Black Lives Matter is reviving racist thinking

In Australia, as in so many countries, BLM has become a divisive force.

Nick Cater
Columnist

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Topics Politics World

Australia’s notorious ‘White Australia’ policy was abolished in 1967 at a time when judging human beings by their skin colour was out of step with prevailing attitudes.

More than half a century later, the concept of White Australia is back in fashion thanks to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Skin colour is once again assumed to be a measure of character, but this time whiteness has become a vice not a virtue.

The contrived message of BLM sits awkwardly in Australia, where slavery has never been legal and imperialism was practiced in its most enlightened form.

The principle that indigenous and non-indigenous Australians are equal in the eyes of the law has applied since a penal colony was first established. In a novel twist in the colonial project, most of the settlers were prisoners while the indigenous inhabitants roamed free.

Equal rights were formalised by referendum in 1967 with more than 90 per cent votes in favour of amending the constitution. Today those historical facts are being erased by the brutal nihilism of BLM ideology. The same movement that says we have downplayed the ugliness of its colonial past wants to expunge everything noble in Australia’s history. In the process they are slandering historical figures who, however imperfectly, upheld liberal ideals.

Children are now taught that James Cook was an invader, not the explorer, navigator and cartographer we had previously assumed him to be. The term is used on the ABC without any reference to the facts.

Until recently, Governor Lachlan Macquarie was regarded as a liberal reformer who emancipated convicts, established the first school for Aboriginal children and returned land to Aboriginal control. Now he stands accused of genocide.

The search for stains in the hitherto unblemished character of those who laid the foundations of freedom and democracy has become ruthless.

Statues of Edmund Barton have been targeted in Port Macquarie and Canberra. Could that be the Barton who became Australia’s first prime minister in a democratically elected parliament? The one who became a founding member of the High Court, which dispenses justice without fear or favour?

Perhaps he is in trouble for umpiring the 1879 match between New South Wales and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground that ended in a riot. In the end it doesn’t matter; intergenerational virtue-signalling seldom depends on evidence.

It is driven by the arrogance of asserting no generation has been as enlightened and compassionate as ours and no one who came before us possessed the moral clarity that we do.

History must be framed as a story of humanity stripped of humans, the slow progression of society from barbarism to utopia. Historical figures are allowed no flaws or allowed the luxury of extenuating circumstances. Instead they are displayed as a rogues’ gallery of bad white men in which colonialism is characterised by its most illiberal, brutal form. All are portrayed as irredeemably evil with little distinction and without reference to facts or context.

Underpinning the new race narrative is the belief that destiny is determined by biology. To be born white gives access to a lifetime of privilege. To be born black is to become a member of an oppressed underclass, constantly beaten down by prejudice in an alien land.

Conceptually, it is a return to the theory that differences between people were determined by biology, not their culture. BLM’s fight on ‘anti-blackness’ portrays all black people as victims, regardless of how successful they might be in life.

It frames itself as part of ‘the global black family’, pushing the significance of skin colour to a whole new level.

BLM’s solution is not personal empowerment, urging black people to discover success through hard work and persistence. Victory will come through a collective, global struggle against violence by the state and the actors it sanctions.

This radical black ideology was present in the late 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of the Black Power Movement. In its latest incarnation it has crossed to the mainstream not just in the US, but also across much of the world.

Perhaps those who have ‘taken the knee’ in sporting contests are unaware of BLM’s revolutionary manifesto, which pitches the moment not just against racism, but also against ‘the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure’ which it pledges to disrupt.

Instead, it promotes ‘extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children’.

Groups allied to BLM, like the Black Alliance for Peace, go further, declaring themselves part of ‘a global liberation movement’ intent on overturning ‘the interlinked systems of white supremacy, imperialism, capitalism and patriarchy’.

If BLM really was an anti-racism moment, the sanctioning of the ‘taking the knee’ gesture by executives of our major sporting codes might be understandable.

Yet ‘anti-blackness’ in the form that BLM frames the term is a divisive term that privileges some forms of racial prejudice over others, such as anti-Semitism.

It is irrevocably tied to a radical, quasi-Marxist agenda that calls for the overthrow of institutions that continue to serve us well. It demands social and economic revolution rather than changes in personal behaviour and reform.

As BLM co-founder Opal Tometi told the New Yorker last month, the issue of police brutality was merely a ‘spark point’ for a wider campaign against inequality that demands a revolutionary solution.

In Australia, the movement has latched hold of Indigenous politics as its raison d’être. The concept of a universal fraternity of blackness that bundles the descendants of Australia’s first inhabitants with the descendants of African slaves is problematic.

The notion that disadvantage is a result of skin colour, rather than low education, remoteness, poor health or welfare dependency, is absurd.

Aboriginal leaders like Noel Pearson argue strongly that notions of entrenched victimhood hinder, rather than help, Indigenous people. It fosters a culture of low expectations, and robs people of a sense that they can change their lives for better or worse.

A serious discussion about the value of black lives in Australia would begin with the injustice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy. The average age of death for Indigenous men living in remote communities is 66 years, compared to 81 years in the general community.

The factors that lie behind those 15 lost years of life are complex. They extend to health, education, remoteness, the shortage of skills and much more.

Improving the lives of Indigenous people is a slow and patient process for which there is no magic fix.

It will not be helped by telling people that their skin colour condemns them to a second-class existence and that nothing can change that except a social revolution.

Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre and a columnist for the Australian.

Picture: Getty.

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Comments

dom torato

12th July 2020 at 7:58 am

I don’t expect MSM will consider this newsworthy, as it doesn’t condemn Trump, nor question BLM in any meaningful way. HERE► Read More

Tom Taylor-Duxbury

11th July 2020 at 4:23 pm

I note a pardon, this 16 years into a sentence of 58 years has hit the news today. Clinton pardoned Susan Rosenberg, who could be considered a terrorist, on his last day in office.
She’s popped up as now she’s running fundraising for BLM.
I don’t expect MSM will consider this newsworthy, as it doesn’t condemn Trump, nor question BLM in any meaningful way.

Racism is being monetised.

I note that when I see black people now I wonder if they see me as racist. I worked in Africa for years, had Black mates at school, have black clients, until recent times, never crossed my mind, now it does.
Is that good? I’m Old enough to know I’m pretty average, BLM Has turned race relations back seventy years in an act of deliberate divisiveness.

Mor Vir

11th July 2020 at 12:07 pm

‘Today those historical facts are being erased by the brutal nihilism of BLM ideology.’

It might be fairer and more accurate to speak of BLM ‘moralism’.

Nihilism and moralism may be active or passive, creative or destructive.

So, a nihilist may not ‘buy into’ intellectual schemas of ‘moral truth’ and still act in an instinctive human manner that wills survival and prosperity; social contracts may be agreed with others on the basis of mutual benefit and mutual aid. Or a nihilist may have weak creative or social instincts, which is another matter.

A moralist may buy into an intellectual schema of ‘moral truth’ that facilitates survival and prosperity, or one that hinders that. Morality may either be creative or destructive depending on whether the value system facilitates or hinders.

A moralist may also have weak instincts, and indeed the morality may express and codify that weakness, eg. asceticism, pacifism. But those too can facilitate survival and creativity, depending on the situation.

The bottom line is always adaptivity. An active nihilist is better disposed by the non-dogmatic approach to what facilitates the good, to adapt to changing circumstances. Believers in ‘moral truth’ are indisposed to adaptivity because their approach to circumstances is constrained by the rigid, inflexible morality.

The capitalist state is active nihilist, it adapts its civic ‘morality’ to whatever facilitates its material interests. One decade it is racist, the next it is anti-racist, depending on whether it allows the state to justify and to facilitate the flow of labour to make it profits in the given circumstances. Thus the ‘moral truth’ that the capitalist state provides for public consumption is changeable and it is relative to what facilitates the good.

To be fair to BLM, they are moralists who have adopted the new bourgeois ‘anti-racist’ value system. As such, they facilitate bourgeois interests, which are creative rather than destructive. The capitalist state does increase GDP, it allows for survival and prosperity. It is not ‘bad’ per se.

BLM may tend toward a passive moralism, in so far as they object to the previous ‘racist’ bourgeois value system that justified and facilitated conquest, expansion and prosperity in the old circumstances – but those circumstances are gone anyway. BLM passive moralism is now ordered to the active nihilism of the bourgeois state, to its new creative value system of anti-racism.

So BLM passive moralism is creative per accidens in its ordering to bourgeois interest. It would have been simply passive moralism, and destructive in the old circumstance by hindering conquest and the expansion of materially progressive civilisation. But in the present circumstance, it is not simply passive moralism, it is passive moralism that is ordered to current bourgeois activity. It is anti-racism that allows the bourgeois state to increase labour utilisation and to accumulate capital.

But there is a further ‘twist’. BLM anti-racism may be creative per accidens in being ordered to bourgeois interests, but is bourgeois interest still creative? It may be necessary to qualify that.

Marxism is a materialist, not a moralist philosophy of history. It is active nihilist in so far as it postulates that ideological change reflects the development of the material base, which is the driving force of history. Thus Marxist critique of capitalism is historical and material, not moralist.

Capitalism is no longer a progressive economic system that develops the quality of the means of production. Productivity growth has collapsed to near zero in all ‘mature’ capitalist economies. GDP growth now depends entirely on increased labour utilisation to countervail diminishing productivity growth. Capitalism thus at best increases the quantity of the means of production, it no longer improves the quality. The material progress made by capitalism is now of a different, limited kind.

BLM passive moralism may be ordered to bourgeois creativity but bourgeois creativity is itself limited in late capitalism. Thus BLM moralism is helping to maintain an economic system, by helping to increase the labour flow and increase GDP, that remains progressive only in a qualified sense. BLM moralism may not be simply passive, as ordered to bourgeois interest, but neither is bourgeois interest simply progressive. Thus the per accidens creativity of BLM moralism is also qualified.

From a Marxist viewpoint, BLM is helping to maintain capitalism; it might be better, given the now qualified progressiveness of capitalism, if some way were found to overthrow capitalism. Ironically a cessation of the flow of labour would bring down capitalism by hindering its GDP growth and its accumulation of capital. Likely some other way will have to be found that is not centred around racial politics. Arguably now is the time to do that.

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 5:42 pm

So is capitalism morally-inferior to communism and what’s the conclusive evidence?

Mor Vir

11th July 2020 at 10:39 pm

That is not the question, is it? If you bother to read my posts then I might bother to answer your questions.

Mor Vir

12th July 2020 at 10:34 am

Each morality is itself a proposed criterion of evaluation. No morality is absolutely superior to another, each is superior on its own terms and a third which is neither would be required to evaluate the two but itself would be arbitrary and would require a fourth by which to evaluate it, and another that, to infinite regress, circularity or assumption.

In social reality, historically located superstructural moralities reflect the needs of the material base in its present stage of development, and they may do so more or less adequately. Thus capitalist morality is changeable, as the needs of the economy change. A previous capitalist morality, eg. racism, may become outdated and another found more adequate, eg. anti-racism.

A communist morality would reflect the needs of a communist economic base, but that does not yet exist. Likely it too would be changeable as circumstances changed.

Neither capitalist nor communist morality is superior per se, only per accidens, depending on the stage of development of the material base and how adequately the morality is adapted to the concrete situation.

It is important to note that capitalism does not become communism by way of moral critique but by material development when the productive relations become an hindrance to further material development. Material development is the driving force of history not morality.

Mor Vir

11th July 2020 at 10:49 am

Bourgeois ‘values’ are ordered to bourgeois money.

The Australian capitalist state was perfectly happy to promote ‘White Australia’ so long as a steady flow of white labourers was added to the Australian workforce. As soon as that flow stopped, the Australian capitalist state is all for ‘Anti-Racist Australia’ and for a fresh flow of non-white workers into the Australian workforce.

All ‘values’ are an expression of will to power, made up, and for the bourgeois state, that means whatever ‘values’ facilitate the accumulation of capital – justify the conquest of a continent, condemn the conquest of a continent; ‘White Australia’, ‘Anti-Racist Australia’ – whatever ideological pose allows it to justify and to facilitate the inflow of fresh labour to make fresh profit.

BLM is a bourgeois ideological front, whatever its supporters may think that it is, because it has adopted and promotes the latest bourgeois value system that is ordered to the material interests of the capitalist state. It is funded by Wall St. and the C iA.

There is not going to be a ‘revolution’, there is going to be fresh labour and fresh profits for the capitalist state thanks to the fresh bourgeois value system, and it was pretty naive not to grasp that. BLM is helping to maintain the capitalist system, not challenging or overthrowing it. The capitalist state has already adapted and ‘anti-racism’ is already ordered to its interests, just as racism was before.

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 5:48 pm

BLM have specific policy demands such as “economic justice for all”, a “reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access”, ‘decarceration’ of the huge black prison population in the US, reparations for slavery, ‘black self-determination in all areas of society’ and giving control of police forces and funding to ‘communities of color’. You can verify all this in their policy document ‘A Vision for Black Lives’. More recent demands are ‘defund the police’, make the nuclear family obsolete, and end capitalism, while founders confess to being ‘trained Marxists’. Please explain how these all this a) supports capitalism and b) is not racist against whites. Oh, and also c) your role in blaming capitalism for violent, racist, anti-democratic Marxist thugs.

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 5:49 pm

BLM have specific policy demands such as “economic justice for all”, a “reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access”, ‘decarceration’ of the huge black prison population in the US, reparations for slavery, ‘black self-determination in all areas of society’ and giving control of police forces and funding to ‘communities of color’. You can verify all this in their policy document ‘A Vision for Black Lives’. More recent demands are ‘defund the police’, make the nuclear family obsolete, and end capitalism, while founders confess to being ‘trained M-rxists’. Please explain how these all this a) supports capitalism and b) is not r-cist against whites. Oh, and also c) your role in blaming capitalism for violent, r-cist, anti-democratic M-rxist th-gs.

NEIL DATSON

11th July 2020 at 9:35 am

And of course BLM also emboldens those who are willing to attack ‘black’ members of ‘white’ majority societies. In the UK the senior Labour MP Dawn Butler has had her office targeted by people who are playing the race card. Much as I disapprove of violence and thuggery I find it hard to feel very sympathetic as she publicly championed the BLM riots.

‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 5:53 pm

The US is suffering an epidemic of hoax hate attacks by leftist sympathisers and anti-white r-cists (Google today’s example: “Texas A&M Student Caught on Video Posting Racist Notes on His Own Car”). Demand for r-cist whites is clearly outstripping supply. Are you sure your story isn’t one of those?

NEIL DATSON

11th July 2020 at 6:59 pm

Interesting question Nick. I certainly don’t know all the circumstances behind the attacks on Dawn Butler’s constituency office. All I have to go on are online reports (I don’t read newspapers and have given up on broadcast news). It is striking that all of the ones I have seen are BBC type leftist news organisations, and thus bound to emphasise the racial element, as the BBC etc are adept at finding ‘far right extremists’ under every bed. For my part I’m disinclined to trust any ‘news’ that is not verifiable fact. In my lifetime public avowals of ‘anti-black’ racial hatred, which were undoubtedly present in the 1960s and 1970s seemed to have almost disappeared by the time that Blair brought in his ‘hate speech’ laws, around the turn of the century. Which is of course not to say that there was no anti-black racial prejudice then nor that there is none now. So both ideas, firstly that the attacks were motivated by anti-black prejudice or secondly that it was the work of some sort of pro-BLM fanatics trying to keep their agenda in the news, seem possible to me.

NEIL DATSON

11th July 2020 at 7:09 pm

However, my point still stands. If all this BLM nonsense hasn’t already provoked anti-black sentiment in this country already it surely will in time. And if it transpires that Dawn Butler’s office was trashed by pro-BLM fanatics that assuredly won’t be reported by the BBC, and come to that probably not by any major British news organisation.

Ken Morgan

11th July 2020 at 4:59 am

World history is full of savage tribes being “dispossessed”. World history is one long story of conquest and land changing hands. Australia was founded by the English people and the founding stock of Australia certainly were not given a democratic say when they were dispossessed by globalist forced diversity. Any bleeding heart who pines for the aborigine being permitted to keep a giant continent to roam around bludgeoning women on and failing to invent the wheel for 40,000 years should take solace, the people who built Australia, the people who “dispossessed” the aborigine, have well and truly been dispossessed as payback. They no longer have their own country, they are flooded with third world diversity and constantly slandered in their own press daily. For those who wanted to see the Australian white man pay, you’ve already got your pound of flesh. Well and truly. And to the moron who wrote this article, ethnocentrism is never, was never, about something as mindlessly arbitrary as “preference for a certain skin color”. It was about and is about the right to live among “your people”, “your ethnicity”, “your” extended family and people in the country your people built, in the homeland your people should by all rights have the right to keep homogeneously composed of “your people” . To use the left’s brain-dead construction and essentially compare ethnocentrists to something akin to mindless toddlers who have a “Favorite Color”, is dishonest and it always was. Diversity murdered the Western world. It is over. It matters not whether BLM makes the rubble bounce. There is literally no reason to live in the West unless you wish to be hectored and shamed for being part of the now dispossessed founding stock. Racial payback, has been successfully inflicted on the white man of the West, it is all over. Nothing left to do now but brainwash the kids to be trans.

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 5:55 pm

What about fighting the red f_scists? Sounds like you prefer ‘if you can’t beat them…’

Vicki McKerrell

10th July 2020 at 10:13 pm

It may be possible to right the wrongs of slavery but much harder to right the wrongs of dispossession. Australia exists because of dispossession. It’s a bit like moving into someone’s house, taking over and telling the former residents to move on. The focus on them now being homeless or suffering with bad health is not the real point. It’s how they became homeless in the first place. Many Aboriginal people are still dealing with the taking of their land. That can’t be easily dismissed. How it is to be resolved is the difficulty. We can’t undo the past, but giving Aboriginal people a voice in the parliament, which is what they are collectively asking for, is a start.

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 6:01 pm

The start of what, exactly? Also, why not fight to correct or prevent today’s injustices rather than yesterday’s, which you cannot? Also, Anglophone nations are among the most advanced and tolerant in the world, having left behind the barbarity you clearly abhor long ago. Hopefully you reserve more moral outrage and protest posts for cases like the 1.5 m Uigyurs and Tibetans currently in Chinese concentration camps, probably forever.

Vicki McKerrell

12th July 2020 at 10:04 am

I raised the issue regarding Aboriginals because the article references them. The Uyguirs aren’t relevant at this point and I live in Australia so it impacts me directly. Your point doesn’t address the issue of dispossession or the voice to the Australian parliament that I mentioned.

Jack Sprat

10th July 2020 at 9:42 pm

In one way of looking at it indigenous Aboriginal “black” Australians have a point in that mass immigration of other ethnic groups took place without consultation or consent of the indigenous and further the immigrants took land rights and established an “ alien” non ingenious system of laws and government. However in Australia there was no such thing as indigenous national government laws or Land Registry To trot along to ask permission to build a bungalow …simply tribes. So there is no comparison with immigration to Western established nations with social legal and political literature. However as the indigenous it could be strongly argued that Aboriginals are entitled to special entitlements to protect their traditional culture systems etc….However when it comes to ethnic Brits asking for the same re immigration and cultural displacement ………..

Dominic Straiton

10th July 2020 at 8:05 pm

Exactly whos lives matter. And when. Id say the left doesnt care about anyones lives.Che murdered gay men for fun, the khmer rouge butchered everyone with glasses, the Spanish republicans did the same with people wearing a tie.Black, white, yellow the story is exactly the same. Mountains of dead human flesh.

Tom Joad

10th July 2020 at 5:24 pm

Modern left and corporational sphere just wants to crush white working class for good. They share so many desires. Enemy’s enemy is a friend and all that. White working class are the jews of this age sociologically speaking.They have not a chance against these two fronts. Media is not interested of their situation anymore, they have become unvisible.They are left totally on their own socially and politically. Women don’t want them, modern left don’t want them, employers don’t want them. They still get their benefits, yes. Only obstacle left on the way before they will say they are superior because they are white. Judging them will be hard when it happens, if one has any heart left. Is there any way to reverse this anymore? When they finally notice their skin colour, the state will crush them with the modern left and most people will clap. Modern left and corporations have become as one.

Vivian Darkbloom

10th July 2020 at 7:14 pm

“If there was hope, it must lie in the proles, because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated. The Party could not be overthrown from within. Its enemies, if it had any enemies, had no way of coming together or even of identifying one another. Even if the legendary Brotherhood existed, as just possibly it might, it was inconceivable that its members could ever assemble in larger numbers than twos and threes. Rebellion meant a look in the eyes, an inflection of the voice; at the most, an occasional whispered word. But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They need only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Ellen Whitaker

10th July 2020 at 5:16 pm

Black Lives Matter, the group, also stresses on their website that they are an international movement.

Gordon Te Gopher

10th July 2020 at 10:01 pm

They’re more like a bowel movement.

nick hunt

11th July 2020 at 6:06 pm

BLM only protest two tiny groups of suffering blacks: the long-dead victims of white US slavery, and those lives taken by white cops, intentionally or not. Blacks killed, enslaved or facing genocide by other blacks never interest BLM because they are no use for its race war against whites and democracy. BLM should be called BDM: black deaths matter.

Philip Humphrey

10th July 2020 at 3:54 pm

This article articulates the doubts that I have had about BLM ever since they started. Far from abolishing racism (which nearly all polls show in decline anyway), I worry they are likely to increase it, mainly through their own divisiveness. Seeing everything in terms of race (much of academia and institutions like the BBC are also guilty of this ) runs the risk of stirring up a counter reaction and animus among whites especially against the monotonous narrative of white oppressors and black victims. And while a certain amount of hostility to BLM is understandable, it’s important that it mustn’t spread to black people generally.
I’m sure that BLM isn’t alone in this, a lot of so-called anti-racists have far more harm than good, especially the preachy middle class type. In my opinion BLM is likely to raise the damage to a whole new level.

Gordon Te Gopher

10th July 2020 at 10:03 pm

Whenever I see pictures of BLM morons pulling down a statue they’re all white.

James Knight

10th July 2020 at 3:51 pm

“BLM’s revolutionary manifesto”

We all knew that “the revolution will not be televised”. What we didn’t know was that it would be sponsored by McDonald’s.

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