair histories of harm across the board. Our task is not only to abolish prisons, policing, and militarization, which are wielded in the name of “public safety” and “national security.” We must also demand reparations and incorporate reparative justice in our vision for society and community building in the twenty-first century.”
BLM has been implicated in a number of riots around the country following the death of George Floyd. A report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project stated that 95% of riots over the summer of 2020 were linked to BLM activism or had BLM activists present. The resulting riots were the largest in American history, causing an estimated $2 Billion in damages and 47 deaths.
Despite the tragedy, Cullors has been, at best, ambivalent towards the destruction caused by riots. Hosted by Seth Myers, Cullors dismissed looting and rioting, excusing it as paling in comparison to the destruction caused by police. On the program, she stated,
“I think, and what I’m often describing to people is, we are very obsessed with property damage. Property damage is seen as sort of like the pinnacle of destruction and violence, and we rarely hear the media focus on police violence or police terror…And so there’s this conservation that I think is an uneven conversation in the media about people who are looting versus the infrastructure and the structure of racism and the police officers who continue to cause havoc and chaos in our communities.”
Patrice has seemingly advocated for rioting. Interrupting Martin O’ Malley at Netroots Nation in 2015, Cullors began chanting slogans that now, with hindsight, seem ominous:
“If I die in police custody, avenge my death, by any means necessary!”
“If I die in police custody, burn everything down! Because no building is worth more than my life! Because that’s the only way motherf****** like you will listen!”
This is not the only documented pattern of BLM’s destructive impact on communities. Since 2014, researchers have identified a resurgence of homicides in inner-cities where police have withdrawn their presence following intense scrutiny by BLM activists. Coined, “The Ferguson Effect,” thousands of additional deaths of black men and women have been attributed to this sudden absence of law enforcement.
Cullors and her other co-founders have accepted millions in donations since BLM’s inception. Publicly available documents reveal that BLM accumulated more than $3 million in assets in 2019. This is before BLM officially joined The Tides Center, a left-leaning organization that reported more than $636 million in revenues. As an official project under the umbrella of the Tides Foundation rather than a stand-alone organization, Cullors and BLM will now be shielded from the same IRS scrutiny that many non-profit organizations face.
Notable donors to the Tides Center include George Soros and the Ford Foundation. Donations to BLM are handled by ActBlue, a progressive fundraising platform that is set to raise more than $2.5 billion for left-leaning causes in 2020 alone.
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