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BLM Manifesto Neither New Nor From BLM

10-Point Plan Recycled from 2015

In some form or another, an article about a 10-point manifesto from Black Lives Matter has been making the rounds on the internet. At first glance, the list appears to have a libertarian flavor to it. When I went to explore this popular piece, however, I quickly discovered that the list isn’t quite what people think it is.

Per The Daily Kos, the manifesto isn’t from BLM at all. It’s not even from the current year. “‘The 10 Point Manifesto’ to curb police killings was not authored by ‘Black Lives Matter’—but instead was published by founders of the activist group ‘We The Protesters’ of Ferguson.” This notice was put out in August of 2015.

While separate entities, there is some crossover between We the Protestors and BLM. Activist leaders such as Johnetta Elzie and DeRay McKesson have ties to both groups. The tenants of this manifesto shouldn’t be taken to have no relevance to the BLM movement. However, it’s important to note that these ideas, many of which do seem reasonable, have not been officially endorsed by BLM.

It’s not uncommon for false information to get passed around the internet. Following recent occurrences of overzealous policing, and a devastatingly violent response by a BLM sympathizer that left five policemen dead, the article certainly seemed relevant. While BLM would likely support many of the ideas on the list, the fact is they have no official connection to it.

BLM has certainly established itself as a very controversial force. When they arose as a group designed to combat excessive policing against African Americans, they carried an air of legitimacy. Police brutality in black communities continues to be a divisive issue, and BLM appeared as the advocacy group African Americans seemed to need.

Fast forward to today, and supporting BLM carries different implications. People are more likely to think of them in the context of blocking highways or assaulting police officers now. This all being said, the dramatic actions of a few do not characterize the group as a whole. The ideas they stand for still carry weight.

The prevalence of the concepts that they espouse likely explains why this false list has continued to circulate. Many of the ideas are fairly libertarian at face value. Tenants like “Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force” and “End the police use of military equipment” have been long-held beliefs by libertarian followers. The plank advocating that we “require officers to wear body cameras” has been embraced by many on the right and left.

That BLM had no say in this article is almost irrelevant. The fact that ideas are being circulated to improve relations between police officers and the communities that they serve can only be interpreted positively. That being said, we still do not know if BLM supports taking measured steps like the ones outlined by this outside group.

As aforementioned, BLM has increasingly become a movement of violent resistance. Many radicalized members have taken the law into their own hands to end police brutality. Only the future will tell whether BLM will tether themselves to any kind of manifesto outlining their vision for an improved society. Until then, this list is nothing more than click-bait.

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