Thursday a site called the National Pulse turned up an old clip (2010) of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors in which she made reference to a book she was helping to sell, comparing it to Mao’s Little Red Book. Here’s the full quote:
I was speaking to this young person from Arizona who’s trying to fight SB 1070, and he grabbed a book and he said, “It’s like Mao’s Red Book.” [Laughter] And I was like man, that’s what I was thinking, and it was just really cool to hear him make that connection, and I was like how about you buy 10 to 15 of these books and you all have like a youth organizing group where you talk about it and you really try to engage this.
The National Pulse doesn’t ever say what the book was but from watching the video of the event, it was “The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing” by Eric Mann. Mann was one of Cullors’ mentors and apparently a former member of the militant Weather Underground. You can actually see she’s holding the book while she’s talking though it’s mostly just below the frame of the camera.
In any case, the story isn’t so much about the book she was selling as the fact that Cullors clearly liked the idea that students were comparing it to Mao’s Little Red Book which became the foundation of the Cultural Revolution. Here’s the clip.
Mao’s Cultural Revolution isn’t remembered fondly by a lot of people who lived through it. And Mao’s other efforts (the Great Leap Forward) were ultimately responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. So showing this kind of admiration for Mao is tone deaf to say the least.
All of this really piggy-backs on another story about Cullors that popped up last summer. That’s when Breitbart found an interview with her from 2015 in which she was responding to “loving criticism” that Black Lives Matter didn’t seem to have a firm ideological foundation. Cullors replied, “We do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia, in particular, are trained organizers; we are trained Marxists.” Here’s the clip queued up to the question that prompted her statement (the question rambles on for a while).
But it’s not really necessary at this point to read the tea leaves to determine whether Cullors is a Marxist. Last December she posted a video on her YouTube channel titled “Am I a Marxist?” After going over some of the criticism she’s received on social media, Cullors finally said, “Am I a Marxist? I’m a lot of things. I do believe in Marxism. It’s a philosophy that I learned really early on in my organizing career. We were taught to learn about the systems that were criticizing capitalism.”
Later in the same clip Cullors said “I don’t know if it’s worth talking about communism cause it just has such a bad wrap.” At that point, there’s a jump cut and we hear a male voice from behind the camera. Text on the screen identifies him as the producer. “Well because it’s failed every time, that’s why it has a bad wrap.”
“But so has capitalism,” Cullors replied. She continued, “Because the US is so good at propaganda…it has sold the idea of the American dream and that’s tied to capitalism and wealth. It’s much harder to sell communism given that so much of the experiment has failed around the world.” So Cullors is definitely a Marxist and clearly an anti-capitalist but she hesitates to identify with communism because it has bad PR.
Perhaps the more important point here is that Cullors commitment to Marxism doesn’t seem terribly deep. We learned last month that she has been on a house-buying binge and currently owns at least four homes worth more than $3 million.
Cullors was challenged on the seeming difference between her stated commitment to Marxism and her behavior by Marc Lamont Hill. Her response to that was to shrug it off an say she sees her money as belonging to her family which…couldn’t nearly every wealthy person say something like that? As Allahpundit pointed out here, she’s actually a pretty good Marxist in the sense that the elite who preach it often exempt themselves from the kind of anti-capitalist interrogation they want to subject everyone else to. It’s moral licensing in action.
Here’s the Am I a Marxist? clip.