los angeles black panthers

I sat down with former FBI agent Wes Swearingen, who explained just how far the FBI went to neutralize the black liberation movement, particularly the Black Panthers on the West Coast. He exposed the murder of Bunchy Carter in his interview, explaining how they not only wanted to neutralize Bunchy but to discredit him. In his own words, he said that the FBI originally planned for Bunchy to die in Watts in a drug-deal-gone-bad scenario, but — and these are his words — sometimes informants don’t do what you tell them to do. Instead, on January 17, 1969, Bunchy Carter was killed in Campbell Hall on the campus of UCLA. That revelation was definitely a smoking gun for me. Blacks in America have always been written off as conspiracy theorists, even though some of these things have manifested before our own eyes. But when we try to point some of these things out, they almost mockingly say that our accusations have no credibility, can’t be proved. The murder was not only a smoking gun, but a confirmation that behind the scenes, strings are definitely being pulled.
—  [Bone, “The Bastard Question”]
Five years of unrest and increasingly militarized police actions culminated with America’s very first SWAT raid in the final months of the 1960s. The December 1969 raid on the Los Angeles headquarters of the Black Panthers was also about as high-profile a debut for Daryl Gates’s pet project as he could possibly have imagined. Practically, logistically, and tactically, the raid was an utter disaster. But in terms of public relations, it was an enormous success.
The Black Panther Party hit its peak in 1969. Started in Oakland just three years earlier by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the activist group’s mix of Marxism, militance, and black nationalism quickly found a following in the counterculture. Panthers often espoused their revolutionary rhetoric and illustrated their “by any means necessary” motto by toting loaded rifles and handguns during public protests and demonstrations. It wasn’t just talk. In a little over three years, nine police officers and ten Panthers had died in police-Panther confrontations across the country. By 1969, the group was ten thousand strong and had become a bright, blinking flash point on the radar of police in every city in which it had established a presence. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had made the Black Panthers a top priority and, naturally, had publicly “declared war” on them.
—  Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko

USA. California. Oakland. July 28, 1968. Kathleen Cleaver, communications secretary and the first female member of the Party’s decision-making Central Committee, talks with Black Panthers from Los Angeles who came to the “Free Huey” rally in DeFremery Park (named by the Panthers Bobby Hutton Park).

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Polaris

Kwame Ture (Formerly known as Stokely Carmichael) on Unity of Thought, the Los Angeles Rebellion, Political Education, Organization, Discipline and Knowledge

[We] have unity of action; we lack unity of thought. Look at Los Angeles; here you have clear unity of action. If I went to Los Angeles the day before Rodney King was charged, and I said “look here brothers and sisters, they’re going to let these pigs get away free! We gots to organize, we needs to get some guns, we needs to get some Molotov cocktails-” “Oh, he’s just talking.”

But the minute at 3 o'clock in the afternoon when the decision went down, they didn’t even listen to Malcolm who said “after dark for even-steven,” they went in to the streets at 3 o'clock. And an entire people who were fighting each other, cutting each other, disgusted with each other, came together in a unified force and took on the second largest city in the greatest imperialist power in the world, and made them bring in their army to suppress them. We have unity of action. What we lack is unity of though.

Unity of action without guidance of unity of thought leads one into a reactionary position. Our people have unity of action, but this unity of action is usually triggered by an enemy action. For example, it’s only when they have an incident in Howard Beach that everyone jump up like if Howard beach all of a sudden changed; it’s the same thing. And after they jump up and make a little noise, after a while they just sit right back down and say, “oh, Lord, please don’t let them shoot nobody else while I’m alive so I don’t have to go out there and make no protest. Please wait until I die.”

Rodney King gets beat up, what’s new about it? I’ve been dealing with the Los Angeles pigs since I was in the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. And I know the pigs in Los Angeles. They are the most vicious that you can find any place in this country. They have in Los Angeles what they call a choke-hold. The police puts it on you. You go look and see how many been killed by the choke-hold. It’s your history, you’re supposed to know it. The police must bring the people back into being intimidated. They must do it.

But this unity of action which we have can only come to stop the police at certain times for certain periods because it’s spontaneous. A people will never win a war through spontaneous action. You can only win a war through planned action. You give me 100 organized brothers and sisters, and let us face 10,000 disorganized with the same weapons. as Africa is my mother, we’ll whoop them every time, hands down. Kwame Nkrumah said, “it is organization that decides everything.” And the fact that we’re disorganized proves it because we decide absolutely nothing.

In order to have unity of thought we must have collective thinking. One of the biggest problems with our movement is that we got so many individual stars and superstars. They are not disciplined to any organization. Organization disciplines you, and we are an undisciplined people. If you are just a member of the NAACP, it’s a nice Spring afternoon, you want to go out and lollygag but the NAACP has a meeting, if you’re disciplined, you go to the meeting. How many of us can actually say that we on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, go to meetings for organizations, and help to push these organizations forward through collective thinking? It’s not done.

And most cases, most organizations don’t even have political education programs built in the organization. As a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee we had none. As a member of the Black Panther Party we had none. Absolutely none. As a matter of fact, when I tried to bring it, “oh you’re just a bourgeois college student!” “That’s right, Jack! And an honor roll student at that! That’s right. Not only that Jack, I took philosophy, and dig this: everything I get I give back to my people.” Does it make sense to you that you are the leader of a movement, you have 1,000 people who are following, and you are the only one who can see better than all these thousand? That’s stupidity. One woman may be more intelligent than one man, that’s a fact. But no one man can have more experiences than two people. And it’s experience that brings knowledge.

Sit down and read a book with a stupid man. Let him read the same book. Come back and discuss it: he will show you stupid things to show you how stupid you were ‘cause you didn’t even see it. These are facts.

As a people, we have no collective reading, no collective study, no collective thinking. This is our greatest error as a people. This is our greatest shortcoming as a people. This is why we can’t even discuss who we are. Because somebody think they Black-American and that’s what they think, and “what I think is what I think!” Like you think you think you can think. Half the time they aren’t thinking, reacting to stimuli, and think they thinking. Unless we do collective reading and collective discussion, we cannot come to unified thought.

Of course, the enemy will confuse you. Capitalist system will tell you, “you can think whatever you think. That’s it!” Man told me that the other day. I said, “you African,” he said “I don’t think that.” I said “you think you’re thinking,” He said “I don’t care what you say. I ain’t no African, and that’s what I think and what I think is right.” I said, “Okay, please. Think that 2 plus 2 equals 5. Think it.”

No man, no woman, is born with the truth inside of them; not one. All of us come to acquire the truth by searching for it. First of all, we must even have a desire to know the truth. Acquisition of knowledge is directly related to the desire for knowledge. If you do not desire knowledge you will never acquire knowledge. Once you understand that your people are oppressed because they lack knowledge, if you love your people, you seek knowledge. If you love your people, you seek knowledge. And we understand this knowledge cannot be individual knowledge, it must be collective knowledge. Unity of thought must come.

We are concluding but we say what we always say. We will never tire of saying it because it’s the truth. If you love your people, join an organization fighting for your people. Where is the problem?

anonymous asked:

So... Did some Twitter stalking and noticed John started following Kevin Feige (Marvel producer) and hes currently in Los Angeles... If he's there for a meeting about Black Panther GOOD LAWD.

THESE WERE MY THOUGHTS WHEN I SAW LAST NIGHT THAT HE WAS IN LA (where I’m leaving rn but that’s not the point)! WE MIGHT BE ON THE PRECIPICE OF GLORY!

those of us in the first world need to take a good look at the purpose of our organizations. marxist parties here spend their time reading books and debating theory, selling newspapers, fighting for a higher minimum wage, organizing strikes, etc. all of these are worthwhile causes in my opinion, but how much do they help the people? the best model for what we should be doing is that of the maoist and anarchist organizations such as food not bombs, serve the people (los angeles) or the black panther party. nothing helps the people as much (and helps to spread class consciousness among them in the process) as leftists putting in effort to help feed them or clothe them, educate them or defend them from the law, protect their neighborhoods from gentrification, etc. bet they would be more open to your trot newspapers or strike or marxist theory if you’d just helped feed their kids for free or organized to keep their rent affordable or helped them find a job. something to keep in mind everybody. we’re here to serve.

Today We Honor Emory Douglas

Born in 1943 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Emory Douglas has been a resident of the Bay Area since 1951. He became the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party in 1967, a role he held until the party disbanded in the early 1980s. During the Party’s active years he served as the art director overseeing the design and layout of the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas was trained as a commercial artist at City College of San Francisco and has been the subject of several solo exhibitions. His work has also been in numerous exhibitions about the history of the Black Panther Party, including shows at the Arts & Culture Conference of the Black Panther Party in Atlanta, GA in 2008 and “The Black Panther Rank and File” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco in 2006. Most recently his work was the subject of a solo exhibition at Urbis, Manchester, UK in 2008-2009. In 2007, artist Sam Durant curated a solo exhibition of Douglas’ work at the MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, “Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas,” which is the inspiration for the presentation at the New Museum. The same year, Rizzoli published a book with the same title that included essays and interviews about Douglas’s work and his relationship to the Black Panther Party. Douglas’s work has also been presented at the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, Australia; the African American Art & Cultural Complex, San Francisco; Richmond Art Center, CA; and the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston. via gclass.org

(photo: Emory Douglas)

- CARTER Magazine