The overall effectiveness and aim of the Black Lives Matter movement has been something up for debate since its official inception after the high-profile murder case involving Trayvon Martin in 2012 by supporters, skeptics, and detractors alike.
An article that had been published last Wednesday by a UK media outlet  has reopened the doors for that debate and even more criticism directed towards Black Lives Matter.
The looming question of “What is Black Lives Matter really doing?” has been loudly echoed by quite the unexpected source, former Black Panther Party Chairwoman Elaine Brown and hasn’t been sitting too well with many people.
In the opening of the article, Brown reportedly says the following:
“I don’t know what Black Lives Matter does, so I can’t tell you how it compares to what the Black Panther Party was. I know what the BPP was. I know the lives we lost, the struggle we put into place, the efforts we made, the assaults on us by the police and government – I know all that. I don’t know what Black Lives Matter does. So if you can tell me, I’ll give you my thoughts.”
The author of the article which the site lists as its Deputy Editor, Tom Slate proceeds Brown by “adding gasoline to the fire” calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “nebulous hashtag-come-protest movement,” “agitators and beggars,” and even refers to leaders of the movement as “prolific tweeters.”
After Slate’s barrage of insults, the article continues with more comments reportedly made by Brown that include:
“There is no comparison…The next wave of young people running out here, who are complaining and protesting about the murders of young black men and women by the police all over the country, they will protest, but they will not rise up in an organized fashion, with an agenda, to create revolutionary change… We advocated community self-defense organizations to be formed so that we would not be assaulted by the police, so that we would bear arms and assume our human rights.”
Brown then finishes off Slate’s onslaught with her reported statement:
“This to me is a plantation mentality. It smacks of “master if you would just treat me right.” And it has nothing to do with self-determination, empowerment and a sense of justice, or anything else.”
These statements garnered almost immediate retort from various black-catered media outlets, social media users, and fellow activists.
Just two days after Slate’s alleged interview with Brown, prominent activist and BLM figurehead Shaun King  sat down with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now to offer a much more nuanced response in comparison to the vehement backlash directed towards Brown on social media where he says:
“When Elaine got involved in the Black Panther Party, it was about two years old. And that’s where we are in the Black Lives Matter movement, as well. And so, I think some of what she did was she evaluated the totality of the Black Panther Party and all that it accomplished in 10 years, and compared it to where we are right now in year two. And so, it’s an unfair comparison to say where we are in year two compared to where the Black Panther Party was in year two.
Two years in, it literally only had 4,000 or 5,000 people, the Black Panther Party, that were committed to it, to its practices. And it was still trying to determine where it went and what it would do. And so, I think if you look at where we are now versus where the Black Panther Party was at this same time, I think we’re doing well…How we do what we do will be uniquely different. Our time is different.
So, I respect her, revere her and admire her, but I was disappointed to read some of what she said.”
In addition to the article, A video posted yesterday by Twitter user @CharMeLoDi that was recorded at the BPP’s 50th Anniversary Conference & Gala held in Oakland, California on the 22nd, shows both Brown and brother of the late Huey Newton elaborating their thoughts on BLM and the article at question. 
Brown, starts off very aware of the backlash that the article had received and claims she didn’t know the poster of the article. Despite, she offers a very similar critique. She confident asserts that “Black Lives Matter has no ideology” and other condemning critiques such as referring to the movement as being full of “armchair activists.”
And though many may say that Brown’s critique reeks of elitism and condescension which is fair, her statements still hold truth, a sort of truth which isn’t always soothing.
The truth of the matter is, the Black Panther Party’s aim as stated in their “10 Point Program” was clear.  The 10 Point Program was a declaration that many have voted more actionable and efficient.
To gain a better understanding of today’s Black Liberation climate, we must also acknowledge that there is a faction of Black Lives Matter which is an organization and there is also “Black Lives Matter the movement” which Black Americans and other groups within the African Diaspora individually interpret thus making it hard to have the same concise structure and ideological cohesion.
As for now, this is the focal point of the official Black Lives Matter organization according to the official website:
“Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.
It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer, and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all.
Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement.”
With this stated, many have theorized that the Black Lives Matter organization is more geared towards alleviating intercommunal homophobia, stigma, and adversities of Black Queer (LGBT) communities by utilizing racial injustices as a vehicle to make a safer space for a marginalized group within another marginalized group, a stark contrast from BPP’s Ten Point Program.
This aim has also gotten a lot of flack as many suggest it is not an aim for black liberation but LGBT rights intersectionality and that the movement would affect more being “race first.” The late activist Darren Seals used social media to express his thoughts on this  and because of it, Black Lives Matter has been eerily silent about his murder.
In the 1960’s, the late Fred Hampton, a chairman within the BPP until his assassination, alluded that both capitalism and economics played a huge role in the tribulations of not only black people but all people subjugated within the system of white supremacy. This ideal was manifested through the Black Panther Party’s various programs not only that fed and clothed but provided communities with employment, housing, education, and healthcare.  I myself, know elders who gleefully remember BPP’s golden era and militant yet empowering presence within black communities.
The official Black Lives Matter website states the following in regards to its own manifestations in attempts to counter any misconceptions:
“Many believe the Black Lives Matter movement has no agenda — other than yelling and protesting and disrupting the lives of white people. This is also false. Since the earliest days of the movement in Ferguson, groups like the Organization for Black Struggle, the Black Lives Matter Network, and others have made both clear and public a list of demands.
Those demands include swift and transparent legal investigation of all police shootings of black people; official governmental tracking of the number of citizens killed by police, disaggregated by race; the demilitarization of local police forces; and community accountability mechanisms for rogue police officers. Some proposals like the recently launched Campaign Zero by a group of Ferguson activists call for body cameras on every police officer.
But other groups are more reticent about this solution since it would lead to increased surveillance and possible invasions of privacy, not to mention a massive governmental database of information about communities of color that are already heavily under surveillance by government forces.”
This affirmation is highly questionable for some as many activists are accessible on social media. As well complaints from marginalized yet publicized communities such as Ferguson following tensions from the killing of Mike Brown and others that openly express their overall discontent with BLM.
Some are even claiming that despite their presence within these communities when tensions erupted, they’ve just protested, had accumulated photo and press opportunities while leaving the dirty work to residents with little resources left behind and usually have to rebuild on their own.
Longtime Ferguson, Missouri activist Nyota Uhura conspired in this interview that many hierarchal activists were either paid anarchists or “planted” in Ferguson at the height of it’s notoriety. She also says they’ve held many fundraising initiatives in which little to none was invested in efforts to rebuild Ferguson’s infrastructure after riots had taken place in 2014. Ferguson business owners such as Dellena Jones, who have affected and almost put out of business by various protests and riots have had to result to fundraising efforts of her own with no help from Black Lives Matter as stated in this article.
Another activist and founder of Occupy The Hood, Malik Rhasaan, one time had gone on a brief Twitter rant that blankets the Black Lives Matter movement as orchestrated  and also sadly apologizes to black youth for being sold out.
Also and oddly enough, According to this article published by Washington Post shortly after tensions had flared in Ferguson, a hashtag #CutTheCheck had gone viral due to activists demanding pay from an organization that had paid some demonstrators as much as $5,000 per month. 
But to be fair, Black Lives Matters despite any uncertainty that surrounds the movement, has in fact empowered many black millennials worldwide to be more involved in their communities and develop a greater awareness of skewed race relations between peoples of the African Diaspora and those who have brutalized, exploited us and seek to make us a permanent underclass.
It’s also undeniable that if Black Lives Matter seeks to make a long lasting impact and be a vehicle for change, they must consider centralizing and adopt a more self-determined philosophy which many doubt will happen.
Debates surrounding the Black Panther Party and Black Lives Matter may never end.
Given the rise and fall of Black Liberation movements before Black Lives Matter, I would insert my thesis that things would go much smoothly if both millennials and our elders embrace the idea of intergenerational equity.
Lastly, though Brown has valid assessments her assuming responsibility to better educate the younger activists and gracefully passing the torch would have been more of the upright thing to do.
Feathers Scott Twitter/IG: @inthe9thhouse | Facebook: Feathers Scott | Inthe9thhouse.com