LOS ANGELES — Members of the Black Lives Matter movement told a panel discussion at the first annual Politicon on Saturday that they see their efforts as part of the global left.
“We’re trying to tie this (Black Lives Matter) to the global potential for this movement,” moderator and political commentator Touré told the crowd that filled about a third of the conference hall chairs.
Black Lives Matter organizer Patrisse Cullors dominated much of the session, and shared the stage with ACLU Southern California Executive Director Hector Villagra; Mayesha Charlton of Black Lives Matter L.A.; Dignity and Power Now Director of Heath and Wellness Mark-Anthony Johnson; and Black Lives Matter activist Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett from the United Kingdom.
Cullors detailed that the Black Lives Matter movement was no accident, but conscientiously crafted. “We built not just a hashtag. It’s important people know that Black Lives Matter wasn’t just this hashtag that circulated around the internet, but we actually built an organization, a platform and a project out of the hashtag so here we are a couple of years later and the hashtag movement has gone global.”
“Whatever happens in the states automatically goes viral in England,” Lightfoot-Bennett added.
Cullors went on to recall her time on a “Black Lives Matter Tour” to Palestinian territory and the United Kingdom. She told the audience that while in Palestinian territory she witnessed “the occupation,” a “level of state violence,” and “apartheid.” She added that her trip to “Palestine” had been transformative and that “it challenged me and my internationalism.” Speaking of her time in the U.K., Cullors said she thought about how to make videos go viral in the U.S. as well as across the globe. “A lot of the reason why Dr. Martin Luther King was killed was ‘cause he started talking about Vietnam,” Cullors claimed.
Cullors and Lightfoot-Bennett joined forces during her time in London, England. Inquest’s e-newsletter records that Cullors addressed attendees at two main events while there. The newsletter details that one was a parliamentary event on January 26 chaired by Jon McDonnell MP, and included Diane Abbott MP as one of the speakers. Lightfoot-Bennet was also reported as a participant on Fergusonsolidaritytour.com. The Police Action Lawyers Group organized a second event that included Cullors, according to Inquest.
Touré followed Cullors’s statements Saturday by suggesting that when figures such as Malcolm X began to speak globally, they became targets. He then asked panelists if any fear for their lives.
“I think a lot of us are,” Cullors replied. She said that being involved was a way to deal with sadness and rage from losing loved ones.
Cullors went on to call the viewing audience of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “gun-toting white racists.” She was responding to O’Reilly’s comment that the Black Lives Matter is a hate group. O’Reilly’s claim had come in light of Black Lives Matters protesters chanting “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” after the execution-style murder of a Texas deputy.
Breitbart News previously reported in August, “Black Lives Matter founder Cullors was screaming “burn everything down” and “rise the fuck up” at the group’s recent takeover of the Netroots Nation event.”
Touré commented during the panel, “Video has transformed the potential of this movement.”
ACLU Exec Director Villagra spent considerable time explaining the parameters for video recording police.
Touré commented that he feels like the Black Lives Matter movement is at a crossroads, then asked whether the movement will be a part of history or fade into the past moving forward.
Cullors responded, “I think that the difference between BLM and Occupy is that we’re really trying to build a mass movement that centers the conversation around racism and I think Occupy focused on class in a way that isolated a lot of people. And I think that our movement is trying to develop a mass movement, it’s trying to base build and organize.”
“Mentors of mine that were part of the 60’s and 70’s, they didn’t know that this was going to be a historic movement,” Cullors said.
Cullors also asserted, “Black-on-black crime is a myth.” She called comments on the phenomenon a “distraction” and “an unnecessary debate,” then encouraged the audience that when a conversation goes in that direction to “shut it down.”
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