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

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 9 09:13:58 MST 2009

What is meant by ultra-left?  Of all the things I disagree over with 
Carroll, I do agree that those who use "ultra-left" to describe the Panthers 
are more than making a mistake; they are not coming to grips with just that 
real history that might prevent repetition of the failure of the Panthers .

The Panthers were not opposed to operating in conjuction, coalition with 
other groups.  They were not opposed to electoral tactics [Eldridge Cleaver 
ran for pres as the PFP candidate].

The Panthers did not adopt radical "offensive" tactics; initiate ultra-left 
campaigns as the term is usually used.  The issue of arms was always raised 
as armed self-defense.

I think we can see the absurdity of the application of this term if we ask: 
Was "Black Power"  an "ultra-left" response on the part of SNCC, and the 
other activists who were convinced that African-American emancipation had to 
be forged, organized, led, directed by African-Americans themselves?

We recognize Black Power as an advance of the movement, a proto 
class-consciousness that had nothing in common with "ultra-leftism."  We 
recognize today-- at least I think we do-- that Black Power was an essential 
manifestation of, and for, the movement for emancipation.

The Panthers do not represent a break with this development of Black Power. 
That they proved incapable of transcending the limits of black power is a 
product of history, a product of the working class inability to transcend 
its own limits as a class-in-itself.

Doesn't mean we don't analyze the real limits to the Panthers; the real 
mistakes, decomposition and disintegration of  the Panthers politics.

It means we don't try and force that history and those limits into 
categories that are comfortable for some, but inadequate for all.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew Pollack" <acpollack2 at gmail.com>
To: "David Schanoes" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 10:04 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] A few words In Defense of the Black Panther Party

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