Black Lives Matter feels betrayed by “white people.” But the organization and the social layers for which it speaks, for all their denunciations of Trump, also see in his election a potential opportunity. They are prepared to accommodate themselves to the new regime so long as they get a cut of the spoils from Trump’s austerity policies.You may not be interested in the class struggle, comrade. But the class struggle is interested in you.
In an interview with the online news site Quartz, published the very day Black Lives Matter issued its statement on Trump’s election, November 15, spokeswoman and co-founder Patrisse Cullors declared, “This is an opportunity to imagine a black future that we’ve never imagined before.”
The claim that American society is based on white supremacy, widely promoted by academics and purveyors of “critical race theory,” is radically at odds with reality. Black Lives Matter and similar organizations, as well as the various pseudo-left organizations that promote them, never provide a serious answer to a simple question: How could a white supremacist society elect an African-American as president—twice?The first paragraph echoes a talking point also popular on the right, where the counties that flipped from Obama to Trump get a lot of play. The second, well, it's a gripe that goes back at least as far as the New Deal ("Reform if you would preserve," saith Franklin D.) But catch that dig at affirmative action. They say "privileged upper layer." I say "asterisk." We concur: the policy is symbolic, not substantive.
In fact, the American ruling elite has over a period of decades increasingly made use of the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation to divert attention from the fundamental class divide in society and the immense growth of economic inequality. It has, by means of programs such as affirmative action, promoted into political office, corporate administration and the media a privileged upper layer within the African-American and Latino populations and among women to defend the profit system and the capitalist state. The Democratic Party has become the political vehicle for this type of politics, even as it has repudiated social reform policies and linked itself more directly to Wall Street and the military/intelligence apparatus.
The vast majority of workers and low-income people who voted for Trump were not voting for anti-black racism, war or authoritarianism. They voted for Trump to protest a political establishment in both big business parties that has presided over the devastation of jobs and living standards and a colossal growth of economic inequality. A breakdown of the vote shows that there was no “surge” of white working class votes for Trump, but rather a mass abstention in which the collapse in turnout among traditional Democratic voters—including black, Hispanic and young voters—predominated.Bring on the Fourth Turning. Or the final fatal crisis of capitalism.
Black Lives Matter is incapable of identifying any objective basis for the unification of working people and youth of all races. In fact, it opposes such a struggle, because it defends the capitalist status quo.Perhaps, although petit-bourgeois elements operating convenience stores, nail salons, and taverns might view the trashings and burnings of such establishments as something other than status quo.