Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Please Teach Me Something: What Are Your Thoughts on Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter Movement?

I have recently been asked by more than one media outlet for my thoughts about Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter movement. Save for comments during my last guest appearance on Ring of Fire TV, I have told folks that I am still formulating my thoughts on what is a very complicated and important matter.

One of the ways that a person can get some shine from the chattering classes is to have a spirited and heartfelt opinion on every issue. This makes for great entertainment. But, it does not contribute to a healthy American public discourse. I believe in showing my work. As such, when I am still working out my thoughts or am confused about a topic, I try to reach out to good and smart folks who likely know more--and have done more thinking on it--than me.

To that end, I am very curious about how you, the kind friends and patrons of our online salon, feel about Bernie Sanders' handling of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Moreover, am I alone in my concerns and worries that while BLM gains strength from its flexibility, decentralized nature, and ability to use social media, that those strengths can also be weaknesses in terms of infiltration, agent provocateurs, and misdirection by those who seek to discredit Black Lives Matter and their broader human rights project?

Here are some essays and other pieces that I have been perusing in my effort to develop a more cohesive opinion about BLM, Bernie Sanders, and other related matters.

The International Social Review has an excellent long-form essay on locating Black Lives Matter relative to the broader history of black politics and social movement theory.

There is some very good research about the connections between social media, "hashtag activism", and social change movements that I have begun to delve deeper into. One example. Here is a link--with a brief interview--about Philip Howard's new book on social media and the Arab Spring.

The website Patheos has two posts of interest. The first highlights the agent provocateur element in the disruption of Bernie Sanders' rally in Seattle. The second is an open letter of sorts to the Black Lives Matter movement about strategy, communication, comportment, and how best to cultivate allies and alliances.

Glen Ford, writing at Black Agenda Report, pulls no punches in his analysis of the neoliberal "New Democrats", the use and abuse of the "black vote", and Hillary et al's efforts to bury BLM.

Adalia Woodbury has written a piece at Politicususa that does a very good job of summarizing the Bernie Sanders vs. the wannabe Black Lives Matter protesters (operating under the name "Outside Agitators") who stole the mic and caused a fracas last week at a Seattle rally in support of Sanders.

Yesterday, Thom Hartmann and Mike Papantonio discussed Black Lives Matter, the "Outside Agitators", and Bernie Sanders on the RT network.

What reading, interviews, or other material would you suggest I consult as I try to make sense of Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter movement? What talking points or key concepts should I develop regarding the topic?

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