Dodgy finances reveal flaws in BLM’s underlying philosophy

Black Lives Matter started as a hashtag in 2013. It quickly grew into a grassroots movement. After the tragic death of George Floyd in 2020, the BLM name has become a lucrative label for nonprofit organizations.

Concerned citizens, along with corporate donors like Amazon, Microsoft, and Tinder, have donated a total of US$90 million in 2020 alone to the largest of these nonprofits: the Black Lives Matter. Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF).

Two years later, no one seems to know who controls the remaining $60 million in the organization’s bank account, or how it is spent.

According to a recent report by Washington Examiner, the co-founder of BLM, Patrisse Kahn-Cullors, had planned to hand over the reins of the organization to two activists after her resignation last May. But in September, these activists announced via a Twitter post that they never took the job due to disagreements with the BLM leadership.

Kahn-Cullors’ resignation was itself controversial. She had quit amid a real estate buying spree, during which she bought four homes worth a combined $3.2 million. Kahn-Cullors and the organization insisted that BLM funds were not being spent on the properties.

The other two BLM board members declined to respond to the Washington Examinerrepeated questions about who is currently in charge of the organization’s finances.

The newspaper also noted that the address given on the BLMGNF tax forms was incorrect: when reporters went to the Los Angeles address, a security guard informed them that there had never been a BLM office on site.

Several charity experts said Examiner to reporters that BLM’s lack of financial transparency “raises major legal and ethical red flags.” One called for a full audit and investigation of the group.

Except New York Post and several conservative outlets, the press has remained conspicuously silent on what should rightly be a national scandal.

A notable exception is the left NYMagwho recently published an article titled “The troubled finances of Black Lives Matter‘. Although sympathetic to the cause of BLM, NYMag describes “two branches of activism” within the movement:

There are local organizers on the ground like Johnson, working locally, passionately, with little money, often risking their lives and livelihoods through their protests. And then there are the larger, more professionalized national bands with corporate donations and fundraising power, whose top executives can secure lucrative gigs and book deals.

In describing the longstanding “tensions between the two lanes,” NYMag noted that as of November 2020, ten local BLMGNF chapters are calling for more fiscal responsibility. In a statement, they complained about the “lack of acceptable process for public or internal transparency on the unknown millions of dollars donated to BLMGNF, which have certainly increased in this time of pandemic and rebellion.”

In response, the central office reported $8.4 million in operating expenses and $21.7 million in grants to more than 30 organizations, leaving $60 million in the coffers. “But if the revelations were intended to calm dissent, they did not succeed,” the magazine says:

A few weeks later, in March 2021, two mothers of police brutality victims, Lisa Simpson and Samaria Rice, released a statement calling on the BLMGNF and others to stop capitalizing on their suffering.

“We don’t want or need you marching through the streets racking up donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. as our loved ones die, while families and communities are left without any idea and broken,” they wrote. “Don’t say the names of our period loved ones! It’s our truth!

So where did the money go? Sharp notes that “BLM’s Impact Report lists significantly more transgender advocacy organizations as recipients than organizations promoting black civil rights.” Six-figure grants have been awarded to Trans United, Black Trans Circles, the Transgender District, the Black Trans Travel Fund, Black Trans Media and the Trans Justice Funding Project, among a long list of others.

The Heritage Foundation drew attention to the group’s “BLM At Schools” initiative, which aims to introduce the organization’s race- and gender-based creed to students in schools across America.

The initiative’s website lists among its 13 guiding principles, “Globalism”, “Queer Affirming” and “Trans Affirming”. It also borrows a phrase from BLM now deleted manifesto “What We Believe” to describe one of its main goals as “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure”.

Black Lives Matter seems confused as to its purpose. Where is it?

Seeking to clarify the underlying philosophy of BLM – that of critical race theory – author and cultural critic James Lindsay recently offered two succinct definitions: “To call anything you want to control ‘racist’ until that he is entirely under your control” and “Marxian theory of race conflict; that is to say, racial Marxism”.

Although somewhat sardonic, Lindsay’s definitions—and particularly her identification with Marxism—help account for the movement’s otherwise disparate philosophies and behaviors. As the BLM in schools announces: “We have nothing to lose but our chains” — quoting Karl Marx.

Despite BLM’s best intentions, its financial leadership has taken a well-marked Marxist path of centralized wealth, little to share with the masses, and no accountability. Black lives matter of course, but perhaps a better philosophy is needed to communicate such an important message.

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on Christian culture and faith. He has a passion that is both philosophical and personal, drawing on his graduate background… More by Kurt Mahlburg

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