| Darren Seals | MR Online

FBI spied on and harassed Black revolutionary who was killed and set on fire

Originally published: Multipolarista on September 19, 2022 (more by Multipolarista)

The FBI harassed Black revolutionary Darren Seals and compiled a 900-page report on his organizing against racism and police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, birthplace of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Seals was shot to death in 2016, then set on fire in his car in an unsolved murder.

Local St. Louis media outlet the Riverfront Times obtained a declassified copy of the more than 900-page FBI report on Seals.

The FBI fully redacted approximately 860 of the pages, and partially redacted parts of the remaining roughly 45 pages.

In the report, the FBI called Seals “a self-described revolutionary who has espoused somewhat militant rhetoric and has access to weapons.”

The Riverfront Times article shows how the FBI used local police to harass Seals.

In June 2016, the activist was “investigatively detained” by local police who pulled over Seals in his car on FBI orders.

Seals had proudly described himself on his Twitter account as a “Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa.”

Although he was one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Seals was very critical of the nonprofit-industrial complex and the attempt to co-opt the popular movement.

A working-class activist who made a modest living as on an assembly line at General Motors, Seals harshly criticized people like DeRay Mckesson, who were handpicked by the corporate media, funded by billionaire-backed corporate foundations, and turned into so-called “leaders” of what had been a grassroots movement.

Mckesson used his media celebrity to make large amounts of money, doing ads for corporations. He also joined the Democratic Party, unsuccessfully ran for office, and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Seals condemned them as opportunistic “sellouts.” He ridiculed:

Let me start an organization; give me a couple grants; start me a couple Gofundmes; tweet a little bit; and now they’re big shots; they’re traveling the world.

They’re in these orgs, getting paid $5000, $10,000 a month, traveling the fucking world, speaking like y’all are fucking helping the community, but you ain’t doing shit for the community.

“We got blood, sweat, and tears in the streets, for nothing,” Seals added.

People risked their lives; people lost their jobs, lost their homes. There are cats in prison right now, doing five, 10 years for Mike Brown shit. This shit was real.

We could have changed the fucking world. All you wanted was a fucking donation, and a couple Twitter followers.

Seals also criticized capitalism and U.S. imperialism.

“Money is the root of all evil; being broke is the root of all evil; white supremacy is the root of all evil in this country,” he said.

That’s why the government, they’re going to war every year, taking resources, land, gold, oil.

“I didn’t get in it for no money,” Seals explained.

First of all, I didn’t even know you could make money off that type of shit, like I didn’t know shit about soliciting grant funds.

“I came out there strictly to talk about racism, educate people, let them know how we need to come together,” he said.

He emphasized,

We need grassroots organizations from the people in the community, people who genuinely give a fuck, people from the struggle.

Leadership don’t come from Yale, Princeton; leadership don’t come from Harvard. They ain’t been through this shit.

They ain’t gonna sacrifice their life for this shit. They ain’t gonna die for y’all or y’all’s kids. They don’t want to lose their motherfucking position.

I don’t give a fuck about none of this shit. You kill me tomorrow; I ain’t never gonna not speak on this, on the real. And they know that. They knew that when they met me.

That’s why they made sure my face ain’t get too big.

Monthly Review does not necessarily adhere to all of the views conveyed in articles republished at MR Online. Our goal is to share a variety of left perspectives that we think our readers will find interesting or useful. —Eds.