Billionaires Like it in Black and White

In a Balkanized place like the U.S., every issue becomes  a reductivist exercise. Too often, discussions devolve into arguments.

Take Black Lives Matter. One side thinks that the aim of this group is to bring attention to blacks being killed by the police. The other side resents the attention placed on blacks and wants “all lives” recognized. The other side says this is “racist”, the counter argument is “no it’s not,” and the two sides stand on opposite sides of a chasm lobbing rocks back and forth at each other—mostly figurative, but there’s some literalism inherent in this, also.

Economic deprivation isn't a black/white issue.

Economic deprivation isn’t a black/white issue.

Except, there’s more to the story than the usual two-pronged understanding, if you dig just a little deeper. You also have to leave behind those sources that profit from their binary issue frames.

Consider another kind of analysis, Marxist in orientation about Black Lives Matter, and their funding. Why would billionaires back the cause of Black Lives Matter? As in funding to the tune of $100 million from the Ford Foundation over a six-year period to several groups and organizations occupying the vanguard in the movement.  So what kind of other associations does the foundation keep? Oh, for years they maintained close ties to US military and intelligence agencies. Frances Stonor Saunders, a historian of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), described the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in her book The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters as “conscious instruments of covert US policy, with directors and officers who were closely connected to, or even members of American intelligence.”

As always, the simplistic explanation coming from the right end of the political spectrum is that the elites benefit from chaos and that BLM is just another application of the tactics brought to bear on community organizing, most notably by Saul Alinsky.

In this invaluable perspective illustrating how Marxism views societal upheaval and issues of race through a very different lens than both liberals and conservatives, Gabriel Black makes a number of salient points about how so-called “radical” groups like Black Lives Matter only succeed in “dividing the working class and preventing the emergence of an independent and unified working class movement against the capitalist system.”

As Black notes, this continues a strategy first employed in the late 1960s when a section of the ruling class was committed to cultivating support among “the more privileged sections of minorities” who pledged allegiance to maintaining the status quo. Funny how not much has changed in 40+ years. Even more of a concern to me and others not enamored by the usual left/right political dance—there’s an absolute lack of any class consciousness among younger voters, like millennials.

Rather than seeking to build a working-class movement benefiting all of America’s economically oppressed, BLM activists have simply joined in lock-step, seeking to preserve our two-party duopoly, serving as agent provocateurs of division. As such, they are heavily invested in electing a neoliberal like Hillary Clinton.

And so it goes–liberals keep insisting on Hillary and conservatives shout “Trump, Trump, Trump,” from the rooftops (or inside churches)–all the while nothing changes. The status quo is maintained, while most everyone else is handed an even more austere allotment.

Of course that doesn’t stop either side of the same coin from feeling morally superior (or smarter) than the others, while fostering even greater divisions. And the elites keep on laughing, counting their stacks of cash.