On 31 August 2016, the hacker (or hackers) operating under the name Guccifer 2.0 (previously associated with a number of breaches of Democratic National Committee material) released a controversial document that purportedly outlined recommended practices for Democratic candidates’ engaging with the Black Lives Matter movement in 2015.
A number of documents supposedly accessed from the computer of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
were posted to Guccifer 2.0’s blog, among them a 19 November 2015 memo to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) workers from staffer Troy Perry:
Presidential candidates have struggled to respond to tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement. While there has been little engagement with House candidates, candidates and campaign staff should be prepared. This document should not be emailed or handed to anyone outside of the building. Please only give campaign staff these best practices in meetings or over the phone.
In a sub-section of that document, DCCC staffers were advised to offer limited invitations for meetings with Black Lives Matter activists and not to “offer support for concrete policy positions” about the movement:
Meet with Local Activists
° If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists. Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings.
° Listen to their concerns
° Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions
° Frontline district staff should meet with activists
Provide a Point Person
Always provide a campaign contact person for BLM activists. It is important to let activists know the campaign wants to engage in an open dialogue.
In response to the leaked documents, DCCC national press secretary Meredith Kelly said in a statement that:
The DCCC highly respects and values the leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement. In less than two years, BLM has evolved from three words into a political force that is changing and waking our nation. At the DCCC, we highly encourage our candidates to not only embrace the importance of this movement, but to meet with and listen to community activists to partner social change.
We will not allow this hacking to distract from our common goals nor disparage the BLM movement. We continue to welcome further engagement with activists and BLM leaders nationwide.
We are disappointed at the DCCC’s placating response to our demand to value all Black life. Black communities deserve to be heard, not handled. People are dying.
Whether Republican, Democrat or otherwise, our elected officials have an ethical and democratic responsibility to make legislation that reflects the needs of their constituents. That includes Black people facing life-threatening challenges because of racist, failed policies.
We demand, and are fighting every day for, a radical transformation of American democracy where all Black lives are valued.
Prominent Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson published a tweet questioning whether the DNCC’s stance had changed since November 2015:
The DNCC memo re: the movement highlights a serious lack of attention to issues related to black people. Has their view changed since 2015?
— deray mckesson (@deray) August 31, 2016
Fellow activist Shaun King also tweeted a criticism:
The DCCC acknowledged Guccifer 2.0’s Black Lives Matter document leak, but the DCCC has not yet issued any official comment on the content of the leak (or any dispute of its authenticity), and Nancy Pelosi has so far declined to comment.