The Cold Hard Truth About White Radicals and the Black Panther Partyby Lorenzo Komboa Ervin
Contrary to what they claim today, I know many white radicals in the old Left hated the Black Panther Party in the 1960’s. They hated the idea of Black people fighting for their own liberation, without white radical leadership. They hated the idea that the BPP was able to recruit thousands of Black poor and working class youth. They hated the idea that the Black Panther newspaper was the central radical publication of the day, and could explain complex terms to urban Black people that made them “get it”, more than the 1960’s white radical and “underground” press. They hated the idea that the Black Panther Party as an autonomous movement inspired other ethnic and racial groups to organize similar groups, and even young whites whom they had hoped to recruit to their tired ass programs. They hated the idea that the BPP had put forth a socialist program that put oppressed Black/POC at the center of revolutionary social change in the USA and the world. They hated them then, and they hate them now, but today they pretend that they were their best friends of the BPP, and that they are creating programs “just like” the BPP, and that Black people just oughta join with them.
The problem with haters, and racism inside the Left itself, is that they want Black people to go against their own self-interests by surrendering to middle class white radicals, when only they can begin the process of securing their own liberation. Black/POC radicals can only join with others when there are shared issues of concern on a class basis, or there is shared sacrifice, but even then, we need to have our own autonomous movement to make sure our issues are not only respected, but given priority, by any movement claiming to be fighting for a new socialist society.