BLM leader gives cover to Proud Boys

Equating the Proud Boys with white supremacy has some serious limitations. That’s because they actually have black members and they don’t campaign against black people per se. Despite their denials, however, they associate with white supremacists. But to simply dismiss the danger they pose as being that of white supremacy in the sense of directly attacking black people for being black is a serious mistake.

In fact, the main danger they pose is more general – attacking those who stand up against not only white supremacy but against the far right in general. That’s what became most clear in this bellingcat expose of the Patriot Coalition on Oregon. Behind all their talk about simply defending themselves was the talk about assaulting left wing activists, white and black alike.

Equating the Proud Boys with white supremacy, and seeing white supremacy in isolation and as meaning simply assaulting or discriminating against black people simply for being black, led to what amounts to a betrayal on the part of a reputed Black Lives Matter leader in Salt Lake City. It was difficult to clearly make out the name, but it seems to be Jacarri Kelly, who bills herself as the president of BLM, Utah. She joined a joint press conference with some local Proud Boys leaders in order to give credibility to their claim that they are not white supremacists. By doing so, she helps make the “respectable”.

Proud Boys and other fascists. They are a threat to us all.

What they are is patriotic overt xenophobes who see “Western culture” as the be all and end all. As one Proud Boys representative commented in this news report, “chauvinism should be understood as patriotism”. They are also fascists who believe in and carry out physical assaults against left wing protesters of all colors.

It is a disgrace that anybody who is really against racism and white supremacy would in any way give cover to these dangerous fascists who are a threat to everybody on the left and to all class fighters. It really shows the need for a clear general program as well as for a real organization with a democratically elected leadership. To those who say that white people have no right to criticize the likes of Jacarri Kelly, I say: If somebody gives cover to these fascists who pose a direct physical threat to all socialists and class fighters, then we have not only every right but a responsibility to criticize them.

Categories: racism, United States

5 replies »

  1. The thing missing in the Left critique remains an analysis of the American political economy and the presentation of a coherent and consistent political strategy for the road ahead. What we have been left with instead are morsels and tidbits regarding tactics and electoral strategies. Organization lies at the foundation of the development of political line. If we as individuals are left to our own devices to decide what is right and what is wrong, we lose touch with the social base of the working class and become simply a debating society. It should not surprise people that the result at times appears to be out of touch. The historical Left project in the United States has taken a back seat in the past decades to identity politics and bowing to spontaneity. If it fills the streets, it fills the page. It is also a demonstration of how political and ideological struggle have been channeled by the “cancel culture.” Leaving analyses out of the development of line undermines our understanding, strategy and tactics in the struggle ahead. There are a vast array of experiences that have yet to be summed up- from Occupy Wall Street, to the Green Party, to Black Lives Matter to Antifa. Not so some party can claim hegemony and dominate, but so the experiences of struggle can provide consciousness, political development and make our organizations relevant actors in the struggles ahead. The issues raised by Jacarri Kelly are out there. It is correct to say: “It really shows the need for a clear general program as well as for a real organization with a democratically elected leadership.” The question that flows from this is how do we move forward. I commend the Oakland Socialist for its efforts to recognize the urgency of the tasks.

  2. Thank you for your comments, Martin Zehr. One of the main purposes of this blog site is to try to “sum up” the different political experiences that we as workers pass through. Another way of putting it might be to help “make the unconscious learning process conscious”.

    You refer to the Occupy movement. This writer was an extremely active participant in Occupy Oakland. One similarity that movement had with the present one was in its “leaderless” structure. Without an organized and democratically elected formal leadership, then the leadership exercises its influence behind the scenes. I worked closely with the anarchists who basically ran Occupy Oakland. I went to one (secret) meeting of theirs. I proposed that there be a formal process of election an official leadership whose program and strategy were above board as well as their responsibilities and limitations. Naturally, they all opposed this. However, one of them – the most thoughtful of them – did comment that while he opposed my suggestion, “we have to admit that pretty much whatever we want to happen in Occupy Oakland is what will happen.”

    So it was that when they fell in bed with the “progressive” wing of the union bureaucracy they were able to do so without people being widely aware of what was happening and without much real opposition.

  3. I will criticize her. I think the move is simplistic.And it doesn’t seem to have any BLM backing. She is using the name of the organization for her own personal political goals. I would love to know about this chapter of BLM, located in northern Utah. HOw many folks are members? How many of those people are black? Also, to the blog writer – having black members in an organization doesn’t mean it isn’t white supremacist. White supremacy is an ideology, not a racial group.

    • Right about everything including the fact that having black members doesn’t mean they aren’t white supremacist. However, with the Proud Boys it isn’t quite so simple. I agree they are white supremacist, but not in the sense that they directly support attacking black people for being black. And they evidently ban people who use racist epithets like the “n” word. So that makes them superficially different from, for example, the KKK. And in the US “superficially” means a lot since most people don’t look beneath the surface. They are overtly xenophobic or, as they said, chauvinist. They also are in favor of physically assaulting left activists, including but not limited to those who oppose white supremacy in the streets.

  4. As long as there is an identifiable scapegoat and victim group, there’s no reason why rightwing demagogues can’t be racially inclusive. There were Jewish fascists before Mussolini came completely under Hitler’s control.

    But there is also an element of proud irrationality in the PBs taking the racial stance they do–one suspects that they glory in the inconsistency and take pride in confounding their enemies by overtly not giving a damn about what they say and flagrantly contradicting themselves. This is very Now–and should be worrying IMO to people on the Left–because the PBs no doubt consider themselves very clever for having thought of this–as will many hee-yah all-American m*s who will in the long run kill you just as dead as any old-timey Ku Kluxer.

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