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    Desiree Griffiths, 31, of Miami, holds up a sign saying Black Lives Matter, with the names of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two black men recently killed by police, during a protest

    ‘Talking About Revolution’: How #BlackLivesMatter is Changing America

    © AP Photo / Lynne Sladky
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    On March 15, the 19th annual International Day Against Police Brutality, it is important to look at how the Black Lives Matter movement is challenging the powers that be and changing America. Sputnik’s Brian Becker spoke to activists Eugene Puryear and April Goggans to get their take.

    Puryear is an activist and politician, and the running mate of Gloria La Riva, the 2016 Party for Socialism and Liberation presidential nominee. Goggans is a DC-area activist with Black Lives Matter.

    Goggans told Loud & Clear that, as an activist, watching police murders and new abuses every day can get depressing and really take a toll on a person, which after two years with the Black Lives Matter movement caused a lot of burnout and fatigue for many.

    Black Lives Matter, as a movement, has subsequently evolved, Goggans explained. Instead of focusing solely on deaths at the hands of police, they are now focusing on the systematic racism and all problems that black lives face — from housing issues to economic ones. She explained that these types of issues factor in and lead to deaths at the hands of law enforcement, and therefore they must be addressed to begin to solve the brutality crisis.

    Puryear agreed, and explained that the imbalance of power must be dismantled, as all of these systems that oppress black lives are created by real people in real institutions, all of which can be challenged.

    “The real strategic imperative becomes recognizing, and I think we all recognized from the beginning, but really operationalizing this recognition--  which is, the issues of policing are intimately and really completely unable to be separated from the broader social issues and inequalities that exist within the black community,” Puryear explained. 

    People take part in a rally on April 29, 2015 at Union Square in New York, held in solidarity with demonstrators in Baltimore, Maryland demanding justice for an African-American man who died of severe spinal injuries sustained in police custody
    © AFP 2019 / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
    He continued that this is the reason why we are seeing activists running for office, such as Deray McKesson who is currently running for mayor of Baltimore, as well as critiques of capitalism within the movement.

    “The change in gaining, and taking and building power comes from, number one, the belief that we can — and number two, actions towards that,” Goggans  stated.

    She explained that the present movement is different from the US Civil Rights Movement, in that their goal had been to reform the system — while Black Lives Matter aims to dismantle it.

    “The disruptions are not just to bring attention,” she said. “They’re disruptions in that this can’t go on anymore.”

    Becker then asked Puryear what the next step is, since police violence has not seemed to cease since Ferguson.

    “I think we are talking about revolution,” Puryear responded. “I mean I think Bernie Sanders is talking about it in one way, but I think we are talking about it in — not a completely different way, but a much deeper way. I think that’s why we see that conversation resonating, there’s a desire for solutions that match the scale of the problem.”

    As far as Donald Trump is concerned, both organizers agreed that his campaign is pushback against people fighting to end white supremacy, and is the product of “white fear.”

    “A lot of the white privileges that people were given to build up the divisions in this system, which helped keep the profit machine going, are now falling apart,” Puryear stated.

    “A lot of the people who had those privileges, white people, are now casting about for what to do and they’re latching on to the person who is most strongly and aggressively saying ‘yeah, I’m going to take that back for you,’ and they don’t necessarily care too much about the details.”


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