Is Black Lives Matter turning socialist?

A new policy agenda puts BLM well to the left of Clintonite liberals

The Black Lives Matter movement has been making strides.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

At the socialist caucus during the Democratic National Convention, various speakers emphasized that any left-wing movement must concentrate on racial justice. This is due not only to the fact that Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary because he did not win black voters, but also because American minorities make up a disproportionately large chunk of the working class. If any movement centered around providing justice to the bottom of the income distribution is to succeed, it simply must recruit black and brown people. Luckily, it already seems to have a willing partner.

A coalition of groups affiliated with Black Lives Matter, called The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), recently released a remarkably detailed platform that should be very familiar to Sanders' revolutionaries. The most comprehensive look yet at the very sharp policy thinking developing in Black Lives Matter, it consists of six major sub-topics: criminal justice reform, reparations, local control, political reform, investment, and economic justice. Not all are classical socialism, of course. The part on criminal justice will be familiar to anyone who has been paying attention to developments since Ferguson, as will the section on reparations for readers of Ta-Nehisi Coates. The sections on local control and political reform are interesting, but ancillary to this particular debate.

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Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at His work has appeared in the Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and the Washington Post.