Philosophy Sample Paper on Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement
The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary, socialist and Black Nationalist organization that was active from 1966 to 1982 in the United State s of America. The party also had other international branches that operated in Algeria from 1969 until 1972 and in United Kingdom in the early 1970s. (Aaron F. Dixon, p.5-)
During its formation in October 15th 1966, its very practice was its patrols that were armed and aimed at monitoring the behavior of police officers of the Oakland police department and also to challenge police brutality in California and also in Oakland.
The Black Panther Party however was not very well received by the government which eventually led to the Director of the FBI to brand the Black Panther Party as ‘‘the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.’’ He went on to supervise a program that was referred to as COINTELPRO that purposely dealt with the infiltration, surveillance, perjury, police harassment and brutality among other tactics whose main purpose was undermine the leadership of the Black Panther Party, to incriminate its party members, to drain the organization of manpower and valuable resources and to discredit and criminalize the party. Some people also accused the program of assassinating Panther members. (The Washington Post, 1969)
However the government oppression that was subjected to the party contributed to the growth of the Black Panthers Party as the arrests and the killings of black panthers by the government hugely increased its support among the African Americans. In 1970, the Black Panther Party membership had reached its peak as the party had offices in over 68 cities and had thousands of registered members.
On the other hand, the Black Lives Matter movement is an activist movement that campaigns mainly against perceived racism and violence towards black people originating from African American community.
The movement was born in 2013 with the use of the hash tag #BlackLivesMatter on the social media after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an African American teen. Following the deaths of two other African Americans i.e. Michael Brown and Erick Garner in 2014, Black Lives Matter movement became recognized nationally for their street protests. (Day, Elizabeth, 2015)
There are thirteen principles that usually guide the members of Black Lives Matter movement and anybody who chooses to involve himself/herself with the movement. The principles are; diversity, loving engagement, empathy, globalism, unapologetically black, black women, collective value, restorative justice, black villages, queer affirming, black families, transgender affirming and lastly intergeneration.
Black Lives Matters movement usually engages in direct action tactics that generally makes people so uncomfortable that they have no other option but to address the issue at hand. Popular slogans have also frequently been used during demonstrations. Some of the slogans used include; ‘‘Black Lives Matter’’ ‘‘I can’t breathe’’ ‘‘Hands up, don’t shoot’’ ‘‘No justice, No peace’’ ‘‘White silence is violence’’ ‘‘is my son next?’’ among many more. (Eligon, John, 2015)
When comparing the 1960s and 70s Black Panther Party with today’s Black Lives Matter movement, its generally easier to point out the parallels and also the progress and impact that both organizations have the community in their respective generations. Founded about 50 years apart, both the Black Panther Party and Black Lives Matter have a common theme in that; they were galvanized by frustration with the police brutality directed towards black people in the United States of America.
In part, the Black Panther Party was formed in reaction to the killing of Mathew Johnson who was a 16 year old boy and unarmed by the police in San Francisco in 1966. Alicia Garza together with Opal Tometi and PatrisseCullors created Black Lives Matters movement as a call to action after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing a 17 year old Trayvon Martin who was also unarmed.
So we see these two organizations having a very useful place in their generations as they mainly advocated for justice and equal treatment of all people without discrimination. They acted as a voice to the voiceless community that did not get the right treatment from the government and police.
Other similarities between Black Panther Party and Black lives Matter is their use of media to illustrate various conditions that needed to be highlighted therefore making their revolutions a very reasonable response. The Black Panther Party was not interested in using the mainstream media as it would not properly serve in the interest of the Panthers. So the Black Panthers had their own newspaper called ‘‘The Black Panther’’. The newspaper would show materials and pictures that would normally never have appeared in the mainstream media. Through the newspaper they showed photographic evidence of police brutality.
Similar to Black Panther Party, Black Lives Matter movement usually uses media i.e. make videos, cellphone photographs and documentaries that quickly go viral and are shared through the social media such as facebook and twitter. Therefore both movements use the media that’s available to them and that accepts them so as to reach the masses and stimulate action.
From these we can see the importance of Black Lives matter movement as it acts as a tool of educating the community about their rights and other subjects that requires of awareness and also use the media to force action from the people who are responsible. Without organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Black Panther Party, there would have been no progress that would have been made on the equality and that of ending racism and segregation.
Its through such organizations that awareness was raised and is still being raised even today in the effort and hope of achieving a world that treats all people (gay, queer, transgender, black people, women, and all the minority and disadvantaged groups) equally.
The Black Panther Party carefully constructed their visual presence that included creation of icons for its party members that was used to represent strength, purpose and even discipline. The Black Panthers understood the media and the power of visual images very well. Just like the Panthers, Black Lives Matters protesters’ often uses elements of visual theatre in their demonstrations and other various activities to convey their message for maximum effect.
Black Lives Matters movement also is an international movement. In 2015 after Freddie Gray died in Baltimore Maryland, black activists from all around the world made efforts to reform Black Lives Matter on the Arab Spring. This international movement formed as a result has been referred to as ‘‘Black Spring.’’ Other connections have been forged between other international movements that are parallel as Dalit rights movement.
Black Lives Matter movement has held rallies in different cities of different countries all around the world. In July 2016, Black Lives Matter movement organized a rally in Melbourne, Australia which was fairly attended as 3500 people participated in the rally. The protest was to emphasize on the mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians by the government and police.
On August 4th 2016 in London, England, Black Lives Matter protesters blocked the London Heathrow Airport. Several demonstrators lay against the motorway that leads to the airport while others chained themselves together. The protest marked fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan who was shot.
In July 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Black Lives Matter protesters blocked Allen Road while protesting the deaths of two black men i.e. Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby who were shot while in police custody. The BLM activists also blocked streets in Toronto in September as they rallied against police brutality in solidarity with marginalized black lives.
From all these accounts, we can clearly see and realize how important activism is in ensuring there is equal treatment and representation of all people from all over the world. Black Lives Matter movement is at the forefront not only in US but also in other parts of the world.
Aaron F. Dixon (2012).My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain. Seattle, Washington DC: Haymarket Books
Day, Elizabeth (July 19, 2015). “#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement”.The Guardian. Retrieved December 18, 2016
Eligon, John (November 18, 2015). “One Slogan, Many Methods: Black Lives Matter Enters Politics”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2016
“Hoover Calls Panthers Top Threat to Security”. The Washington Post. WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post. 16 July 1969. Retrieved 9 February 2017