The left's hero worship of Assata Shakur is shameful (Update: BLM defends Assata)

Sunday the Women’s March sent out a tweet celebrating convicted murderer Assata Shakur:

Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Panthers who later joined the violent Black Liberation Army which was involved in bank robberies and the murder of multiple police officers. From the FBI:

On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary extremist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail.

In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon, and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison. On November 2, 1979, Chesimard escaped from prison and lived underground before being located in Cuba in 1984. She is thought to currently still be living in Cuba.

When some of this was pointed out to the Women’s March, the group’s account responded with a 20-tweet thread defending Shakur:

Apparently, the murder of police officers is just a tactic, i.e. a minor point over which fellow revolutionaries can disagree without being disagreeable.

Notice they don’t mention another Trooper was shot multiple times and seriously wounded. They also don’t mention that Shakur was wanted for other crimes when the group was pulled over.

Not only does the Women’s March not claim that Shakur never committed a crime, they seem to admit in tweet #19 that she probably did. Again, the idea here seems to be that apart from the gang of violent criminals she chose to join and the murders and robberies she was involved in, Assata was a solid activist. This is like saying that, apart from the mass murder and use of rape as a weapon of war, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a great spiritual leader.

Marc Lamont Hill took a slightly different approach to defending his support for Shakur:

Except that it does. Because even if Assata is completely innocent of pulling the trigger, she was still part of the Black Liberation Army, a group whose major goals were robbing banks and murdering cops. The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence published a story about the Black Liberation Army in 2012:

The group made its violent debut in June 1971 with a machine-gun attack on two New York policemen guarding the Manhattan district attorney’s apartment. Two days later, two police officers were shot to death while on patrol in Harlem. In a letter delivered to local media, the BLA announced that “the armed goons of this racist government will again meet the guns of oppressed Third World Peoples as long as they occupy our community and murder our brothers and sisters in the name of American law and order.”

Throughout is existence, the BLA framed its violent attacks on police as a legitimate response to the forces of colonial occupation in the nation’s ghettos. As Shakur declared, “[o]ur backs are against the wall [and] now more than ever we need an army to defend ourselves and fight for our liberation.” During the next three years, the BLA wounded or murdered policemen in New York, New Haven, Philadelphia, Atlanta and St. Louis. The BLA’s area of operations extended as far as San Francisco. In August 1971, members carried out a string of bank robberies, attempted to murder a policeman, and mounted a nine-person attack on a precinct house that left a police officer dead.

To his credit, CNN’s Jake Tapper called out the Women’s March organizers for their support for Shakur and asked if any progressives wanted to condemn it:

What’s striking is that Tapper seems to be the only mainstream journalist who pointed this out. And ever after he pointed it out I don’t see high-profile progressives agreeing with him. To use a formula the left often uses against the right: Those who stay silent about this should be ashamed.

Update: One of the founders of Black Lives Matter is now attacking Jake Tapper for referring to Shakur as a “cop killer.”

Apparently, we mustn’t offend the good name of the people who murdered cops by calling them a “gang.”

Update 2: And here’s Linda Sarsour, Women’s March organizer, saying Tapper is a member of the alt-right:

As I mentioned above, it’s really rare to see someone in the media take on the left this way.

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David Strom 4:31 PM on November 25, 2022