"Black Identity Extremism":
FBI Report Calls for Intensified Attacks on Black Activists

October 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


A new FBI document signals an ominous escalation in government spying on and repression against Black people fighting murder and brutality by police. The document, titled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” is an “intelligence assessment” put out in August and leaked to the journal Foreign Policy earlier this month.

The appearance of this document indicates the intent of the Trump/Pence regime to criminalize all Black protest against police abuse and murder and to turn every Black person who expresses interest in such protest or even in their African heritage into a potential suspect and target for spying. This goes along with the extreme white supremacist fascism of this regime. This should set off alarms for anyone who cares about injustice and underlines the importance of driving out this whole regime.

FBI “Guidance” Means Letting the Mad Dog Local Cops Off the Chain

The FBI is making the report available to police and intelligence agencies across the country, aiming to provide “guidance” to identify “extremists.” It paints an utterly false picture, claiming there is ongoing violence by “ideologically motivated” Black “extremists.” Its central point: “[I]t is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police violence against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as a justification for such violence.”

There is so much bullshit packed into that one sentence that several articles could be written taking it apart. But some key points:

  • Police violence against Black people is a reality, not a “perception.” It is deeply embedded and systemic in this society. Police are on pace to kill about 1,100 people this year. The victims are disproportionately Black and other people of color. Hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown people are warehoused in prisons across the U.S. Now the fascist Trump/Pence regime, and its white supremacist attorney general, Jeff Sessions, are removing even the pretense of getting police to act with “restraint.”
  • A determined national movement against murder by police, beginning in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, has been one of the most positive social developments in recent years. This resistance has been overwhelmingly nonviolent—on the part of the protesters. Protests have been repeatedly attacked and repressed by police. Protesters have been beaten, arrested, and in many cases charged with heavy felonies.
  • Fascist white supremacists have repeatedly launched vicious attacks on people from Berkeley to Charlottesville. They have openly organized this violence on social media and web sites. They explicitly call themselves “white nationalists.” Trump called them “very fine people” after their ugly march in Charlottesville where one of them killed a counter-protestor.

A Dangerous Development, a Big Challenge

The authors of this FBI report made up the term “Black Identity Extremism.” They give no evidence that anyone at any time has used it to describe an outlook or organization. Then they use it retroactively to describe events from 40 and 50 years ago that have no organizational or ideological connection with today’s activists. According to the authors and adherents of this report, anyone who identifies with their African heritage and opposes police brutality becomes a possible “extremist” and a target for FBI and police spying. The report, in a footnote, offers a token acknowledgement that advocating political positions “may be” constitutionally protected (emphasis ours). But it defines “black identity extremists” as people who advocate “a separate black homeland or black autonomous social institutions ... formed around ... a belief in racial superiority or supremacy.”

The report’s language is obviously meant to evoke the Black Lives Matter movement. It suspects anyone who uses terms like “the oppressor” or has tattoos and “pocket litter” associated with “black extremism” or who “likes” social media pages of “black separatist groups” as “BIE.”

The report’s authors try to cover up the fact that they have no evidence to back up their outrageous lies and accusations by claiming there are far more instances of “ideologically motivated attacks” by “BIE’s” than their report indicates. They write that their report does not address “BIE’s who have attacked law enforcement officers during the course of officers’ routine duties.” In other words, the report makes the outrageous and completely unfounded claim (again, with no evidence) that Black people who supposedly “attacked” police when they were being arrested may not have done so as part of a “premeditated” attack but were still motivated by “BIE.”

FBI: Long Piggish History and Fascist Current-Day Reality

The FBI has a long, ugly piggish history of attempting to disrupt and break up progressive, radical, and revolutionary organizations and movements. One example: the infamous COINTELPRO program during the 1960s and ’70s, which used vicious and illegal methods to especially go after groups and individual leaders who opposed the oppression of Black people. They slandered and threatened Malcolm X before he was assassinated, and organized murderous assaults on the Black Panther Party.

The fact that this “BIE” document came out now, as the fascist Trump/Pence regime is moving to rapidly consolidate its grip on power, indicates the extent of lies and deceit the rulers of this country will utilize to suppress repeated outpourings against police brutality. It also drives home the importance of stepping up the fight against murder and terror by police, and the urgency of ending the nightmare of the Trump/Pence regime.

Finally, this document alone should show the folly of any hopes that the FBI will somehow “restrain” Trump and Pence.



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