A Short History Lesson Because People Are Dumb

While going through my Twitter feed I see this:

beyonce riots

Anti-Beyonce’ protests? Why the fuck are we protesting Beyonce’? She is great! Her voice is enchanting and let me be honest, she is fucking hot. Hot and talented, you can’t be anti-hot and talented! That’s just called jealousy.  Then anti-anti Beyonce’ protesters? Those aren’t protesters, those are called Beyonce’ fans.

So, I click on the article  and see what this is all about. Oh, it’s about her halftime show and how people conservatives don’t know history (or don’t want to acknowledge it). I see. So, people conservatives have this misconception that all the Black Panthers did was be scary to white people and kill cops. No, that’s the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense founded in 1989 in Dallas Texas and as any surviving member of the actual Black Panther Party will tell you:

“There is no new Black Panther Party”

The NBPP is a stark departure from the original, mainly because they ARE anti-white and also antisemitic. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the NBPP as a “black racist” hate group.

The original ( and only) Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. During that time in California, police brutality (against anyone really) was out of control. You had Bloody Thursday at The People’s Park  in Berkeley where live ammo was used on unarmed protesters, you had the Watts riots, and the killing of Matthew Johnson, an unarmed young black man in San Francisco. I am sure if you researched it, you could find hundreds of more cases (I remember stories of “Hogs Law” around that time period that mother witnessed when she was on the force as a dispatcher here in Texas. So, police misconduct was kind of an unchecked thing back then). So, as a counter-measure, Newton studied California gun law until he knew it better than many police officers. He decided to organize patrols to follow the police around to monitor for incidents of brutality, but with a crucial difference: his patrols would carry loaded guns. This act was done in order to record incidents of police brutality by distantly following police cars around neighborhoods.When confronted by a police officer, Party members cited laws proving they have done nothing wrong and threatened to take to court any officer that violated their constitutional rights.

Not that they would go and “hunt down the pigs”, or “shoot the cops on sight”.  They were using the existing open carry laws for long rifles for the state (at the time) and exercising there 2nd amendment rights under the US Constitution. Sound familiar conservatives, does this help so far, Rep. Peter King, (R-Long Island)? It should because it’s the same BS that y’all are saying now. The same BS that y’all are doing now, with the exception of everyone being afraid of some unseen boogeymen that I am willing to bet are not white.

But, let’s continue…

In August 1967, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) instructed its program “COINTELPRO” to “neutralize” what the FBI called “black nationalist hate groups” and other dissident groups…The goals of the program were to prevent the unification of militant black nationalist groups and to weaken the power of their leaders, as well as to discredit the groups to reduce their support and growth. The initial targets included the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Revolutionary Action Movement and the Nation of Islam. Leaders who were targeted included the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Maxwell Stanford and Elijah Muhammad.

COINTELPRO also aimed to dismantle the Black Panther Party by targeting the social/community programs they endorsed, one of the most influential being the Free Breakfast for Children Program. The success of the Free Breakfast for Children Program served to “shed light on the government’s failure to address child poverty and hunger—pointing to the limits of the nation’s War on Poverty”. The ability of the Party to organize and provide for children more effectively than the U.S. government led the FBI to criticize the program as a means of exposing children to Panther Propaganda. In response to this, as an effort of disassembling the program, “Police and Federal Agents regularly harassed and intimidated program participants, supporters, and Party workers and sought to scare away donors and organizations that housed the programs like churches and community centers”

That’s right the Black Panther’s main program was community outreach. Especially it’s Free Breakfast for Children program. The Panthers would cook and serve food to the poor inner city youth of the area.  The Panthers set up kitchens in cities across the nation, feeding over 10,000 children every day before they went to school. Because the BPP could feed kids and fight poverty better than the US Government, that program became a target of the FBI. Later this Free Breakfast Program would become the Black Panther’s “Serve the People” program which still included the Free Children’s Breakfast, but also Free Health Programs like medical care & ambulance services, there were educational services that also provided meals, bus services, and transportation to medical appointments. Students were instructed based on their ability, not there grade. So, if a student was able to perform 4th grade math, but only read at a 1st grade level he was taught at those individual levels. There were also criminal justice programs that included busing to prisons so that families could visit loved ones and they also did attorney referrals. The Black Panthers also stood up for class equality, women’s right,& reproductive rights.

Were they perfect? No, there were run-ins with police. Huey P. Newton was arrested for shooting a police officer while resting arrest. Bobby Hutton was killed by police and Eldridge Cleaver were wounded during a shootout with police. There were also claims of BPP members engaged in criminal activities; however does that make the entire party bad? Does it make them the fear mongering cop killers that some people would suggest? I say no. I think they should be remembered as a group of people that saw that things needed to change and they took the initiative and changed them. They fixed what was broken and I am glad that Beyonce’ included them in her performance. The BPP should be remembered for what they really did. They fed people, they educated people, they lent a helping hand to their community and they stood for equality. All that gun in their hand did was tell people: “Hey, I can do what you can do. I am the same as you. So don’t fuck with me.”

So, go on Beyonce’, do what you do.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Black_Panther_Party

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Park_(Berkeley)#May_15.2C_1969:_.22Bloody_Thursday.22

http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/BPP-Serving-The-People1998.htm

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2 comments

  1. Priceratops · February 16, 2016

    COINTELPRO also went after the American Indian Movement, much to the same end. It began as a way for the Oglala Sioux to protect themselves against white ranchers and their goon squads. The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) and FBI got involved against them, and all hell broke loose. Since you’re on the documentary kick, see if you can find Incident at Oglala. It’s narrated by Robert Redford and documents much of what was covered in Peter Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (a RIVETING and INFURIATING must-read).

    Like

  2. Starkey · February 16, 2016

    I will have to add to my list (If it isn’t on there already).

    Like

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