09:59 GMT21 January 2021
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    Black Lives Matter is turning into a political player, say Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel and British political commentator Alan Bailey, suggesting that the movement is used as a tool against Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Black Lives Matter, an anti-racist grass-root movement, is enhancing its political influence, according to Politico. The magazine points out that the Black Lives Matter Global Network, a non-profit established by the movement's founders, has created a political action committee (PAC), formed corporate partnerships, and demanded an audience with President-elect Joe Biden, something that local chapters denounced as contradicting the movement's original goals.

    Meanwhile, a UK-wide political party applied to register under the name Black Lives Matter (BLM) in Great Britain in October, according to Electoral Commission records. However, Black Lives Matter UK, which is described by the media as "an affiliate of the US group", denied being behind the attempt to use the name for a political party. The Telegraph did not rule out that the registration could have been made by BLM’s American parent group, adding that it did not respond to requests for comment.

    BLM's Structure: 'Riddle Wrapped Up in an Enigma'

    The BLM structure is opaque in every sense, according to Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist who specialises in charity frauds. He explains that, as a technical matter, one finds no evidence that any "organisation" using the name "Black Lives Matter" has been lawfully established and lawfully operated thereafter as a tax-exempt charity inside the United States.

    "Yet, a quick search of the Opencorporates.com website shows that numerous entities with similar sounding names may have been created inside and outside the United States," he says. "As for Britain, a check through Companies House and the Charity Registry may reveal that entries were established within the United Kingdom. Those that claim to be subsidiaries or branches of a US 'Black Lives Matter' charity, likely are frauds. Others may be legitimate but each of these needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, carefully."

    Press accounts suggest that tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars may have been raised, ostensibly to support "Black Lives Matter", he notes. And that's the rub: it is likely that monies raised to address some valid concerns about racial discrimination and racial injustice "may have been stolen by criminal elements using false-front, fake charities", he warns.

    BLM's financial bonanza, caused by global fundraising efforts amid the protests over the death of African American individual George Floyd in police custody last May, prompted concerns over non-transparency of how the money were collected and spent. In addition to this, some BLM organisations argued that they had more rights to raise money than the others. At the same time, local BLM entities are complaining that they’re "not getting their due" from multi-million donations to the movement, according to Politico.

    A masked protester walks as British police officers in riot gear escort him and others away in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020.
    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
    A masked protester walks as British police officers in riot gear escort him and others away in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020.

    'Racial Conflict Not an Issue in the UK Anymore'

    Meanwhile, the British "affiliate" of Black Lives Matter has registered as a "community benefit society" under the name Black Liberation Movement UK after receiving £1.2 million in donations in the aftermath of the June protests in the UK. 

    However, the British version of the movement obviously lacked the vigour of its American peers: according to BBC, the steam had completely gone out of the UK protests by late August, with BLM events in Britain being rarely in the news and not trending on Twitter anymore.

    "While racism certainly is an issue, I would not say it is a major issue in the UK anymore," suggests UK-based political analyst Alan Bailey. "The country is by nature quite reserved and any negative feelings towards minorities are generally only mentioned in passing or under one's breath. Race based conflict is not an issue in the UK anymore."

    Furthermore, violence and vandalism which accompanied BLM demonstrations both in the US and the UK have stripped away the veneer of a peaceful and civil cause from the movement, according to the British observer. He expresses scepticism over Labour leader Keir Starmer rushing "taking the knee" in support for Black Lives Matter.

    ​"I have always stood against racism," Bailey recalls. "In the 80’s I supported the anti-apartheid movement against race based segregation in South Africa. To be non-racist means to (so to speak) not see colour, and treat all people equally without bias or prejudice. Considering that Segregation and Race based laws have not been a thing in the UK for many decades, the ‘Taking the Knee’ is nothing more than symbolism used as a PR ploy to position someone in power as being clearly on one side of a discussion or another, and thus means little and is a meaningless gesture in any real terms."

    In mid-June UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who earlier acknowledged "feeling of injustice" motivating the BLM rallies, highlighted that protests had been hijacked by a minority "using them as a pretext to attack the police, to cause violence and to cause damage to public property". Speaking on LBC radio station on 3 July 2020, the premier denounced the attempts to "bully" British police officers to kneel before the protestors. "I don't believe in gestures — I believe in substance", Johnson stressed when asked whether he would take the knee himself.

    A colleague attends to a police officer who was injured when falling of a horse during scuffles with demonstrators at Downing Street during a Black Lives Matter march in London, Saturday, June 6, 2020, as people protest against the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, USA.
    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
    A colleague attends to a police officer who was injured when falling of a horse during scuffles with demonstrators at Downing Street during a Black Lives Matter march in London, Saturday, June 6, 2020, as people protest against the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, USA.

    Black Lives Matter's "Psy-Op"  

    The attempts to turn BLM from a grass-root movement into a political force in the US and the UK raise many questions, according to the observers. They have drawn attention to the fact that BLM has been traditionally supported by left-wing forces and endorsed by US Democrats and the UK Labour Party.

    "I think that the BLM movement has no doubt been used as a tool against conservative voices", believes Alan Bailey. "The mainstream media itself has already been solidly ‘Left-Liberal’ and any other or dissenting views are treated as beyond discussion or tolerance. Even though I am solidly to the Left on many issues, I believe all views should be heard."

    He expresses concerns with regard to who could be behind the attempt to register a Black Lives Matter party in the UK and does not rule out that it is the US-based BLM. 

    "While the fight against racism is a valid one, the BLM movement appears to be more of an anarchist group thriving on bringing chaos to urban centres," the British political analyst stresses. "Spreading this to the UK will no doubt be a major aim for the organisers."

    In June, ex-Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips wrote in her op-ed for The Telegraph that BLM's objectives in the UK go beyond the issue of racial inequality, and include “defunding the police… dismantling capitalism and the patriarchal system [and] disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure".

    'Black Lives Matter': Washington, DC in Flames as George Floyd Riots Rage on
    © Sputnik
    'Black Lives Matter': Washington, DC in Flames as George Floyd Riots Rage on

    BLM appears to be a "destructive force", opines Charles Ortel, adding that this conclusion was "echoed in polls that may or may not be reliable, taken various ways and places across America". He also presumes that the movement had some hallmarks of an apparent "psy-op" aimed against conservative and patriotic forces not only in the US but also in Europe ahead of the US election and Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

    "Since March 2020, investigative journalist Jason Goodman and I have travelled to many BLM protests where we witnessed firsthand purported BLM leaders claiming their goal was to burn the present American system down, then to replace it with some as yet unexplained new, supposedly 'fairer' one," Ortel notes.

    Meanwhile, in Pew Research surveys found that public support to the BLM movement in the US has decreased significantly since June 2020, UK polls indicate that over half of British adults believe the BLM protests only increased racial tensions in the country.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    racial issue, racial justice, racial bias, Boris Johnson, violence, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, US, United Kingdom
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