What Does Black Lives Matter Want?

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Over the past month or so, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become a power player in the political arena. According to Pew Research, 67 percent of American adults support BLM and 38 percent strongly support BLM.


Obviously, the death of George Floyd was a tragedy. And even more obviously, racism is abhorrent. However, from a policy perspective, BLM is pushing a rather radical agenda that would alarm most Americans.

So, policy-wise, what exactly does BLM want? According to BLM’s political arm, Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), the long list of demands includes several things I doubt 67 percent of Americans would support.

For instance, BLM “demand reparations for past and continuing harms.” Just in case you are curious, in 2019, only 29 percent of Americans supported cash reparations to descendants of enslaved black people. Keep in mind, BLM wants reparations for all black people.

More specifically, BLM demands, “Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.” Once again, I doubt 67 percent of Americans would support this radical policy.

As if that were not enough, BLM also demands “a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people.” That is absurd and unjust.


Keeping on the reparations theme, BLM also demands “Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing and land.” In other words, give us “free” stuff!

Under the “Invest-Divest” platform, BLM demands, “A reallocation of funds at the federal, state and local level from policing and incarceration (JAG, COPS, VOCA) to long-term safety strategies such as education, local restorative justice services, and employment programs.” This is also called “Defunding the police,” which 64 percent of Americans oppose.

Next, BLM demands, “The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release and record expungement of all drug related offenses and prostitution, and reparations for the devastating impact of the ‘war on drugs’ and criminalization of prostitution.” How in the world would this help end racism?

Then there is this demand: “Real, meaningful, and equitable universal health care.” Yep, Medicare for All—why not?

And this demand comes out of left field, “A divestment from industrial multinational use of fossil fuels and investment in community-based sustainable energy solutions.” Are fossil fuels racist?


Under the “Economic Justice” platform comes this socialist-sounding mantra, “We demand economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.”

This would include, “A progressive restructuring of tax codes at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.” That alone should frighten every single tax-paying, hard-working American.

And, “A right to restored land, clean air, clean water and housing and an end to the exploitative privatization of natural resources.” Was this item borrowed from The Communist Manifesto?

Continuing their Marxist creed, BLM demands, “Financial support of Black alternative institutions including policy that subsidizes and offers low-interest, interest-free or federally guaranteed low-interest loans to promote the development of cooperatives (food, residential, etc.), land trusts and culturally responsive health infrastructures that serve the collective needs of our communities.” Marx and Engels would be so proud.

And last, but certainly not least, BLM’s Economic Justice platform includes, “immediate passage at the Federal and state level of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and extension of worker protections to incarcerated people.”

Well, there you have it. BLM’s policy proposals are certainly not solely about eradicating racism. BLM’s laundry list of demands (there are many, many more not covered in this piece) is more of a socialist wish list than a coherent set of policies to uplift struggling black people.


In fact, if BLM was actually interested in improving the plight of struggling black people, one would assume they would wholeheartedly embrace policies such as education choice, opportunity zones, and occupational licensure reform. These policies have been shown to produce positive results, while incubating self-reliance and diminishing dependence upon government.

As of now, it seems that BLM is more into pushing radical, socialist policies that the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose. How long will it be until Americans come to their senses and see BLM for what it really is and what it really stands for?

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.


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