08 November, 2020

Clyburn on slogans


CLYBURN: Well, Jake, you may remember, months ago, I came out very publicly and very forcibly against sloganeering.

I happen to also be -- you know, John Lewis and I were co -- were founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. John and I sat on the House floor and talked about that defund the police slogan, and both of us concluded that it had the possibilities of doing to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what "Burn, baby, burn" did to us back in 1960.

We lost that movement over that slogan. And a lot of people don't realize it, but John Lewis walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in February 1965. A year later, we got the Voting Rights Act out of that, six months later. And it wasn't a year after that that John Lewis was ousted as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. And so we saw the same thing happening here.

So, I spoke about against the sloganeering. And I feel very strongly we can't pick up these things just because it makes a good headline. It sometimes destroys headway.

We need to work on what makes headway, rather than what makes headlines.