Black Lives Matter Has a Pretty Decent Plan. Too Bad they Don't Seem to Know What to Do With It

There is much to criticize in how the BLM movement operates, but I can get behind much of the plan they introduced last month.  I don't agree with all of it, but I seldom agree with all of any plan I see proposed from any side of the aisle.

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In discussing the plan, Kevin Drum fails to address the elephant in the room for the Left in making progress on this, and that is the enormous reluctance of Democrats to challenge a public employee union.  And you can bet that police unions will likely be the biggest barrier to getting a lot of this done, even perhaps ahead of Conservative law-and-order groups (you can see the token sop thrown to unions in point 10 of the plan, but it ain't going to be enough).

By the way, there is much that progressive and conservative groups could learn from each other.  Conservative groups (outside of anti-abortion folks) are loath to pursue the public demonstration and disruption tactics that can sometimes be helpful in getting one's issues on the public agenda.  The flip side is that public disruption seems to be all BLM knows how to do.  It can't seem to get beyond disruption, including the unfathomable recent threat to disrupt an upcoming marathon in the Twin Cities.   It could learn a lot from Conservative and libertarian groups like ALEC, that focus on creating model legislation and local success stories that can be copied in other places.  Many of the steps in BLM's plan cry out of model legislation and successful pilots/examples.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "you can see the token sop thrown to unions in point 10 of the plan, but it ain't going to be enough"

    Actually point 10 is not a sop to the unions. They mean fair to the public / tax payers.

  • Jim Collins

    BLM is only a tool. Sometime in 2016, BLM will announce that they have come to an agreement with the Democrats. Then they will attack every Republican event. (Think Code Pink). Useful idiots, all of them.

  • Mike Powers

    When conservative groups conduct "public demonstration and disruption activities" it's reported as "racist mobs threaten violence", "angry gun nuts act like terrorists", "Republican thugs shut down peaceful activity that harms nobody", and so on.

    "The flip side is that public disruption seems to be all BLM knows how to do."

    No less a thinker than Hillary Clinton noticed this, as well, in her BLM interview where she straight-up said "okay, so I'm racist. What do I do about it? Yes, yes, have a dialogue, but that's what we're doing here. Where do we go FROM HERE?" And there wasn't any kind of answer.

  • joshv

    Wow, was having this exact conversation on Facebook in response to some progressive friends supporting the disruption of the TC marathon. Instead of making people like me wonder what the hell is all about and why in the hell a marathon makes any sort of sense as a target, how about BLM put their weight behind these goals, which like Coyote, I mostly support. I do not support disrupting perfectly harmless events like a marathon.

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    End for profit policing? How about keeping for profit policing and adding competition?

  • Matthew Slyfield

    For profit policing is a reference to allowing police departments to keep all or most of civil asset forfeiture proceeds so that they have a source of revenue out side of the city council / county board that is nominally supposed to control the police department.

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    Yes, but an unfortunate and deliberately ambiguous term, given that for profit policing, taken in the usual market sense, is probably the answer to most of society's policing problems. After all, nobody says that we should end for profit government, but confiscation of private assets for the benefit of politicians and their coconspirators is exactly what happens.

  • herdgadfly

    I would be the first to tell you that I abhor unions of any sort and public employees should not have a layer of protection from the taxpayer. And I would tell your that I dislike the spit and polish uniforms of today's police which makes them think themselves better and more powerful than the citizenry.

    But I will tell you that the BLM movement is encouraged and supported by criminals and racists who would remove police protection for urban populations. British police have been disarmed and radicals, mobsters and muslims now rule their neighborhoods.

    We can fix this problem by returning control of the cities to the residents but they need police to maintain order.

  • ColoComment

    With regard to policing, might I suggest some reading material? I recently read "Ghettoside," by Jill Leovy.The author goes into gang-ridden South Los Angeles and examines the interactions of the residents and law enforcement, and their respective cultures, via a detailed look into the murder of a young man there. Along the way she interviews many of the players, provides a wealth of data, both current and historic, and arrives at some surprising conclusions.
    A quite phenomenal book that I wish would get more publicity.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-ghettoside-by-jill-leovy/2015/02/19/b7fbb2ae-b077-11e4-827f-93f454140e2b_story.html

  • obloodyhell

    I read the proposal. About 30% of it was simple common sense probably already in place everywhere.
    Another 30% was reasonable stuff, like "demilitarization" and "Body cams".
    The rest was anti-white, black privilege crap.

  • SamWah

    OK, black lives matter. Or do they, when most blacks are killed by blacks--how's THAT going to be diminished?

  • Q46

    The solution is to return policing to the private sector so those providing police services are subject to the free market disciplines of competition, reputation, repeat business and the profit incentive.

    No business survives long if it harasses and shoots its paying customers.

    Next step would be to return to private law and make criminal law civil law to be adjudicated by competing private arbitration services.

    The concept of private policing.... gated communities, shopping malls for example, and private detective agencies is long established. Many cases are settled in private arbitration services already and damages awarded.

    Undortunately this would be an important step in removing the need for Government so politicans would have to get proper jobs... they won't go willingly.

  • Q46

    Except it is not 'for profit' policing. Profit requires exchange... and is value added to the cost of producing something sufficient to make the product attractive to consumers who will voluntarily exchange money for it and pay a price above the cost of production because the good is perceived as being of more value to them than the money they pay in exchange.

    The difference between the production cost and consumer price is determined by how much value is added.

    Confiscation of assets by an agent of the State involves no exchange, it is theft which the State has given itself permission to commit.

    When the population accepts to be governed by a coercive State which uses violence or its theat to impose its political will, get its way, intimidate any who oppose it and take private property in various forms, taxes for example, it is little wonder that agents of the State... the police... take their cue from the general standard of behaviour of the institituion that employs them.

    So peeps... stop belly-aching about the police while tolerating rule by a coercive State. The rot is at the top. If you want change... of the none hopey variety... change Government, not the slimeballs in it, but the thing itself.

  • bigmaq1980

    Well, your first post was "End for profit policing? How about keeping for profit policing and adding competition?"

    That seemed to misinterpret what they were talking about...
    http://www.joincampaignzero.org/end-policing-for-profit

    Agree that a better term should have been something like "police confiscation", but even that is inadequate to convey that there is an incentive for LE to go beyond the original intent of the policy, and is now part of the unintended consequences.

  • bigmaq1980

    Not sure the weightings, but the details behind some proposals do leave one with questions.

    Take, "End Broken Window Policing". The question might be, where does one draw the line? Ending items on their list will have obvious consequences (e.g. trespassing, loitering, disorderly conduct). In certain communities, the local citizens might prefer to put up with the potential police "harassment" vs the very real harassment they'd face by people who do these things. In communities where these things are not much of a problem, if they were off limits for police, no doubt they would become a problem.

    "Community Oversight", suggesting selecting Police Commission members "offered by community organizations" looks more like a means for special interest groups to pack the board. Who picks which organizations? On what basis? Why not advocate elections instead of a process that may become easily corrupted?

    "Community Representation", suggesting police officers in aggregate reflect a "representative proportion" of the community. They don't actually mean that they want 50% below a 100 IQ, right?
    http://www.highiqpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/IQ-Bell-Curve.png

    No doubt, this devolves into strictly skin color measures. Other measures, or requirements then go out the door, as that one measure takes priority over any other factors.

    There are a lot of ideas to like in it, but a lot to dislike, if not to abhor. It is a mixed bag, at best.

    Some ideas will get my support, but not their platform.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "just because other people classify profit as a kind of theft doesn't mean that I have to."

    Actually you have that backwards in this case.

    This is not a case of classifying profit as a kind of theft, but rather of classifying theft as a kind of profit.

    The point is that just like a business has an incentive to maximize profit the current structure of civil asset forfeiture law gives the police an incentive to maximize forfeitures. Adding competition will only increase that incentive.

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    You don't know the minds of the people who use this language. They certainly do tend to classify profit as a kind of theft, and would be happy to tell you, e.g., that McDonald's profits are theft. I don't. Nor will I accept lumping in free market profit will stolen booty.

    And a competitive policing system would produce about as much stolen booty as private security services currently produce--effectively none. It makes all the difference to have customers directly choosing among competing service providers rather than having a third party government monopoly impose the services upon them.

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    "there is an incentive for LE to go beyond the original intent of the policy"

    Just where do you think that incentive comes from? Government monopoly. That is why competition, not abolition of profits, is the solution.

    The point I thought would be obvious among market thinkers, especially in light of recent Coyote posts--what are profits where competition is banished versus where they are permitted?

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    "Except it is not 'for profit' policing."

    My point exactly.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "Just where do you think that incentive comes from? Government monopoly."

    No, in the case of civil asset forfeiture, It comes not from a government monopoly, but a government license to engage in theft.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "And a competitive policing system would produce about as much stolen
    booty as private security services currently produce--effectively none."

    No, unless you first repeal civil asset forfeiture laws, it will increase the amount of stolen booty, Because now you have multiple groups competing to steal your assets.

    Really, your thinking on this particular issue is bass ackwards.

    "You don't know the minds of the people who use this language." Do I know the minds of all of the people who use it, no. But, I know where the term originated from. "policing for profit" comes not from left liberals, but from libertarian groups pushing for reform of in not an out right end to civil asset forfeiture.

  • raiderphan

    I notice the lack of any mention of the fact that the black people are involved in crime, as perpetrators, at a rate significantly greater than their population numbers would suggest, but there is nothing in the "solutions" to make that end. When black lives begin to matter to black people, maybe the rest of this will be worth considering.

    It is always overlooked, by some, that had some of these more famous black people whose lives ended to give life to the BLM movement not been breaking the law they never would have been contacted by the police and would probably still be alive today, except maybe the cigarette seller in NYC whose state of physical health probably would have caught up with him by now.

  • MJ

    I don't know that it's deliberately ambiguous. I think these people are just really bad at communication, verbal and otherwise. Asset forfeiture is certainly one possible interpretation of "for-profit" policing. The one that came to mind for me, and which fits more closely to their narrative, relates to singling out minority suspects for minor crimes and imposing fines for such offenses. If I remember correctly, this was one of the complaints of the Ferguson protesters. The profiling aspect of it seemed to be what was most objectionable.

    I don't live in a neighborhood with a high concentration of minorities, so I can't speak to the extent that this is really happening, but it would not surprise me terribly given the many other examples of petty and mendacious behavior by LE. And revenue-maximization behavior among a public agency is not a stretch by any means.

    But this whole point is part of a greater problem with BLM's list of demands, namely that many of them are exceptionally vague. What constitutes "broken windows policing"? What does community "oversight" or "representation" entail? What are "fair" police union contracts (apart from Warren's point about pork barreling)? "Demilitarization" (WTF)? The BLM folks have a hive-mind mentality, and so I'm sure they all agree with each other as to what these things mean, but they have proven time and again to be tone-deaf to the perspective of non-BLM citizens, who may have radically ideas.

  • epobirs

    BLM can't get beyond disruption because their whole premise is demonstrably false. When the primary cause of premature death among blacks stops being other blacks, they might be taken seriously by anyone who pays attention to crime stats.

  • bigmaq1980

    "I thought would be obvious among market thinkers"

    Don't think anyone is arguing against market based competition.

    Instead, the point is, rightly or wrongly, that BLM used "for profit policing" in a specific context, not anywhere near what we would think of normally as "for profit".

    In the case of Ferguson, it seems the "incentive" was within the government itself to maximize revenue in the name of protection - a deception that misuses the force of the police.

  • bigmaq1980

    "But this whole point is part of a greater problem with BLM's list of demands, namely that many of them are exceptionally vague."

    Yes. Like everything else, the devil is in the details. Like any politician, they know this and use words that sound good to their target audience (and, perhaps, benign to the rest of us). But as you identify, there are clues as to where they are going with some of this.

    I've posted a similar point below with even more questions on specifics.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    bigmaq1980,

    You are correct about where the "incentive" is.

    However, when you say "that BLM used "for profit policing" in a specific context" this is somewhat misleading. Yes, BLM used "for profit policing" intending that specific meaning. However, where it misleads is that the use of "for profit policing" as a reference to using fines and civil asset forfeiture to drive government revenue did not originate with BLM or anyone else on the left, nor did it rise out of the events in Ferguson.

    The term "for profit policing" has been used with that meaning by libertarian critics.of police misconduct for many years before the events in Ferguson that gave rise to the BLM movement.

  • bigmaq1980

    "The term "for profit policing" has been used with that meaning by libertarian critics.of police misconduct for many years"

    From 2010...
    http://www.cato.org/events/policing-profit-abuse-civil-asset-forfeiture

    Always nice to back up a point with a link.

    It is no surprise that a group like BLM would pick up on a good turn of phrase to use in their own way.

    It is kind of like how the left have co-opted the term "liberal", so now we need to make the distinction between "classical liberals" and them.

    Incidentally, cannot find that chart and outline from BLM on their site anymore. Wonder why? Instead, there is a page of (mostly leftist) "principles"...
    http://blacklivesmatter.com/guiding-principles/

    Didn't realize we'd be debating about something so ephemeral.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "It is no surprise that a group like BLM would pick up on a good turn of phrase to use in their own way."

    Except that they weren't using it in their own way, they were using it exactly the way CATO and other libertarians have used it.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "Incidentally, cannot find that chart and outline from BLM on their site anymore. Wonder why? Instead, there is a page of (mostly leftist) "principles"..."

    Because it was never on the main BLM site, It's from a separate offshoot site.

    If you go to the Mother Jones article linked to by the OP you would see:

    "I'm happy to see that they've now come up with exactly what everyone's
    been asking for. It's called Campaign Zero, and it even comes with its own nifty graphic:"

    Here is where you can find Campaign Zero: http://www.joincampaignzero.org

    If you go to their site, that chart is interactive and if you click on the for profit policing you will see that when they say "for profit policing", they are referring to exactly the same thing as CATO.

  • bigmaq1980

    You and I disagree...they are co-opting the term.

  • bigmaq1980

    Right, it was campaign zero...forgot I had the link to it already in an earlier post.

    If all one reads is that section, can easily believe it's all "exactly the same thing as CATO".

    Taken as a whole, it looks somewhat different.

    As leftists, they are co-opting the idea.