[Marxism] Richard Aoiki: the Panthers should have run candidates

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 30 10:38:55 MDT 2012

 From "Samurai among Panthers"

You asked about my thoughts on the party's turn toward electoral 
politics and community service programs. That's a hard one for me 
because the party's reformist turn, in my opinion, led to its demise. 
I'm having difficulty gauging when that turn took place. To me, it 
could've been averted in '68 when Cleaver ran for president on the Peace 
and Freedom Party ticket. It was my opinion that he should have run as 
an independent on the Black Panther Party ticket, with Huey or Bobby as 
vice president. I understand that the Peace and Free-dom Party was a 
much bigger organization and had more money. But for the Black 
liberation struggle to succeed, a politically independent party had to 
come out from the national Black American community. By '68 the BPP was 
well known, so Eldridge should have run as a Black Panther with the BPP 
pro-gram. Don't dilute it with the war thing, just the program. So I'm 
in favor of electoral politics when the organization can participate. If 
the government says you can run candidates, run your candidate. But 
there are times when they say your organization is outlawed, then don't 
run it. But you don't go underground until you absolutely have to go 
underground.99 Now here's the second part. The foremost reason for 
running candidates is not to get elected per se but to get the political 
program out to the people. It doesn't matter how many votes you get 
because you're still working in the system. It's doubly sticky if you're 
in an alliance with a group that supports the system and you don't. 
There's a contradiction there. There's no contradiction if you run the 
Panther on the Panther platform. They have a claim to be revolutionary

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