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BLM Co-Founder Defends $3 Million Real Estate Empire as Americans Face Unprecedented Housing Crisis

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On a scale of 0-$3.2 million, how much do you think Patrisse Khan-Cullors regrets saying she was a “trained Marxist?”

It’s not just that it’s bad P.R. coming from a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s that, if you’re going to spend that much buying up housing stock, you probably oughtn’t also be claiming you’re also super serious about the tenets of “Das Kapital” — particularly these days.

If you’re a first-time home buyer in the United States right now, you’re going to be more than a little bit squeezed. An analysis by lender Freddie Mac released last week estimated the U.S. housing market is 4 million homes short of where it needs to be, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Thanks to COVID-19, there have been an unprecedented supply shortage and building delays. However, there’s also been under-building since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which slowed the building of homes over a long period.

Then, as the pandemic appears to be easing in the U.S., there’s also a spike in demand as urban dwellers wanted to move out of apartments and cities and into houses in the suburbs. In February, median home prices were up over 16 percent versus a year ago.

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Meanwhile, in March, Marketwatch reported that black homeownership has reached the lowest level since the 1960s. Given that owning a home is seen as one of the surest paths to financial stability and generational wealth for Americans, that’s a real problem.

While rents are mainly stable, homelessness has increased due to the pandemic. According to The Guardian, data supplied to Congress shows 2.2 percent more people experienced homelessness on any given night in 2020 than in 2019, with 7 percent more being unsheltered and 15 percent being chronically homeless.

These are unprecedented pressures. But please, let your favorite “trained Marxist” and Black Lives Matter co-founder tell you about how she was just looking out for her family by amassing a $3.2 million real estate empire.

That’s what Khan-Cullors did on Thursday when she was interviewed by former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill about the four homes she’s purchased, including a $1.4 million estate in Topanga Canyon, California, a mostly white, very wealthy Los Angeles community.

Do you think Patrisse Khan-Cullors is a hypocrite?

According to the New York Post, it’s one of four homes she’s purchased — and she doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

“I think that is a critique that is wanting, and I say that because the way that I live my life is in direct support to black people, including my black family members, first and foremost,” said Khan-Cullors, currently the head of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.

“For so many black folks who are able to invest in themselves and their community, they choose to invest in their family, and that’s what I have chosen to do.”

She went on to criticize “right-wing media” for claiming her lifestyle was funded by donations from supporters to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. (Which isn’t actually what all the critics have been saying, although it’s still worth noting how, as the New York Post noted, the group’s “finances flow through a complex web of for-profit and nonprofit corporate entities.”)

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What some of us we’ve been saying, instead, is that she’s clearly been enriching herself on the movement — and that she scaled the movement by positioning herself as the vanguard of the far left, telling one interviewer in an exchange several years ago that’s been revisited very frequently over the past week or two she was a “trained Marxist”:

I feel slightly vindicated by the events of late because, while most of my fellow conservatives would point at the clip and use it to imply that even the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was Marxist, I thought the very claim she was a “trained Marxist” was hilarious on its face.

Sure, the two things aren’t mutually inclusive — in fact, at least when talking about the national Black Lives Matter organization, there’s little doubt their sympathies go in a Marxist direction. But what, exactly, is a “trained Marxist?” You join some activist groups, pretend you understand a few key Theodor Adorno essays and throw around phrases like “peak late capitalism” in your Facebook posts. There, there’s your Marxism training.

However, if you wanted to say that Khan-Cullors learned the Marxist theory that all pigs are equal but some pigs are more equal than others, then, yes, she’s learned well. She hasn’t learned it the old-fashioned way, by oppressing the masses a la communist China or the grim misery of the former Soviet Union and its client states (like the liberal fetish of Cuba). Rather, she’s managed to monetize the Black Lives Matter movement by capitalizing (no pun intended) on the vibrantly dynamic Western world.

Khan-Cullors has a deal with Warner Bros., according to the New York Post. While she might serve in a volunteer capacity with the Black Lives Matter Global Foundation, the national Black Lives Matter organization said she’d received $120,000 from “duties such as serving as spokesperson and engaging in political education work,” Fox News reported. She also said her work as a college professor and other ventures managed to net her the money to buy the properties.

“Organizers should get paid for the work that they do,” she said, about the 3:50 mark in the video above. “The fact that the right-wing media is trying to create hysteria around my spending is frankly racist and sexist.”

Yes, but if you’re a “trained Marxist” and an organizer trying to build a movement, spending $3.2 million on amassing real estate for your own family is prima facie hypocritical, no matter what your race or sex.

Beyond that, this becomes particularly problematic when one looks at the state of homeownership in general and black homeownership in particular.

Khan-Cullors doesn’t do that, despite the fact she was the co-founder of the most visible American activist movement since the 1960s. Her reasoning? Organizers should get paid for their work.

Khan-Cullors might not see it, or pretend not to see it, but her real estate holdings are obscene compared to the lot of Black Lives Matter supporters — of whatever race — who are squeezed out of the housing market or who are homeless.

It may be a small drop in the bucket, but she’s not willing to put that money back into her wider cultural and economic family. She’d rather sow it back into her own family — which, last I checked, isn’t how Marxism is supposed to work, comrade.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture