Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has been in the news recently, and this time she isn’t happy with the publicity. On April 16, she gave a lachrymosal interview to Mark Lamont Hill in which she said claims about the size of her property portfolio were the propaganda of white supremacy, but don’t feel too sorry for her, because she’s crying all the way to the bank.
This ongoing hysteria about white supremacy is precisely that, hysteria. And here is a simple proof. A search for the term “white supremacy” in the NewsBank database yields 11,196 entries between 2009 and 2014. And a staggering 112, 347 entries between 2015 and 2020. Are we really expected to believe the “problem” of white supremacy became ten times worse or ten times anything over a six year period? Of course not, the reality is this madness was generated principally by demonising Donald Trump, who has never had any sympathy with white supremacists, as the thousands of images and videos of him hobnobbing with black celebrities, sportsmen and ordinary folk clearly demonstrate.
Turning from the general to the specific, how true are the claims made of Cullors, of her sudden acquisition of wealth? The fact that her house in Topanga, Los Angeles is valued at $1.4 million is probably no big thing. House prices vary enormously, and due to its atrocious governance, property prices and mere rents in California are some of the highest in the nation, as its endemic homelessness demonstrates.
If one accepts her denial of her “eyeing” a property in the Bahamas, that is still three homes she owns. Again, there is no reason any woman in the United States or anywhere should not own three homes (outright) if she can afford them, but, and this is a massive but, in the first instance, Cullors claims to be a Marxist and opposed to the very concept of private property. In the second, her main home is in an area which is overwhelmingly white. If she were so concerned about black lives, she would surely have moved to Chicago or Baltimore, but the risk of being hit by a stray bullet or robbed at gunpoint is considerably less where de white folks live.
She is clearly guilty of hypocrisy, but there are many who claim she is also guilty of, what was the word Comrade Trotsky and company used? Expropriations!
Speaking of Trotsky, there is a classic anecdote in his autobiography. When he was living in New York, this champion of the oppressed working class spent much of his time hanging out with a wealthy doctor. On one occasion, Trotsky’s wife and their two sons were taken to a tea room by the doctor’s wife, where the boys asked their mother: “Why doesn’t the chauffeur come in?”
Doesn’t that sound familiar, not only for Cullors but with the honourable exception of Jeremy Corbyn, for most of her kind?
If the claims about Cullors enriching herself are simply white supremacist propaganda, there are many authentic black American voices taking them seriously, like the African Diaspora News Channel on YouTube which goes so far as to call her managed opposition.
In her interview with Lamont Hill, Cullors claimed in effect she had been doxxed, and that this had put her life in danger. Leaving aside the unpleasant fact that anyone who has a public presence is liable to be threatened or traduced if only on-line, the hypocrisy here is staggering. Since the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter supporters and sympathisers – white as well as black – have caused property damage from North America to the UK to Europe to Australia on an unprecedented scale. Private property as well as public property has been targeted; statues of great men, truly great men, have been vandalised, and people from many backgrounds have lost their lives, some of them being murdered in cold blood. Where was she and her BLM co-founders when all this was happening ? Did they once stand up and say “Not in my name?” Silence may not be violence, but in this case it was surely tacit approval.
In 2018, Cullors published a book When They Call You A Terrorist…which begins with a quote by convicted terrorist and cop-killer Assata Shakur (who is still at large) and has a foreword by Angela Davis. If you are an American citizen or of a certain age, you may have heard of Angela Davis, but if you don’t know much about her, there is no one on Earth better equipped to introduce Cullors to the wider world than her, because the two women are cut from the same cloth, and Davis was also called a terrorist, like Cullors, and with more than a little justification.
Angela Yvonne Davis is fluent in French, and most of her life has spoken garbage. She was born at Birmingham, Alabama, and has led a rather privileged life. We hear a lot about the horrors of Jim Crow today, but if blacks had to ride in the back of the bus, this didn’t bother the middle class, not those who could afford their own cars, as she could. At page 152 of her 1974 memoir Angela Davis AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, she wrote that after relocating to California: “Sometimes I would get into my car and, out of sheer frustration, drive into San Diego and head towards Logan Heights, where the largest concentration of Black people lived, and drive around aimlessly, daydreaming, trying to devise some way of escaping this terrible isolation”.
The daughter of two graduates, she took piano lessons as a child, indeed there was a piano in her home. The isolation Davis says she felt was due to the blacks with whom she associated being profoundly disinterested in socialism, and even less so in communism. This extended to the Black Panthers who seemed to think any women attached to the movement should stay in the kitchen when they weren’t in the bedroom. It appears to have been this attitude that led to Davis becoming a lesbian. She formed a particularly strong attachment to George Jackson, who uncharacteristically came from a working class background.
To Part 2.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.