[Marxism] Black Panther Party was Scope and Limits of Theory: ....BlackBloc...

Tom Cod tomcod3 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 6 01:34:46 MDT 2010


What of it, you could hang around SWPers and hear them idiotically referring
to themselves as "comrades" like zombies out of a 1950s anti-communist
movie.  For me, like most people in the radical movement, who wasn't a red
diaper baby, this always made me cringe.  This coming from a group that
pretentiously supposedly knew what the apolitical masses were like and what
being socially appropriate was about.  What did Wobblies say in the heat of
passion? so what?  For what it's worth the Panthers were a mass force in the
East Bay well into the late 70s with a member on the Oakland School Board
for years.  We all know about the breakfast program and so forth.  It was my
great privilege to see Kathleen Cleaver in person at City Lights Books in SF
in 2003 introducing her book of photos of this great struggle that anyone
with any radical spirit at all could only be enthused by.  Recently David
Hilliard also wrote a memoir about this as well.  How many history books are
their about these trots besides ones they wrote?  Yeah, they did a lot to
build stuff like the Moratorium and the Mobe, but so did a lot of other
people.

The Panthers were a historic mass vanguard of the black liberation struggle,
something the SWP for all its misguided good intentions never had much to do
with, never having made any significant in roads in the black community,
unlike the CP who did to their credit solidarize with the Panthers.  The
idea that because Malcolm X allowed them to sponsor one or two of his talks
and had a kind word to say about their newspaper once means that they and
their progeny have a proprietary hold on his legacy or that he would have
been likewise scandalized by the Panthers' conduct is a joke.  The Panthers
stood squarely on the legacy on Malcolm, putting his ideas into practice and
he would have gotten down and dirty with them without a question being
asked.  Initially the trots got that right, I remember proudly putting up a
YSA "Eldridge Cleaver Welcome Here" poster in my window in high school, but
then when the shit hit the fan, they broke ranks with the rest of the Left
and caved into respectable liberal public opinion, just like they did with
SDS, civil disobedience, the Chicago Demos, Jane Fonda and so forth.  That
Malcolm, a former prison inmate, would have gone along with that is
inconceivable as he didn't give a fuck about bourgois respectability as was
shown by his correspondence with Lincoln Rockwell of the American Nazi Party
(which got Rockwell killed). WTF? To come out with this right wing crap
right when dozens of them were being killed was incredible.  You don't have
to-and shouldn't-study a lot of high falutin theory to know that this was a
shameful and cowardly breach of solidarity, to say nothing of a shocking
departure from "Leninist" norms.  In this artesian carroll are absolutely
right.

Are mass protests of the mainstream important to build? sure, but we
shouldn't counterpose actions of the vanguard to that, rather we juxtapose
that.  Nor should we give a left cover to the lies and repressions of the
ruling class, rather we should be exposing those and building solidarity
with the mass vanguard.  The European Trotskyists at least always understood
this which is why Jack Barnes told us he was shocked when he went to the
convention of the French Ligue Communiste led by Alain Krivine circa 1970
and saw huge posters of the Panthers in the hall.  Yeah they were ultraleft,
in fact they used "ultraleft" as a conscious political self-descriptor,
after all they only led a revolution in May-June of 68 and had 50 times more
members.  If you can't support the movement, at least don't oppose it like
the orthodox sectarians did during May-June on the basis of the same type of
attitudes, folks Raptis/Pablo once supposedly derisively referred to as "a
real bunch of losers".  I mean who the fuck were they to dis the Panthers?
Folks who when we were occupied by the national guard at the University of
Maryland in 1972 did absolutely nothing except to be scandalized by it all
and bad mouth the struggle and their own rank and file members involved in
it-including the clenched fist logo-as ultraleft, even though they had never
been out there (five miles outside DC), taking their cue from hack TV
reports, like LP is apparently doing with the Panthers, that's why most of
us drifted over to working with Workers World from these wretched "trots"
who were wrapped up in "the crisis in the Fourth International". idiotic
indeed.

What this is is an updated version of the politics of Karl Kautksy, a left
wing social democrat who sought to turn Marx, as Lenin put it into an
"ordinary liberal", a harmless icon, with Malcolm being the object of this
this time.  It just doesn't have any credibility at all to anyone outside
that isolated sectarian mileu however to try turning Malcolm into his
opposite in this fashion.  Not supporting Democrats and Republicans is one
thing, all kinds of right wing and religious sects don't do that either, but
not having solidarity with activists facing fierce repression and using that
as an excuse is self-serving and disingenous and should fool no one.  It's
no accident that Lyndon LaRouche came squarely out of this sectarian milieu
and tradition.

On Sun, Jul 4, 2010 at 9:35 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
>
>
> Carrol Cox wrote:
> > This is nonsense, culled from the capitalist press. It probably has no
> > more basis in fact than the myth of spitting. And it certainly comes
> > from those who had no direct personal relationship with the Panthers.
>
> Oh please, Carrol, you are in denial.
>
> Here's a clip from a 1968 movie called "Off the Pig". 1'40" into the
> clip, you can hear the Panthers chanting this idiotic slogan.
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSlpRp4wLCw
>
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