Black Lives Matter Activists Get Lectured by Hillary Clinton and Walk Away Defeated and Humiliated: A Lesson for All Activists on What Not To Do
You don’t have to know much about the meeting that took place on August 11 in New Hampshire between Black Lives Matter activists and Hillary Clinton, after the completion of her campaign rally, which the activists were prevented from entering. This picture, which shows BLM activist, Julius Jones of Massachusetts and others being forcefully and authoritatively lectured by Clinton, tells you all you need to know and you don’t even have to be an expert in body language to understand it.
Mr. Jones, who sheepishly stood facing the seasoned politician at a time and place of her choosing, like a slave trying to find the courage to express a grievance to his master, started his “respectful” conversation by expressing gratitude and by saying how it was “an honor” to talk to her. That set the tone and got worse as it went on.
Trying to win sympathy, he gave a vague, general and timid explanation about the suffering of blacks, which he indicated she was “partially responsible for”, without saying how she actually contributed to it. He left her role in enacting laws that resulted in mass incarceration of Blacks so vague and unclear that one of the sites that posted the video of the meeting had to cut the video and insert a sentence explaining about her role in the mass incarceration, so the viewer could understand what he was trying to say.
After trying to play it fair by saying that he understood that “there were unexpected consequences” to those policies (that she was “partially responsible for”), he says: “now that you understand the consequences, I genuinely wanna know what in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of this country” and “how you feel that’s different from before?”, which gave Clinton the opportunity to lecture them as to what he and others in BLM needed to do. I wish she would’ve also taught him to cut the crap about “heart” and “feel” and told her what he wanted her to DO.
First, she told them about her “focus on kids, including Black and Hispanic kids”, followed by her taking credit for supporting the Civil Rights movement. Then, she told them how she had to find a way to sell a new policy because if she can’t sell it, she said, “it would sit on the shelf” – a reminder that it’s not so simple or easy to implement new policy (so don’t expect much), although she had no problem selling the laws that put hundreds of thousands in jail for minor and non-violent violations.
I hate to admit it, but, regretfully, I must agree with a part of what she said, namely that “you’re gonna have to come together as a movement and say this is what we want done about it”. In other words, have specific and concrete demands to push for, rather than asking politicians how they “feel” in their “heart” and if they’ve changed.
What’s clear from the video of the meeting is that the approach of the activists in this instance was not to expose and hold accountable a savvy and two-faced politician who represents and is herself a part of the ruling white supremacist elite, but to ask as a journalist or even as a voter or supporter why they should vote for her! The approach these activists chose was to give her a chance to tell the voters, which by all accounts seem to include these activists, how she will be different this time, what she is going to do to win black votes and how she is going to make things better for them – all invitations to make some campaign promises! Suppose she says: “yes, black lives matter”, which she has said, after initially saying “all lives matter”. And suppose she makes promises that she’s going to propose laws and that she will not let it “sit on the shelf” and will try to “sell it”. Then what? We all go home and wait until November of next year and vote for her?
Wasn’t it obvious before the meeting that she was going to use the opportunity to appear sympathetic to the cause, while reminding folks of her accomplishments, without accepting any responsibility for her contribution to the problem? Wasn’t it obvious that she was then going to treat the activists like little kids and lecture them as to what they needed to do? What exactly was the purpose of that cordial and “respectful” meeting? What was accomplished by it? What is to be expected of a millionaire cutthroat politician running for high office for the ruling class? A genuine and sincere conversation about how she “feels” “in her heart” and how she’s going to be different now? What are we, 5 year olds?
Radical situations require radical action. What we need to do is continue marching on the streets and try to get into candidates’ campaign rallies. If we’re stopped, we need to picket and demonstrate, not ask for a meeting and ask how they now feel and then be lectured by the same bourgeois politicians who are the problem.