Black Lives Matter Holds ‘Black Xmas’ To ‘Divest from White Capitalism’

Need to “divest from white capitalism” this Christmas? Neither did I, but I’m not a member of Black Lives Matter. In fact, I’d almost forgotten the loose constellation of social justice groups still existed.

They’re still around, though, and they’re having a Black Christmas. Not just Black Friday, mind you; that’s already been taken. Instead, for the sixth year in a row, they’re asking for “no Spending with White corporations” between Nov. 29 through New Year’s Day.

In a hashtag-heavy manifesto on their website, Black Lives Matter said the sixth annual iteration of the event “is intended to strengthen the economic muscle of the Black community year-round.”

The website reads: “#Blackxmas, also known as #verifiedblackowned challenges our community to think and engage collectively and determine how an economic agenda plays into a Black liberation agenda.”

”It is not a call to replace White capitalism with Black capitalism, but to engage in ‘cooperative economics’ (the Kwanzaa principle of Ujamaa), which is a call to develop models that bring collective benefit. More tangibly, it means investing in Black organizations that benefit our community (#BuildBlack) and spending intentionally with Black-owned businesses that provide vital services, resources, jobs, and other community benefits (#BuyBlack).”

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The website says Black Christmas is “not an economic plan for Black liberation.

“It is meant to spark the development of a larger Black economic agenda, to encourage creative thought and strategic efforts, that are much larger than a seasonal campaign. It is meant to begin the process of a collective radical imagining around what is now 1.3 trillion dollars in Black spending that can be converted into endless possibilities,” the website states.

Some of these possibilities include donating to black-led community organizations, buying from black-owned businesses, putting your money in community banks with black ownership, helping build “Black cooperatives” and — oh, let’s face facts, not a single sentence of this coheres as a legitimate strategy but instead exists as a hodgepodge of false racial consciousness and low-level academic lingo. This was always an issue with the Black Lives Matter movement in the first place, and it’s an issue here writ large.

Do you plan to participate in “#BlackXmas?”

Oh, also: “Donald Trump embodies White capitalism. If you are anti-Trump, you should hold back your resources from him and the like.”

What I found curious is that there’s not necessarily a working definition of “white capitalism” provided. Instead, it’s talked about as if it were a concept so irreducible that we ought to consider it a first principle.

Call me a noob here, but it would be nice to know what exactly we’re talking about other than another name for capitalism without non-white racial consciousness added.

They try, sort of. Take this article from the Los Angeles Sentinel by Melina Abdullah written during #BlackXmas 2016, shortly after Trump’s election, explaining the problems behind “white-supremacist capitalism.”

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”White-supremacist capitalism is driven by profit and there is no more profitable time than the Christmas season,” Abdullah wrote.

”Nearly $700 billion is spent on holiday shopping, accounting for roughly 20% of annual sales according to the National Retail Foundation.  Americans are socialized to spend (often more than they can afford), becoming voracious consumers, as a part of a holiday season that feeds White-supremacist capitalism.”

In 2017, speaking on her radio show, Abdullah again tried to define it: “We say ‘white capitalism’ because it’s important that we understand that the economic system and the racial structures are connected,” she said, according to Newsweek.

“We have to not only disrupt the systems of policing that literally kill our people, but we have to disrupt the white supremacist, capitalistic, patriarchal, heteronormative system that is really the root cause of these police killings.”

“Black Lives Matter in underscoring the relationship between it and capitalism is encouraging community members to divest from White capitalism and invest in Black community building,” she added in another L.A. Sentinel article that same year.

The group’s L.A. chapter seems to like the “divest from White capitalism” theme.

Take away the references to racial injustices —  which were mostly non sequiturs, anyhow — and replace them with talk about class consciousness and this sounds identical to a standard-issue Marxist critique of the capitalist system in general and the Christmas season in particular.

If you find anything new in all of this — or on anything linked off of Black Christmas’ website — that draws you toward a new understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement’s goals that isn’t facile or inchoate, please do let me know.

But, at least they have mall evangelists, because we know those are effective:

And at least this didn’t involve “justice caroling” at an upscale shopping complex:

Outside of a select subset of activists, Black Christmas (#BlackXmas? Should I just be using the hashtag?) hasn’t caught on.

From the look of things, the last Christmas of the decade isn’t going to be the moment this catches on like wildfire. Better luck in the 2020s, I guess?

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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'SMSX' : 'LGSX'; let factor = 1.0; if( typeof FFADS.units[bid.adUnitCode].scales[screen_size][bid.bidderCode] != 'undefined' ){ factor -= FFADS.units[bid.adUnitCode].scales[screen_size][bid.bidderCode]; FFADS.debug( 'factor for ' + bid.bidderCode + ' in ' + bid.adUnitCode + ' set to ' + factor + '; bid changed from ' + bidCpm + ' to ' + ( bidCpm *= factor ) ); } return bidCpm; } } }; pbjs.que.push(function() { pbjs.enableAnalytics( { provider: 'roxot', options: { publisherIds: ["556182c7-ac68-4d56-8c66-4b4336e28e5e"] } } ); pbjs.setConfig( { priceGranularity: "high", userSync: { iframeEnabled: true, filterSettings: { iframe: { bidders: ['openx', 'pubmatic'], filter: 'include' } } } } ); FFADS.debug( 'adding units to PB' ); FFADS.debug( FFADS.pb_units ); pbjs.addAdUnits( FFADS.pb_units ); let adUnitCodes = []; for( let ad_unit in FFADS.units ) if( ! FFADS.units[ad_unit].lazy_load ) adUnitCodes.push( ad_unit ); FFADS.debug( 'requesting PB bids for initial units' ); pbjs.requestBids({ bidsBackHandler: FFADS.pbjs_bids_back, adUnitCodes: adUnitCodes }); }); function sendInitialAdserverRequest() { if( FFADS.initialAdserverRequestSent ) return; FFADS.initialAdserverRequestSent = true; FFADS.debug( 'queuing DFP request for initial units' ); googletag.cmd.push(function() { pbjs.que.push(function() { FFADS.debug( 'sending DFP request for initial units' ); let adUnitCodes = []; let dfpAdUnits = []; for( let ad_unit in FFADS.units ) if( ! FFADS.units[ad_unit].lazy_load ) { if( FFADS.units[ad_unit].ad_type == 'hybrid' ) { let pb_bid = pbjs.getHighestCpmBids( ad_unit ); pb_bid = pb_bid.length ? pb_bid[0].cpm : 0; FFADS.debug( 'Prebid bid ' + pb_bid + ' for ' + ad_unit ); if( pb_bid < FFADS.units[ad_unit].custom_ads[0].cpm ) { FFADS.debug( 'Custom code won for ' + ad_unit ); let el = false; if( el = document.getElementById( ad_unit ) ) { el.innerHTML = FFADS.units[ad_unit].custom_ads[0].code; eval( FFADS.units[ad_unit].custom_ads[0].rendering_script ); } else FFADS.debug( 'failed to render custom code in ' + ad_unit + ' since the unit is not on this page' ); continue; } } adUnitCodes.push( ad_unit ); dfpAdUnits.push( FFADS.units[ad_unit].instances[ad_unit].gt_slot ); } pbjs.setTargetingForGPTAsync( adUnitCodes ); apstag.setDisplayBids(); googletag.pubads().refresh( dfpAdUnits ); }); }); } FFADS.debug( 'scheduling DFP request for initial units' ); setTimeout( function() { sendInitialAdserverRequest(); }, FFADS.prebid_timeout ); (function () { var gads = document.createElement('script'); gads.async = true; gads.type = 'text/javascript'; var useSSL = 'https:' == document.location.protocol; gads.src = (useSSL ? 'https:' : 'http:') + '//www.googletagservices.com/tag/js/gpt.js'; var node = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; node.parentNode.insertBefore(gads, node); })(); var googletag = googletag || {}; googletag.cmd = googletag.cmd || [ function() { FFADS.debug( 'googletag.cmd starting' ); } ]; googletag.cmd.push( function() { googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad(); for( let ad_unit in FFADS.units ) if( ! FFADS.units[ad_unit].lazy_load && ( FFADS.units[ad_unit].ad_type == 'dfp_prebid' || FFADS.units[ad_unit].ad_type == 'hybrid' ) ) { FFADS.debug( 'defining slot for ' + ad_unit + ' #' + ad_unit ); FFADS.units[ad_unit].instances[ad_unit].gt_slot = googletag.defineSlot( FFADS.get_unit_path( ad_unit ), FFADS.units[ad_unit].sizes, ad_unit ).addService( googletag.pubads() ); } googletag.pubads().enableSingleRequest(); firefly_setTargeting(); googletag.pubads().setCentering(true); googletag.enableServices(); } ); function sendSingleAdserverRequest( ad_unit, div_id = false ) { div_id = div_id || ad_unit; if( FFADS.units[ad_unit].instances[div_id].adserverRequestSent ) return; FFADS.units[ad_unit].instances[div_id].adserverRequestSent = true; if( FFADS.units[ad_unit].ad_type == 'hybrid' ) { let pb_bid = pbjs.getHighestCpmBids( div_id ); pb_bid = pb_bid.length ? pb_bid[0].cpm : 0; FFADS.debug( 'Prebid bid ' + pb_bid + ' for #' + div_id ); if( pb_bid < FFADS.units[ad_unit].custom_ads[0].cpm ) { FFADS.debug( 'Custom code won for #' + div_id ); document.getElementById( div_id ).innerHTML = FFADS.units[ad_unit].custom_ads[0].code; eval( FFADS.units[ad_unit].custom_ads[0].rendering_script ); return; } } apstag.setDisplayBids(); pbjs.setTargetingForGPTAsync( [div_id] ); FFADS.debug( 'sending DFP request for ' + ad_unit + ' #' + div_id ); googletag.pubads().refresh( [FFADS.units[ad_unit].instances[div_id].gt_slot] ); } function firefly_pbjs_bids_back_single( ad_unit, div_id = false ) { div_id = div_id || ad_unit; FFADS.debug( 'PB bids back for ' + ad_unit + ' #' + div_id ); window['firefly_pbjs_ready' + ad_unit] = true; if( window['firefly_a9_ready' + ad_unit] ) return sendSingleAdserverRequest( ad_unit, div_id ); } function firefly_a9_bids_back_single( ad_unit, div_id = false ) { div_id = div_id || ad_unit; FFADS.debug( 'A9 bids back for ' + ad_unit + ' #' + div_id ); window['firefly_a9_ready' + ad_unit] = true; if( window['firefly_pbjs_ready' + ad_unit] ) return sendSingleAdserverRequest( ad_unit, div_id ); } !function(a9,a,p,s,t,A,g){if(a[a9])return;function q(c,r){a[a9]._Q.push([c,r])}a[a9]={init:function(){q("i",arguments)},fetchBids:function(){q("f",arguments)},setDisplayBids:function(){},targetingKeys:function(){return[]},_Q:[]};A=p.createElement(s);A.async=!0;A.src=t;g=p.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];g.parentNode.insertBefore(A,g)}("apstag",window,document,"script","//c.amazon-adsystem.com/aax2/apstag.js"); apstag.init({ pubID: 'da224ee9-07c8-4a80-87e4-528df4ac939e', adServer: 'googletag', bidTimeout: FFADS.prebid_timeout }); var a9_slot_arr = []; for( var ad_unit in FFADS.units ) { if( ! FFADS.units[ad_unit].lazy_load ) var a9_slot_arr = a9_slot_arr.concat( [ { slotID: ad_unit, slotName: FFADS.get_unit_path( ad_unit ), sizes: FFADS.units[ad_unit].sizes } ] ); }; FFADS.debug( 'requesting A9 bids for initial units' ); apstag.fetchBids( { slots: a9_slot_arr }, function( bids ) { FFADS.debug( 'A9 bids back for initial units' ); FFADS.a9_ready = true; if( FFADS.pbjs_ready ) return sendInitialAdserverRequest(); } );