[Marxism] A few words In Defense of the Black Panther Party

Waistline2 at aol.com Waistline2 at aol.com
Sun Nov 8 10:49:24 MST 2009


In a message dated 11/8/2009 11:50:43 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, 
_anthony.boynton at gmail.com_ (mailto:anthony.boynton at gmail.com)  writes: 
 
>> The Black Panther Party failed, just like the SWP, the CP, and  just like
every other would-be wannabe revolutionary party in the history of  the USA.
 
But, the BPP was an authentic working class revolutionary organization  
which
rose from the proletarian cauldron of Oakland, California. Huey P.  Newton
and Eldridge Cleaver looked around for whatever revolutionary theory  they
could find, and what they found was the Communist Party USA, and  third
worldist Maoism.<<

Reply 
 
Dear Comrade, your comment were deeply moving, insightful and fascinating.  
I have forwarded them to a writer’s project I am involved in. The CP did in 
fact  abandon the struggle of the black masses and by doing such created a 
political  vacuum in the social movement of blacks. The SWP and general 
Trotskyite movement  never had any roots in the movement of blacks other than 
tailing various  national leaders. This is due to a function of their ideology 
and political  outlook. The Panther’s - as did we, emerged out of the 
political vacuum. Below  are some notes earnestly written before reading your 
comments. These notes were  personal and never meant for the list. Will stay in 
touch, preferably off line. 
 
WL. 
 
Huey’s P. Newton’s “Black Panther Party” formed, consolidated and existed 
 within a political continuum. The immediate political landscape on which 
the BPP  was formed was the Watts Rebellion of 1965. Watts expressed a 
development in the  social struggle against Jim Crow segregation and police 
violence.  Watts in  turn expressed a new boundary in the social struggle earlier 
expressed as the  1963 Birmingham riot, where black steel workers were 
forced into struggle  against their local fascist thugs. The link between 
Birmingham 1963 and Watts  1965, as a spontaneous social impulse and social 
consequence was mass rejection  of the reality of “non-violence” as a strategy. In 
American history, the Watts  rebellion completed the encirclement of 
American imperialism by the fighting  colonial masses. 
 
No one sat up in meeting and argued over how to “get the masses” to reject 
 non-violence as a strategy. Rather, these social explosions are organic 
and  expressed the momentary collapse of the political middle or “overrunning”
 of all  the organizations mediating relations within and between classes. 
Spontaneous  rebellions over run all society structures of mediation as a 
section of the  masses directly confront the state as state. 
 
The founders of the BPP - in Oakland, felt an urgency to “do something” 
and  respond to the spontaneous impulses of the blacks to remedy and address 
their  grievances. One of the historic grievances was and is a militant fight 
against  police violence and fascist methods of control in the old South. 
The BPP and  other scattered grouping throughout the country adopted armed 
self-defense as an  intimate component of their political strategy, along with 
demands for community  control of the police. The scope of the rebellions 
of the late 1950’s, 1960s and  1970s remain to be examined in totality. 
Somewhere I recall reading states that  over 2,000 (two thousand) occurred. The 
Cleveland story is important and being  written. In Cleveland Ohio the 
intensity of the armed self-defense movement,  which compelled the local authority 
and policing powers to negotiate and stay  out of areas of the city 
dominated by the revolutionaries, need to be presented  in a similar back drop you 
provide. 
 
In Cleveland the revolutionaries never adopted an attitude of “bombing the  
workers out of the factory,” as articulated by Katherine Cleaver during 
this  period of her youthfulness. 
 
The struggle of the industrial core of the unionized workers had peaked and 
 was in a period of ebbing simultaneous with the rise of the Negro Peoples  
Movement of the fifties and early 1960s. Between 1948 and 1965, 
unemployment  remained low and real take home pay for factory workers rose 2.1 percent 
a year.  Although blacks were entering the lowest rung on the ladder of the 
industrial  social order, most did not benefit as much as their Anglo 
counterparts and the  whites at large. Reuther had consolidated his control of the 
UAW on the basis of  war production; the promise of the GI Bill and general 
capital expansion as the  rebuilding of Europe, rather than exploitation of 
the colonies of American  imperialism. 
 
Thus, the working class remained split expressing conflicting spontaneous  
motion. This historical split is rooted in the workers completion for wages 
as  the condition for the existence of capital. One of its forms in America 
has  always been the color factor. The motion of the white majority was for  
advancement up the social ladder based on capital expansion. This produced 
the  ideology of “go slow.” The blacks pushed hard for inclusion. The 
demand for an  ending of Jim Crow and its destruction as pushing for entry into 
the system and  better paying jobs exceeded the ability for advancement of 
the white workers  seeking to enjoy the fruits of America’s post war status. 
Every section of the  working class wanted in and reform of the system. 
 
The BPP ideology was in fact anti-working class to a degree. So was our’s  
in Detroit. However, none of either groups ideology was anti-proletariat, if 
one  means the property form of bourgeois servitude. A section of the 
industrial  workers - in the large industrial unions, were able to accumulate 
capital  reserves. Another section of the industrial workers could never 
accumulate  reserves and literally were dominated by the moments they could sell 
their labor  power or "exist by the hand out of the government." No one can 
agree with the  most reactionary and chauvinistic sector of the working class 
and their leaders,  dominating the union movement. One section of the 
working class always fights  another section as part of the revolutionary 
process. Capital rest exclusively  on wage labor and the condition for wage labor - 
as the form of bourgeois  property, is competition for wages. Competition 
means fighting. 
 
End 
 
(Again, this was a personal note part of an extensive collection of “bits  
of writings.”) 
 
 
 
 
 




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