Today we are assailed from all directions with problems that appear hopeless to resolve. That paralyze us, and add to our burdens the pain of not being able to do what we would like to do to help ourselves and others. Each day we are confronted with escalating violence, perpetrated at home and around the world. Endless war. An increasingly corrupt and authoritarian government.
Could we not all agree that every person deserves food, shelter, education, healthcare, safety, and freedom, including the freedom to practice their faith?
Those who don’t believe we are our brother’s keeper are skilled at denying these things. Actively do what they can to make these matters worse. Deliberately scheme to turn us against one another. To deflect our attention from the problems they have created and perpetuate.
Who is feeding the poor and helping provide shelter and mental healthcare here in Central Iowa? Who is supporting peaceful protest by raising money for bail and helping those arrested navigate their way through the courts? I feel blessed to have found such a group of people, Des Moines Mutual Aid. See: Des Moines Mutual Aid and Resisting the Police State.
[NOTE: I am NOT saying Des Moines Mutual Aid is advocating to revive the Black Panther Party. Des Moines Mutual Aid is setting an excellent example of continuing one of the Panther’s programs.]
So I work with a dope crew called Des Moines Mutual Aid, and on Saturday mornings we do a food giveaway program that was started by the Panthers as their free breakfast program and has carried on to this day.Ronnie James
It is time to revive the BPP blueprint for a multiracial network of revolutionary groups to confront capitalism, imperialism and racism in the US.
In the late 60s and 70s, the Black Panther Party (BPP) embodied the vanguard of the revolution and anti-fascist, anti-racist action in the United States. The BPP formed an inclusionary, class-based manifesto, promoted armed self-defense and created an array of community survival programs and services, which included a sophisticated educational platform, free health clinics, breakfast for schoolchildren, teach-ins and more. Further, the BPP utilized art and music, via its newspaper and band, to spread its revolutionary agenda.
In 1969, the BPP recognized the urgent need for alliances between revolutionary groups to confront the pervasive force of American capitalism and imperialism. In the May 31 issue of The Black Panther newspaper, it published an appeal for: “…a front which has a common revolutionary ideology and political program which answers the basic desires and need of all people in fascist, capitalist, racist America.”The Black Panther Party’s multiracial anti-fascism by Yoav Litvin, ROAR, August 27, 2020
“What can leaders today learn from the demise of the BPP (Black Panther Party)? How did the state sabotage your organizing?”
The BPP underestimated the enemy opposition and how much force they’d turn against a peaceful group trying to elevate their people; organizing communities for self-reliance, providing health care at dedicated centers and education at schools and teach-ins, and helping to feed each other. Gail Shaw
How do your efforts inform you on today’s protest movement?
It was a very different type of a reality back then, though the issues we faced were much the same as those we face today. The BPP was a disciplined organization with a program, platform and a committed cadre of people which appealed to us. We felt we were engaged in a purpose and agenda. We were not simply reacting to events; the immediate realities of daily oppression, police brutality, economic exploitation and institutionalized racism, but were using our activism for the larger purpose of transforming society and we had a structure within which to do that.
I would encourage younger people who are righteously angered to look at the BPP — not necessarily as a model to be replicated or a perfect organization, but as one piece of history which may have something to offer, an organization with a program and a platform, with the intention of transforming society through concrete actions and organizing.
I also would encourage people to consider the need now for a united front against fascism. I don’t think that the risk of fascism in this country has ever been greater than it is today under the Trump administration. David Levinson
The Black Panther Party’s multiracial anti-fascism by Yoav Litvin, ROAR, August 27, 2020
In anything you do — music, art, medicine, journalism, education — you can be part of a bigger picture of transforming society.
My experience with the BPP in particular and activism in general has provided me with the center from which I have made choices about my life and in my career as a physician — to try to make what I do part of something bigger and broader. There is power, beauty and humility to work with an underlying drive towards positive transformation of society.The Black Panther Party’s multiracial anti-fascism by Yoav Litvin, ROAR, August 27, 2020
THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY
Ten Point Platform & Program
WHAT WE WANT
WHAT WE BELIEVE
1. WE WANT freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
WE BELIEVE that black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.
2. WE WANT full employment for our people.
WE BELIEVE that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the white American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
3. WE WANT an end to the robbery by the CAPITALIST of our Black Community.
WE BELIEVE that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of black people. We will accept the payment in currency, which will be distributed, to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over fifty million black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.
4. WE WANT decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
WE BELIEVE that if the white landlords will not give decent housing to our black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
5. WE WANT education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
WE BELIEVE in an educational system that will give to our people knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
6. WE WANT all black men to be exempt from military service.
WE BELIEVE that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like black people, are being victimized by the white racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
7. WE WANT an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of black people.
WE BELIEVE we can end police brutality in our black community by organizing black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all black people should arm themselves for self- defense.
8. WE WANT freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
WE BELIEVE that all black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
9. WE WANT all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
WE BELIEVE that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that black people will receive fair trials. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the black community from which the black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of the “average reasoning man” of the black community.
10. WE WANT land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. And as our major political objective, a United Nations supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate, for the purpose of determining the will of black people as to their national destiny.
WHEN, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
WE HOLD these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. **That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. ** Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. **But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. **