Movement for Black Lives (MBL) is a coalition of more than 50 left-of-center racial-advocacy organizations associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the MBL serves as a unifying umbrella organization to coordinate BLM activism and move towards concrete policy goals, including racial reparations, government welfare programs specifically for black Americans, “radical” wealth redistribution, and an overhaul of the criminal justice system.
MBL is a nonprofit “fiscally sponsored” by the Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ), meaning that in addition to providing the bulk of its funding, the AfGJ manages MBL’s finances, taxes, employee insurance, and other management aspects in exchange for a share of MBL revenues. AfGJ has numerous associations with the radical left, running efforts in defense of the de facto socialist dictatorship of Venezuela, publishing a defense of the North Korean regime, and taking actions on behalf of radical-left extremists including Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The Movement for Black Lives endorsed a radical extremist platform in 2016 described as “an extraordinary grab bag of anti-American and fundamentally Marxist demands.” The group’s 2020 platform, called “Vision for Black Lives,” shows continued policy extremism with calls for “a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth,” extensive “reparations” policies, legalization of prostitution and all drugs, government-run health care including “full reproductive services” presumed to include government-funded abortions, the release of radical-left extremists currently wanted or incarcerated, and an end to school reform efforts including Teach for America.
As a fiscally sponsored project, M4BL does not independently report its finances. However, the AfGJ reports on its tax forms that it has given the M4BL $326,078 from 2016-2018. In 2017, MBL also received funding from Borealis Philanthropy, a left-of-center nonprofit that seeded many BLM organizations.
Movement for Black Lives states that it has more than 50 members on its homepage, but no longer lists member organizations on its website. In May 2016, it listed 28 members of its so-called “United Front:”
- Black Alliance for Just Immigration
- Black Youth Project 100
- Project South
- Southerners on New Ground
- Philadelphia Student Union
- Alliance for Educational Justice
- Black Lives Matter Network
- Dream Defenders
- Baltimore Bloc
- Freedom Inc.
- Organization for Black Struggle
- Highlander Research and Education Center
- Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
- The National Conference of Black Lawyers
- Black Women’s Blueprint
- Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
- SpiritHouse Inc.
- The Worker’s Center for Racial Justice
- The BlackOut Collective
- Open Democracy Project at Crescent City Media Group
- National Black Food and Justice Alliance
- Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth
- Dignity and Power Now
- Center for Media Justice
- Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota
- BIG: Blacks in Green
- Mothers Against Police Brutality
Movement for Black Lives originates from a 2015 Black Lives Matter demonstration called Movement for Black Lives Convening held at Cleveland State University and organized by numerous left-wing organizations, including Blackbird, Black Youth Project 100, Million Hoodies, OBS: The Organization for Black Struggle, Ferguson Action, Southerners on New Ground, and Project South. In July 2015, more than 1,500 individuals gathered at the school to protest systematic racism. Attendees went to lectures, workshops, and discussion groups on modern racial issues.
The demonstration made national news when on its final day, a 14-year-old black attendee was detained by the transit police for being intoxicated to the point of being “unable to care for himself.” Protestors gathered around a group of transit police to demand the boy’s release. To get away from the crowd, the police and the boy moved into a cruiser, but the protestors blocked the car’s movement. In response, the police used pepper spray to attempt to disperse the crowd but to no avail. Eventually, the boy was escorted to a nearby ambulance for medical care and was released a few hours later.
Formulated in 2019, Project 2024 is Movement for Black Lives’ five-year strategic plan for attaining political and social reform. The plan calls for using advertising and outreach programs to rally 10% of black Americans (an estimated 4 million people) to support M4BL, 50,000 of whom will form a leadership core. These individuals will then establish autonomous activist communities with local governance in 5-10 cities. These entities can then be organized to engage in nation-wide protest and civil disobedience campaigns against governments and influential private institutions while forming alliances with left-wing causes and organizations that have similar goals and opponents.
Vision for Black Lives
Vision for Black Lives (VBL) is an attempt to consolidate policy proposals to overhaul the US legal system in accordance with Black Lives Matter goals. The VBL is a detailed collection of policy proposals crafted based on the collaboration of Movement for Black Lives’ member organizations that seek to ameliorate alleged systematic racism in the United States.
The VBL advocates for reforming the criminal justice system to reduce penalizing black individuals. Proposed policies include removing all criminal statues for individuals under age 23; refocusing criminal justice on education; ending the militarization of the police; eliminating the foster care system; increasing protective outreach to black women, black gays, and black trans individuals; ending all restrictions on black immigration; ending the death penalty; ending pre-trial detention and bail; and ending the use of criminal records for any professional or legal matter.
The VBL advocates for government and corporate reparations due to alleged past and continuing injustices. Proposed policies include granting all black Americans (including undocumented immigrants) a guaranteed minimal income, free education, and universal access to food, housing, and healthcare.
The VBL advocates for diverting government funding from institutions it deems racist, including the police, prisons, military, and fossil fuel-based corporations, and redirecting funds to black communities or new ostensibly anti-racist institutions, like community outreach programs. It also proposes retroactively decriminalizing all drug offenders and establishing government-run healthcare and daycare.
As late as February 2020, the VBL included criticism of Israel for its treatment of Palestinians and encouraged the United States to divest from its financial support of the state. Mention of Israel and foreign aid has since been removed.
The VBL advocates for reorganizing the tax system and government welfare programs to achieve a “radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.” Proposed policies include the nationalization of natural resources, economic regulations to promote a parallel black-controlled economy (black-owned banks, credit unions, etc.), and the promotion of trade between black Americans and black foreign populations and nations.
The VBL advocates for putting local governments, schools, police departments, businesses, and land in majority-black communities under black control. It also advocates for outlawing private education.
The VBL supports increased government efforts to enfranchise black Americans through outreach programs, voting holidays, and online voter registration. It also advocates for increased funding and protection for black media and schools.
The Vision for Black Lives platform has been endorsed by prominent left-of-center and left-wing organizations, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Democracy for America, numerous state-level branches of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Democratic Socialists of America.
Previous Endorsed Positions
In 2016, the Movement for Black Lives platform was criticized for extremist positions hostile to the state of Israel and a statement that “we disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”
Critics characterized the 2016 platform as “an extraordinary grab bag of anti-American and fundamentally Marxist demands.”
Movement for Black Lives has created policy proposals for combatting COVID-19 on behalf of the black population. Given the relatively large black prison population, the MBL suggests pardoning prisoners vulnerable to COVID-19 (pregnant women, the infirm, and so forth), releasing prisoners over age 50 who have served at least a decade, halting all new sentencing, halting all new arrests for “minor crimes,” releasing all imprisoned immigrants, and taking measures to improve sanitation in prisons.
To alleviate the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the MBL advocates a moratorium on all taxes and mortgages, a freeze on rent and utilities, and government-run healthcare and housing.
Strike for Black Lives
On July 20, 2020, Movement for Black Lives participated in the “Strike for Black Lives.” Labor unions and other organizations participated in the mass strike in 25 different cities to protest racism and acts of police violence in the United States. 
Employees in the fast food, ride-share, nursing home, and airport industries left work to participate in the strike. Protesters sought to press elected officials in state and federal offices to pass laws that would require employers to raise wages and allow employees to unionize so that they may negotiate better health care, child support care, and sick leave policies. Protesters stressed the need for increased safety measures to protect low-wage workers who do not have the option to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers of the protest claimed that one of the goals of the strike is to incite action from corporations and the government that promotes career opportunities for Black and Hispanic workers. Organizers stated that the strike was inspired by the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike in 1968 over low wages, inhuman working conditions, and a disparity in the distribution of benefits to black and white employees.
They stated that the purpose of the “Strike for Black Lives” is to remove anti-union and employment policies that prevent employees from bargaining collectively for better working conditions and wages. 
“Defund the Police”
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the Movement for Black Lives has supported efforts to defund the police. Its website clarifies that the M4BL endorses a gradual shrinking of police departments as police responsibilities are transferred to other organizations, like mental health outreach departments. The M4BL insists that peacekeeping is an “essential service” which smaller and more disciplined police forces should maintain.