Black Lives Matter UK – The conservation

In the UK, one of the leading Black Lives Matter groups is BlackLivesMatterUK. But while it is a leading voice, it is at pains to stress that it is not the movement’s “leader”. In fact, the movement does not believe in leaders and aims to be non-hierarchical.

There has been some confusion about this approach to leadership with activist Joshua Virasami being wrongly named on occasion as the leader of the group. Virasami was wrongly targeted as leader in the fallout over the language used in a pro-Palestine tweet by the official Black Lives Matter UK account. The post stated that “mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism”. These posts were met with anger by people and Jewish charities who argued that it endorsed antisemitic stereotypes and was not in line with Black Lives Matter UK’s message of anti-racism.

Black Lives Matter UK’s founders have largely remained anonymous. It is believed there is a core group of activists, of which Virasami is one of the only to be named. His visibility, paired with his profile as a controversial figure for his opinions on policing, Palestine and capitalism, is arguably the reason he has been misindentified as the leader of the movement.

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