Liberated Territory: Untold Local Perspectives on the Black Panther Party | Yohuru Williams & Jama Lazerow
Notes:
Two important factors explain the success of the Black Panther Party:
The codification of the BPP ideas and agenda into a ten-point program and platform.
Its focus on community service, particularly its newspaper and survival programs.
There was a move to co-opt Black militants by giving them jobs in government or in non-profits in order to either keep an eye on them or to be able to cut their funds whenever the government wanted to.
Black militants used a large amount of their salaries to support the movement which meant these jobs were sort of a double-edged sword.
It also made them accountable for their actions and also caused them to lose street credibility with other militants.
The two unintended consequences of BPP purges:
created a roving population of Panthers in search of legitimate chapters and sections of the Party, which created more confusion within the Party.
increased the number of Panther “wannabe” outfits by stripping them of their ties to the national BPP branch in Oakland.
1 — Bringing The Black Panther Party Back In: A Survey | Jama Lazerow and Yohuru Williams

Start off by talking about the lack of contextualization of the Black Panther Party in most textbooks — either printing misleading information, or at times, citing completely false information.

2 — The Black Panthers at the Water’s Edge: Oakland, Boston, and the New Bedford “Riots” of 1970

New Bedford, MA had a very large gap in wealth, with mansions, but also boardinghouses..
Large Cape Verdean population, a lot of whom identified as Portugese, and thus “white.” Often were discriminatory against Black people.
"Mother Country Radicals” — Panther terminology for revolutionary whites. (page 100)
July 8th 1970, “a so-called riot” began after a Black man was taken into custody. This led to the burning down of some stores, one being a place, Pieraccini’s Variety, where a group of people, Boston Panthers included, would confiscate and turn into a Black Panther office, NCCF office more specifically. 
After the start of the rebellion, they occupied the West End of New Bedford and viewed it as Liberated Territory. The night of July 11, however, three white teenagers pushed through one of the barricades in their car, drew a shotgun over the roof of their car and shot into the crowd of Panthers and Black organizers. The shots killed Lester Lima, a 17 year old, and wounded two others. (page 105-106, 108-109)
white teenager who shot and killed Lester Lima was acquitted on all charges by an all-white jury. (page 113)
On the night of July 31, 1970, Johnny Viera in New Bedford was on the phone with Audrea Jones, of the Boston BPP, who was on the phone with the Central Committee in Oakland. Johnny Viera was irate when it was ordered that he and the Black militants and Panthers in New Bedford should surrender to police. (page 110-111)
New Bedford Panthers:
Free Breakfast Program
Free Clothing Program
Political Education classes
Free Health Care Program with free sickle cell anemia testing
“As late as February 29, 1972, FBI sources reported sixteen members and thirteen community workers for the branch.” (page 115)
There was some turmoil between the Boston BPP chapter and the New Bedford branch. The Boston chapter has their reservations of New Bedford Panthers because of their self-proclaimed racial identities, which were often a lot more complicated than identifying as Black. Also, Boston tended to not understand that New Bedford Panthers were often community members and thus had extremely strong ties and sentiments with the New Bedford community, and at times, did not take the Boston chapter exhausting their funds and resources lightly.

3 — “The Power Belongs to Us and We Belong to the Revolutionary Age”: The Alabama Black Liberation Front and the Long Reach of the Black Panther Party

Alabama Black Liberation Front — active since late may 1970, until around 1974, when arrests, trials, and imprisonments caused them to not be able to function as a viable organization.
the ABLF sheds light on the impact of the BPP on local groups who were not affiliated with the BPP but were essentially part of the same movement.
founded by Wayland “Doc” Bryant and Michael Reese
November 1, 1970, members from the Alabama Black Liberation Front (ABLF) marched from Kelly Ingram Park Ingram, in Birmingham, Alabama, to the courthouse, to protest the incarceration of two of their members, Wayland “Doc” Bryant and Ronnie Williams, who were among the leaders (page 136)Required pledge to join the ABLF:
“A membership in the ABLF requires you to support (1) The Black Panther Party. (2) The Black Laws. (3) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations. (4) Support the Peoples Army. (5) Read Evolutionary and Revolutionary Phamphlets [sic] newspapers and books. (6) Learn Self-Defense. (7) The Three Main Rules of Discipline are 1. Okay [obey?] orders in all your actions 2. Do not take a single needle or piece of threads [sic] from the Humans. 3. Turn in everything captured. (8) Volunteer 8 hours a week to Party Business. (9) Think Military, Political and Economical in [what] so ever you do.” (page 155)

4 — Marching Blind: The Rise and Fall of the Black Panther Party in Detroit

July 1967 rebellion in Detroit was a catalyst to the creation of the Detroit BPP Chapter
League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW)Revolutionary Union Movement (RUM)
Eric Bell and Ron Scott called the Central Committee of the BPP in Oakland expressing their desire to start a Panther branch in Detroit. Two men had already been sent to Detroit to check things out, George Gillis and Victor Stewart.
They then traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to meet with Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale, who ultimately agreed that they should start a Detroit branch of the Black Panther Party, in May 1968
“The key external dynamic that determined the course of the Panther movement in Detroit, though, was the social and historical context of violence and extreme enmity between the black community and city police.” (page 188)
February 1969, Detroit Panthers already had 2 free breakfast programs on the West Side and 1 on the East Side. They also had a free rat-removal extermination program and free barbershop. They also had doctors staff a free health clinic that offered sickle cell anemia testing and blood pressure testing. (page 191)
After the Detroit branch dissolved in summer of 1969 because of police informants, it was reconstituted by one of the clandestine members with a public front (NCCF), but a clandestine core (BPP). (page 193)
The Seven Cannons of Armed Struggle of the Detroit Underground (page 198)
Autobiography of Malcolm X (considered kind of a bible in the Detroit Underground)
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
“Violence is a cleansing force, It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” (page 199)
Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams
Catechism of the Revolutionist by Mikhail Bakunin
"Man and Socialism in Cuba” and “Guerilla Warfare” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Samuel Greenlee
Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla by Carlos Maringhella
Malik McClure was purged from the Detroit NCCF because of his continued chauvinistic practices. This is an instance where the Panthers stood for gender equality within their ranks. (page 204-205)
“While some folks might think it was nonviolent marching and singing that spurred the integration of the big city police departments, those of us who were there know that it was the white cops’ fear of getting shot.” (page 208)
The Detroit police journal, Tuebor, carried propaganda to cast negative shadows over the Detroit Panthers, comparing them to have created a climate similar to before the attack on Pearl Harbor. (page 210)
This is interesting because often we view propaganda as a weapon used to sway general public opinion, but this type of propaganda would and did probably cause police to treat Panthers even worst than they already were without knowing why.
October 24, 1970, a patrolman was shot and killed by a Panther outside of the Detroit office. 30% of Detroit’s entire police force converged on the headquarters and shot so many bullets, that the people inside said it looked like swiss cheese. The only reason the police had to cease firing and leave was because thousands of Black residents and other Black radical organizations were surrounding the police and threatening war if they continued. This is an example of Huey Newton’s “serve the people” strategy.
“the people whom the Panthers had served had arrived in the thousands and served the Panthers by saving their lives.” (page 213)
Because of this event, 15 Black Panthers were arrested for conspiracy to murdering the patrolman. named the Detroit 15, lots of the next year were spent in a legal battle over the fifteen members of the Detroit Black Panther Party. (Page 213-214)
By September 1971, the rest of the Detroit Underground would be in prison with sentences ranging from 15 years to natural life, which marked the end of the Detroit Panther Underground (page 215)
The Detroit Panther underground collapsed for two reasons: (page 216)
failed to realize a a flaw in the Minimanual of Carlos Marnghella, about the flaw in publicly denouncing infiltrators and this ended up being critical in the overthrow of the underground.
the lack of sources of intelligence and counterintelligence left the underground virtually blind to the enemy. (They needed in depth background checks and periodic lie detector tests.)
They were deemed an army marching blind.

5 — “Give Them a Cause to Die For”: The Black Panther Party In Milwaukee, 1969-77

In October, 1967, a youth group in Milwaukee formed a self-defense group called the Commandoes, with the guidance and advice from a local activist, Father Edmund Groppi (page 236-237)
September 22, 1969 — Milwaukee Black Panthers allegedly fire a shotgun at a street cop, are pulled over and beaten by initial police officers on the scene and back up police officers. (resource #10, page 249-250)
This added repression onto the Milwaukee chapter and the trial of the three Panther members beaten by cops on sept 22 drained their funds, disbanding the chapter in November 1969.
after the Party in Milwaukee disbanded, some ex-Panthers created the Milwaukee chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), under which they continued their survival programs. (page 253)
In April 1972, the Milwaukee Branch of the Black Panther Party reorganized. In August 1973, it received it’s official charter from the BPP in Oakland. (page 253-254)
“the Panthers [in Milwaukee] sought to live the communal existence they envisioned for the larger community.” (page 255)
They created a prison visitation initiative, free breakfast for children program, free grocery program, and developed plans to create community control of law enforcement.

6 — The Black Panther Party in the Disunited States of America: Constitutionalism, Watergate, and the Closing of the Americanists’ Minds | Devin Fergus

The author seems to be commenting about the Panther’s carrying weapons and their “angry rhetoric” as something that “got in the way” of their constitutionalism and opened them up for repression. 
For me, this sounds like a way to state that the Panthers were too hard to swallow so it was on them for being that way. This sounds like a respectability argument, which raises the question, if the Panthers did not carry guns and use “angry rhetoric” would their calls for community control over police be taken any more seriously? I would dare to say no..
by the 1970s, Panther confrontation with the government gave way to Panther engagement with it, because of three interrelated dynamics: (page 268)
"law enforcement backed off its extralegal harassment of the Party."
"Panthers recognized that their own volatile public actions isolated them—socially, politically, and culturally—from core black constituencies.”
“The BPP realized diminished returns on its martial image and thus began downplaying the gun.”
The author mentions the new stance on the Black church in 1971 as a change on ideology, not meeting the people where they are at. I am not sure how I feel about this. You cannot speak to the people if you do not go where the people are, which whether or not anyone agrees or likes it, is in the black church. I am not sure I would call this a change in ideology, but an understanding that pride must be put aside and rhetoric must be adapted to reach all Black people.
“Between 1972 and 1978, when the BPP effectively  ceased most of its operations, for example, Oakland’s central office averaged nearly one suit per year against state and private parties.” (page 270)
It seems like this author is mentioning that the Panthers of the mid to late 70s were looking for validation within the system, within white supremacy. They seemed to seek to uphold constitutional values by working within the system, and using the system, as if it were just.
"from October 1972 to May 1973, the female percentage rose to nearly half the total membership.” (page 278)
the author compares the change in Panther energy and ideology to the rising level of female membership.
The Winston-Salem, NC Panthers “voluntarily invested themselves in the legal and political system.” (page 286)
“The best-known black radicals of the post-civil rights generation, the Black Panther Party, imagined themselves as heirs to America’s civic nationalist tradition. They did so by investing in the mechanisms of American jurisprudence, legislative governance, and social policy, as well as electoral politics—during a time when state credibility and political legitimacy were being destabilized among the public at large.” (page 286)

Liberated Territory: Untold Local Perspectives on the Black Panther Party | Yohuru Williams & Jama Lazerow

Notes:

Two important factors explain the success of the Black Panther Party:

  1. The codification of the BPP ideas and agenda into a ten-point program and platform.
  2. Its focus on community service, particularly its newspaper and survival programs.

There was a move to co-opt Black militants by giving them jobs in government or in non-profits in order to either keep an eye on them or to be able to cut their funds whenever the government wanted to.

  • Black militants used a large amount of their salaries to support the movement which meant these jobs were sort of a double-edged sword.
  • It also made them accountable for their actions and also caused them to lose street credibility with other militants.

The two unintended consequences of BPP purges:

  1. created a roving population of Panthers in search of legitimate chapters and sections of the Party, which created more confusion within the Party.
  2. increased the number of Panther “wannabe” outfits by stripping them of their ties to the national BPP branch in Oakland.

1 — Bringing The Black Panther Party Back In: A Survey | Jama Lazerow and Yohuru Williams

Start off by talking about the lack of contextualization of the Black Panther Party in most textbooks — either printing misleading information, or at times, citing completely false information.

2 — The Black Panthers at the Water’s Edge: Oakland, Boston, and the New Bedford “Riots” of 1970

New Bedford, MA had a very large gap in wealth, with mansions, but also boardinghouses..

Large Cape Verdean population, a lot of whom identified as Portugese, and thus “white.” Often were discriminatory against Black people.

"Mother Country Radicals” — Panther terminology for revolutionary whites. (page 100)

July 8th 1970, “a so-called riot” began after a Black man was taken into custody. This led to the burning down of some stores, one being a place, Pieraccini’s Variety, where a group of people, Boston Panthers included, would confiscate and turn into a Black Panther office, NCCF office more specifically. 

After the start of the rebellion, they occupied the West End of New Bedford and viewed it as Liberated Territory. The night of July 11, however, three white teenagers pushed through one of the barricades in their car, drew a shotgun over the roof of their car and shot into the crowd of Panthers and Black organizers. The shots killed Lester Lima, a 17 year old, and wounded two others. (page 105-106, 108-109)

  • white teenager who shot and killed Lester Lima was acquitted on all charges by an all-white jury. (page 113)

On the night of July 31, 1970, Johnny Viera in New Bedford was on the phone with Audrea Jones, of the Boston BPP, who was on the phone with the Central Committee in Oakland. Johnny Viera was irate when it was ordered that he and the Black militants and Panthers in New Bedford should surrender to police. (page 110-111)

New Bedford Panthers:

  • Free Breakfast Program
  • Free Clothing Program
  • Political Education classes
  • Free Health Care Program with free sickle cell anemia testing

“As late as February 29, 1972, FBI sources reported sixteen members and thirteen community workers for the branch.” (page 115)

There was some turmoil between the Boston BPP chapter and the New Bedford branch. The Boston chapter has their reservations of New Bedford Panthers because of their self-proclaimed racial identities, which were often a lot more complicated than identifying as Black. Also, Boston tended to not understand that New Bedford Panthers were often community members and thus had extremely strong ties and sentiments with the New Bedford community, and at times, did not take the Boston chapter exhausting their funds and resources lightly.

3 — “The Power Belongs to Us and We Belong to the Revolutionary Age”: The Alabama Black Liberation Front and the Long Reach of the Black Panther Party

Alabama Black Liberation Front — active since late may 1970, until around 1974, when arrests, trials, and imprisonments caused them to not be able to function as a viable organization.

  • the ABLF sheds light on the impact of the BPP on local groups who were not affiliated with the BPP but were essentially part of the same movement.
  • founded by Wayland “Doc” Bryant and Michael Reese

November 1, 1970, members from the Alabama Black Liberation Front (ABLF) marched from Kelly Ingram Park Ingram, in Birmingham, Alabama, to the courthouse, to protest the incarceration of two of their members, Wayland “Doc” Bryant and Ronnie Williams, who were among the leaders (page 136)

Required pledge to join the ABLF:

  • “A membership in the ABLF requires you to support (1) The Black Panther Party. (2) The Black Laws. (3) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations. (4) Support the Peoples Army. (5) Read Evolutionary and Revolutionary Phamphlets [sic] newspapers and books. (6) Learn Self-Defense. (7) The Three Main Rules of Discipline are 1. Okay [obey?] orders in all your actions 2. Do not take a single needle or piece of threads [sic] from the Humans. 3. Turn in everything captured. (8) Volunteer 8 hours a week to Party Business. (9) Think Military, Political and Economical in [what] so ever you do.” (page 155)

4 — Marching Blind: The Rise and Fall of the Black Panther Party in Detroit

July 1967 rebellion in Detroit was a catalyst to the creation of the Detroit BPP Chapter

League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW)
Revolutionary Union Movement (RUM)

Eric Bell and Ron Scott called the Central Committee of the BPP in Oakland expressing their desire to start a Panther branch in Detroit. Two men had already been sent to Detroit to check things out, George Gillis and Victor Stewart.

They then traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to meet with Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale, who ultimately agreed that they should start a Detroit branch of the Black Panther Party, in May 1968

“The key external dynamic that determined the course of the Panther movement in Detroit, though, was the social and historical context of violence and extreme enmity between the black community and city police.” (page 188)

February 1969, Detroit Panthers already had 2 free breakfast programs on the West Side and 1 on the East Side. They also had a free rat-removal extermination program and free barbershop. They also had doctors staff a free health clinic that offered sickle cell anemia testing and blood pressure testing. (page 191)

After the Detroit branch dissolved in summer of 1969 because of police informants, it was reconstituted by one of the clandestine members with a public front (NCCF), but a clandestine core (BPP). (page 193)

The Seven Cannons of Armed Struggle of the Detroit Underground (page 198)

  • Autobiography of Malcolm X (considered kind of a bible in the Detroit Underground)
  • The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
  • “Violence is a cleansing force, It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” (page 199)
  • Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams
  • Catechism of the Revolutionist by Mikhail Bakunin
  • "Man and Socialism in Cuba” and “Guerilla Warfare” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
  • The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Samuel Greenlee
  • Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla by Carlos Maringhella

Malik McClure was purged from the Detroit NCCF because of his continued chauvinistic practices. This is an instance where the Panthers stood for gender equality within their ranks. (page 204-205)

“While some folks might think it was nonviolent marching and singing that spurred the integration of the big city police departments, those of us who were there know that it was the white cops’ fear of getting shot.” (page 208)

The Detroit police journal, Tuebor, carried propaganda to cast negative shadows over the Detroit Panthers, comparing them to have created a climate similar to before the attack on Pearl Harbor. (page 210)

  • This is interesting because often we view propaganda as a weapon used to sway general public opinion, but this type of propaganda would and did probably cause police to treat Panthers even worst than they already were without knowing why.

October 24, 1970, a patrolman was shot and killed by a Panther outside of the Detroit office. 30% of Detroit’s entire police force converged on the headquarters and shot so many bullets, that the people inside said it looked like swiss cheese. The only reason the police had to cease firing and leave was because thousands of Black residents and other Black radical organizations were surrounding the police and threatening war if they continued. This is an example of Huey Newton’s “serve the people” strategy.

  • “the people whom the Panthers had served had arrived in the thousands and served the Panthers by saving their lives.” (page 213)

Because of this event, 15 Black Panthers were arrested for conspiracy to murdering the patrolman. named the Detroit 15, lots of the next year were spent in a legal battle over the fifteen members of the Detroit Black Panther Party. (Page 213-214)

By September 1971, the rest of the Detroit Underground would be in prison with sentences ranging from 15 years to natural life, which marked the end of the Detroit Panther Underground (page 215)

The Detroit Panther underground collapsed for two reasons: (page 216)

  • failed to realize a a flaw in the Minimanual of Carlos Marnghella, about the flaw in publicly denouncing infiltrators and this ended up being critical in the overthrow of the underground.
  • the lack of sources of intelligence and counterintelligence left the underground virtually blind to the enemy. (They needed in depth background checks and periodic lie detector tests.)

They were deemed an army marching blind.

5 — “Give Them a Cause to Die For”: The Black Panther Party In Milwaukee, 1969-77

In October, 1967, a youth group in Milwaukee formed a self-defense group called the Commandoes, with the guidance and advice from a local activist, Father Edmund Groppi (page 236-237)

September 22, 1969 — Milwaukee Black Panthers allegedly fire a shotgun at a street cop, are pulled over and beaten by initial police officers on the scene and back up police officers. (resource #10, page 249-250)

This added repression onto the Milwaukee chapter and the trial of the three Panther members beaten by cops on sept 22 drained their funds, disbanding the chapter in November 1969.

after the Party in Milwaukee disbanded, some ex-Panthers created the Milwaukee chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), under which they continued their survival programs. (page 253)

In April 1972, the Milwaukee Branch of the Black Panther Party reorganized. In August 1973, it received it’s official charter from the BPP in Oakland. (page 253-254)

“the Panthers [in Milwaukee] sought to live the communal existence they envisioned for the larger community.” (page 255)

They created a prison visitation initiative, free breakfast for children program, free grocery program, and developed plans to create community control of law enforcement.

6 — The Black Panther Party in the Disunited States of America: Constitutionalism, Watergate, and the Closing of the Americanists’ Minds | Devin Fergus

The author seems to be commenting about the Panther’s carrying weapons and their “angry rhetoric” as something that “got in the way” of their constitutionalism and opened them up for repression. 

  • For me, this sounds like a way to state that the Panthers were too hard to swallow so it was on them for being that way. This sounds like a respectability argument, which raises the question, if the Panthers did not carry guns and use “angry rhetoric” would their calls for community control over police be taken any more seriously? I would dare to say no..

by the 1970s, Panther confrontation with the government gave way to Panther engagement with it, because of three interrelated dynamics: (page 268)

  1. "law enforcement backed off its extralegal harassment of the Party."
  2. "Panthers recognized that their own volatile public actions isolated them—socially, politically, and culturally—from core black constituencies.”
  3. “The BPP realized diminished returns on its martial image and thus began downplaying the gun.”

The author mentions the new stance on the Black church in 1971 as a change on ideology, not meeting the people where they are at. I am not sure how I feel about this. You cannot speak to the people if you do not go where the people are, which whether or not anyone agrees or likes it, is in the black church. I am not sure I would call this a change in ideology, but an understanding that pride must be put aside and rhetoric must be adapted to reach all Black people.

“Between 1972 and 1978, when the BPP effectively  ceased most of its operations, for example, Oakland’s central office averaged nearly one suit per year against state and private parties.” (page 270)

It seems like this author is mentioning that the Panthers of the mid to late 70s were looking for validation within the system, within white supremacy. They seemed to seek to uphold constitutional values by working within the system, and using the system, as if it were just.

"from October 1972 to May 1973, the female percentage rose to nearly half the total membership.” (page 278)

the author compares the change in Panther energy and ideology to the rising level of female membership.

The Winston-Salem, NC Panthers “voluntarily invested themselves in the legal and political system.” (page 286)

“The best-known black radicals of the post-civil rights generation, the Black Panther Party, imagined themselves as heirs to America’s civic nationalist tradition. They did so by investing in the mechanisms of American jurisprudence, legislative governance, and social policy, as well as electoral politics—during a time when state credibility and political legitimacy were being destabilized among the public at large.” (page 286)

The Seven Canons of Armed Struggle

[The Black Panther Detroit Underground’s Booklist]

  1. Autobiography of Malcolm X | Alex Haley & Malcolm X
  2. The Wretched of the Earth | Frantz Fanon
  3. Negroes With Guns | Robert F. Williams
  4. Catechism of the Revolutionist | Mikhail Bakunin
  5. "Man and Socialism in Cuba” & “Guerrilla Warfare” | Ernesto “Che” Guevara
  6. The Spook Who Sat by the Door | Samuel Greenlee
  7. Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla | Carlos Maringhella
Notes:
Assata (“She who struggles”) Olugbala (“Love for the people”) Shakur (“the thankful”, and out of respect for Zayd and Zayd’s family)Page 203 and beyond — Assata begins to talk about the start of her experiences with the Black Panther Party. She expresses her frustration of the arrogance of the BPP leadership. She was expelled for cussing out her superior for throwing away her newspapers. Her experiences started with the medical cadre and then moved to the Free Breakfast for Children Program in Harlem.Page 220 and 221 — She expresses the lack of all around education provided by the education classes. There needed to be more intentional planning and curriculum development. Three different types of political education classes: community classes, classes for BPP cadre, and PE classes for Panther leadership (page 221)She also expressed a huge downfall in the Party, a lack of the leadership’s ability to accept criticismAssata talks about how it was difficult for her and her lawyers to hire forensic experts or chemists because many of them worked for police and law enforcement so they would not take her case, in fear of being viewed as a traitor or viewer her as a cop-killer. (page 245)
Reflection:
This book is incredibly powerful. Not only is it assessable and invaluable to an understanding of a wide array of experiences of oppression by Assata, she has the ability to intellectually breakdown and be critical of movements.
She made me think on levels I have never reached before. However, while reading it, I did not view it as epic as many of my friends (Black women) have shared with me. I started to realize that I have heard a lot of the ideas come out before in who they are as people. It felt like I was reading their words through Assata’s book. I was reading Assata’s influence on my friends’ lives. That is the purest form of power and influential change..

Notes:

Assata (“She who struggles”) Olugbala (“Love for the people”) Shakur (“the thankful”, and out of respect for Zayd and Zayd’s family)

Page 203 and beyond — Assata begins to talk about the start of her experiences with the Black Panther Party. She expresses her frustration of the arrogance of the BPP leadership. She was expelled for cussing out her superior for throwing away her newspapers. Her experiences started with the medical cadre and then moved to the Free Breakfast for Children Program in Harlem.

Page 220 and 221 — She expresses the lack of all around education provided by the education classes. There needed to be more intentional planning and curriculum development. 
Three different types of political education classes: community classes, classes for BPP cadre, and PE classes for Panther leadership (page 221)
She also expressed a huge downfall in the Party, a lack of the leadership’s ability to accept criticism

Assata talks about how it was difficult for her and her lawyers to hire forensic experts or chemists because many of them worked for police and law enforcement so they would not take her case, in fear of being viewed as a traitor or viewer her as a cop-killer. (page 245)

Reflection:

This book is incredibly powerful. Not only is it assessable and invaluable to an understanding of a wide array of experiences of oppression by Assata, she has the ability to intellectually breakdown and be critical of movements.

She made me think on levels I have never reached before. However, while reading it, I did not view it as epic as many of my friends (Black women) have shared with me. I started to realize that I have heard a lot of the ideas come out before in who they are as people. It felt like I was reading their words through Assata’s book. I was reading Assata’s influence on my friends’ lives. That is the purest form of power and influential change..

"No movement can survive unless it is constantly growing and changing with the times. If it isn’t growing, it’s stagnant, and without the support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct it’s analysis of the situation is. That’s why political work and organizing are so important. Unless you are addressing the issues people are concerned about and contributing positive direction, they’ll never support you. The first thing the enemy tries to do is isolate revolutionaries from the masses of people, making us horrible and hideous monsters so that our people will hate us.All we usually hear about are the so-called responsible leaders, the ones who are “responsible” to our oppressors. In the same way that we don’t hear about a fraction of the Black men and women who have struggled hard and tirelessly throughout our history, we don’t hear about our heroes of today.The schools we go to are reflections of the society that created them. Nobody is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free. Schools in amerika are interested in brainwashing people with amerikanism, giving them a little bit of education, and training them in skills needed to fill the positions the capitalist system requires. As long as we expect amerika’s schools to educate us, we will remain ignorant.” | Assata Shakur

"No movement can survive unless it is constantly growing and changing with the times. If it isn’t growing, it’s stagnant, and without the support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct it’s analysis of the situation is. That’s why political work and organizing are so important. Unless you are addressing the issues people are concerned about and contributing positive direction, they’ll never support you. The first thing the enemy tries to do is isolate revolutionaries from the masses of people, making us horrible and hideous monsters so that our people will hate us.

All we usually hear about are the so-called responsible leaders, the ones who are “responsible” to our oppressors. In the same way that we don’t hear about a fraction of the Black men and women who have struggled hard and tirelessly throughout our history, we don’t hear about our heroes of today.

The schools we go to are reflections of the society that created them. Nobody is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free. Schools in amerika are interested in brainwashing people with amerikanism, giving them a little bit of education, and training them in skills needed to fill the positions the capitalist system requires. As long as we expect amerika’s schools to educate us, we will remain ignorant.” 

| Assata Shakur

To My People | Assata Shakur [July 4, 1973]
"Black brothers, Black sisters, i want you to know that i love you and i hope that somewhere in your hearts you have love for me. My name is Assata Shakur (slave name joanne chesimard), and i am a revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that i mean that i have declared war on all forces that have raped our women, castrated our men, and kept our babies empty-bellied.I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heart-less robots who protect them and their property.I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, i am a victim of all the wrath, hatred, and slander that amerika is capable of. Like all other Black revolutionaries, amerika is trying to lynch me.I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved, i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered over fifty thousand dollars in rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.I am a Black revolutionary, and, by definition, that makes me a part of the Black Liberation Army. The pigs have used their newspapers and TVs to paint the Black Liberation Army as vicious, brutal, mad-dog criminals. They have called us gangsters and gun molls and have compared us to such characters as john dillinger and ma barker. It should be clear, it must be clear to anyone who can think, see, or hear, that we are the victims. The victims and not the criminals.It should also be clear to us by now who the real criminals are. Nixon and his crime partners have murdered hundreds of Third World brothers and sisters in Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa. As was proved by Watergate, the top law enforcement officials in this country are a lying bunch of criminals. The president, two attorney generals, the head of the fbi, the head of the cia, and half the white house staff have been implicated in the Watergate crimes.They call us murderers, but we did not murder over two hundred fifty unarmed Black men, women, and children, or wound thousands of others in the riots they provoked during the sixties. The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives. They call us murderers, but we were not responsible for the twenty-eight brother inmates and nine hostages murdered at attica. They call us murderers, but we did not murder and wound over thirty unarmed Black students at Jackson State—or Southern State, either.They call us murderers, but we did not murder Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, George Jackson, Nat Turner, James Chaney, and countless others. We did not murder, by shooting in the back, sixteen-year-old Rita Lloyd, eleven-year-old Rickie Bodden, or ten-year-old Clifford Glover. They call us murderers, but we do not control or enforce a system of racism and oppression that systematically murders Black and Third World people. Although Black people supposedly comprise about fifteen percent of the total amerikkkan population, at least sixty percent of murder victims are Black. For every pig that is killed in the so-called line of duty, there are at least fifty Black people murdered by the police.Black life expectancy is much lower than white and they do their best to kill us before we are even born. We are burned alive in fire-trap tenements. Our brothers and sisters OD daily from heroin and methadone. Our babies die from lead poisoning. Millions of Black people have died as a result of indecent medical care. This is murder. But they have got the gall to call us murderers.They call us kidnappers, yet Brother Clark Squires (who is accused, along with me, of murdering a new jersey state trooper) was kidnapped on April z, 1969, from our Black community and held on one million dollars’ ransom in the New York Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was acquitted on May 13, 1971, along with all the others, of 156 counts of conspiracy by a jury that took less than two hours to deliberate. Brother Squires was innocent. Yet he was kidnapped from his community and family. Over two years of his life was stolen, but they call us kidnappers. We did not kidnap the thousands of Brothers and Sisters held captive in amerika’s concentration camps. Ninety percent of the prison population in this country are Black and Third World people who can afford neither bail nor lawyers.They call us thieves and bandits. They say we steal. But it was not we who stole millions of Black people from the continent of Africa. We were robbed of our language, of our Gods, of our culture, of our human dignity, of our labor, and of our lives. They call us thieves, yet it is notwe who rip off billions of dollars every year through tax evasions, illegal price fixing, embezzlement, consumer fraud, bribes, kickbacks, and swindles. They call us bandits, yet every time most Black people pick up our paychecks we are being robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood we are being held up. And every time we pay our rent the landlord sticks a gun into our ribs.They call us thieves, but we did not rob and murder millions of Indians by ripping off their homeland, then call ourselves pioneers. They call us bandits, but it is not we who are robbing Africa, Asia, and Latin America of their natural resources and freedom while the people who live there are sick and starving. The rulers of this country and their flunkies have committed some of the most brutal, vicious crimes in history. They are the bandits. They are the murderers. And they should be treated as such. These maniacs are not fit to judge me, Clark, or any other Black person on trial in amerika. Black people should and, inevitably, must determine our destinies.Every revolution in history has been accomplished by actions, al-though words are necessary. We must create shields that protect us and spears that penetrate our enemies. Black people must learn how to struggle by struggling. We must learn by our mistakes.I want to apologize to you, my Black brothers and sisters, for being on the new jersey turnpike. I should have known better. The turnpike is a checkpoint where Black people are stopped, searched, harassed, and assaulted. Revolutionaries must never be in too much of a hurry or make careless decisions. He who runs when the sun is sleeping will stumble many times.Every time a Black Freedom Fighter is murdered or captured, the pigs try to create the impression that they have quashed the movement, destroyed our forces, and put down the Black Revolution. The pigs also try to give the impression that five or ten guerrillas are responsible for every revolutionary action carried out in amerika. That is nonsense. That is absurd. Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression. We are being manufactured in droves in the ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills, leavenworth, and sing sing. They are turning out thousands of us. Many jobless Black veterans and welfare mothers are joining our ranks. Brothers and sisters from all walks of life, who are tired of suffering passively, make up the BLA.There is, and always will be, until every Black man, woman, and child is free, a Black Liberation Army. The main function of the BlackLiberation Army at this time is to create good examples, to struggle for Black freedom, and to prepare for the future. We must defend ourselves and let no one disrespect us. We must gain our liberation by any means necessary.It is our duty to fight for our freedom.It is our duty to win.We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
In the spirit of:

Ronald Carter
William Christmas
Mark Clark
Mark Essex
Frank “Heavy” Fields
Woodie Changa Olugbala Green
Fred Hampton
Lil’ Bobby Hutton
George Jackson
Jonathan Jackson
James McClain
Harold Russel
Zayd Malik Shakur
Anthony Kumu Olugbala White

We must fight on.”

To My People | Assata Shakur [July 4, 1973]

"Black brothers, Black sisters, i want you to know that i love you and i hope that somewhere in your hearts you have love for me. My name is Assata Shakur (slave name joanne chesimard), and i am a revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that i mean that i have declared war on all forces that have raped our women, castrated our men, and kept our babies empty-bellied.

I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heart-less robots who protect them and their property.

I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, i am a victim of all the wrath, hatred, and slander that amerika is capable of. Like all other Black revolutionaries, amerika is trying to lynch me.

I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved, i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered over fifty thousand dollars in rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.

I am a Black revolutionary, and, by definition, that makes me a part of the Black Liberation Army. The pigs have used their newspapers and TVs to paint the Black Liberation Army as vicious, brutal, mad-dog criminals. They have called us gangsters and gun molls and have compared us to such characters as john dillinger and ma barker. It should be clear, it must be clear to anyone who can think, see, or hear, that we are the victims. The victims and not the criminals.

It should also be clear to us by now who the real criminals are. Nixon and his crime partners have murdered hundreds of Third World brothers and sisters in Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa. As was proved by Watergate, the top law enforcement officials in this country are a lying bunch of criminals. The president, two attorney generals, the head of the fbi, the head of the cia, and half the white house staff have been implicated in the Watergate crimes.

They call us murderers, but we did not murder over two hundred fifty unarmed Black men, women, and children, or wound thousands of others in the riots they provoked during the sixties. The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives. They call us murderers, but we were not responsible for the twenty-eight brother inmates and nine hostages murdered at attica. They call us murderers, but we did not murder and wound over thirty unarmed Black students at Jackson State—or Southern State, either.

They call us murderers, but we did not murder Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, George Jackson, Nat Turner, James Chaney, and countless others. We did not murder, by shooting in the back, sixteen-year-old Rita Lloyd, eleven-year-old Rickie Bodden, or ten-year-old Clifford Glover. They call us murderers, but we do not control or enforce a system of racism and oppression that systematically murders Black and Third World people. Although Black people supposedly comprise about fifteen percent of the total amerikkkan population, at least sixty percent of murder victims are Black. For every pig that is killed in the so-called line of duty, there are at least fifty Black people murdered by the police.

Black life expectancy is much lower than white and they do their best to kill us before we are even born. We are burned alive in fire-trap tenements. Our brothers and sisters OD daily from heroin and methadone. Our babies die from lead poisoning. Millions of Black people have died as a result of indecent medical care. This is murder. But they have got the gall to call us murderers.

They call us kidnappers, yet Brother Clark Squires (who is accused, along with me, of murdering a new jersey state trooper) was kidnapped on April z, 1969, from our Black community and held on one million dollars’ ransom in the New York Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was acquitted on May 13, 1971, along with all the others, of 156 counts of conspiracy by a jury that took less than two hours to deliberate. Brother Squires was innocent. Yet he was kidnapped from his community and family. Over two years of his life was stolen, but they call us kidnappers. We did not kidnap the thousands of Brothers and Sisters held captive in amerika’s concentration camps. Ninety percent of the prison population in this country are Black and Third World people who can afford neither bail nor lawyers.

They call us thieves and bandits. They say we steal. But it was not we who stole millions of Black people from the continent of Africa. We were robbed of our language, of our Gods, of our culture, of our human dignity, of our labor, and of our lives. They call us thieves, yet it is not

we who rip off billions of dollars every year through tax evasions, illegal price fixing, embezzlement, consumer fraud, bribes, kickbacks, and swindles. They call us bandits, yet every time most Black people pick up our paychecks we are being robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood we are being held up. And every time we pay our rent the landlord sticks a gun into our ribs.

They call us thieves, but we did not rob and murder millions of Indians by ripping off their homeland, then call ourselves pioneers. They call us bandits, but it is not we who are robbing Africa, Asia, and Latin America of their natural resources and freedom while the people who live there are sick and starving. The rulers of this country and their flunkies have committed some of the most brutal, vicious crimes in history. They are the bandits. They are the murderers. And they should be treated as such. These maniacs are not fit to judge me, Clark, or any other Black person on trial in amerika. Black people should and, inevitably, must determine our destinies.

Every revolution in history has been accomplished by actions, al-though words are necessary. We must create shields that protect us and spears that penetrate our enemies. Black people must learn how to struggle by struggling. We must learn by our mistakes.

I want to apologize to you, my Black brothers and sisters, for being on the new jersey turnpike. I should have known better. The turnpike is a checkpoint where Black people are stopped, searched, harassed, and assaulted. Revolutionaries must never be in too much of a hurry or make careless decisions. He who runs when the sun is sleeping will stumble many times.

Every time a Black Freedom Fighter is murdered or captured, the pigs try to create the impression that they have quashed the movement, destroyed our forces, and put down the Black Revolution. The pigs also try to give the impression that five or ten guerrillas are responsible for every revolutionary action carried out in amerika. That is nonsense. That is absurd. Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression. We are being manufactured in droves in the ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills, leavenworth, and sing sing. They are turning out thousands of us. Many jobless Black veterans and welfare mothers are joining our ranks. Brothers and sisters from all walks of life, who are tired of suffering passively, make up the BLA.

There is, and always will be, until every Black man, woman, and child is free, a Black Liberation Army. The main function of the Black

Liberation Army at this time is to create good examples, to struggle for Black freedom, and to prepare for the future. We must defend ourselves and let no one disrespect us. We must gain our liberation by any means necessary.

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other. 
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

In the spirit of:

Ronald Carter

William Christmas

Mark Clark

Mark Essex

Frank “Heavy” Fields

Woodie Changa Olugbala Green

Fred Hampton

Lil’ Bobby Hutton

George Jackson

Jonathan Jackson

James McClain

Harold Russel

Zayd Malik Shakur

Anthony Kumu Olugbala White

We must fight on.”

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story | Elaine Brown
Notes:
Elaine Brown started out in LA with the Black Congress, which was headed by Karenga. She first came into contact with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense by means of Earl Anthony, in November 1968.she became the Protege of Sandra Scott, and close with Ron Wilkins “Brother Crook”Harry Truly (sociology professor) was trying to organize the Black Student Alliance in LA of all the Black Student Unions across the country

“I also came here to let you know that it is the position of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense that we are the vanguard of revolution in the United States. We are the vanguard party. And the vanguard party is declaring all-out-war on the pig. We are declaring war, and we are declaring that from this point forward, nobody will speak about Black Power or revolution unless he’s willing to follow the example of the vanguard, willing to pick up the gun, ready to die for the people.” — Bunchy Carter (page 124)

It seems that once the Black Panther Party came to LA, the time for talking was officially over and there was no room for it. Space was only cleared for action, and anything else was considered counterrevolutionary or reactionary.
Nonviolence died with Martin Luther King, Jr.Before the end of April 1968, spurred by the assassination of MLK Jr and Bobby Hutton, Elaine Brown joined the Black Panther Party, and first met Ericka Huggins.

“Our job was to encourage the revolution that would bring true freedom to black people. The goal of the revolution was to overthrow the racist U.S. government and to institute socialism in the United States of America.” (page 135)
“As women our role was not very different from that of the men, except in certain particulars. Ericka told us point-blank that as women we might have to have sexual encounters with “the enemy” at night and slit his throat in the morning” (page 136)
“Our gender was but another weapon, another tool of the revolution. We also had the task of producing children, progeny of revolution who would carry the flame when we fell, knowing that generations after us would prevail.” (page 137)

Panther slogan: “The spirit of the People is greater than the Man’s technology.” (page 137)

“There were no part-time revolutionaries. We were full-time revolutionaries, full-time Panthers.” (page 138)

Bunchy Carter was adamant that the enemy is never black. tore into the Panther members after one of them defaced a picture of Karenga, and he and the US organization surrounded his house threatening his life. (page 144)Father Eugene Boyle at Sacred Heart Church in San Francisco was the first to open his doors to the free breakfast program (page 156)LAPD got enough funding to create a Panther-specific unit called the “metro squad” — they tortured, beat, and pulled over Black Panther members for no reason at all. threatening and openly talking about killing them. (page 182-183)after the anniversary of Bobby Hutton’s assassination (April 4, 1969), Elaine learned and realized the chauvinism going on with the North Californian chapter of the BPP. The LA Panther’s agreed that they were the real Panthers. 

“Black men were our Brothers in the struggle for black liberation. We had no intention, however, of allowing Panther men to assign us an inferior role in our revolution.” (page 192)

The Clique — Joan, Ericka Huggins, Evon Carter, Gwen Goodloe, and Elaine Brown.
clique of women Black Panthers who would not be deemed inferior by the men in the Party. A collective of women who stood in the face of male chauvinism in the Party. (page 192)
Eldridge Cleaver, when Elaine went to Moscow to see him, seemed to be disconnected from the reality happening in the US. He was sold on the fact that the Oakland BPP branch was turning into a reformist Party and he was questioning where the vanguard had gone.when Elaine would not deliver the message to David Hilliard about Eldridge being the true leader of the vanguard and choosing Eldridge over the Central Committee, Eldridge threatens her life.Huey P. Newton talking about the subjective nature of revolution, and how in order to adapt with the people, an objective stance must be taken to understand the objective reality of the People. The Party must adapt to the People, not the other way around. (pages 246-247)
then goes on to say that the march on Sacramento was not to protest a bill, but to organize; it was a call to the People, to join.

“The gun is not necessarily revolutionary… It’s the motivation behind the gun that determines the validity of its use.” — Huey P. Newton (page 248)
“As i see it, the next step in that process is to deemphasize the gun and emphasize the social programs, to widen the people’s horizon. If we stayed on the pigs and the gun, per se, not only would the party go down, the people’s spirit would be crushed as they watched, and they might remain blind to the forest for the trees. Not only that, they’d come dead on arrival at the door of revolution. It’s the people who ave to survive to the point of revolution.” — Huey P. Newton (page 248)

When Huey was released from prison, his title had been changed to “Supreme Commander” even though he did not want to be called that. (page 257)
David also pushed him to get the penthouse on the 25th level for security purposes. (page 258)
used to secure the last remaining leadership of the Party, Huey P. Newton, because of David Hilliard’s impending incarceration.
punishment in the Party was always an act of violence — Elaine receiving ten lashes for being an hour late with the paper, as the main editor. (page 275)Pages 277-281 — Huey Outlines the ideas of reactionary intercommunalism and revolutionary intercommunalism When Huey met Samora Machal, leader of FRELIMO, in Beijing, he solidified the need to elevate the Survival Programs to be alternative institutions that would attract many more of the People to the programs and their Party.Huey and the Panthers began strong-arming the drug game and the after-hours spots in Oakland to take a percentage for the part, and the community. (page 332-333)Elaine Brown was a huge power to be reckoned with in getting Lionel Wilson elected as the Democrat elected mayor of Oakland since WWII and the first Black mayor of Oakland ever. She became a gatekeeper to Oakland, one which large corporations had to speak with, in order to get the Grove-Shafter Freeway, which would connect Oakland to the middle-class white suburbs. This was also connected to the building of the Oakland City Center which would provide 10,000 jobs to Oakland Black people.When Huey returned from exile from Cuba, to face murder charges, the machismo rifts once again surfaced. This was apparent with BigBob breaking many rules in the Party and being jailed out of prison with little discipline attached, while Regina Davis, who worked endlessly as the head of the Oakland Community School had been beaten by Huey’s men for a mere verbal indiscretion.At the end of the day, it seems that the People had made a god out of a man (Huey). He did not want to be seen as such, but when he was, he did not utilize the influence he had to support the actual people—the women in his Party. He did not put his foot down to do what he always could have done. He did not take it upon himself to step up and recognize the countless hours, money, lives that are the Black Panther Party. All he wanted to be was Huey, not realizing the damage and harm he was causing by neglecting the people who actually believe in him.Patriarchy and gender violence curtailed the upswing of the Black Panther Party, as Elaine Brown left..

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story | Elaine Brown

Notes:

Elaine Brown started out in LA with the Black Congress, which was headed by Karenga. She first came into contact with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense by means of Earl Anthony, in November 1968.

she became the Protege of Sandra Scott, and close with Ron Wilkins “Brother Crook”

Harry Truly (sociology professor) was trying to organize the Black Student Alliance in LA of all the Black Student Unions across the country

“I also came here to let you know that it is the position of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense that we are the vanguard of revolution in the United States. We are the vanguard party. And the vanguard party is declaring all-out-war on the pig. We are declaring war, and we are declaring that from this point forward, nobody will speak about Black Power or revolution unless he’s willing to follow the example of the vanguard, willing to pick up the gun, ready to die for the people.” — Bunchy Carter (page 124)

It seems that once the Black Panther Party came to LA, the time for talking was officially over and there was no room for it. Space was only cleared for action, and anything else was considered counterrevolutionary or reactionary.

Nonviolence died with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Before the end of April 1968, spurred by the assassination of MLK Jr and Bobby Hutton, Elaine Brown joined the Black Panther Party, and first met Ericka Huggins.

“Our job was to encourage the revolution that would bring true freedom to black people. The goal of the revolution was to overthrow the racist U.S. government and to institute socialism in the United States of America.” (page 135)

“As women our role was not very different from that of the men, except in certain particulars. Ericka told us point-blank that as women we might have to have sexual encounters with “the enemy” at night and slit his throat in the morning” (page 136)

“Our gender was but another weapon, another tool of the revolution. We also had the task of producing children, progeny of revolution who would carry the flame when we fell, knowing that generations after us would prevail.” (page 137)

Panther slogan: “The spirit of the People is greater than the Man’s technology.” (page 137)

“There were no part-time revolutionaries. We were full-time revolutionaries, full-time Panthers.” (page 138)

Bunchy Carter was adamant that the enemy is never black. 
tore into the Panther members after one of them defaced a picture of Karenga, and he and the US organization surrounded his house threatening his life. (page 144)
Father Eugene Boyle at Sacred Heart Church in San Francisco was the first to open his doors to the free breakfast program (page 156)

LAPD got enough funding to create a Panther-specific unit called the “metro squad” — they tortured, beat, and pulled over Black Panther members for no reason at all. threatening and openly talking about killing them. (page 182-183)

after the anniversary of Bobby Hutton’s assassination (April 4, 1969), Elaine learned and realized the chauvinism going on with the North Californian chapter of the BPP. The LA Panther’s agreed that they were the real Panthers. 

“Black men were our Brothers in the struggle for black liberation. We had no intention, however, of allowing Panther men to assign us an inferior role in our revolution.” (page 192)

The Clique — Joan, Ericka Huggins, Evon Carter, Gwen Goodloe, and Elaine Brown.

  • clique of women Black Panthers who would not be deemed inferior by the men in the Party. A collective of women who stood in the face of male chauvinism in the Party. (page 192)

Eldridge Cleaver, when Elaine went to Moscow to see him, seemed to be disconnected from the reality happening in the US. He was sold on the fact that the Oakland BPP branch was turning into a reformist Party and he was questioning where the vanguard had gone.

when Elaine would not deliver the message to David Hilliard about Eldridge being the true leader of the vanguard and choosing Eldridge over the Central Committee, Eldridge threatens her life.

Huey P. Newton talking about the subjective nature of revolution, and how in order to adapt with the people, an objective stance must be taken to understand the objective reality of the People. The Party must adapt to the People, not the other way around. (pages 246-247)

then goes on to say that the march on Sacramento was not to protest a bill, but to organize; it was a call to the People, to join.

“The gun is not necessarily revolutionary… It’s the motivation behind the gun that determines the validity of its use.” — Huey P. Newton (page 248)

“As i see it, the next step in that process is to deemphasize the gun and emphasize the social programs, to widen the people’s horizon. If we stayed on the pigs and the gun, per se, not only would the party go down, the people’s spirit would be crushed as they watched, and they might remain blind to the forest for the trees. Not only that, they’d come dead on arrival at the door of revolution. It’s the people who ave to survive to the point of revolution.” — Huey P. Newton (page 248)

When Huey was released from prison, his title had been changed to “Supreme Commander” even though he did not want to be called that. (page 257)

David also pushed him to get the penthouse on the 25th level for security purposes. (page 258)

used to secure the last remaining leadership of the Party, Huey P. Newton, because of David Hilliard’s impending incarceration.

punishment in the Party was always an act of violence — Elaine receiving ten lashes for being an hour late with the paper, as the main editor. (page 275)

Pages 277-281 — Huey Outlines the ideas of reactionary intercommunalism and revolutionary intercommunalism 

When Huey met Samora Machal, leader of FRELIMO, in Beijing, he solidified the need to elevate the Survival Programs to be alternative institutions that would attract many more of the People to the programs and their Party.

Huey and the Panthers began strong-arming the drug game and the after-hours spots in Oakland to take a percentage for the part, and the community. (page 332-333)

Elaine Brown was a huge power to be reckoned with in getting Lionel Wilson elected as the Democrat elected mayor of Oakland since WWII and the first Black mayor of Oakland ever. She became a gatekeeper to Oakland, one which large corporations had to speak with, in order to get the Grove-Shafter Freeway, which would connect Oakland to the middle-class white suburbs. This was also connected to the building of the Oakland City Center which would provide 10,000 jobs to Oakland Black people.

When Huey returned from exile from Cuba, to face murder charges, the machismo rifts once again surfaced. This was apparent with BigBob breaking many rules in the Party and being jailed out of prison with little discipline attached, while Regina Davis, who worked endlessly as the head of the Oakland Community School had been beaten by Huey’s men for a mere verbal indiscretion.

At the end of the day, it seems that the People had made a god out of a man (Huey). He did not want to be seen as such, but when he was, he did not utilize the influence he had to support the actual people—the women in his Party. He did not put his foot down to do what he always could have done. He did not take it upon himself to step up and recognize the countless hours, money, lives that are the Black Panther Party. All he wanted to be was Huey, not realizing the damage and harm he was causing by neglecting the people who actually believe in him.

Patriarchy and gender violence curtailed the upswing of the Black Panther Party, as Elaine Brown left..

“I also came here to let you know that it is the position of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense that we are the vanguard of revolution in the United States. We are the vanguard party. And the vanguard party is declaring all-out-war on the pig. We are declaring war, and we are declaring that from this point forward, nobody will speak about Black Power or revolution unless he’s willing to follow the example of the vanguard, willing to pick up the gun, ready to die for the people.” 
— Bunchy Carter

“I also came here to let you know that it is the position of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense that we are the vanguard of revolution in the United States. We are the vanguard party. And the vanguard party is declaring all-out-war on the pig. We are declaring war, and we are declaring that from this point forward, nobody will speak about Black Power or revolution unless he’s willing to follow the example of the vanguard, willing to pick up the gun, ready to die for the people.”

Bunchy Carter

Global influences on the Ideological Praxis of the Black Panther Party

Mikhail Bakunin

Conspiratorial revolutionary action by small groups

Major text — The Catechism of Revolutionist

Fidel Castro, Régis Debray, and Che Guevara

Foco theory and guerrilla warfare tactics

Major texts — “Revolution in the Revolution?” and “Guerrilla Warfare”

Frantz Fanon

Revolutionary violence and colonial analogy; revolutionary potential of the lumpen proletariat

Major text — Wretched of the Earth

V. I. Lenin

Vanguard Party and anti-imperialist struggle

Major text — What is to be done?

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Class Struggle; Dialectical Materialism; Proletarian Internationalism

Major text — Communist Manifesto

Kwame Nkrumah

Neocolonialism and guerrilla warfare tactics

Major texts — “Neo-Colonialism” and “Class Struggle in Africa”

Kim Il Sung

juche = “self-reliance”

Mao Tse-Tung

Revolutionary organizing principles (internal and external); Serving the People programs

Major text — Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (The Little Red Book)

The Panther Dead: Police Induced Fatalities, 1968 - 1971

(not exhaustive)

1968

March 14: Arthur Morris, age 28, Los Angeles

April 6: Bobby Hutton, age 17, Oakland (pictured above)

August 25: Steven Bartholomew, age 21, Los Angeles

August 25: Robert Lawrence, age 22, Los Angeles

August 25: Tommy Lewis, age 18, Los Angeles

October 15: Welton Armstead, age 17, Seattle

December 30: Frank Diggs, age 40, Los Angeles

1969

January 17: Alprentice Carter, age 26, Los Angeles (pictured above)

January 17: John Huggins, age 23, Los Angeles (pictured above)

May 21: Alex Rackley, age 24, New Haven

May 23: John Savage, age 21, Los Angeles

August 15: Sylvester Bell, age 34, San Diego

September 4: Larry Roberson, age 20, Chicago

September 12: Nathaniel Clark, age 19, Los Angeles

October 10: Walter Touré Pope, age 20, Los Angeles

November 13: Spurgeon Winters, age 19, Chicago

December 4: Fred Hampton, age 21, Chicago (pictured above)

December 4: Mark Clark, age 22, Chicago

December 25: Sterling Jones, age 17, Chicago

December ?: Eugene Anderson, age 20, Baltimore

1970

July 27: Babatunde X Omarwali, age 26, Chicago

July 28: Carl Hampton, age 23, Houston

August 7: Jonathan Jackson, age 17, San Raphael, CA

1971

January ?: Fred Bennett, age 29, Santa Cruz, CA

January 13: Sandra Lane Pratt, age 23, Los Angeles

March 8: Robert Webb, age 22, New York

April 17: Samuel Napier, age 30, New York

April 17: Harold Russell, age 23, New York

August 21: George Jackson, age 29, San Quentin (pictured  above)

Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party | Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.
Notes:
Part One. Organizing Rage
Middle to late 1960s, Black people started to become aware of the limits of the early 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Black Panther Executive Mandate #1:

“The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense calls upon the America people in general and the Black people in particular to take careful note of the racist California Legislature which is now considering legislation aimed at keeping the Black people disarmed and powerless at the very same time that racist police agencies throughout the country are intensifying the terror, brutality, murder, and repression of Black people… . The enslavement of Black people from the very beginning of this country, the genocide practiced on the American Indians and the confining of the survivors on reservations, the savage lynching of thousands of Black men and women, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and now the cowardly massacre in Vietnam, all testify to the fact that toward people of color the racist power structure of America has but one policy: repression, genocide, terror, and the big stick… . The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense believes that the time has come for Black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late. The pending Mulford Act brings the hour of doom one step nearer. A people who have suffered so much for so long at the hands of a racist society, must draw the line somewhere. We believe tat the Black communities of America must rise up as one man to halt the progression of a trend that leads inevitably to their total destruction.” — Bobby Seale, May 2, 1967 (page 59-60)

Part Two. Baptism in Blood
Huey developed a politic to organize the “brothers on the block”: (page 66)
“first applying Frantz Fanon’s theory of the psychology of colonization and liberation struggle  to the ghettos of the United States”
“then extending the analogy to identify the police as an occupying force”
“interpreting U.S. urban riots as protopolitical resistance to this occupation,”
“and asserting the role of the Black Panther Party as the legitimate representation of the black community—the vanguard party—in the struggle for Black Power.”
The foundation of the BPPSD was an all-male group which makes me think about the difficulties of adapting the foundations of anything. As women began to join the ranks more and more, it was clear that Black men were the forefront of the party, seen in leader roles and that Black women were seen in supportive roles. (page 97)
"Free Huey!" became more than whether or not Huey Newton had killed Officer Frey, and became a way to “use Huey’s trial as a forum to put America on trial, to expose its inherent racism and injustice.” (page 104)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed on April 4, 1968. two days later:

April 6, 1968 — a group of Panthers are out and about (three carloads). They pulled over because Eldridge Cleaver had to urinate and then several police cars pulled up on Cleaver and shined a light on him Words were exchanged then gunfire. Cleaver and Bobby Hutton ran into a nearby building. Hour and a half later, Cleaver emerged, naked, and was taken into custody. Bobby Hutton emerged from the baseman and the police shot him dead. (page 118-119)
Many people attended the funeral of Bobby Hutton on April 12th, likening his murder to that of Dr. King.

“The murder of King changed the whole dynamic of the country. That is probably the single most significant event in terms of how the Panthers were perceived by the Black community.” — Kathleen Cleaver (page 159)
“By framing this practice of armed self-defense as part of a global anti-imperialist struggle, the Panthers were able to draw broad support both from other black political organizations and from many nonblacks. These allies provided crucial financial, political, and legal support that enabled the Panthers to mount top-notch, unprecedented legal defenses against many charges they faced, and they often won their cases in court…” (page 160)
Part Three. Resilience
The Breakfast program not only fed kids, they shed light upon the government’s lack of action surrounding feeding children. This is true of a lot of the Black Panther Party service programs; shedding light on the lack of care the government has for the Black community.
“The Party’s advocacy for health care for blacks revealed the group’s deep commitment to a holistic view of health that was both environmental and physical. For the Party, the well-being of individual black bodies and the collective black community reflected the overall welfare of the larger black body politic. Improving the health status of blacks thus went hand in hand with improving their political activism and black public health activism were interwoven.” (page 189)
“The gendering of the Party’s community programs as female and the public face of the Party as male became entrenched for two major reasons.” (page 194)
“First, the Party’s continuing masculinism and the society’s deeply ingrained gender norms undercut women’s serious battles against sexism within the Party.”
“Second, even as women’s participation became increasingly central to the operation of the Party and questions of gender equity loomed large, the Party had no formal and effective mechanisms to root out sexism and misogyny.”
Panther pads or Panther cribs — Panthers tried to reflect their communal living and make it possible for all people to live a freer life; but often these communal living arrangements perpetuated the same gender inequity and patriarchy that it was said to extinguish. (page 194-195)
“A revolutionary program is one set forth by revolutionaries, by those who want to change the existing system to a better one” whereas “a reform program is set up by the existing exploitative system as an appeasing handout, to fool people and to keep them quiet. Examples of these programs are poverty programs, youth work programs, and things like that.” — Bobby Seale (page 195)
Through direct service to the community: (page 196-197)
“the services provided concrete aid to an impressive number and cross-section of folk…materializing the notion of service to the community.”
“these programs accomplished crucial educational and political work within communities, conveying the insufficiency of the capitalist welfare state to meet eve the most basic needs of its citizens, especially its black citizens.”
“the Panthers’ programs expanded communities’ understanding of the process of grassroots institutional development—how to create and sustain their own much-needed institutions from the ground up.”
“these programs not only kept the Party alive in the face of awesome state repression, they also initially enabled it to grow during these trying times.”
November 5, 1968 — Nixon was elected the 37th president of the united states. This led to a law and order stance by Nixon. He set his eyes on repression of the Black Panther Party and the year to come (1969) was filled with raids on Black Panther establishments.
The Murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark:
Fred Hampton was trying to merge with the largest and most powerful gang in the Chicago area, the Blackstone Rangers, with leader Jeff Fort. However, Fort wanted the BPP to become Rangers, not the other way around (page 228 - 230)

The FBI tried to exploit this disagreement by sending a letter to Jeff Fort, hoping he would turn violence, but neither Hampton nor Fort took the bait. 

Black nationalist groups and other Black groups came to the aid of the BPP because they saw the repression they faced, and believed what could happen to the BPP, could happen to the rest of the Black community.Coalition Rally on November 3 1969 — united protest against the government repression of the BPP (page 235)
P. Stone Nation
Conservative Vice Lords
Black Liberation Alliance
Jesse Jackson
Many more…
After the killing of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, Bobby Rush gave tours of the apartment to reporters and community members. No bullet hole marks in either of the doorways the SPU entered through. (page 239)
Before May Day (May 1, 1970) had arrived, the Panthers had won the support of Yale, in New Haven, CT. (page 262)

Yale students striking, and the president of Yale, Kingman Brewster, Jr. saying he is “skeptical of the ability of black revolutionaries to achieve a fair trial anywhere in the United States.” (page 261)

“Officers instructed soldiers, “You will not be successfully prosecuted if you shoot someone whole performing a duty… . there is nothing to fear concerning your individual actions.” (page 262)May 2nd creation of the National Student Strike Committee; students across the country should boycott classes until three demands were met: (page 264)
“The United States must end its “systematic oppression” of all political dissidents, such as Bobby Seale, and all other Black Panthers.”
“The United States must cease “aggression” in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and unilaterally and immediately withdraw its force.”
“Universities must end their “complicity” in war by ending was-related research and eliminating Reserve Officer Training Corps activities.”
May 1970 — “more than four million students at 1,300 colleges across participated in campus protests that month. One and a half million went on strike, shutting down at least 536 college campuses—many for the remained of the academic year” (page 266)
Part Four. Revolution Has Come!
Out of the Black Panther-sponsored United Front Against Fascism Conference in Oakland, California (July 18-21, 1969) came the creation of National Committees to Combat Fascism (NCCFs) (resource #3, page 301)
The NCCFs would work under a BPP umbrella but would allow nonblack membership
Originally focused on two issues: “local campaigns for community control of police and the development of legal teams to defend political prisoners” (page 302)
The formation of revolutionary motherhood around having babies. This is not only for the revolutionary nation, but for the revolutionary men, constructing firm patriarchal norms and heteronormativity. (page 305)

“Our men need, want and will love the beautiful children, that come from our fruitful wombs… . We are mothers of revolutionaries, with us is the further of our people.” — Candi Robinson (page 305)
“I had three babies because I thought that it was my revolutionary duty to do that. I … wasn’t thinking of what I wanted for me.” — Malika Adams (page 305)

Part Five. Concessions and Unraveling
“In noninsurgent organizations, established laws and customs are assumed and largely respected. Maintaining organizational coherence may be challenging, but transgressions of law and custom are generally outside of organizational responsibility. Within insurgent organizations like the Black Panther Party, law and custom are viewed as oppressive and illegitimate. Insurgents view their movement as above the law and custom, the embodiment of a greater morality. As a result, defining acceptable types of transgression of law and custom, and maintaining discipline within these constraints, often poses a serious challenge for insurgent organizations like the Black Panther Party. What sorts of violation of law and custom are consistent with the vision and aims of the insurgency?” (page 342)“The survival of the Party depended on its political coherence and organizational discipline.” (page 344)

One of the major tools to maintain this discipline was the threat of expulsion from the Party.

“The resilience of the Black Panthers politics depended heavily on support from three broad constituencies: blacks, opponents of the Vietnam War, and revolutionary governments internationally.” (page 346)

The deescalation of the Vietnam War and the draft caused those who supported the Black Panthers because of this to view the Black Panthers revolutionary tactics as unnecessary because they no longer had a stake in the actions.(page 348)
“Increasing access to mainstream institutions undercut the basis for blacks’ support of the Panthers’ politics.” (page 349)The international support for the BPP started to deteriorate as these nations began to come to better negotiations and started doing more business with the United States. (page 350-351)

“Tensions developed between the necessarily independent activities of the local chapters, some of which bordered on open insurrection, and the Central Committee’s efforts to maintain allied support.” (resource #3, page 365)“Between 1968 through 1970, three factors exacerbated these tensions. 
"First, counterintelligence activities by the federal government worked to vilify the Party.”
“Second, the success of the Party created a conflict between promoting insurrection and maintaining the Party’s image.”
“The third factor that made Black Panther politics unsustainable was the establishment’s decision to offer political concessions to Panther allies, thereby shifting the political context and cutting into the Panthers’ ability to maintain allied support.” (page 366)
By 1970, the Party had opened offices in 68 cities, annual budget reaching $1.2 million, and circulation of the Black Panther reached 150,000.
Conclusion
classic sociological perspective:

“When repression is light, people tend to cooperate with established political authorities and take less disruptive action; when repression is heavy, the costs of insurgency are too large, causing people to shy away from radical acts. But, according to this view, it is when authorities are moderately repressive—too repressive to steer dissenters toward institutional channels  of political participation but not repressive enough to quell dissent—that people widely mobilize disruptive challenges to authorities.” (page 396)
Relationship shaped like an “inverse U”
The Black Panthers defy this perspective

 for the BPP: “potential allies’ political reception of the Panther insurgent practices determined the effects of repression on mobilization.” (page 397)“We have found that the political context, rather than independently determining the extent of mobilization, determines the efficacy of particular insurgent practices.” (page 397)
—
“any revolutionary theory consciously separates the world into two camps: those who seek to reproduce the existing social arrangements and those who seek to overthrow them.” 

Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party | Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.

Notes:

Part One. Organizing Rage

Middle to late 1960s, Black people started to become aware of the limits of the early 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Black Panther Executive Mandate #1:

“The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense calls upon the America people in general and the Black people in particular to take careful note of the racist California Legislature which is now considering legislation aimed at keeping the Black people disarmed and powerless at the very same time that racist police agencies throughout the country are intensifying the terror, brutality, murder, and repression of Black people… . The enslavement of Black people from the very beginning of this country, the genocide practiced on the American Indians and the confining of the survivors on reservations, the savage lynching of thousands of Black men and women, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and now the cowardly massacre in Vietnam, all testify to the fact that toward people of color the racist power structure of America has but one policy: repression, genocide, terror, and the big stick… . The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense believes that the time has come for Black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late. The pending Mulford Act brings the hour of doom one step nearer. A people who have suffered so much for so long at the hands of a racist society, must draw the line somewhere. We believe tat the Black communities of America must rise up as one man to halt the progression of a trend that leads inevitably to their total destruction.” — Bobby Seale, May 2, 1967 (page 59-60)

Part Two. Baptism in Blood

Huey developed a politic to organize the “brothers on the block”: (page 66)

  • “first applying Frantz Fanon’s theory of the psychology of colonization and liberation struggle  to the ghettos of the United States”
  • “then extending the analogy to identify the police as an occupying force”
  • “interpreting U.S. urban riots as protopolitical resistance to this occupation,”
  • “and asserting the role of the Black Panther Party as the legitimate representation of the black community—the vanguard party—in the struggle for Black Power.”

The foundation of the BPPSD was an all-male group which makes me think about the difficulties of adapting the foundations of anything. As women began to join the ranks more and more, it was clear that Black men were the forefront of the party, seen in leader roles and that Black women were seen in supportive roles. (page 97)

"Free Huey!" became more than whether or not Huey Newton had killed Officer Frey, and became a way to “use Huey’s trial as a forum to put America on trial, to expose its inherent racism and injustice.” (page 104)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed on April 4, 1968. two days later:

April 6, 1968 — a group of Panthers are out and about (three carloads). They pulled over because Eldridge Cleaver had to urinate and then several police cars pulled up on Cleaver and shined a light on him Words were exchanged then gunfire. Cleaver and Bobby Hutton ran into a nearby building. Hour and a half later, Cleaver emerged, naked, and was taken into custody. Bobby Hutton emerged from the baseman and the police shot him dead. (page 118-119)

Many people attended the funeral of Bobby Hutton on April 12th, likening his murder to that of Dr. King.

“The murder of King changed the whole dynamic of the country. That is probably the single most significant event in terms of how the Panthers were perceived by the Black community.” — Kathleen Cleaver (page 159)

“By framing this practice of armed self-defense as part of a global anti-imperialist struggle, the Panthers were able to draw broad support both from other black political organizations and from many nonblacks. These allies provided crucial financial, political, and legal support that enabled the Panthers to mount top-notch, unprecedented legal defenses against many charges they faced, and they often won their cases in court…” (page 160)

Part Three. Resilience

The Breakfast program not only fed kids, they shed light upon the government’s lack of action surrounding feeding children. This is true of a lot of the Black Panther Party service programs; shedding light on the lack of care the government has for the Black community.

“The Party’s advocacy for health care for blacks revealed the group’s deep commitment to a holistic view of health that was both environmental and physical. For the Party, the well-being of individual black bodies and the collective black community reflected the overall welfare of the larger black body politic. Improving the health status of blacks thus went hand in hand with improving their political activism and black public health activism were interwoven.” (page 189)

“The gendering of the Party’s community programs as female and the public face of the Party as male became entrenched for two major reasons.” (page 194)

  1. “First, the Party’s continuing masculinism and the society’s deeply ingrained gender norms undercut women’s serious battles against sexism within the Party.”
  2. “Second, even as women’s participation became increasingly central to the operation of the Party and questions of gender equity loomed large, the Party had no formal and effective mechanisms to root out sexism and misogyny.”

Panther pads or Panther cribs — Panthers tried to reflect their communal living and make it possible for all people to live a freer life; but often these communal living arrangements perpetuated the same gender inequity and patriarchy that it was said to extinguish. (page 194-195)

“A revolutionary program is one set forth by revolutionaries, by those who want to change the existing system to a better one” whereas “a reform program is set up by the existing exploitative system as an appeasing handout, to fool people and to keep them quiet. Examples of these programs are poverty programs, youth work programs, and things like that.” — Bobby Seale (page 195)

Through direct service to the community: (page 196-197)

  • “the services provided concrete aid to an impressive number and cross-section of folk…materializing the notion of service to the community.”
  • “these programs accomplished crucial educational and political work within communities, conveying the insufficiency of the capitalist welfare state to meet eve the most basic needs of its citizens, especially its black citizens.”
  • “the Panthers’ programs expanded communities’ understanding of the process of grassroots institutional development—how to create and sustain their own much-needed institutions from the ground up.”
  • “these programs not only kept the Party alive in the face of awesome state repression, they also initially enabled it to grow during these trying times.”

November 5, 1968 — Nixon was elected the 37th president of the united states. This led to a law and order stance by Nixon. He set his eyes on repression of the Black Panther Party and the year to come (1969) was filled with raids on Black Panther establishments.

The Murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark:

Fred Hampton was trying to merge with the largest and most powerful gang in the Chicago area, the Blackstone Rangers, with leader Jeff Fort. However, Fort wanted the BPP to become Rangers, not the other way around (page 228 - 230)

The FBI tried to exploit this disagreement by sending a letter to Jeff Fort, hoping he would turn violence, but neither Hampton nor Fort took the bait. 

Black nationalist groups and other Black groups came to the aid of the BPP because they saw the repression they faced, and believed what could happen to the BPP, could happen to the rest of the Black community.

Coalition Rally on November 3 1969 — united protest against the government repression of the BPP (page 235)

  • P. Stone Nation
  • Conservative Vice Lords
  • Black Liberation Alliance
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Many more…

After the killing of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, Bobby Rush gave tours of the apartment to reporters and community members. No bullet hole marks in either of the doorways the SPU entered through. (page 239)

Before May Day (May 1, 1970) had arrived, the Panthers had won the support of Yale, in New Haven, CT. (page 262)

Yale students striking, and the president of Yale, Kingman Brewster, Jr. saying he is “skeptical of the ability of black revolutionaries to achieve a fair trial anywhere in the United States.” (page 261)

“Officers instructed soldiers, “You will not be successfully prosecuted if you shoot someone whole performing a duty… . there is nothing to fear concerning your individual actions.” (page 262)

May 2nd creation of the National Student Strike Committee; students across the country should boycott classes until three demands were met: (page 264)

  1. “The United States must end its “systematic oppression” of all political dissidents, such as Bobby Seale, and all other Black Panthers.”
  2. “The United States must cease “aggression” in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and unilaterally and immediately withdraw its force.”
  3. “Universities must end their “complicity” in war by ending was-related research and eliminating Reserve Officer Training Corps activities.”

May 1970 — “more than four million students at 1,300 colleges across participated in campus protests that month. One and a half million went on strike, shutting down at least 536 college campuses—many for the remained of the academic year” (page 266)

Part Four. Revolution Has Come!

Out of the Black Panther-sponsored United Front Against Fascism Conference in Oakland, California (July 18-21, 1969) came the creation of National Committees to Combat Fascism (NCCFs) (resource #3, page 301)

  • The NCCFs would work under a BPP umbrella but would allow nonblack membership
  • Originally focused on two issues: “local campaigns for community control of police and the development of legal teams to defend political prisoners” (page 302)

The formation of revolutionary motherhood around having babies. This is not only for the revolutionary nation, but for the revolutionary men, constructing firm patriarchal norms and heteronormativity. (page 305)

“Our men need, want and will love the beautiful children, that come from our fruitful wombs… . We are mothers of revolutionaries, with us is the further of our people.” — Candi Robinson (page 305)

“I had three babies because I thought that it was my revolutionary duty to do that. I … wasn’t thinking of what I wanted for me.” — Malika Adams (page 305)

Part Five. Concessions and Unraveling

“In noninsurgent organizations, established laws and customs are assumed and largely respected. Maintaining organizational coherence may be challenging, but transgressions of law and custom are generally outside of organizational responsibility. Within insurgent organizations like the Black Panther Party, law and custom are viewed as oppressive and illegitimate. Insurgents view their movement as above the law and custom, the embodiment of a greater morality. As a result, defining acceptable types of transgression of law and custom, and maintaining discipline within these constraints, often poses a serious challenge for insurgent organizations like the Black Panther Party. What sorts of violation of law and custom are consistent with the vision and aims of the insurgency?” (page 342)

“The survival of the Party depended on its political coherence and organizational discipline.” (page 344)

One of the major tools to maintain this discipline was the threat of expulsion from the Party.

“The resilience of the Black Panthers politics depended heavily on support from three broad constituencies: blacks, opponents of the Vietnam War, and revolutionary governments internationally.” (page 346)

The deescalation of the Vietnam War and the draft caused those who supported the Black Panthers because of this to view the Black Panthers revolutionary tactics as unnecessary because they no longer had a stake in the actions.(page 348)

“Increasing access to mainstream institutions undercut the basis for blacks’ support of the Panthers’ politics.” (page 349)

The international support for the BPP started to deteriorate as these nations began to come to better negotiations and started doing more business with the United States. (page 350-351)

“Tensions developed between the necessarily independent activities of the local chapters, some of which bordered on open insurrection, and the Central Committee’s efforts to maintain allied support.” (resource #3, page 365)

“Between 1968 through 1970, three factors exacerbated these tensions. 

  1. "First, counterintelligence activities by the federal government worked to vilify the Party.”
  2. “Second, the success of the Party created a conflict between promoting insurrection and maintaining the Party’s image.”
  3. “The third factor that made Black Panther politics unsustainable was the establishment’s decision to offer political concessions to Panther allies, thereby shifting the political context and cutting into the Panthers’ ability to maintain allied support.” (page 366)

By 1970, the Party had opened offices in 68 cities, annual budget reaching $1.2 million, and circulation of the Black Panther reached 150,000.

Conclusion

classic sociological perspective:

“When repression is light, people tend to cooperate with established political authorities and take less disruptive action; when repression is heavy, the costs of insurgency are too large, causing people to shy away from radical acts. But, according to this view, it is when authorities are moderately repressive—too repressive to steer dissenters toward institutional channels  of political participation but not repressive enough to quell dissent—that people widely mobilize disruptive challenges to authorities.” (page 396)

Relationship shaped like an “inverse U”

The Black Panthers defy this perspective

for the BPP: “potential allies’ political reception of the Panther insurgent practices determined the effects of repression on mobilization.” (page 397)

“We have found that the political context, rather than independently determining the extent of mobilization, determines the efficacy of particular insurgent practices.” (page 397)

“any revolutionary theory consciously separates the world into two camps: those who seek to reproduce the existing social arrangements and those who seek to overthrow them.”