Check It Out…BLM’s two-step strategy

by J. Pharoah Doss, For New Pittsburgh Courier

After a White Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, riots broke out across the United States during the summer of 2020. Black Lives Matter immediately advocated for the defunding of police departments.

Democratic city councils across the country became interested in developing strategies to implement BLM’s demand. This was a sudden reversal because BLM shouted—Defund the Police—as early as 2014, but the demand was ignored because traditional Black leadership was advocating for “police reform”.

Then, in 2016, a coalition of several dozen organizations affiliated with BLM wrote out their agenda for the first time since BLM was created in 2012.

BLM’s coalition leaders made two bold statements.



Statement One

BLM seeks radical transformation, not reactionary reform.

“Radical transformation” means dismantling the systems of oppression.

The next question is: What are the systems of oppression? These can be any network, framework, structure, organization, institution, or hierarchy that produces outcomes that are disproportionally harmful to Black people.

For example, BLM claimed police officers shot unarmed Blacks at a disproportional rate when compared to their percentage of the population. Therefore, BLM concluded policing in America was a system of oppression that cannot be reformed and had to be dismantled. Since BLM had no interest in “police reform”, BLM came up with “defund the police”.

However, this was not a single-minded demand. It was part of a two-step strategy influenced by BLM’s second statement.

Statement Two

Until we achieve a world where cages are no longer used against our people, we demand an immediate change in conditions and an end to public jails, detention centers, youth facilities, and prisons as we know them.

Those that didn’t ignore this statement misunderstood it. They assumed it referred to reducing “mass incarceration”. But it was a pledge of allegiance with the Prison Abolition Movement.

The Prison Abolition Movement began in the 1980s. Prison abolitionists believe that imprisoning human beings is not justified. That the social focus should be on the needs of the individual who commits the crime rather than his or her punishment by society.

Then a strange video clip surfaced of one of BLM’s founders stating they were trained in Marxism. It’s impossible to know what “trained in Marxism” means, but historically, Marxists always had a two-step strategy for abolishing capitalism. BLM detractors read between the lines and stated defunding the police was the first step to abolishing the police, but BLM supporters dismissed the detractor’s two-step theory and insisted defunding the police was a single goal.

Dr. Eddie Glaude, chair of Princeton’s University’s Department of African American Studies, stated defund the police really means to budget your values.  He also asked why do local governments spend 60 percent of their budgets on policing when those funds could be best used for public safety.

Sociologist Rayshawn Ray said, “Defund the police means redirecting funding away from the police to other government agencies. And, even some who say abolish do not necessarily mean to do away with law enforcement altogether. Rather, they want to see the rotten tree of policing chopped down so fresh roots can replant anew.”


After Jussie Smollett was convicted of faking a hate crime against himself, BLM continued to stand behind Smollett and issued a statement.

BLM said, “As abolitionists, we approach situations with love and align ourselves with our community … In an abolitionist society, this trial would not be taking place, and our communities would not have to fight and suffer to prove our worth. In our commitment to abolition, we can never believe police, especially the Chicago Police Department, over Jussie Smollett, a Black man who has been courageously present, visible, and vocal in the struggle for Black freedom. Black Lives Matter will continue to work toward the abolition of police and every unjust system.”

Sounds like BLM initiated step two.

The only disbelievers will be the defenders of step one.




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Check It Out…BLM’s two-step strategy