BLM Can Be a Political Party
Updated: Sep 19
(CU) - Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Robert Johnson took to CNBC to address his view on the African American community needing their own political party: “I think it’s time African Americans to form an independent party, not be an appendage of one party (democrats) or ignored by the other party (republicans).” Is this something new?
In early 1980, African American Nationalists began a series of meetings to discuss a launch of the National Black Independent Party (NBIP). This party was being formed due to frustrations with both Democratic and Republican parties and “self serving politicians”. The members believed neither party were addressing the issues facing the urban communities across American. An older print article from “The Baltimore Afro-American”, written by Dr. Manning Marable, referenced the NBIP convention attracted representatives from 27 states, South America, the Caribbean and Africa. This broad turnout was unusually large considering it was pre-social media and the web’s expanded access to news and views.
An article from 2015’s New York Magazine began to show echoes of the NBIP’s sentiments. The article titled, “The Paradox of the first Black President,” author Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and several other prominent African American leaders, voiced disappointments with the results of exiting President Obama.
“By now, it’s safe to say that black people have wanted Obama to do more,” said Garza. “Too often, he uses these occasions [of police killing Black men] not to push for greater accountability within law enforcement, but to push a narrative that black people should behave more responsibly.”
The conversation for a new version of the NBIP has rekindled in 2020. What are the differences? It may not be the message, but more possibly the resources – supporter wealth, social media and information access.
The recent tipping point may have occurred with BET founder, and multi-billionaire, Robert Johnson talking publicly. With a history of high-profile and racially divisive statements under his belt, Joe Biden’s recent comment of “you ain’t black” appears to have been the motivation for Johnson to begin the discussion of a new political party. Johnson said this was a “horrific statement [that] reflects the need for a black independent party. That someone can be so presumptuous that you have to vote for a Democrat or otherwise you are not identified as black.”
Johnson continued, saying; “As you can see, the Democrat Party is terrified of the notion that black folks might either vote a protest vote at the top of the ticket or decide to sit this out.”
“That is the principle reason why we need an independent black party — to change that kind of behavior so that we’re not taken for granted by the Democrats and ignored by the Republicans. Had African American interests been fully embraced by one of the dominant parties, we wouldn’t have the tremendous social and economic racial issues that we have now,” he continued.
In mid June, Johnson also made the case for $14 trillion in reparations related to the US slavery era. Johnson believes the reparation discussion and social improvements change with a new party. That new party would need it’s beginning on the local and state political candidates that aren’t beholden to the Democrat Party.
Our cuurent system of representation is viewed as being designed to limit voices. A quick review of history will show it’s a system of representation historically managed by the Democrat Party on local levels – which is now most meaningful. These are the reasons the discussions are in place for a rebirth of the NBIP as a politically active party.
Democrat mayors are beginning to feel local pressure and responsibility for police departments using deadly force against unarmed African Americans and/or the struggling inner-city residents. Just exactly who will feel the disproportionate amount of pain from a defunding on local police departments? It’s not the first time, right? School performance suffers most in the inner-city and African Americans find the Democrat Party resisting the ability of students to transfer into better performing schools. Wages are being depressed by undocumented workers while both political parties continue to encourage cheap labor abuses via the border. It’s an ugly cycle demonstrating the history of hollow words being exchanged for votes.
And all the while our Grand American Experiment continues to evolve. The Green Party had an opportunity for a new independently voiced party and the DNC negotiated the group into one of their own. The Libertarian Party? It’s essentially been negotiated into the RNC in a very similar way. Likewise is history.
After 2020, we could easily find the emergence of a third US political party. And if that happens, established Republicans will begin peddling hollow words for votes targeting middle class constituents. Concerns for their own fractured party will define GOP short term messaging.
Who said 1 plus 2 doesn’t equal 4?