Going forward, it's probably going to be pretty important for the Democratic Party to maintain a strong relationship with the Black Lives Matter movement, considering that eliminating the racial inequity gap will arguably be one of the left's main political project for the foreseeable future.
So a confidential memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that leaked on Wednesday is probably not the most wonderful thing for the party. The memo, reportedly leaked by Guccifer 2.0, reveals some unflattering information about the Democratic relationship to the BLM movement.
Tension between the party and BLM persisted throughout the presidential primary season. In August of last year, activists in Seattle stormed onto a Bernie Sanders stage during a packed speech and prevented him from speaking. In February, a BLM activist approached Hillary Clinton during a speech and asked her to apologize for her comment from 1996 that black youth are "superpredators." And in April, Bill Clinton clashed with people protesting his 1994 crime bill while campaigning for Hillary.
If the memo is any indication, these incidents sparked definite worry within the Democratic hierarchy. Authored by former DCCC director of diversity and inclusion Troy Perry, the memo appears to have been intended as a loose guide for congressional candidates if and when they met with BLM activists.
The short document is full of eyebrow-raising passages. Among the most notable is the section labeled "Tactics," where the party addresses best practices when meeting with BLM activists:
If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists. Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings.
- Listen to their concerns
- Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions
- Frontline district staff should meet with activists
"Don't offer support for concrete policy positions" is particularly interesting, because presumably the entire basis of the meeting would be to come to some sort of agreement on the best way for both sides to move forward policy-wise in order to advance the positions in their mutual interest. And yet!
The memo also refers to BLM as a "radical movement," and instructs people to not say "all lives matter" or mention "black-on-black crime." "This is the worst response," they warn. Which, true.
“We will not allow this hacking to distract from our common goals nor disparage the BLM movement,” DCCC spokesperson Meredith Kelly told Buzzfeed News. “We continue to welcome further engagement with activists and BLM leaders nationwide.”
An unnamed DCCC official added that the bullet point doesn't necessarily "prevent them from taking policy positions in the future."
The full memo can be read below.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.