Infighting in Portland Black Lives Matter movement

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Mona Pereth

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,722
Location: New York City (Queens)

30 Nov 2020, 10:13 am

I came across the following article about infighting within the "Black Lives Matter" movement in Portland, Oregon: In America’s whitest city, Black activists struggle to separate themselves from anarchists by Jonathan Levinson and Sergio Olmos, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), Nov. 23, 2020, updated Nov. 25, 2020.

Unfortunately it appears that recent protests have gotten hijacked by more extreme elements including "a few dozen people who have regularly engaged in vandalism against such disparate targets as a Democratic Party office, the Oregon Historical Society and the Mexican consulate" -- much to the dismay of the original leaders of the movement.

This is very much in contrast to my earlier impressions of the Black Lives Matter movement. Earlier, judging by news reports I saw several months ago, there had been a clear separation between the actual (peaceful) protesters and the vandals/looters, who were not actually associated with the protests in any way but were just criminal gangs taking advantage of the situation.

Unfortunately, since then, it appears that the movement (at least in Portland) has not been able to resist being infiltrated by more extreme elements, supplanting the original groups that used what the OPB article refers to as "less aggressive tactics."

The OPB article mentions that two of the original leaders, Devin Boss and Darren Golden, "were among the first leaders to be toppled by a tumultuous protest movement that is defiantly leaderless and rife with subplots, cliques and personality conflicts."

Being "defiantly leaderless" was also one of the afflictions of various protest movements back in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Without responsible leadership, it is impossible for a movement to resist being infiltrated by destructive extremists.

Perhaps another cause of the movement's problems may be the large proportion of teenagers in the movement, including "white kids from the suburbs." While it's great to have young teenage activists involved in political movements for needed social changes, it seems to me that too many young folks, without adult supervision, can easily end up egging each other on to destructive activity. In the OPB news story, some black activists are quoted as blaming the afore-mentioned "white kids" for much of the mess.

I really hope some organizations will emerge that can successfully revive the nonviolence teachings of Martin Luther King -- and the internal discipline of his organization.

Police brutality and police racism are real and very serious issues. Alas, they will not be successfully addressed by a movement that wants to "de-fund the police" but can't keep out people whose actions prove why we still need more police funding (or at least more cops on the street in business districts), not less.

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