On Saturday Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders was speaking at a campaign event in Seattle, Washington when protesters from a local Black Lives Matter chapter took over the stage and demanded the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality.

Here’s video of the event.

There have been no reports of #BlackLivesMatter activists disrupting campaign events held by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though that’s likely due more to the fact that Clinton enjoys Secret Service protection – and thus a much higher level of security than Sen. Sanders.

While many have been critical of the interruption of Sen. Sanders’ event in Seattle by #BlackLivesMatter activists, Jamie Utt at Change From Within noted a similar disruption of Sanders and Martin O’Malley at last month’s Netroots Nation led to O’Malley releasing a criminal justice platform and Sanders including some racial justice analysis in his economic inequality platform.

You know, I’ve always liked Bernie Sanders. I appreciate that as a U.S. Senator, he has been willing to speak the truth about many important social issues, but he’s also a U.S. Senator, which means that he is only going to be as progressive as his electorate allows him to be.

That said, I’d generally been pretty disappointed with the lack of racial justice analysis in his economic inequality platform as a candidate for president. That is, until a few weeks ago when some phenomenal Black activists at the Netroots Nation Presidential Town Hall forced his hand.

For all of the “this is not the way” sentiment we’re hearing from White progressives, it was the interruption at Netroots (alongside other direct pressure) that led to Bernie’s explicit platform on racial justice.

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26 Responses to #BlackLivesMatter activists interrupt Bernie Sanders event in Seattle

  1. AJ says:

    At first I was not a fan of what happened with Black Lives Matter and I agree with the Gawker article “Don’t Piss on Your Best Friend”.

    The Black Vote is the single most Loyal Vote to the Democratic Party, so having a broader debate about issues that Black Lives Matter is talking about can be positive. I also think if the event in Seattle gets Black people looking at Bernie Sanders I think it can help him connect with a group of voters he is having trouble connecting with in order to win the nomination.

    Before I comment on Black Lives Matter, I’ll say the Democratic Party and other Progressive Organizations could be driving more of a narrative about policies like Paid Vacation Time, Sentencing Reform, that Black Lives matter is not hearing about at this time.

    The Black Lives Matter that shouted down Bernie Sanders in Seattle gives the perception that their goal is to just [piss on Bernie Sanders and other liberals that happen to be white. Black Lives Matter is not creating inclusive events like the March on Washington in the 60’s that had goals of full Constitutional Rights, Civil Rights and Voting rights for All Americans.

    Boxing Political Candidates into a Can’t Win Situation and being a Political/Social Organization on an Island are typically not winning strategies.

    • nonquixote says:

      There is a huge difference between many Democrats and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is not concerned with ending racism, period. It is as much a part of their divide and conquer strategy as the Republicon leadership and they both escalate class war for the benefit of the investor financial class continually.

      White liberals (or white conservatives) telling oppressed racial minorities how they are supposed to behave under the life and death struggle and oppression crushing them second by second, unrelentingly is as racist and bigoted against these people as anything else that contributes to the problem of capitalist ensured Black and White slavery.

      Huge winners at the top mean huge numbers of suffering losers with nothing but continuing demands to produce profits for others, at the bottom. It is an unsustainable economic system without mass repression. Bernie (as some of the links I offered explain) is not a socialist in any respect. He’s a beneficiary of the repressive system. Does anyone really expect him to change?

      • nonquixote says:

        And as Sanders has already promised to fully support Clinton should she take the party nomination, well guess how much that is going to do to help ease or help correct racial (capitalist required economic) repression in the USA or abroad.

  2. ® Steve says:

    All lives matter

    Unless you vote for democrats. Then plug them all into groups, make them feel like victims, while keeping them in poverty, dependent on the handouts and replacing their fathers with government.

  3. Harold says:

    I’m not a fan of storming stages but desperate times call for desperate measures. Police are literally killing us by the hundreds. We need to have a voice we need to be heard we need justice for the innocent young men and boys that are being murdered at the hands of the police.

    • David says:

      Well maybe if your kind actually behaved and obey the laws, police wouldn’t be killing you all the time. Learn your place in life and realize that if you obey the police and stop acting like you are entitled to your rules, blocking traffic, causing riots and bothering us decent Americans, maybe you’ll actually be heard.

      • nonquixote says:

        What, “kind,” is his kind, David, specifically commentator Harold’s kind, about whom you have referred to with your comment? Do you know commentator Harold personally to qualify you to unequivocally define his, “kind,” or if not, kindly answer fully then, his “kind,’ of what? Be specific please, tell us what you know about the actual human individual commentator using the name Harold and bravely informing readers here that he is a person who is of African American decent and likely has black pigmented skin.

        Kindly do us all an, “enlightenment,” favor on the human condition (you appear to have an, “answer,” for any situation) and explain to us completely or even minimally ( I seriously doubt you are capable of either),

      • Harold says:

        Wow, nice David real nice. Check your facts, my kind is being murdered in cold blood by vengeful police officers. How would you like to be gunned down while trying to take a test drive at your local car dealership. Or get shot up while running away fro. Peaceful protests in ferguson. Another week and another two examples of innocent black youths being shot up for fun by the people that are supposed to protect them.

  4. Dave says:

    The so-called Black Lives Matter protestor was a plant, executing a smear campaign against Bernie Sanders.

    “The Black lives matter seattle protestor’s startling support of Sarah Palin

    Then more startling information came out concerning Marissa Johnson, the main agitator who berated Bernie for being a racist. According to her own Facebook profile she was a huge Tea Party supporter and had supported Sarah Palin in her 2008 Vice Presidential candidacy.”

    http://reverbpress.com/politics/black-lives-matter-seattle-protestor-is-a-former-tea-party-palin-fan/

    • nonquixote says:

      Plants or not plants is of NO consequence as #BLM interruptions of Bernie’s venues are absolutely correct about Sanders’ record on “equal,” rights for racial minorities in the US. Bernie, with the exception of some laudable activism decades ago, has put racial civil rights advocacy on the back burner as have both major political parties as leadership is answering mostly to big finance who run the country.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/12/why-bernie-sanders-is-no-great-white-hope-for-black-america/

      From the link (spoiler alert, this is the concluding statement from the piece) the historical record is a worthwhile read:

      Whatever one thinks of the incidents in Phoenix and Seattle, there should be little doubt that Black Americans have plenty of reasons not to embrace Bernie Sanders as their shining knight in armor and “best hope.”

    • Dan says:

      So she was a plant because she offhandedly mentioned that she had a Sarah Palin button on her backpack at some point? Did you read the rest of her facebook page? Because I did. She makes a comment later on that post that says: “GOP shoulda groomed me right then, now they gotta see me on the other side *shrugs*” – doesn’t sound like a tea party supporter to me. Also the article suggests that “It is very possible that Johnson was a staunch Tea Party supporter in 2008” even though for all intents and purposes the tea party didn’t really exist until 2009.

      I think you’re suffering from a severe case of confirmation bias.

      • John Casper says:

        Dan, why aren’t there any #Blacklivesmatter protests at HRC appearances, or any of the GOP candidates?

        • Dan says:

          How should I know? Ask the protesters.

          • John Casper says:

            Dan, you sound pretty interested in, “the protesters.”

            “Did you read the rest of her facebook page? Because I did.”

            Which is it, your 9:36 or your 1:24?

            • Dan says:

              Not sure what you are getting at John. The original poster and the article he linked to suggested that Ms. Johnson “was a plant”. I scrolled through her facebook to see if there was anything there to lend credence to his assertion.

              If you have any evidence to the contrary, I would be happy to see it.

              Furthermore, I don’t see how anything I have said would put me in a position to answer your original question about why there haven’t been any protests at HRC or any GOP appearances. If you’re so curious, I suggest you investigate.

              • John Casper says:

                Dan, you wrote, “Not sure what you are getting at John.”

                1. What aren’t you sure about, please be specific.

                You wrote, “The original poster and the article he linked to suggested that Ms. Johnson “was a plant”. I scrolled through her facebook to see if there was anything there to lend credence to his assertion.”

                Dan, the “original poster,” is Zach. You didn’t respond to him.

                You wrote, “If you have any evidence to the contrary, I would be happy to see it.”

                I already gave you the evidence, your words, “Did you read the rest of her facebook page? Because I did.”

                You wrote, “Furthermore, I don’t see how anything I have said would put me in a position to answer your original question about why there haven’t been any protests at HRC or any GOP appearances.”

                Thanks for admitting that you’re not saying you don’t, “know anything.”

                2. Is that wrong? Based on what you just wrote, it sounds like you do know something.

                Dan, my guess is you’re on retainer from the HRC campaign.

                3. Am I right?

                If you are, tell Sec. Clinton’s senior people, it’s long past time for her to dump the Wall Street elites.

                • Dan says:

                  1.”1. What aren’t you sure about, please be specific.”
                  I wasn’t sure what you were trying to get me to say, although later in your response to my last comment you make it clear.

                  2. “I already gave you the evidence, your words, “Did you read the rest of her facebook page? Because I did.””
                  That isn’t evidence.

                  3. You wrote: “Is that wrong? Based on what you just wrote, it sounds like you do know something.”
                  I wasn’t aware that this had happened until I read Zach’s post. Then I looked into the article that Dave had linked to above. That article led me to the facebook page, which I browsed.

                  4. You wrote: “Dan, my guess is you’re on retainer from the HRC campaign.”
                  That is not correct. Although if you feel that strongly about it, maybe I will send them an invoice with a printout of this commentary.

                  5. John, do you agree that the protester was a plant? If so, why?

                  I’m getting the impression that you suffer from a bit of confirmation bias yourself. Meanwhile, I suggest you listen to Sly Sylvester’s podcast segment on this.

                  • Dan says:

                    “Dan, my guess is you’re on retainer from the HRC campaign.

                    3. Am I right?”

                    One last thing – what is it that made you come to that conclusion? None of my comments were pro-Hillary, nor were any of them anti-Bernie. My whole focus was pointing out how weak the case was for his protester being a “plant”.

              • Dan, where in my original post did I assert Ms. Johnson was a plant?

                • Dan says:

                  You didn’t. I misspoke when I said “original poster”. What I meant was the comment I was responding to, that of Dave. He made that assertion. Apologies for the mix up.

  5. Other Side says:

    Zach, you should do like Wonkette does…delete the troll comments and then at the end of the week make fun of them. It’s more fun and pisses them off.

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