The social and cultural reverberations of the George Floyd killing continue, in ever-more-worrisome form. Major cities around the nation are devolving into criminal chaos, with shootings, homicides, vandalism, and looting spiking. Urban flight is increasing, with home sales in suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas booming. People are scared, and they have every reason to be.

Meanwhile, the leaders of these cities have largely abandoned their obligation to see to the safety and security of their citizens – all their citizens – in a blatant kowtowing to the organization at the fore of these “protests:” Black Lives Matter.

Here I do not refer to the concept that “black lives matter.” They do, and any reader of these pages knows I was all-in on a robust set of changes and reforms in the wake of Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer (and, yes, I’ve seen the full video, and yes, I still think that the changes I detailed here and elsewhere are appropriate and would be effective). I speak instead of the organization Black Lives Matter, founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.

Remember those names.

George Floyd was killed 11 weeks ago. In that span of time, we’ve seen outrage produce large, peaceful protests, the birth of some good reform ideas, the prompt evaporation of those ideas in favor of the (usefully) vague “Defund The Police,” and the co-opting of the protests by agitators who’ve used them to cover and excuse violence, destruction and looting. We also witnessed the emergence and (inevitable) collapse of CHAZ/CHOP, and a whole lot of other chaos.

If this all feels to you like someone is fanning flames, with intent other than simply fixing the problems with policing in black communities, you’re not alone.

Half a century ago, in the era of unrest that produced the Civil Rights Act, the undoing of Jim Crow, and some real progress in race relations, a pair of Columbia University professors, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, crafted an idea: to overload the nation’s welfare system to the point of public collapse/crisis, in order to force the establishment of a true welfare state, with a guaranteed annual income. This was, of course, meant to usher in a form of socialistic government.

Cloward-Piven hasn’t gotten the socialists to where they want to be. I’d speculate that there are too many entrenched special interests and power-grabbers who’d lose out if a Universal Basic Income replaced the tangled knot of current welfare programs (which have done more to ensure the poor stay poor than actually help them), but whatever the reason, the economic stress they envisioned has not motivated enough people to support their end goal. Every so often, a politician or aspirant brings the idea up, but it seems to go nowhere.

The flashpoint that was the George Floyd killing has opened the door for a new tactic for the Cloward-Piven ‘provoke collapse and rebuild with socialism’ goal. Instead of seeking to prompt economic collapse, today’s agitators seem to be seeking societal/cultural collapse. They’re not advancing logical solutions to the policing problems, they are advocating the dissolution of police departments. Concurrently, they’re stoking racial animus and excusing (and, some allege, organizing) vandalism, looting, and violence.

People are fleeing these (primarily Democrat-run) cities. In their flight, they take with them the income that those cities tax in order to fund, among other things, the welfare systems they’ve built up this past half century. That those most apt to flee are the highest earners isn’t lost on some Democrats, who already face critical revenue hits from the COVID pandemic. But, instead of addressing the cause of flight, they’re trying to find ways to tax their citizens even more, while also going hat-in-hand to the Federal government, asking… nay, demanding that the Feds help them rebuild their busted-up and burnt-down commercial districts.

Meanwhile, the “Defund the Police” folks don’t simply want fewer cops. In typical socialistic style. they want to spend the money currently being spent on law enforcement on their own priorities. It’s always about OPM.

We are witnessing the precipitating of economic crises via social unrest, destruction, and the flight of the local tax base, rather than the mere overloading of local welfare systems. It’s Cloward-Piven, but not quite.

Fortunately, we have some others for whom we can name the strategy.

Back in 2015, one of the BLM founders, Patrisse Cullors, stated that “myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.” Whether they are directly involved in these new tactics or not, it’s not hard to conclude that, between their self-affirmed Marxism and the demands pouring out of BLM protests, the end goal is for a socialistic, redistributive state.

That countless cultural alterations advanced by the “woke” activists serve the same end goal should surprise no one. When we hear that personal responsibility, the nuclear family, private property, and countless other elements of our culture are “colonialist” and racist, that’s no accident, and it’s not just the product of some insulated academics needing to publish whatever crap gets them tenure. All this enhances division and distrust, and amplifies racial, cultural, and social tensions rather than remedying them.

Since Cloward-Piven is old and stale, and since the Left is fond of rebranding their old and stale ideas rather than taking them out back and shooting them (they hate privately-owned guns, after all), I suggest that this new strategy for driving the nation to chaotic collapse be named after the Marxists who created the movement that’s at the fore of it all.

Call it the Cullors-Garza Strategy, and thus give credit where credit is due.

With a tip of the hat to Ms. Tometi, whom Cullors did not explicitly declare as Marxist.

And even though it should not need noting, Marx’s ideas, which spawned socialism and communism, killed over a hundred million people last century, and impoverished billions. That Cullors avers this ideology tells us all we need to know about what to think of their views, plans, and vision.

I’d postulate that the large majority of BLM supporters do not share this goal, that they don’t consider themselves Marxists, and that they’d reject it if asked. At the risk of redundancy, I, too, support police reforms, and advocated for some of them well before this movement gained steam. That’s not what’s happening here, though, and that should be obvious. The “black lives matter” principle has been subverted by the movement with the same name in pursuit of a different agenda. It’s the same agenda being advanced by the Democratic Socialists and the Justice Democrats, though few of them are honest enough to admit that they, at the root of it all, want to retry what has already failed, repeatedly and spectacularly. Whether they’re dishonest with us or with themselves is unknowable, and I’d posit the same about Cullors and Garza. For all I know, they don’t have socioeconomic collapse in mind as an end-goal. But, that’s irrelevant. Their way has only one outcome: Poverty and death.

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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