panther-party

USA. California. Oakland. 1971. Mojo mows the lawn as Black Panthers (and Mojo’s dog) stand in the yard of the Black Panther National Headquarters. 1048 Peralta Street, West Oakland.

The Black Panther Party was one of the most influential responses to racism and inequality in American history. The Panthers advocated armed self-defence to counter police brutality, and initiated a program of patrolling the police with guns and law books. Their enduring legacy is their programs, like Free Breakfast for Children, which helped to inspire a national movement of community organising for economic independence, education, nutrition, and health care. Seale believed that “no kid should be running around hungry in school,” a simple credo that lead FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to call the breakfast program, “the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralise the BPP and destroy what it stands for.”

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Polaris

Assata Shakur once said: if ever there was a decision between armed struggle and social programs (like free grocery programs, free health and education programs, free communal/local crime prevention programs etc), a revolutionary movement should always choose the social program approach.

Social programs represent an experimental view of the world we all strive for whereas an armed insurrection in the immediate present wouldn’t.

This isn’t to say that violence is completely barred – especially in terms of action and self defense against fascists, criminals, injustice, oppression, etc – in the mean time; only that a revolutionary movement shouldn’t put all of its efforts being armed to the teeth, ready to mobilize, and start destroying the state and capitalism at the drop of a hat when they can spend their time investing in social projects for the people’s immediate benefit while spreading ideals, goals, and principles for now and the future.

Armed struggle is an inescapable consequence for any revolutionary movement, however the result would be always be failure if the people don’t know what they’re fighting for and if they solely rely on the well-read militants for deciding what’s right and wrong.

A small movement that can’t defend itself but can understand itself is a seed that can grow; but a movement that can defend itself with no self understanding is a hollow shell.

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Remembering the Black Panther Party

They stood up to police brutality and fed poor kids. They were hated by the FBI.

They were unfairly demonized by our “democratic” government and preyed on by law “enforcement”, and sent to jail for trumped up (no pun intended) charges.

2017 and we are still fighting the same fight!

Not much has changed. They still stand watch over their communities. A person might not know it. But they are there and strong. They have passed the torch on to their children and grandchildren and I am grateful they are there. .

USA. California. Oakland. September 29, 1968. A Huey poster in the window of the Panther national headquarters shot up by the police following his murder trial acquittal. The Panther National headquarters at Grove and 45th Street was attacked in the middle of the night by two Oakland policemen following a not guilty verdict for Huey Newton in his first degree murder trial.

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Polaris

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Happy Blackout!!! The top photo is in honor of the  50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party of Self Defense. The last picture was taken at the opening of the African American of History and Culture’s opening where Public Enemy, Living Colour, and The Roots performed. (Jacket by Reformed School). (Photo creds in order : @jamesjuly@36chambersof-oldirtybae, Paul Holston) (also I wear the jacket more for historical relevance than for gender)

Members of the Ku Klux Klan hide their identity because they don’t want people to know that they are people who have roles in your societal life such as doctors, police, or politicians. Only somebody guilty or coward would hide their identity. The Black Panther Party showed their faces while taking actions. They knew that there is nothing to hide if you’re standing for justice and protecting your people.

‘The Black Panther Party - Speech by John Hulett / Interview with Stokely Carmichael / Report from Lowndes County’, Socialist Workers Party, United States, 1966.
This pamphlet is about the first Black Panther Party in Lowndes County, Alabama that inspired the more well known BPP to form in Oakland, California.

vimeo

     “We were creating a culture. A culture of defiance                                          and self-determination”

Here’s a short bio-pic of Emory Douglas, the former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. The newspaper he helped create sold 400,000 copies a week and helped solidify the Panther Party as a revolutionary group that understood the importance of art as a weapon against the status quo. Douglas is pound for pound, one of the most influential artists of the mid 20th century due to his wide audience within the the B.P.P’s readership yet he tends to be glossed over due his affiliations with radical black politics. 

Blacks often get labeled as drug dealers since they make up majority of the prison population. People often tell blacks that they’d stop getting incarcerated if they’d stop selling drugs. Research shows that more whites sell illegal drugs than blacks, yet, blacks are arrested more often. That’s something many blacks should bring up.

Another thing to remember is that blacks aren’t the real drug dealers. Illegal drugs arrived in the black communities through President Reagan and the CIA to fund the war in Nicaragua. It was also to end activity by the Black Panther Party. How ridiculous is a president selling a dangerous drug to his country to battle another country? When people say blacks are true drug dealers, remind them of Reagan and the CIA. Think of the amount of drugs it takes to fund a war.