By: Mark Glennon*
You have to hand it to Black Lives Matter Chicago. Friday evening played out beautifully, as they must see things. From inception through execution, they got exactly the results they seek, including violent confrontation with the police, more chaos, more division, yet a mostly sympathetic or indifferent response from officeholders and the media.
BLM needed help to pull that off. That help has been coming from countless individual supporters, proud to show their allegiance with signs in their manicured yards. Dozens of major corporations have followed the herd sending money to BLM.
Blame those supporters, not just BLM rioters themselves, for the violence. Standing up for racial equality under the BLM banner may have earlier been an excusable error, but not anymore.
What happened in Chicago’s Grant Park on Friday is the best illustration yet, as we will explain.
What are BLM supporters thinking? Maybe some have missed how thoroughly the evidence has been compiled that BLM is violent, Marxist, antisemitic, anti-family and just plain nuts with demands like entirely abolishing the police, prisons and the entire Illinois Department of Corrections.**
It’s far more likely that most would say – and you often hear this – that it’s not the organization but the “movement” they support. Black Lives Matter is also just a phrase in the movement for racial justice, they say.
But that’s precisely the problem, and it’s BLM’s secret sauce for stoking violence and pursuing its revolution. The phrase is melded with the organization and its violent agenda. You’re for racial justice, aren’t you? Sending a check to BLM or putting up a sign proves it. Just don’t dare question either the movement or the organization. The severity of the consequences of questioning either one ensures that there’s no place for nuance so, whether intentional or not, the BLM phrase will continue to be conflated with the BLM organization.
The end result is disastrous. No major officeholder or media in Illinois, to my knowledge, has challenged anything about BLM. Tens of millions of dollars have been donated to BLM by America’s biggest companies on down – the very companies that would be confiscated if BLM had its way. Not a word of criticism has been directed to BLM for its role in Friday’s riot.
Here is what happened Friday, showing BLM’s role and why BLM can assume it has a green light to do more of the same. It was very different from what’s being described in most news stories.
During the week prior, BLM Chicago heavily promoted what they called a Black, Indigenous Solidarity Rally, under their own name and using hashtags like #Fuck12Friday. Beyond their primary message about abolishing the police and prisons, they tried to broaden their base a bit by bringing in some Native Americans with calls to decolonize Zhigaagoong, their word for Chicago. They demand that all land east of Michigan Avenue be “rematriated” to, well, it’s not entirely clear which of the many tribes that inhabited that land at one time or another would get it.
With colonization in the mix, one target was clear – the Columbus statue in Grant Park.
If you were on Twitter Friday around 7PM to 9 PM, you could watch what unfolded in video and images thanks, in part, to what BLM itself broadcast.
Around 7:20, as they neared the Columbus statue, many in the crowd changed into all-black clothing and masks and immediately attacked the police, throwing frozen water bottles, rocks, fireworks and other objects.
The cops were vastly outnumbered and surrounded. They called repeatedly for help, as reported by CWB Chicago, which monitors police radio traffic. “Call more units to the Columbus statue! 10-1! Police emergency,” said one another. They were being “attacked by a mob,” said another.
“I live in one of the high rises in South Loop and witnessed it from my apartment in person,” said one of our commenters here. “It resembled the Battle of Bull Run. The cops that fortified the statue were outnumbered 4-1 while on receiving end of projectiles and fireworks.”
The mob then went after the Columbus statue and managed to get a rope around it to pull it down.
But the police, unlike what we’ve seen so often in other cities, fought on to save the statue. They succeeded, though 18 cops were injured and the statue covered with graffiti.
You can find plenty of video of the attack on YouTube. One is below.
By Saturday morning, BLM was back on its social media platform spinning the event as a police riot and announcing that all arrestees had been bailed out. BLM gets outside help on bail money, too.
BLM is surely thrilled with the aftermath. Most press stories refer to the rioters as “protesters.” The statue wasn’t vandalized, it was “tagged,” one wrote. Claims of police misconduct are getting as much attention as the attack on the police. Some of those claims may well be valid since it’s hard to imagine any cop could stay within the rules of engagement in a situation so tense and dangerous.
Any criticism of BLM by leading politicians?
Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave a statement that began with what’s more like an endorsement of a righteous protest:
Hundreds took to the streets yesterday to express their First Amendment right to protest. I unequivocally support and will always fight for the rights of individuals to peacefully protest on any issue. The history and stories of the lives of Indigenous People here in Chicago need to be lifted up and celebrated. There is a dialogue that must be had to honestly confront the deeply ingrained history of racism and discrimination that has subjected Black, Indigenous and other communities of color in our city and our nation for too long.
She included only her standard, perfunctory lines about violence: “Unfortunately, last night, a portion of the protesters turned violent… These violent acts are unacceptable and put everyone at risk.” Nothing about BLM. Nothing thanking the cops for their bravery defending each other and the statue.
Governor JB Pritzker? Not a word.
Editorial condemnation of BLM? Nothing so far in Illinois.
Many Chicago alderman are openly siding with the rioters, blaming the violence on police.
Riots like Friday night’s almost certainly will continue. Police can’t stop them because they are outnumbered and get no support from the city or the Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, who routinely lets arrestees off.
It’s not just Chicago. A reporter for UnHerd spent a month traveling the country to see the scale of damage from the “movement,” which he says is “almost incomprehensible.”
Who blessed the violence? Is there any doubt that the “protesters” feel enobled by the “movement’s” BLM obsession, including their yard signs? What could be wrong with going to a BLM orchestrated “rally” when so many socially conscious Americans carry its banner?
And as for BLM’s corporate contributors, they’d be wise to remember Vladimir Lenin’s words: “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
BLM violence will continue as long as the public, directly or indirectly, gives BLM free rein to organize riots. Using the BLM phrase as a call for racial justice might initially have been just a mistake, but that time has passed. No more excuses.
If you stand up for racial justice — and you should — then ditch the BLM yard signs. Find a better slogan than Black Lives Matter. Defund its network.
And big salute to the police who kept their cool for the most part and didn’t abandon the statue to the mob.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.
**Many sources have now documented BLM’s radical and violent agenda, including Marxism and antisemitism, but The Federalist has multiple stories that are particularly good, collected here.