Five Black Lives Matter demonstrators were shot Monday night in Minneapolis, apparently by white supremacists. A protest against the police shooting of 24-years old Jamar Clark was in progress. Mr. Clark was gunned down on November 14 and protests against his shooting have continued unabated ever since. Those five that were shot are all expected to live, although one person was shot in the stomach and had surgery already.
The white supremacists apparently carefully planned the shooting. According to Black Lives Matter activists, men that they identified as white supremacists had been coming to the Black Lives Matter protests for several days. At one point they wanted to mount a racist flag, but were prevented from doing so by protestors. The night of the shooting, according to anti-racists, the shooters had tried to blend into the crowd, but were shunted off out of the protest area by the Black Lives Matter security team It was at that point, that the racists opened fire.
As IREHR goes to press, two suspects in the shooting have been arrested.
This incident highlights a strategic problem faced by all anti-racists protests. On the one hand, their main purpose is to force an institution—the police, a city council, a university, etc.—to change their policies or personnel. In Minneapolis they were trying to get the police to release video of the shooting of Jamar Clark, and have the policemen who killed him punished. They were opposed by status quo racists who wanted to protect the police. At the same time, they also face a second group of opponents: the active racists and white supremacists in the community who oppose any and all anti-racist activity.
There is increasing evidence that white supremacists are planning to interject themselves into Black Lives Matter protests, much like the Oath Keepers tried to do in Ferguson earlier this year. Further, in Missouri, where anti-racist protests managed to win a change of university personnel, they now face the wrath of the largely white population of the state that opposes anti-racist actions. In Missouri, a recent Kansas City Star poll showed, 62% of the population disagreed with the anti-racist protestors. Further, 84% of Republicans told pollsters they disapproved. As a result, there will be politicians who run for office next year and pillory “radical tenured” faculty.
It is the duty of anti-racists everywhere to condemn the shooters in Minneapolis, and build a fairer more just society on every front.