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July 17, 2019

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Statement on the FBI report targeting "Black Identity Extremists"

 

In a report dated August 3, 2017, the FBI put forth a new designation for contemporary Black activism: "Black Identity Extremists." The report, titled "Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers," creates a case for investigating "ideologically motivated" black activists on the grounds that they are likely to commit acts of domestic terrorism. As activists organize to fight police brutality, white supremacy, and systemic racism, this racist and disruptive designation justifies further punitive action against Black activists. Furthermore, it solidifies and expands the disciplinary power of the state against its citizens.

 

By utilizing the term "Black Identity Extremists," the FBI identifies black activism as a threat on par with or superseding that of white supremacist extremism as a domestic terrorist threat. This language and its implications ignore the history of violence against Black people in the United States by white nationalists and racist identity groups like the KKK, as well as present day demonstrations and uprisings by white supremacists.

 

The SPUSA condemns FBI surveillance of activists and its long and violent history of oppressing Black liberation work. SPUSA demands that FBI director Christopher Ray withdraw the BIE designation and make a commitment not to train officers in anything related to it. The targeting of Black organizations who are working to address the vicious injustices committed by the capitalist white supremacist state against Black people is shameful and all too typical.

 

We stand with Black-led organizing, and with people who are doing the necessary work to remedy and eliminate the harm inflicted on Black people by the US government and its racist, imperialist policies, within and outside of its borders. We believe that until all segments of our society are free, none of us are free or safe. The targeting of Black organizations today will open the door to the same treatment of all workers for social justice in the future. We stand together.

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