[Marxism] The triumph and tragedy of the Black Panthers -- review of 'Black Against Empire'

Ethan Young ethanyoung at earthlink.net
Tue May 21 20:06:46 MDT 2013

'Unfortunately, the Panthers were so politically naive they did not realise the Chinese Stalinists were using them as a pawn in their longer term plan to force the US government into diplomatic relations. 
As soon as Nixon visited China, the Panthers dropped off the Chinese Communist Party’s radar with the rest of its “anti-imperialism”.'

It did happen eventually, but not 'as soon as.' And the BPP did not 'follow China', in fact tilted towards the DPRK in 1969-70. But on the whole they were revolutionary internationalists who were not interested in joining the emerging pro-China New Communists. They were interested in getting allies wherever they could, within their parameters of what they considered revolutionary. If they had hitched their wagon to Maoism, or Trotskyism for that matter, THAT would have been politically naive, as it would narrow the scope of support they could hope to attract.

Lenin's "Ultra-Leftism" was about stubborn advocates of post-WW1 workers' councils in Europe, in a period after they had been smashed and had no future. Drawing a historical parallel with the BPP is anachronistic and gratuitous red-flag-waving.

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