A review by txfu
From #blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor


As a political strategy book on how to achieve Black liberation via intersectional working-class solidarity, I would say it's lukewarm, but that's fine with me- I did not pick this up anticipating a comprehensive, cohesive, cogent strategy for the future of the BLM movement.

As a historical and political analysis book that economically details the events and conditions that led to the genesis of the Black Lives Matter movement during the Obama presidency, this was a fantastic. I have either studied or knew of most of the historical events/developments contributing to the racial oppression in this nation that were referenced, but had not connected them as creating and upholding structural racism until recent years (with the aid of lucid, deft writers like Keaanga-Yamahtta Taylor). What this book newly articulated for me was the failure of having "Black faces in high places" in fundamentally improving the lives of Black working class people. The hope that went into believing that if Black elected officials were leading Black communities, if the community finally has power over itself, then that guaranteed brighter futures ahead. And what came out on the other side of Black electoral success: a different, perhaps more insidious, way to uphold and re-entrench the very systems Black communities thought they could change and be free from by electing Black representatives and leaders. I didn't realize I needed new language for the deep cynicism that I've developed around treating a singular focus on channeling political energy into voter registration and having non-white representation in electoral politics as a panacea for inequality, when it's at best a sorely inadequate proxy for the social, economic, and political change needed to eradicate anti-black racism and at worst a deliberate distraction from the policies and practices that could be truly transformational for Black liberation