On Monday, 60 organizations affiliated with the movement released a comprehensive policy platform, comprised of six overarching demands—“End the War on Black People,” “Reparations,” “Invest-Divest,” “Economic Justice,” “Community Control,” and “Political Power”—and 40 recommendations on how to realize them. The proposals range from the sweeping (direct community control over federal, state, and local law enforcement) to the specific (abolition of the death penalty). They are accompanied by detailed analyses and legislative and executive action plans.
Taken as a whole, the document refutes the notion that #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t stand for anything concrete. But in disproving the concern trolls, the Movement for Black Lives has opened itself to another, no less pernicious, criticism: that it stands for too much. Compared to, say, Campaign Zero, which conceived of “racial justice” in the narrow sense (stop killing black people), this latest attempt to give policy-shape to the nebulous outrage over police violence is much broader—and better captures the scope of the problem.
Parts of its expansive vision coincide with those of active nationwide constituencies (universal health care), but others don’t (reparations for “racialized capitalism,” including but not limited to slavery). And in the end, its power may come from its very diffuseness. The platform was drafted with an understanding that it will be pursued piecemeal, according to conditions on the ground. It’s an articulation of steps “necessary for our liberation,” not a prescription for how individual groups should go about achieving it.