The news of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement’s nomination for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize came just in time as we mark the beginning of Black History Month. The BLM movement, which uses its platform to call for systemic change around the world especially in America, was nominated by Norwegian MP Petter Eide.
Eide, the former secretary-general of the Norwegian branch of Amnesty International, said the movement has become bigger than it was intended for. He said it is now a global call that has forced many countries to access their systems amid racism and inequality.
“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Eide said. “Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.
“They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he wrote in his 2000-word nomination papers for which any politician at a national level can submit to back their nominations.
The BLM movement is essentially rehashing the talking points of the Civil Rights Era and demanding a renegotiation of the social contract upon which American democracy has claimed moral legitimacy since Reconstruction. But what is different is that the attitude of the movement also foreshadows what James Baldwin would call The Fire Next Time.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has always recognized a strong connection between racial justice and peace,” Eide said, who has represented the Socialist Left Party in the Norwegian parliament since 2017.
In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the prize for “his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population,” according to the Nobel Prize website.
The movement launched in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, in the fatal shooting of Black teenager Trayvon Martin, who Zimmerman mistook for an intruder for which today many people’s perspective on police brutality and equality have changed.
While there have been spats of violence during some of these anti-racism protests, the BLM protests, which were reignited after the death of George Floyd, have generally been peaceful.
“We found studies showing more than 90% of the demonstrations in the U.S. were peaceful. Most of those incidents of violence was based on either aggressive police behavior or counter-demonstrations,” said Eide. “I’m quite convinced that Black Lives Matter is a peaceful organization.”
The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project 2020 report showed that almost 93% of the racial justice protest in the US since the death of Floyd were peaceful and nonviolent.
“People message me to say that BLM is a violent organization,” said the Norwegian MP. “I condemn all kinds of violence. However, these arguments were the same when Martin Luther King received the prize in 1964, or when Mandela received it in 1993.”
“It is not a strong argument,” he added. “If some elements of the movement may have been violent, that is not a reason to blame the whole movement.”
According to Eide, the main reason for his nomination is that he believes that Black Lives Matter is the strongest force or global movement that is committed to fighting racial injustice. The movement’s organizers could not agree more.
“We hold the largest social movement in global history,” the Black Lives Matter Global Network wrote in a Twitter post after the nomination on Friday.
“Today, we have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. People are waking up to our global call: for racial justice and an end to economic injustice, environmental racism, and white supremacy. We’re only getting started.”
A poll by ABC News/Washington Post in July last year indicated that 63% of Americans were in support of the BLM movement and 69% affirmed that Black people and minorities are on the backbend in society being denied equal treatment in the criminal justice system.