A California college professor has called for Black Lives Matter followers to continue a “Black Xmas” tradition of supporting black businesses and boycotting “white capitalism.”
“We say ‘white capitalism’ because it’s important that we understand that the economic system and the racial structures are connected,” said Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor at California State University-Los Angeles and a national BLM leader.
Of course, most companies employ African-Americans and such a boycott might hurt them but, hey, when has BLM ever thought in a logical way?
But the big issue here is racism. Asking Americans not to do business with someone based on skin color is flat out racist. Yet few media outlets would say that because they are frightened.
It is now established that fanatics have intimidated the press and politicians in this country. That is dangerous. The lack of courage on the part of journalists and elected officials is appalling. But it is a matter of record.
We’re dreaming of a #BlackXmas…where folks withhold dollars from White capitalism and use resources to #BuildBlackCommunity. Instead of spending, DONATE to a Black organization as a holiday gift for your loved ones or #BuyBlack. Go to https://t.co/klHABpJaeu for more.
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) November 26, 2017
“We say ‘white capitalism’ because it’s important that we understand that the economic system and the racial structures are connected,” said Abdullah, a founding member of BLM who leads its Los Angeles chapter (BLM-LA).
Abdullah, who descends from a family of Marxist organizers, made the comments on her weekly KPFK radio show called “Beautiful Struggle,” which features songs like “5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO” as bumper music. She was joined by Dr. Anthony Ratcliff, also a professor at CSU-LA, who organized BLM’s first youth activist camp last summer.
“Black Lives Matter and other organizations build a strong critique and understanding of racism and white supremacy and sexism and homophobia, transphobia, but we have to have as much hatred or vitriol against capitalism,” Ratcliff said. “Until we start to see capitalism just as nefarious as white supremacy, we will always be struggling.”
BLM launched a Black Xmas website on Saturday which calls for “no spending with White corporations” through New Year’s Day, encouraging supporters to donate to allied, black-led community groups or black-owned businesses instead.
We also stand in solidarity with @BLMLA and #BlackXmas. Because capitalism is #AntiBlack. If you must shop, please try to support Black businesses or at least small POC immigrant businesses. LA is full of street vendors and swap meets. Its not so hard!
— Ice Out of LA (@IceOutOfLA) November 25, 2017
The website goes on to state: “Donald Trump embodies White capitalism. If you are anti-Trump, you should hold back your resources from him and the like.”
“We are socialized to believe that the answer to white oppression is black capitalism,” said Abdullah.
“We don’t need any black millionaires and multi-millionaires, and we don’t need a black Walmart. That doesn’t free us.”
In Los Angeles, BLM activists are organizing around historical, communal economic models that were implemented by free black people during the era of slavery. On the radio show, Ratcliff and Abdullah spoke of building black mutual aid societies and black co-ops as alternatives to the existing capitalist structure that requires dismantling.
“In order to get free as a collective, we have to think collectively,” said Abdullah. “It’s not enough for one person to draw profit because that also drains community. It needs to be structured around this idea of collective uplift.”
BLM has promoted Black Xmas every year since its founding, however many people remain unaware of its anti-capitalist motivations.
As Dr. Abdullah wrote in the Los Angeles Sentinel:
This call is fundamentally tied to Black Lives Matter’s mission to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people. We know that state-sanctioned violence is rooted in White-supremacist capitalism. Since its inception in 2013, Black Lives Matter has recognized the killing of Black people at the hands of the police as not simply a question of a few rogue officers, but a part of a system that is built on the backs of Black people. …we live under a system of White-supremacist capitalism that exploits Black people as workers and consumers and relies on the police state to secure and maintain its dominance.”
Previous Black Xmas demonstrations in Minneapolis, San Francisco, and L.A. resulted in activists blocking traffic near major airports during peak times of the holiday rush, inconveniencing many travelers. Last year, BLM-LA disrupted Christmas Eve brunch at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. According to LAist, protesters “entered the dining hall and began singing ‘Protest Carols,’ or classic Christmas carols re-worded with mainly anti-Trump lyrics, to the patrons.”
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