[Marxism] Panthers

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 7 14:14:59 MST 2009

Ron J wrote:

 > my initial reaction is that the SWP needed to
> hear more speakers from the Panthers and other third world revolutionary 
> organizations.  However, like I said, that is just a gut reaction and 
> not based on any study of the particular convention.

Actually, if you heard one speaker from the Panthers, you heard them 
all. They were mostly into dispensing rhetoric, not analysis.

>  The fact that 
> Louis waters everything down to a statement like "(guns)

You were in the 8th grade in 1968, weren't you, Ron? I marvel at your 
ability to "educate" me about the Panthers.

Here's the Panther movie "Off the Pig".

Comrades can get a good idea of how fucking ultraleft they were from it:


I am working my way through Thomas Sugrue's book on the Civil Rights 
movement in the North. You really develop an appreciation for how 
activists in the 40s and 50s drew the masses into struggle. As veterans 
of the CIO organizing drives, they understood the importance of mass action.

The Panthers were basically urban Narodniks, Robin Hoods who identified 
with the screwball urban guerrilla movements of that time that was 
helping to destroy the left in Argentina, Turkey, Germany and elsewhere. 
  They saw Black working people as an audience to cheer them on. It was 
bad enough to make Blanqui blanch.

Romanticizing these mistakes today is probably worse than the initial 
errors since at least a 23 year old in 1968 was reacting to huge social 
pressures. But to try to spin them positively today is very sad.

Tom Cod has an excuse I suppose. He is stuck in this period and only 
lights up when the focus is on events that took place 40 years or so 
ago. I think historical perspective gives us the ability to understand 
why the 60s imploded. Why people would refuse to take advantage of 
historical perspective is beyond me. I have deep scars from living 
through this period but at least understand well enough today that you 
should not stick your finger into an electrical socket.

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