According to an online NY Post article, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Network organization allegedly referred to herself and her fellow organizers as "trained Marxists". According to the NY Post, this was based on a report from Breitbart News which, in turn, claimed they based their report on an interview with The Real News Network.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a newly surfaced video from 2015 that she and her fellow organizers are “trained Marxists” – making clear their movement’s ideological foundation, according to a report.

Cullors, 36, was the protégé of Eric Mann, former agitator of the Weather Underground domestic terror organization, and spent years absorbing the Marxist-Leninist ideology that shaped her worldview, Breitbart News reported.

“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers,” she said, referring to BLM co-founder Alicia Garza.

“We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk,” Cullors added in the interview with Jared Ball of The Real News Network.

Source: NY Post

Did Patrisse Cullors say this?

  • 2
    Reminder to commenters: We don't care about your political opinions
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 7, 2020 at 7:40
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    I focussed on whether Cullors claimed to be a trained Marxist, rather than whether she was, because there is no objective truth to that vague claim.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 7, 2020 at 7:47
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    Please enlighten us who live outside the US political theme park. What does "trained Marxist" even mean? If I studied Marx's works in college (like everybody else) and I agree with some of these ideas; am I a "trained Marxist"?
    – istepaniuk
    Aug 8, 2020 at 11:57
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    @istepaniuk "Trained" obviously is meant to imply more than merely being informed about something in this context. Whether or not Cullors attended some sort of ideological school or something else is not known, or doesn't seem to be known. However, given a normal person would not make such a claim, it does seem to clearly mean something more to Cullors.
    – SnakeDoc
    Aug 9, 2020 at 15:47
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    It seems to me that a site where the mods "don't care about [commenters'] political opinions" ought to have rather fewer questions specifically about claims made in a political context, that seem to have been asked for partisan political reasons. Sep 3, 2020 at 7:54

1 Answer 1


It seems true, at least as far as Cullors is concerned.

In the interview with The Real News Network, she makes the quoted claim (7:10 into the interview).

She also claimed Eric Mann as a mentor in an interview with Democracy Now (29:25 in the audio).

So, did Patrisse Cullors claim that she and one of her co-founders were "trained Marxists"? This appears to be the case, provided that TRNN isn't lying about whose voice is in the recording. Similarly, the connection to Eric Mann is documented and recorded.

So the claim appears to be true.

That said, the title question "Are the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement trained Marxists?" is a bit more nebulous. We have one of the founders on record claiming it of herself and of another founder, but no supporting claims from Alicia Garza.

So we can say that that Cullors has claimed to be a trained Marxist, but cannot with any certainty state the same about the other founders.

It's also worth pointing out that "trained Marxist" is somewhat nonsensical, much like "trained laissez-faire capitalist". Hewing to an ideology does not require training, and there is no standardization for what that training would entail.

Edit post-question modification

This answer can be updated to be an unqualified "yes". The interview linked above shows Cullors, a founder of the movement, saying that she is a trained Marxist, so...

Did a founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network organization claim to be a trained Marxist?


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    With regards to "trained marxist", perhaps it has something to do with Mann's National School for Strategic Organizing. From Wikipedia: "Mann led the founding of the National School for Strategic Organizing that educates and trains a multi-racial class of future leaders."
    – user11643
    Aug 6, 2020 at 19:42
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – jdunlop
    Aug 6, 2020 at 23:01
  • I don’t understand what the phrase means. Marxism is an idea so to be trained in it could mean you attended a lecture on Marxism as part of your college degree...?
    – Simd
    Sep 3, 2020 at 6:23
  • @CGCampbell - That's why I quoted the title, because it was the title question when I answered. Because questions can be modified, I feel it's important to include the question I'm actually answering.
    – jdunlop
    Sep 3, 2020 at 15:40
  • In case it's useful, I'll provide a couple links to spots within the interview on YouTube. Here's the beginning of the question Cullors is answering and here's the beginning of the exact quote in question within that answer.
    – jlbang
    May 19, 2021 at 18:42

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