The co-founder of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, Patrisse Cullors, was the protégé of a communist-supporting domestic terrorist for over a decade, spending years training in political organizing and absorbing the radical Marxist-Leninist ideology which shaped her worldview.
Eric Mann, who mentored Cullors for over a decade in community organizing, was a member of radical-left militant groups: Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, which bombed government buildings and police stations in the 1960s and 1970s.
In a newly resurfaced video from 2015, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors reveals that she and her fellow BLM founders are “trained Marxists.”
In the video, Cullors is interviewed by Jared Ball of the Real News Network and discusses the direction of the BLM movement.
“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers,” she said. “We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk.”
In previous interviews in 2018, while promoting her then-new book titled, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” Cullors describes her introduction to and affinity for Marxist ideology.
In an interview with Democracy Now!, Cullors describes how she became a trained organizer with the Labor/Community Strategy Center, calling it her “first political home” and the center’s director, Eric Mann, her personal mentor.
She told The Politic that it was there that she was trained from her youth and grew as a leader.
The Labor/Community Strategy Center describes it’s philosophy as “an urban experiment,” utilizing grassroots organizing to “focus on Black and Latino communities with deep historical ties to the long history of anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, pro-communist resistance to the U.S. empire.”
The center teaches and studies the history of the “Indigenous rebellions against the initial European genocidal invasions,” the “Great Slave Haitian Revolution of the 1790s,” and the “Great Slave Rebellions that won the U.S. civil war for the racist north.”
The center also expresses its appreciation for the work of the U.S. Communist Party, “especially Black communists,” as well as its support for “the great work of the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, Young Lords, Brown Berets, and the great revolutionary rainbow experiments of the 1970s,” while flaunting its roots in the new communist movement.
Speaking with ACLU’s At Liberty weekly podcast, Cullors described the center as her “foundation,” claiming it was there that she developed the skills which helped her found the Black Lives Matter movement, after having been recruited by its director, Eric Mann.
Mann, an avowed communist revolutionary, was the New England coordinator for Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1968. The following year, a more radical wing splintered from the SDS, led by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, calling for violent “direct action” over civil disobedience.
The splintered faction became known as the Weather Underground, with the stated goal of overthrowing the U.S. government. As a result, the FBI classified the organization as a domestic terrorist group in 1969.
Mann led a group of fellow Weathermen who launched their own violent direct action at the Harvard University Center for International Affairs.
In an article titled: “Band Invades, Violently Disrupts Center for International Affairs,” the Harvard Crimson reported that a band of 20 to 30 activists invaded the Center for International Affairs, “roughing up” several staff members and employees before fleeing.
Several slogans, including “Pig,” “Fuck U.S. Imperialism,” and “Imperialists Screw All Women,” were sprayed on the building’s walls. Rocks thrown by the group broke several windows and a telephone was damaged to prevent police from being notified.
Undergraduates who saw the group leaving the building and chanting “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; NLF is going to win,” said they recognized some of them as members of Weathermen, a militant spin-off of the older New Left Caucus of SDS.
Mann was later charged with five counts of assault and battery, disturbing the peace, damaging property, defacing a building, and disturbing a public assembly, for which he spent 18 months in prison.
At the 2010 United States Social Forum in Detroit, under the slogan “Another World Is Possible. Another U.S. Is Necessary,” the Labor/Community Strategy Center sponsored a session titled: “Transformative Organizing Theory: Conscious Organizers Seek to Build Anti-racist, Anti-imperialist Politics Rooted in Working Class Communities of Color.” In it, Cullors––rising to prominence––was chosen by Mann to be a panelist along with him.
There, Cullors spoke about growing up as a working class, queer, Black woman, in a single-parent household, with a father who was in and out of prison.
Cullors stated that “positionality in this country is supposed to devastate us” and had done so somewhat successfully, while stressing the need to “fight this thing.”
Both Cullors and Mann strongly endorsed Bernie Sanders. Cullors was a primary speaker at a Sanders campaign event the day before Super Tuesday, which Mann attended.
Cullors, viewing Biden as far too moderate, pushed for the latter to end his campaign, accusing him of having an “old guard mentality” and coming from an “old establishment.”
Now with Biden leading as the Democratic presidential nominee, Cullors and Mann are finding a sympathetic ear for their radical agenda.
As Breitbart news reported, a group of 50 leading national progressive groups representing millions of active members across the country, are pressuring Biden to adopt the radical platform of the Movement for Black Lives which was co-written by BLM.
The group is calling for Biden to immediately incorporate their radical policies, including putting forward a transformative and comprehensive policing and criminal justice reform laid out by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).
Citing his “moral responsibility in this moment” to make amends for past harms he had caused, the groups demanded that Biden make commitments such as advance reparations and defund police, prisons, and weaponry in order to fully fund healthcare, housing, education, and environmental justice.
“We ask that you revise your platform to ensure that the federal government permanently ends and ceases any further appropriation of funding to local law enforcement in any form and redirect those and additional resources towards much needed community-led and community-controlled public safety efforts,” the letter reads.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.