Quick Take on Black Lives Matter vs. Bernie Sanders: Redux

8 Aug

The Netroots action was effective because it embarrassed Sanders into incorporating direct, vocal support for Black Lives Matter into his campaign rhetoric. Insofar as he is–as his defensive supporters were quick to point out–the most progressive (visible) candidate participating in the interminable election pageantry, it actually makes political sense for a progressive movement like BLM to pressure him into backing its agenda.

I can’t say the same of Saturday’s Seattle intervention, at least based on the sonically muffled video:

The BLM activists who employed disruptive tactics at Netroots won traction and respect from many observers because they came across as serious. I know more than a few radical-averse liberals who were openly irritated by the direct action but nonetheless recognized the fundamental legitimacy of protesters bringing a marginalized message to bear on a politically influential figure.

The Seattle protesters, by contrast, give the impression that their express purpose was to take the mic and scream condemnation in Bernie Sanders’ face, as though he were a blameworthy target for the rage of the city’s oppressed people of color. And I can’t see how that makes any sense, factually or strategically.


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