Where is all that money going?

Thus spake Michael Brown, Sr. after he learned that BLM (the organization) had raised $90M by exploiting BLM (the movement) for financial gain.

And, thus, the seedy underbelly of all things political emerges once again. It’s always about Other People’s Money (OPM). Always.

BLM (the organization) raised over $90M last year. Not a bad haul for a bunch of self-avowed Marxists, though one less cynical than I might ponder the philosophical conflict between socialistic principles and materialistic exploitation of cultural moments. Meanwhile, nothing has actually been done to fix the issues that contributed to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Jr., and others.

I’ve discussed, on multiple occasions, the changes that would have real and positive effect on relations between police and the communities, that would reduce the adversarial nature of interactions, and mitigate the possibility of future tragedies, on this blog. Some of these ideas (curtailing qualified immunity, ending policing-for-profit, breaking the “blue wall of silence” and changing the police culture that protects the worst among them, and eliminating the plethora of nuisance laws that put police and citizens at odds) had brief moments in the spotlight.

Brief, as in there were a couple weeks of opportunity to do some real good, to make some positive changes, before the cynical power- and money-grubbers bent the moment to their selfish ends.

Along came “Defund The Police,” a simple and catchy slogan that overlay an obviously fraught idea (whose wholly predictable consequences are now being lamented in cities where this happened, to displace the push toward the aforementioned reforms. A quick look at the rhetoric behind “Defund The Police” shows us the usual truth: it’s always about OPM. Every one of those advocates had plans for spending the money that’d be taken out of police budgets.

Meanwhile, the movement centered on the rallying cry “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) spawned BLM (the organization). BLM (the organization) ended up fronted by people who sought to alter the structure of our society, not just correct the laws and policies that contributed to Floyd, Taylor, and Brown’s deaths. And, quick-as-a-blink, the window for real reform closed.

The good-intentioned and the socially-guilty sent money to the most obvious and visible place, often as a proxy for time and effort (‘you don’t have to march if you can fund others’ marching,’ they tell themselves), and so BLM (the organization) saw its coffers swell with OPM.

Now, others (some directly connected to the proximate events, e.g. Michael Brown, Sr., and some running less prominent advocacy organizations) want some of that OPM.

All this has harmed BLM (the movement). The worthwhile goals, goals that drew allies from all over the political map, are now overshadowed by the devolution to standard partisan political lines. The corruption of the movement by the organization produced the “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” slogans, vapid knee-jerk responses born of (increasingly legitimate) cynicism regarding BLM.

This cynicism is often the result of the conflation of BLM (the movement) and BLM (the organization), a conflation that’s deliberate on the part of the latter’s power seekers and money raisers, but a conflation we should resist and denounce as much as possible, since the goals of the two conflict in many ways.

Alas, I fear it’s too late to undo the damage here. The pursuit of OPM has eclipsed actual reforms, and as the consequences of “Defund” in some cities are scaring others away, the momentum is shifting toward “reparations.”

As if transferring money from some people to others will improve race relations.

Of course, improving race relations is not actually the goal. As a wise Internet commenter once observed, fixing the problem means the gravy train ends. Activists need problems to continue in order to keep their gigs, gather their power, and collect OPM.

There is no mystery to any of this. The remedies have been identified. The right outcome from BLM (the movement) is known. But this outcome would stanch the flow of OPM, and that’s the last thing that groups like BLM (the organization) want.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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