In an exposé of the forces behind the social unrest that marked 2020, filmmaker Ami Horowitz spent a year amidst the rioters and protesters triggered by the death of George Floyd, spoke to leaders of Black Lives Matter and interviewed a beleaguered black pastor in Chicago whose church is within a block of the most dangerous block in America and harshly criticized the BLM movement and the corporations that sponsor it.
The video begins with Horowitz noting that the Black Lives Matter movement came to the forefront after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, who, we were initially told, was supposedly shot with his hands up, “leading to the hands up, don’t shoot crusade and the ensuing sacking of the town of Ferguson.”
But Horowiz pointed out that black eyewitnesses, jury members, and Barack Obama’s Department of Justice “destroyed the false narrative … in fact, it found the opposite: Michael Brown attacked officer Darren Wilson and attempted to take his weapon.”
“Yet this durable lie continues to exist,” Horowitz asserted.
“While most of those marching in Black Lives matter protests were not involved in riots across the country, there were very few among the hundreds of protesters that I spoke to that wouldn’t in some way justify the riots on the basis of perceived institutional racism or actual historical wrongs,” he continued.
“After the killing of George Floyd, the nation was convulsed with upheaval and rioting began across the country,” said Horowitz. “During these riots, dozens of people were killed or injured; thousands of businesses and properties were looted and torched, many of them minority owned. … The total losses for these businesses is estimated to be up to $5 billion with the majority of these businesses not insured for this type of loss. The devastation of these mostly minority neighborhoods will be felt for years.”
Horowitz spoke with Melina Abdullah, the founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, who stated, “So our freedom rides, the work that we’ve been doing, is really important that we go to Louisville. It’s really important that we go to Minneapolis, right? It’s really important that in 2014 we went to Ferguson or that we went to New York. It’s important to understand that, yeah, there’s these spaces and moments of mass uprising and that’s what freedom rides do. … It’s a great way to really, deeply get to know and understand the people that we’re organizing with ….”
Below are some of the comments Horowitz recorded from BLM protesters:
“We just gotta get rid of the whole s***.”
“Riot is the voice of the unheard.”
“I think some destruction and looting kinda sends the message to people and breaking their s*** is justified.”
“So will we take it back, will we burn it down? Yes, we’re getting back what’s ours. You won’t give it up? Ok, you ain’t having it no more.”
“This country was built on violence and when people had enough of the violence, that y’all have against us, and we give it back to y’all, y’all wanna be mad.”
“Do we need violence as a tool? Yes. Yes, you gotta have violence. There’s four levels of protesting. Looting and rioting is part of being protesting. So yes.”
Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago, spoke with Horowitz on O block; Horowitz noted that it has been called the most dangerous block in America. Brooks stated:
It amazes me that someone would even have the capacity to even think that those riots and the looting has helped our community. It is obvious when we’re already dealing with economic issues; we’re already dealing with not having enough jobs in our community, not having enough economic base. The last thing we need are for companies to pull out, for stores to close, for people to not have the resources because of rioting and looting. That’s something that we never ever need to happen again in our community.
These same black people that you’re saying you want to help are the same stores that you’re rioting and looting. And so when people say, “Well, we don’t own any of the stores,” that’s not true. There are mom and pop stores all around the South Side of Chicago who have experienced the looting and experienced the rioting and they’re not coming back. They’re not gonna open again because they’ve been devastated by people rushing in, looting, taking their things and now they have nothing.
Abdullah insisted, “Policing evolves from chattel slavery so wouldn’t it be ridiculous to say, ‘Let’s reform a vestige of chattel slavery?’ They do have to be prepared to completely dismantle the system of public safety.”
Brooks commented, “I think about how idiotic these types of statements are for people who live here, the impact that it would have on the increase of violence, the increase of crime, the chaos it would bring… the last thing we need is for the police to be defunded. … The last thing we need to do is to abolish the police in our neighborhood because we cannot have the anarchy and the chaos that would go on with police not being present.”
Horowitz noted that the sentiment of killing police officers “could be seen advocated at every BLM riot and even most of the protests that I went to.”
He asked Abdullah about the targeting and killing of police officers. He showed a clip of her smiling, “I can’t talk about that here.”
Asked if capitalism is destroying our country, Abdullah answered, “Yeah, absolutely. Capitalism, which is based on this drive for profit in the unpaid labor of the worker, right, super exploits black people and creates systems to kind of shore it up.”
Horowitz noted that according to The Economist, between May 2020 and December 2020 donations to Black Lives Matter-related causes netted over $10 billion. He commented, “The only part of capitalism that BLM does in fact love, is guilt capitalism. … That’s where corporations and individuals donate massive amounts of money to the organization even though Black Lives Matter demonizes them and exists to put them out of business.”
Brooks concluded,”If black lives really mattered to BLM, then why are you not here when six-month-old children get shot? When a three-year-old gets shot, when a 12-year-old girl gets shot in the head? And all of this violence is all around us. If they really matter, where are you? Why don’t you show up? Why don’t you give us a hand in helping us to transform our community? It’s amazing to me that organizations can say, ‘there for black lives,’ but when black lives are being eradicated and taken and stolen, there’s no sight of ’em.”