Title: Black Panthers Speak
Author(s): Phillip S. Foner. Includes writings by all your favorite Panthers: Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Fred Hampton, Angela Davis, and Stokely Carmichael, amongst others.
Good Guys: Black Panthers and some of their vanilla comrades who fought beside them in the black struggle
Bad Guys: Oppressive, White AmeriKKKA: Police, businesses, the entire U.S. Government (particularly the most rotten pigs, the FBI), and average, apathetic, ignorant citizens
My Rating: A-
I suppose it is “strange” for a white, suburban kid to walk around, clutching a book of militant black politics demonizing the wahhitte man and all his evils. But, then again I am a “strange” guy. So, why did I read this gem of incendiary material? Well, two main reasons: 1) I’m chiefly a propagandist, if anything. Without a doubt the Panthers are accountable for some truly outstanding propaganda. They are completely biased, unabashedly, may I add and write for their side/interests. The point of their works is not to offer you a fair look at how our society works or how certain events went down. Ohh no, they share their perspective of what it is like to be a free-thinking black revolutinary in an extremely racist and violent country that does not value them as human beings. If one were to read “objective” newspapers of the day they would not have the same reaction. The media was never fair to the Panthers, because they served and still serve the government. So, the Panthers fought the mainstream propaganda with their own propaganda and successfully did so. Crucial events such as the Chicago Conspiracy trial, Huey P. Newton’s manslaughter charge, the brutal murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark at the hands of Chicago Police with connection to the FBI are discussed extensively. 2) This book has helped me better understand how fucked up our nation was and still is and how ignorant, we white Americans are. Of course, by reading this or anything else, it does not immediately make me an expert on race relations and I certainly can not say I understand what it was or still is like to be a minority in the US of A. But, it does offer me an awareness of the American Nightmare for blacks, minorities, revolutionaries, and especially black revolutionaries (longer sentences than white revolutionaries). If the Weathermen were black they would all have been imprisoned. For those that doubt the sinister nature of our government, please look through the lens of the black experience in America. If you are privileged and white, then you will not be able to relate to it, but you will have a better understanding of how our vicious, racist system works.
I’m not saying I agree with all the Panthers’ tactics, but this subversive book at least demonstrates how positive and successful the Panthers were in their individual communities. They were a national organization and in each of their many chapters, they had schools, free breakfast for children programs, free medical clinics, and drug rehabilitation for poverty-stricken blacks. Unfortunately, history textbooks and other media outlets place too much emphasis on the violent conflicts and militancy of the Party and not as much focus on their positive, survival programs. Don’t get me wrong, the militancy was an important factor, after all their name was the “Black Panther Party for Self-Defense” and these were clearly violent times with extreme Police Brutality. In the following video, Co-founder, Bobby Seale details the Party’s Ten Point Program/Platform:
If you like this subversive book and/or want to learn more about the Black Panthers, the Black Struggle, or racist white scumfucks, then I recommend the following:
Soul On Ice By: Eldridge Cleaver
Seize the Time By: Bobby Seale
The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Healy
Malcolm X Speaks
Live From Death Row By: Mumia Abu-Jamal
Seen above are Co-Founders, Bobby Seale, Chairman (left) and Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense (right). Very badass.