The principle stands on BLM kneeling – IRR

29 October 2021 - The principle against the Cricket South Africa (CSA) directive that players kneel before the BlackLivesMatter (BLM) call stands firm, whether or not Quinton de Kock is allowed to play for the team against Sri Lanka tomorrow after kneeling. That principle stands on two points.

The principle against the Cricket South Africa (CSA) directive that players kneel before the BlackLivesMatter (BLM) call stands firm, whether or not Quinton de Kock is allowed to play for the team against Sri Lanka tomorrow after kneeling. That principle stands on two points. 

First, accepting that players may legitimately support social causes – such as “Pink Day” fundraising against breast cancer – still requires a limiting principle. One principle is that government and flag-bearing employers such as CSA may not compel overtly political speech. This distinguishes “Pink Day” from BLM.  

Applying this principle would leave room for apolitical causes while also defending people from being compelled to make political speech. Further, it would protect those who would rather make their political speech voluntarily, and so authoritatively, rather than on command, under a “directive”. 

The longer the CSA directive remains in place the deeper a precedent is entrenched that removes both protections from later attempts at compelling political speech. 

Second, even if the CSA directive were removed, the primary point remains to stand against BLM, for the reasons set out in the IRR report, “Because #BlackLivesMatter” [https://irr.org.za/reports/occasional-reports/because-blacklivesmatter-what-institutions-need-to-know-about-the-blm-global-network]. 

As this report argues, and other IRR reports demonstrate in detail, the lives of ordinary black South Africans would be significantly improved if the drive for expropriation without compensation was abandoned and in its place effective land reform was implemented, which would include the capitalist proposal to issue millions of title deeds to black people whose ‘means of production’ – the land they are living on – is currently state-controlled. 

No evidence has been presented to date that kneeling for BLM accelerates the political outcome of genuine land reform or resists the current drive to EWC instead. To the contrary, US BLM founders have openly endorsed Venezuela’s EWC programme and espoused Marxism. 

Domestically, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which endorsed EWC, ushered BLM into South Africa’s mainstream through a June 4 2020 statement that claimed that protests against the killing of Collins Khosa and George Floyd, both “speak to a rage across the globe at continued white supremacy and the use of state violence to support it”. BLM’s South African initiation was both political and absurd. 

Said IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “If the Proteas want to make political expressions it would be great if they all took a stand against EWC, in support of spreading capitalist title deeds, and against the ‘white supremacy’ scapegoating of Collins Khosa’s murder. No one can be sure of the best way to symbolise that but simply kneeling in the fashion of Colin Kaepernick, whose stance is effectively the opposite, and was imported by conspicuously political actors, won’t cut it. 

“Furthermore, political commentators have compared kneeling for BLM to the Proteas’ ‘Pink Day’ gestures, while at the same time insisting that no particular programme of action is entailed by kneeling. That is absurd too. 

“Every ‘Pink Day’ is accompanied by an explicit programme, in the latest case donations to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, which is what makes the colourful gesture worthwhile. By contrast, kneeling for BLM is either not supposed to commit one to any specific action – making it a useless, empty gesture, made worse by its being compelled – or, whether naively or sincerely, it accelerates the BLM political programme whose specific actions, like holding “white supremacy” responsible for Collins Khosa’s death and implementing EWC, are most likely to harm black people.” 

Media contact: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
 
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

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