“Black Lives Matter” has become America’s version of China’s Cultural Revolution — a radical, youth-led purge of the vestiges of traditional culture and authority within a one-party state.
In this case, the one-party system is the “blue archipelago” of Democrat-run cities, most of which have not had Republican leaders for decades, and likely never will again.
But whereas China’s radicals helped Mao consolidate power, Black Lives Matter may destabilize the entire country.
The most striking similarity between the two movements is the ritual humiliation of individuals seen to represent “the system.” Mobs of demonstrators have marched up to police and demanded that they kneel with them, or to them. Some officers, in a bid to defuse tensions, have obliged.
But the protests are not satisfied with gestures of solidarity. They crave the humiliation of authority — such as the sight of a Massachusetts police chief lying face-down on the ground on Saturday.
One particularly disturbing spectacle was the effort by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to appease a large group of protesters on Saturday. When the mayor declined to commit to abolishing the police department, he was chased away.
The sight of the democratically-elected leader of a major American city being forced to flee an angry crowd was a warning that Black Lives Matter has moved far beyond its original grievance, and is demanding total obedience.
These events recall the public humiliations of the Cultural Revolution, when intellectuals, dissidents, and Communist Party officials who had fallen out of favor were paraded before jeering crowds and made to wear signs confessing their supposed crimes before being banished from society.
Today, we are watching similarly cultish scenes of white citizens singling themselves out by race and confessing their sins of “privilege,” taking oaths of allegiance, on their knees, to the new movement.
This confessional pantomime was taken to its theological conclusion on Saturday, when white police joined local clergy in washing the feet of black pastors, “echoing the Biblical story of how Jesus washed his disciples feet to express humility and love,” the Daily Mail explained.
The new “woke” culture demands prostration and self-effacement. When Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned his board seat, he asked that he be replaced by a black person. It was a request that, if followed, would violate employment law and the Constitution itself. Yet he was praised by the movement.
In contrast, National Football League quarterback Drew Brees was made to apologize for defending the American flag — and to beg for his career by attacking the president.
Our own “Red Guards” do not (yet) imprison their enemies, but instead use “cancel culture” to force out anyone guilty of heterodox beliefs, and to intimidate all others into silence.
The New York Times‘ recent internal turmoil over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is the latest example, and a very troubling one, given the role played by the Gray Lady as the “paper of record.”
Cotton had argued for using the military to restore order in American cities — something President Dwight D. Eisenhower did in the 1950s to protect black children from white racists during the desegregation of public schools in the South. It was his opinion.
The Times‘ reporters opposed the very publication of the op-ed, based on the absurd, nightmarish fantasy that the U.S. military posed a unique threat to black people, including their black colleagues.
The journalists’ union scolded the Times for daring to exercise the First Amendment — and the Times buckled. It added a cringeworthy explanatory note that “the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published,” and forced the opinion editor to resign.
In related developments, journalists watched as Black Lives Matter “protesters” in front of the White House assaulted reporters, including Breitbart News’ own Matthew Perdie and Fox News’ Leland Vittert. NBC News was attacked, too — and refused to report on its own ejection.
National Public Radio, the epitome of highbrow journalism, instructed readers to “decolonize” their bookshelves, and to “silence themselves” before reading approved “anti-racist” books.
Some of this radicalism is, no doubt, coordinated loosely with the Democratic Party, a kind of shadow campaign for presumptive nominee Joe Biden, who rarely emerges from his basement in Delaware.
But most of it is completely uncontrollable. There is nothing more dangerous to Biden’s electoral chances than calls to “defund” or “abolish” the police.
America’s own Cultural Revolution now controls its elders, and the Democrats are powerless to stop it.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.