Ah, I guess one might call the title click bait, but unlike all those writers who give lip service to the movement in one way or another i intend to provide a more comprehensive answer. The short answer is no, in the next five years Black lives will not matter as a movement. And no, this is not some racist rant. To understand my short answer we must look at the pieces of the puzzle as there is no picture on the box that tells us what it is suppose to represent. The movement, Black Lives Matter, is a political movement and rests of confrontation as its means of existence. Without confrontation there would be no real reason to pay much attention to those who carry the signs. The present movement channels Saul Alinsky and his book, Rules For Radicals, although he was not the origination of such rules. Radicals through the centuries have evolved these rules for radials. Alinsky merely redefined them a little and even then his editorial work was little more than cosmetic. One can discover many of these “Rule” in the Communist Manifesto and Mao’s Little Red Book among the many selections from which to choose. Alinsky was not very original in his ideas. But he did spart several generations of activist and radicals into action. Of course most of his attempts at wresting power from the “establishment” and “Powers That Be” were failures. There have been very few positive results on that score.
America was never a hotbed of radicalism, practice or theory. If one looks closely at the Declaration of independence one sees apart from our declaration of certain inalienable rights, an indictment of King George and Parliament. It is filled with grievance after grievance that calls for the legal redress of suchs torts or wrongs. We allude to some criminal behavior on the part of the King and his government but most is confined to civil wrongs or torts. Perhaps the boldest part of that language is that we tell the King that it is our way over here or the highway. Indeed, roughly a quarter of the signers of that Declaration still believed that reconciliation could occur. Many colonists wanted to retain their British citizenship and stay in the empire. The closest this country has ever come to radicalism was the aftermath of the war between the states in which the radical Republicans would have turned this country into a fascist state and the great depression when many Democrats has that same idea. Yes, we endured a few excesses during those times but the American people were not greatly persuaded to join in such self destruction. Today we seem to be engaged in a similar contention and only time will tell if we fall prey to such easy blandishments.
One of the time worn means of bringing change, particularly in local governments is the mass protest. I say mass because one needs a sizeable number of the voting population to make the point that change must be at least considered if not accomplished or there will be a change in some or all the incumbents. Such mass demonstrations must be organized over a longer period of time, often a few months, if they are to be effective in change. The problem with the protests in Ferguson were that they relied on outside agitators and far fewer of the local population. If the local population, in particular the large Black majority of the city, had desired change, then local organizers should have gone literally door to door and church to church to make the case that not only was change needed, but what change should occur. But mass protests that do little other than to try an assert mob rule and mob justice have very little effect in the longer run of affairs. One may stoke passions and inflame hatreds but constructive actions are usually the first victims of such attempts. Such protests are seen as attempts at intimidation rather than attempts at finding solutions. The other problem is that such protests become unwieldy and often violent, causing destruction and personal injury. Those businesses that were looted and destroyed in Ferguson are more than simple collateral damage, they leave scars both physically and emotionally that resist the influence of mass protest. When a non violent protest turns violent is loses it moral authority as well as its original purpose. Those in power, both locally and at higher levels view such protests as having no legitimacy and their only purpose in negotiating with leaders of such protests is to buy them off as cheaply as possible. No real change is ever accomplished.
When one thinks back to 1967 and 1968, the riots in Detroit and Chicago were really long term disasters for the Black militants. Both cities today are bankrupt, the one finally permitted to file bankruptcy and the other is one the verge but needs the state legislature’s permission. Both are still run by corrupt politicians, corrupt public employee unions that include police, fire, city workers, and teachers and educators draining the city coffers. Crime is still exceptionally high and more Blacks are murdered by Blacks than by cops. Where is Al Sharpton to protest against those in the community who perpetuate these crimes? The schools have not been made any better, in fact, they are worse than before. Crime is worse than prior to 1967. True, the Black community has elected more of its own to the seats of power in the city and more Blacks are employed by the city, but they represent the few. More and more businesses, from factories, large corporations to small business owners have left these cities. One might ask, what good is more political power when there are fewer jobs for the populace at large and those who do have jobs, particularly with the local government, are paid in excess of what the cities can tax?
Do you see the point? Protests that are more about wresting power away from those incumbents rarely do more than change the order of the fiefdom. The problem with Saul Alinsky and his ilk is that they see power as the prize that must be wrested by great struggle from the other side. That one uses power to secure cooperation from those who lack power. And that power is the end all and be all of all political exercise. Yet that old maxim still applies, if power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The problem with must of what is called political science and thought rests on the idea that power is some force that leaders must wield in order to make their will be known and their actions work well. Yet that is far from true. It is the top down approach to social order in a society. It is membership in a group that counts for the individual. This is the basis of most disputes. This is the problems among many groups of poor, whether they are Black, Latina, Chinese, or any other group (one does not need to be a member of a traditional minority group). We could tomorrow spend a great deal of money making all the poor “ghettos” habitable. Let’s raze the old structures and build new ones. Then life would be great, new housing of good quality and life will improve. Except we tried that once and it was an abject failure. All those highrise apartments became prisons to house the poor and a few inmates took over to terrorized the inhabitants. But, But, the best and the brightest of our liberal and progressive leaders said it would work. Seems that everyone benefitted by the poor regardless of their color.
I think what bothers me the most is that those who profess professional expertise in the welfare of the poor are so attached to institutional solutions particularly when show that such solutions don’t work. the current welfare system only makes those who depend on it dependent on those who operate it, who expand it, who control it. But the system is not responsive to those who live under it. And all to frequently the police are brought into contact with such inmates and are theus seen as part of the problem in the lives of the poor. It is the classic case that those with good intentions rarely think through their actions to the possible conclusions. Again, political theory tends to see the solutions as more laws and more money thrown at such problems. And to make matters even worse, the inmates see the problem as “The Powers That Be”, mainly the white population, as their collective reason why they, the inmates, can’t get ahead. It is interesting that those same liberals and progressives who push a welfare system on a group of people would also push the idiocy of “White Privilege” as the reason why the poor, many of whom are Black and Latino, can’t get ahead. Even poor whites are thought to have that same privilege and yet it has done them little good, if any, they are still poor.
The real problem is that if we can’t not borrow our way to wealth (actually, with the Fed policy of QE, some do, but most can’t) then we can’t blame our way to achievement in life. Blaming others, The Powers That Be, for my lack of education, my lack of skills, and my lack of opportunities for work doesn’t automatically solve the problem. I still lack education, I still lack skills, and thus my opportunities for work are slim to none. If I protest for justice, what is my expectation? That by some magic proclamation I shall have this good life on my terms? The fact is, welfare is a system of co-dependency. We judge its success by the perverseness of how many “customers” we serve, not by how many people we send back out into the world to survive on their own. Dependency is not justice, it never was. So you see, Black lives will never matter in terms of real change, real “Justice”, and real opportunity. so much of local government has been usurped by state and federal government agencies. Education use to be under local control and should be put back there again. But just try and wrest that control away from the government institution of the “factory style” education thinking process. You, the parent, are not equipped to make even the basic decision of what your child should eat for lunch, so no brown bagging for your child. We’ll tell you what your child shall learn and how your child shall think or we’ll bring charges of child abuse against you. But as long as such movements such as Black Lives Matter want to bring in Federal coercion then they will never matter for they have surrendered their legitimacy and power to the very “Powers That Be” that work against them.