Are the Black Panthers violent? / moderated by Elsa Knight Thompson
I'm in the studio with two of the guests that we had hoped would be here out of four and one of them at least will probably be joining us so if you hear any unnecessary question about it will be. We hope Mr. Avakian arriving. In the meantime we have in the studio Mike Parker Mike and Bob Avakian are members of the organizing committee of Peace and Freedom Party and still associated with the party now that it has qualified for the ballot. And Bobby SEO chairman of the Black Panther Party. Now I think that. Perhaps it was weird and I think most observers particularly white observers would say that it was at the time that the phrase Black Power began to be used.
Then it dawned on most people in this country that something new was happening in the whole political economic and racial structure of this country. And I further believe that it's a matter of some confusion in the minds of many people what the difference is between the outlook of the Black Panther Party. And some of the other movements which have previously been associated in the minds of the public with the racial issue. Now I'm going to ask you Bobby Seale to talk to us about that and correct our Because as we all know the thing started way back when when both religious and legal organizations tried to do
something about the rights of black people through the courts through nonviolent religious or semi religious organizations. And then there was for some time a lot of talk and still is I believe about nationalism in the sense of complete separation of black and white community. Now as I understand it the Black Panthers are a political force. But I'd like you to talk to us about what what you feel what the step was with the arrival of this new concept and clarify it for our listeners for black political organization of the black version. When I say Black I want to be honest. I don't mean blacks in terms of any White I mean
black the black people are together and organization are going to have themselves on political level I think. And for people to get a clear understanding of who's a black rather part of a self-defensive. Who'd black private part of self defense that is is is first are going to have to give rid of a few They missed notions of really what is the thing all about. Those black people out there they will say. Organize themselves with guns and they start talking about black power and guns and force instead of I think that the people going to have to. Change these notions of they are anti-white. Cool I'm cool with a general statement people make. They are
against me there are any ways that any white organization. No this is not it at all. We are starting from the position that our approach of conditions and oppression oppression that we subjected to within the confines of the ghetto that is seen by another state with it. It's a situation where white black against black through white or any black so we take the position that. Concern in this racism now the white people the white power structure of white racists in this country have shown that they are anti black. I have numerous mass murders and shootings of black people who were willing all we have to do is go back 100 years and when one studies
history you just go on your stuff you can just get on to the bombings in Birmingham. The children ridicule. This is all a form of being showing and being any black. Now the oppressive conditions that we live in the black ghetto. This is all related to being on the part of the white race in the white power structure in those other white people who just sit on their rumps and say oh I'm not. I have nothing to do with this and these liberals and these people all dealing with associated with condoned to some extent the whole structure of being anti black. Now we do not come out to be any white. We come out to be any the oppression. This is what we are against. If one looks at it practically and see how we're dealing with it. Read Do not
go in white communities and rich white people. People try to call us races I think one thing they're going to have to do is go back and check their selves out check their people out and see what they've done and what they are in fact doing and polish department and racism the brutality that goes on in the black community. This is this being a black we are approaching it from the standpoint of what is being done to us because of this. This racism we see racism not manifested really and the white person says well I don't like you because of the color of your skin or showing this in many ways. We see them saying they don't like us. They say they don't like us is that this is related to the oppression the brutality this with me and done to us is what we're concerned with ending we are human beings.
We know it. White people know it but they want me to race with the way they want me to. But we are intending we will have a share of the wealth in this country we will have it as human beings in this country we want to hear of it. We all go prancing off in the white community shooting at white cops and we're going to go to cut. We don't patrol cops in the white movie troll cops in our black community. I think that now when you say patrol cops in the black community would you would you tell us what that means is that I know there was a there had been some committees. In other communities also who have attempted to more or less trail the police and see to it that people who are being arrested and so on that their rights are protected and that there is a witness and so on is that
something along that line that the that the Black Panthers are attempting. No I was you know some of those things were included of course in the patrols but ours goes more to the point we realize that maybe you are citizens of the university community wanted to patrol the Berkeley police in this area and make sure that the thing you know they're going to go down with tape recorders may be and take no incentive. And of course they are white again too. And the policeman away and they can probably be of great service to the people here but in our black community if we go around and take tape recorders just tape records no guns no books and things like that you we're subject to be brutal. It's just coming down and acting in the fashion of the solution where the laws say that every citizen has a right to stand a reasonable distance away and observe an officer you know duty.
So we didn't subject ourselves to. The possibility of this being brutalised going down to my ass in nonviolent fashion that is being on our when we know in fact that the cops are not permitted to brutalize people here I think you see quite a bit of difference here we have a real situation and we have to deal with and so we approach a very rude man. We never stop to rest and patrolled without making a point to try to get the name of the individual who is being arrested at the moment you come out and things stand I reasoned this is where with our guns and we noticed that every time we were on the scene there was never any police brutality. Few people we have now become so used to guns but because they knew you had them is that you are and who we would use them because you know I have a bit of history with the police department in defending myself. Well not from the political standpoint. Another thing
the question that I have heard raised a number of times is that the Black Panther Party is not in fact a revolutionary party. That in a sense the black people are now doing what other immigrant groups in this country have done historically namely to fight the power structure in order to well have their place in the sun in that power structure that for example ideas like socialism are no part of the of the Black Panther thinking. Now would you say that was or was not. An accurate description I would say this here refers to do not bog ourselves down with the. World. We won't bog ourselves down with a label or term socialism
communism. Now I can say this here that I can go up to Berkeley and I can see a co-op store. Now I can be a member of the Corps and I can see that this is a store. I mean all those with feel within the confines of a capitalist system. But in many ways the store might have the same factors but I don't want to argue you know these little details. I think black people need cooperative housing in the black community controlled and owned by them because the land large are not producing decent housing for I think they need cooperative marketing and businesses and factories in the black community etc.. Now one might say well he's a socialist or he's a communist. On the contrary I'm a black man trying to get some of the wealth out of this country and if we can if I can look around I can see you practical system of something. Changing the system may help
changing something of the kind of I like community where we can have something for real. This is what I'm talking about. I think that too when one tries to idealistic leave give laid out plans as to what the society should be. I think many times people really don't understand even with the black people of Boston with the black people want and how the black people want things changed. You know black people are not concerned with socialism or communism. They're concerned with somebody changing the system and somebody doing something so that we can have a share of the wealth in this country. And would you say that the violence which is so greatly feared by the white community. For example the riots which have broken out in the past
and will doubtless break out in the future. Isn't it possible that this is the result not of black power but of the lack of black power. I think you made a pretty fair statement there to some extent. I also think that an understanding of black power. We have to understand that through black rebellion that broke out across this country are really a political consequences and these political consequences are is related to the political decisions that have been made by the power structure upon the people of the people without any true representation an organization to guide them of current political consequences out of sheer. Frustration. There is a breaking point now. The ability of the people to be destructive as they are when these black rebellions
break out of this. It is not black power in a sense because there is no organized leadership leadership in the sense that you have to have some type of organization thats ready to lead the people through to defend the people on the level that the people want to be defended. This level is not bootlicking with blinking. The power structure is catering and being a service to the people in the fashion that they think is really a service to them. We feel that going to the streets with guns to defend ourselves against the racist cops when they get down wrong when they start shooting at us we shoot back in educating our people are going to as in the black community this fashion this itself really becomes what you might call organized black power the other thing you might call an organized black power. Its less effective.
Here you can have political representatives in a black organizations who can come for you and speak of what the black people say they are going to do. If they dont receive such and such and such and such. Here the black people come to our going to us and here is where a black power. This is where you bring the powerful destructive force of the people to the political arena not you know bringing in the fashion of threatening the pretty green if you don't do this your sons and such is going to happen those negroes out there. You think he represents the black community now. I haven't seen down there one time really trying to really really defend it people are real real level. See here this is where you separate this political representative shucking and jiving up there in the assembly or Congress or what have you. This is why I nationally we weren't concerned with electing representatives to the right to the
into the political arena. We thought this was later if it was necessary to organize the people. For years we were saying that even before we came on the scene black people burning down cities and shooting back at cops and these black rebellions recognizing the fact that blacks were going to do this if they don't get something somewhere or get stopped this brutality etc. that. That they're going to do this so why should I let my people go out on are going to have without any organized front vanguard party etc.. Let them be slaughtered. I say the black man will try to help contribute to some kind of leadership for the people because we know what they're going to do. Here I would think this organization is a better type of black power because here's are the knife here. When the confrontation comes down this political power structure is going to have to start conceding. Well already you have this has been proven in places like Cleveland
and Gary Indiana that the political power can be felt. And here in this community as I understand it and Mr Avakian has now joined us. You are working quite closely with the Peace and Freedom Party and perhaps we should hear from them now what their concept of this cooperation is. MICHAEL time to use the term we use the term coalition and I guess we can explain coalition yes. Perhaps Mike would like to commune on this at this point. Well during the registration drive to get the turnout to be a hundred five thousand registrations to qualify the Peace and Freedom Party for the ballot. People began to discover that when you're confronting this establishment you find that it's extremely powerful and that you need all the help that you can get. And we started out as a
predominantly predominately white group based on the anti-war movement and from the very beginning we had the position that there could be no such thing as a peace unless it was a peace among freemen that you did not have a true peace just because there was no war if people were oppressed. And so we made peace and freedom. We've made our slogan peace and freedom just to make it clear that we stood not only for ending the war in Vietnam and other wars but also for ending oppression that existed and we were looking for groups in the black community to work with. And we found that the only group in the black community that was even willing to talk with us about these kinds of questions in a serious way. Before it was clear that we were going to be on the ballot. That's when we were considered just and anti-establishment effort was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. We held some discussions with them and the feeling was that we could work together on a number of issues. Specifically we worked together on three issues
immediate withdrawal of American troops from Southeast Asia support to black liberation in America and demanding that Huey P. Newton get a fair trial and the organizing committee later discussed that and decided for a number of reasons that our demand should instead should be that Huey Newton be set free that he was a political prisoner. And I read on the basis of the agreement on these three issues. We were able to work together hold joint rallies issue leaflets in the ghetto in the white community on the Huey Newton's incarceration and so on. But in the form of the coalition was exactly I think what it should have been namely the notion that we really have here two separate and distinct movements and organizations which have different needs and different interests but many ways are fighting the same establishment and share a large common ground on the basis of that common ground we could work together without giving up our distinctiveness on the part of either group. You know we found since the registration drive that a lot of people have been very upset about this relationship
with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. I think the main reason is largely because of the misunderstanding that they have about that party and also the misunderstandings or misconceptions they have about what life is like in the ghetto. First it became clear is we work with the Black Panther Party that they did not stand for guns as an end unto themselves or for going out and shooting white people as in any kind of end or but that instead they had a program and what they were trying to tell whites was that in order to even organize for that program the black community which is different from us here they had to be able to defend themselves against the brutality and intimidation of the police. Secondly it became quite clear that the Black Panther Party was not racist as Bobby Seale described. On the contrary it was one group in the black community which made it quite clear that they were politically fighting the oppression of black people and they didn't care who oppressed black people to be white or black. And what's more they didn't care who was supporting the fight against that
oppression and if white people willing to support the fight against oppression they were willing to work politically with those whites. And we found that the coalition has during registration drive instances worked out fairly well. Presently now we're discussing a coalition or an alliance between the Black Panther Party and the peace and freedom movement on other issues for instance. Right now it's being discussed the possibility of running Huey Newton for Congress in the seventh congressional district. Decision has been made yet it's being discussed at Area groups this week and next week. I'm hopeful there are a lot of legal hurdles to cross on that I understand. Yes the lawyers are investigating a lot of the legal problems they seem to think that we will have a good case also if a bill goes through in the. There are a number of precedents Piers Salinger's running for Senate and he managed to get some laws overturned and there's a
number of other legal. I think it was Stanley mosque who is the former state attorney general who made the statement on the Supreme Court that you obviously couldn't belong to a party before it existed and that the the existing law about how long you have to be a member and so on was more or less predicated on the either on the fact that there would only be two parties or else the that this was a deliberate attempt to keep out a third party. Now most didn't say all that but it followed from what he said I must also last I mean he was in the minority and he wasn't a minority but he's a man of you know who has held all kinds of prominent legal positions and certainly. A good lawyer and he felt that this was it had someone got a bail. But the moment a senator out of all of this of San Jose has a bill up and there's a chance that it will pass not because the state legislature wants to be so fair with third parties more because the county clerks in various counties have begun issuing.
Statements about how terrible it would be and how they've gotten all these new voting machines. If they would have to count all these write in votes that there would obviously be if they didn't let us put our candidates on the ballot. Because in those places where they refused to let us have our candidates on the ballot what run them is write ins and win in the primary when the MS right is in the primary and then it will be about the general election. And of course the county clerks would rather let their nice shiny voting machines do the counting than have to count dollars but you have no intention of withdrawing because of legal technicalities. Whatever you decide to do whether it's right and or not right now will overcome the legal technicalities one way or another. Mom have you Avakian Have you anything to add to to this discussion about the reasons for the alliance and with the Black Panther Party and how you envisage it at the moment and in the future. Yeah well I want to stress again that we use the word coalition because that implies that you have two
separate and distinct groups which are not merging across the board but which can work together on specific issues where they feel a common interest again seeking a common power structure a common enemy however you want to phrase that. But I do think that there are two points I'd like to make. First of all since the possibility the candidacy of he Newton which I very much favors come up I would like to say in comparison to the statement you made earlier about you know Gary Indiana and Cleveland where I believe you're referring to the election of two negro mayors that. You can see if you mean Newton would be projecting a new kind of leadership not only here but nationally because it would be nationally talked about in the media and other places for black people who would be projecting a new kind of black leader for white for the white community to look at and this is the kind of leadership where a person goes out without trying to build his own career asking for any money or any prestige or kind of rise in the machine. But his latest very life on the line in order to try to deal with the you know what Bob as he likes to call the nitty gritty the real root issues that affect the black people whom we never hear from because they're on the block hustling trying to stay alive or working you know
very very hard in some very low paying job under very adverse conditions just trying to make enough to keep their family together maybe good enough to to you know have some kind of shelter and clothing. And I think this is a very important concept in this kind of leader as opposed to the guy who wants to ride a machine a man like him. Like the mayor of Cleveland and the mayor of Cleveland who you know I've been very strong and in support of the war in Vietnam and who's threatened to squash demonstrations against the war and that sort of thing and I think that what the point it. I know Bobby and he would always make it doesn't matter if you have a black face in the Assembly or in Congress if the community itself is not organized on a real basis of escape capable of inflicting a consequence of its desires and needs are not met that that even if that congressman or mayor or assemblyman is sincere in his efforts to help the community he'll be impotent and powerless to do anything unless the community is first organized to back him up and I think this is what has impressed us and in the Peace and Freedom Party about the efforts
and the successes of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense as they've been doing is on the real no level of the man on the street and the man who holds up to the job the man that we don't come in contact with in the white community very often and not only through organizations like the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense But second I'd like to say that the advantage to us. In the Peace and Freedom Party and especially those of us who want to see their party move in a radical direction. The advantage to us of having this coalition with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and pursue particularly raising the issue of Newton has been that it is forced a crystallization of the politics within. At least you know the counties where it's been discussed. Alameda County San Francisco Santa Cruz Contra Costa where some of the discussions still going on. It has forced a crystallization of political thinking has forced people to deal with what are the real issues going on in the society and it has forced the party to move in a radical direction rather than just thinking about electoral politics electing candidates. Being opposed to the war in Vietnam perhaps even on the basis that it's a mistaken war instead of understanding it's imperialist and racist and genocidal nature. And I feel that this has
been a very very important thing for the Peace and Freedom Party because as I've said before on this station and elsewhere that if the Peace and Freedom Party is to have any value at this time it's going to have to be a radical party which deals with radical issues which deals with what's really going on in the ghetto and the tremendous. And long suffering grievances of the people there have been continue to have with the whole American foreign policy as it spreads throughout the world like an octopus attempting to exploit oppress and murder people. And I think that this this question is like a focal point for a lot of important political discussion that must go on in arenas like the Peace and Freedom Party for to move people in white society toward the kind of positions that they're going to have to have if we can make the changes that are so desperately needed in a society. Bobby Seale I'd like to ask you. What is happening in the ghetto in terms of the Black Panther Party and the kind of ideas and the kind of action which you are involved in. What what is the penetration of the ghetto.
Because again one of the things which has been obvious is that for a long long time the black people. Have in a sense rejected the political process because it was not serving them because it was not representing them. And exactly the way that we act on the type of program that we design and the things we come into contact with. We look around and I get old and we see we've already seen many many things and then is just a simple thing of programming out besides of patrolling the cops. There are many many things that go on in the ghetto 50/50 and mark it was a very very dangerous movie that initially got off the ground as a school Washington school one block from there. We worked with. Try to work with the published members of that area near that corner of Fifth and market to try to get this
street light there. Now we feel that down that street level measured 3 kids have been killed there in a period of two years whereas with a street light and through a petition signed by a number of members to put this on the city council and with the city council and the council makes a well we won't be able to put a street guy there too late one thousand sixty eight. This is almost a year ago so we feel like this is what we're going to do. We're going to get up fellows like brothers up the block serving the community. He's going to go around. We have a crew there there's heavy traffic hour when those kids are coming home from school and we're going to direct the traffic ourselves. And someone brought the question about. Well one of the young fellows a lot of direct traffic that way. So we're we feel like to see you use the traffic it's all blocked up. That's a lot of white people commuting up to fifty fifth and I think is blocked up see all way back to the freeway somewhere because some young fellow isn't trained yet and they would mean they had even a
policeman at it would direct the traffic you do they should be doing their job. So if you get blocked up that might bring attention to white people that you know at the same time who black people are saying the are tend to do them we learn in the process why we do it now by directing traffic. We're going to try train them right there on that corner for the first time. Because Meanwhile we now in 1968 how many more kids make you feel that corner was so dangerous that it came out on average. We average out I was working at the parser this time about seven months. We averaged. And I actually did it from a wreck to someone getting hurt every other day I was going to know this is a small program. Then do you still not put up a light. Is there still no light. The light has been put up because of a degree or more pressure to come from the local politician and I would have been put up right here just recently in the beginning of 1968 instead of
the late 1960s. Now we understand what politics is all about here. What we say is that people in the white community have a basic desire to see that the dangerous corner people in the white community Piedmont and heels of what have you and the white suburban areas will say we want to street light here. And that power structure produces a streetlight quite readily. Black people say they want a street light for the black community area. Or we can get a late 1068. Now we all pay in taxes. Now what do we do to see that black people's political desires and needs and this is one simple example of what we can do we can take young fellers after block who are doing nothing. Drinking someone to get busted within the next two weeks to six months probably go to jail if he beats his case you know put five or six months of being grazed on Love you haven't got a bail money or he's on probation or parole. But a whole lot. This young fellow can be put in to a position
where he's actually seven years community flat than if say now that's beside the patrolling of cops and brutalize our people years ago and I was also concerned when it's a chance to read the program a platform like I have a part of the fence and they really see the patrol of the cops as only one point of our program. One point our programs we want to create median in a fully protected mode of black people and we believe that we have a right to arm ourselves in our going to black self-defense group protect ourselves against racist bullies and I'm going to pull out of the center. That's one point of our program. Full employment for our people coming to decent housing 50 shelter human beings a decent education for black people. Give me an example skin example an educational thing. In relation to the police department show how you things crossed up here. A black man that comes out of high school is not taught one iota about law by the time in high school at the same time any white kids there are whites who consider the Black
mean well for major high schools that have a large population of black people there. And this young black man comes out half of the time my decent education I come out Simmy illiterate. Now the side is not being taught in law. Coming out to say mean that you can better education. He's on the streets and even before we come out of high school youth are intimidated by the cops. Cops walk up to him as a boy. Where you going. Would you call me boy for you know something like this here as argument young fellow doesn't know anything about basic constitutional rights. We took these black brothers off the block. We sit them down with them in our office and we started playing two basic points of law about to them you know and here we had a way of being able to break it down so they could understand what kind of rights they had and made outlines. Those who can't read would go over it with the read but they were very very interested because they looked at no one and something about the
law as a means by which they could possibly protect themselves. This we saw as constructive. This we saw as constructive and also educating them. The same time we train them young fellows safety weapons we train those young of all these brothers as a young boy and some they range from anywhere from 16 to. 30 The Family Youth Group youth of youth youth and people the safety of guns and the fact that the gun's not dangerous and the person behind this dangerous this is what's happening. Nobody in our vision has ever shot each other. These fellows never point a gun at a person they're trained we trained well how to sell those guns and they use it in a fashion that's correct. If a cop is breaking the law by brutalizing and murdering some black person in the community and just leaving he got down wrong it's time for us to come forward and defend ourselves. The basic terms of what God's law or laws that are written
the right to survival against injustice and cetera is first so here. You can see a broadening in our program you also took in black people black men the concern the courts the courts the police department administrative department the legislature make a lot of these three major areas of the government are not serving the black people are not served by people now we can see what the courts are doing we go to go to the courtrooms in the morning 90 percent black people or know of municipal courts in the city of oh I don't know which I'm broken but I know with this large population of black people big percentage and currently Well I would say about half I would say it was a large percentage of black people arrested 90 percent in open black people who were rebels of course all the way from a traffic ticket to a murder charge. This has got to start. Just go to the jails. The highest budget in the state of California is not the Board of Education and Welfare. It's penal
institutions. People don't realize really what's happening here. Governor Reagan will try to cut back on welfare and all these other things of course that's even not enough to really serve the people at the same time what did he do. Increase the highway patrolman 15:00. This is building a police state where the will of the people be answered. Why pay a cop a man to be a cop. Five hundred. Why increase fifteen hundred cops. Who's going to get anywhere from where I've probably six to six hundred to eight hundred dollars a month and you start on a whole lot of money you add this up in terms of a year in your head is up in terms of fifteen hundred policemen and some of the extra technical equipment all the stuff being put in the more you start and all the money up this money should be going to where it should be can't relate to the people who serve the people having some kind of constructive program. But no they give the little chickenfeed poverty program monies and things like this here and a few black I mean black people and educated politically don't understand what politics and don't realize they're
dealing with politics they have to realize that politics starts from a hungry stomach. This is where we start with the idea of a politics of Partick starts with a billy club question across your skull. Politics start with the way you railroaded through court we don't have proper defense. Can you imagine this not a Maginot check this back out. They have many many public defenders down there in the courts. A young man comes in he doesn't have any money is mother's poor she doesn't have any money or what have you and the DA devoutly adjourns to follow the law that the man has a right to counsel appoints what he calls a public defender and what he wants is a public defender would find work at the public defender's assistant D.A. and the D.A.'s prosecute here young man I've seen so many situations where young black man from this recent thing recent confinement here to college you know Santa real well young man with his car in a corner and many a one would really not be guilty from the stories I heard they would feel they were guilty but the thing is when I got to get these Obama cop out to this misdemeanor man gone to six months
nine months or longer to join me I'll get out 18 months meaning Come on hit the block. He decided to do this you out of this public defender railroading him out there. If this is just pathetic. Seventy five percent of the black men are banned Santa Rita prison farm world where people are black people. Well six years ago. With you around 21 percent. With the increase of the penal institutions the money and confusion of police that are with you. Well how deeply now do you any of the three of you feel the new political ideas the political action as you have represented it how deeply is it penetrating into into the ghetto now I mean. Presumably there were people in the ghetto who signed the to put the Peace and Freedom Party on the ballot and presumably as the thing grows
if candidates are put on the ballot from the Peace and Freedom Party do you feel that that the education the rousing of the ghetto from a political standpoint is fairly well and them store is there a long way to go yet. Because I believe the percentage of people in the ghettos who who who vote in any way shape or form for or against has been very lone I'd like all three of you if you would to comment on that perhaps. I think all it boils down to me and my plumbing my sure black people suffer they have oppressive conditions exist. There are certain that even I outline our program they generally outline. Basically black people know they all have to do is be showmen and educated to should let them see that the little things. If you think about employment only think these are political desires and needs. When a government says for the people of the people by the people ministration goes up
and professes to serve the people and when it doesn't This is where black people start on a basic thing. All this electorial stuff and I was a Black people are in a state now the law book Raptors went down while the hundred of years you see those black rebellions going on the black community those are black rebellions out of frustration by people who know that they're in a situation is that they feel it's got to be changed just bust out and I mean this violence this valuable form of force is destructive for consequence and they like to go home and I had to look at TV and see what kind of damage as we put it we did to the man. Well are the political ideas and the political reality in other words out of this kind of frustration out of this sort of attitude which you have been describing very well do you think the shift is coming in terms of a political act as such such as being willing to believe that there's some purpose in going to the polls and casting about who knew right.
I'm saying. And when you go down to the street where black people can look around and see hundreds and hundreds of cops patrolling them and note they were brutalized and Sarah and organization goes down we have guns they are loaded with ammunition we have a right to carry brothers and we're going to burn out of control ration cards would attack us and then all of a sudden the only thing we can get home we get out of like moony brothers a man I can dig this is with that. Now I do find this of black people seeing and relating to this kind of political action on the needy greasing. Not just somebody that talking in this simile about this should be here. Yes I understand that Bobbie. I'm saying this education of black people. I'm saying that you'll find many of our political gestures in this in the press a highly related to focusing upon what we're talking about so that black people can get a chance to check it out
and they'll see what we talk about with them of their conditions and it's time for us to get together and organize. If you're speaking of how I educate them. No I'm not I'm just I'm going to look at one of the only love you are going to see I think what you're reading L.Z. is that what you're saying you want it now that people's consciousness has been raised by the rebellions and by the activities of groups like the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense if they are black people will now begin to believe again in the electoral process what's very difficult for black people to believe in electoral process when for example one congressman that they could point to some degree of pride for example Adam Clayton Powell is just simply emasculated. And he was you know minimally opposed to what was going on in the country minimally appose least publicly the way the power structure was dealing with black people and other people and even and even from that position he was too dangerous at this point for the Congress and the forces that represent to tolerate any longer and I think that we have to recognize that even if black people could get together and begin electing in largely black areas
representatives that if those representatives started to move into. You know real action that dealt with the real problems of black people that they would simply be emasculated isolated and rendered impotent unless the community itself was organized on a block to block bases and it was ready to inflict you know what Bob is continually referred to as a political consequence if their desires needs are not met in other words you see for white people majority of white people particularly let's say KPFA listeners you know that politics means going to the polls. Maybe perhaps going to a demonstration but it means that you there are some things that you would like to see happen and you try to affect the political arena in such a way that those things might happen. But if they don't happen your very survival is not at stake. The survival of the Vietnamese may be a mistake but your survival is not at stake for black people if their political desires and needs are not met. Their very survival is at stake and therefore different forms than just simply electoral politics which if you lose them be to sit by and say well wait till next time. Different forms are dictated by the position that they find themselves in and they and this is
why you hear the proposition of Malcolm X A slogan freedom by any means necessary. And I would black people in a position where they have to use every tool that they can to try to achieve freedom and this is what I think. Yes but at the moment you are attempting to use a political tool and I still haven't had an eye on it I understand and it's been said several times the points that that you're making and making very well but you still aren't making an attempt as I understand it to. Utilize this education and this frustration toward a political end Mike. I mean it seems it seems to me the problem with this discussion is that there are a number of different groups and attitudes inside the black community and that the attitudes change very rapidly take Cleveland for example that when Carl Stokes ran as an independent for mayor in Cleveland two years ago he practically every black person in the city left the Democratic Party to vote for him and he practically won came within a couple of percentage votes of winning the only reason and win
was because no whites were willing to vote for no one to speak of. Now Carl Stokes then went back inside the Democratic Party and ran and you know a lot of most black people supported him then too. Problem was that my friends in Cleveland I understand now they're getting very dissatisfied with him precisely because Stokes did decide to go back in and utilize the power structure and turn out the power structure was utilizing him. And as a result after he became mayor he made a number. And while he was running as a matter of fact he began making statements about how he would have called out the National Guard earlier than his white predecessor how he was going to strengthen the police chief No he did never would have occurred to him to select a black person to be chief of police you know because white may be very upset he labeled as a white person etc. and I think that that's just going to read that kind of cue electoral campaign just reinforces the attitude among. Black people that you know you really don't have presumably you're not planning on running that kind of an actor right and that's why I want to and I think that I won't draw the comparison. Yeah but cannot place the question in another
way. Supposing you put you in Newton on the ballot. How deeply have your ideas penetrated the ghetto how many people in the ghetto are going to come out and vote for you when you know this is this is really the balance that has to be that remains to be seen and it also depends on the kind of campaign we wage. I suspect that he will get very very popular so I've just been amazed at the amount of widespread support that he has in the ghetto now I mean most whites barely know about the case or what they know about it is very little but in a ghetto Huey Newton takes on a sort of Malcolm X kind of image or posture and that's the kind of respect that he has precisely because he did lay his life on the line he's a guy that you know wasn't out for personal ambition and glory but was you know trying to do what he could do to organize the black community and to end racism. And the racist police brutality. Now it seems to me that that kind of campaign would be different from the one I was talking about and why I think it will attract support and keep it because what you're you're not trying to spread any illusions about you know the
question is just you know well get a black man in what we're saying now is here for the first time is something that comes out of your community represents you is involved in the street life of your community knows what the problems are in your community. It's quite clear he's not going to be able to use the power structure and the power structure is not going to be able to use him because after all they want to drop a pill on him they don't want to you know use him anymore and that he is going to be able to represent you and he's going to speak for you and he's going to speak your language. And I think that that kind of campaign will get tremendous support. Our major problem in getting that support will be the problem of you know press blackout etc. and here in the black community we have to rely on you know the kinds of normal ways information spread from block to block from street to street etc. and I would go ahead of this. I want to say that I feel that. This is an important question it's important to stand the way in which I believe. Maybe Bobbie can correct me black people will approach humans candidacy it seems to me that black you will viewing it as kana see as a tactical thing
for saving for helping to save his life. That is I think that they will be able to understand that having him be a cad and having him projected You know in this kind of position will make it more difficult for the power structure to railroad him off to the gas chamber and I think that black people will approach not only this candidacy but all electoral currencies tactically that is that they can be and are being educated to understand for example with the Peace and Freedom Party that is sometimes to their advantage to have within the white community particularly a an organization that is on the ballot which has you know that arena to work in and can have that kind of platform to speak from which talks about you know he Newton and the real root issues that are involved in the black community and I think this is the way with you know and again correct me if I'm wrong with that that the Panthers have approached the Peace and Freedom Party that it's valuable to them to have this organization existing and thriving particularly the white community in projecting that kind of program so long as it continues to deal in an anti-racist way with the problems of the black community and that as Bob is fond of saying the Panthers are in fact made up of the kind of people that you'll find the average person on the block in the black community and they
don't think differently than the average person and I think that what what you going to find is that black people will say Yeah I can I can dig having He can't because it'll help to save him. But that's not enough we have to organize ourselves behind him and behind the kind of programs he was projecting. And I can dig having you know these these white people up there running their candidacies on the basis of save Huey and and and attacking our problems from position of being opposed to the kind of oppression we're under and that tactically they can support that. But the same time they're going to continue to relate primarily to organizations like the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense are going to make that their political arena and through that organization they will tactically when it's to their advantage support the efforts of the Peace and Freedom Party and I think from the other side from Peace and Freedom Party side as my partner suggested we know that this power structure is set up over all of us is so powerful and it's so far reaching it reaches all around the world and so deeply rooted in a trench that has some you know so many forces to marshal in protecting its interests that we have to have you know longest on a principal basis and we feel it is being done that we have to have
all you know the strength that we can gather by coalition and by other means to to bring to bear against that powerful to do inflict consequences against it and that you know it's been very helpful to us to be able to work in coalition with the Panthers in attempting to get some kind of leverage against the power structure in the same goals. Peace and Freedom Party you know the black and blue with white community of Africans and our values. Well you see what I suppose in another way I've been trying to get out for discussion is that you are a true radical is a distinct minority in the white community and tend to talk to you know talk around in a circle to himself. Now I believe that the situation is widening out and more and wider and wider areas of people are recognizing the fact that a crucial point in American history is you know what is
here and is in the process of happening and what I was attempting to get an expression on was how rapidly the kind of ideas that you understand so well are spreading in the ghetto. We know the potential is there in other words we know the frustration is there we know the unemployment is there. We know the brutality is there but how rapidly in your view is this penetrating what you're trying to do is is it penetrating the mass of the people who have to live under these circumstances in your community. I think I think I think it's. Basically his plan is really quite well I mean the depth in it I mean we don't take a poll. If you need some measuring stick here and there. No I'm just after your opinion and I'm not asking why I would not expect a letter from a Republican thing I can get you know of any young we have number of numbers of black brothers or Black Panthers him
and walk up on a corner and say yeah man I'm in a path a party and next thing you know you get this guy get 20 guys who've been drinking wine and been doing nothing maybe just going out sitting around this until national questions just because of the interest. Black Panther Party this is supposed to be for me and me all mothers you know yesterday which will change churches and values women viciously everywhere. What we're getting is we're getting a response of who we're glad to hear from you instead of unifying the papers with him and put it down because we really didn't know and our response our response we've been getting from the people who have been there. Good end organizations you just mentioned the churches and we are other organizations really in the ghetto our community are asking you to come and explain what you can the number of children in poverty program been to numbers a place most is that this is the block though I like to refer to the block.
This young fellow ex-felon one is going to be a felon. If you think this student. Older people are thin and young as that's what we need a long time ago they'll say this you know. But many of the old people are going to come out good. And we do have some of the people in the organization with their guns and elements in you young fellows right. I wish that I could have that something like together like this when I was younger. Then there is always about the old terms until you get a chance to really understand the party. But from what we get the possibility of black community is very receptive and. If it was it would have to change. With a three way learning Mike. Yup. Seems to me that what you raised before about the nature of this candidacy has another importance besides just its appeal inside the plant community and that is that over the past few years there has been an
increasing separation or division of the movements for social change in the society. An increasing barrier wall has been set up between whites and blacks largely as a result of kind of white racism as exhibited in Proposition 14 the fact that liberal liberal whites have been willing to sell out the black struggle for their own interests. And that what kind of campaign like this means is the possibility for the first time in. A long time if ever a genuine coalition on the basis of genuine equality between a black organization and white organization. Now there's a lot of problems with that on both scores I know that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense has to get a lot of static from a lot of people who you know are very distrustful of any kind of relationship with whites I'm sure Bobbie could speak on that and they've been trying to explain the political relationship in their community and for our part of course are a lot of people who are very very unhappy about our relationship with Panthers and
especially about the aspect the identification of the Panthers with guns. And one of the things our jobs it seems to me is to begin to talk to whites to try to explain to them first of what's going on in the ghetto nature of the Black Panther Party. So for instance I think that it has to be explained first of all as we said before the Panthers you know see weapons as a means of defense so they can organize for these programs that Bobby has been talking about. And secondly I think that those whites that say that black people you know should not bear guns or put down their guns you know have not peaceful. You know that's violence etc. have to face up to a fact about the society namely that black people are oppressed and that every attempt that's ever been made to control say the police force for instance is doomed to failure. Look at all these attempts to get just these very wishy washy civilian review board set up. Not even community controlled police forces but just general civilian review boards where you can bring complaints which include also a number of police officers on those boards and even those go down to failure. That is for some reason or other it seems impossible for even whites to control
the their police. And it seems to me that you know a lot of the whites and white radicals are white liberals if they're serious about changing the society are going to have to face the fact that they have no right to ask oppressed people to be the ones to put down their guns when they can't even control their own police forces and when we can get the police and other groups like that to put down their guns and to end the brutality and brutalizing of the black community then it seems to me it's time to raise the question of well what about the guns in the black community. But until then it seems to me we should stand for the right of self-defense the same right that everybody takes for granted for everybody else in the society except black people and something when black people say well we want the right of self-defense too. And so many people get very very shaky and start talking about nonviolence. I like to do that. OK and then we're going to have to pose Otherwise we're OK. I just want to make this point. Just as you know we're seeing the develop in the black community where you have Snick breaking away from the old civil rights arena where you are dealing with middle class issues and had a middle class base and moving toward you know the really
oppressed sector the mass of people in the black community and you see the Panthers orienting toward you know the men in black at mommy likes sail quickly so I think that the white movement is beginning to get more radical is going to also have to extend its base to those same kinds of people in the white community people who have so far been ignored by the the white anti-war movement of the Free Speech Movement the campus movement those people who are also suffering from bad housing bad education from perhaps police brutality on the same level as the black community and it's not just white communities are not as occupied and controlled as tightly but still is there the lack of a good education in railroading through the courts the being subject to the draft and I think that is very important the white movement in addition to having things like the Peace and Freedom Party must begin to branch out reach those people and I think that there is a great potential there and that this is not done that we were going to end up running into a dead end and that it's very important that we build this kind of base which can also begin to coalesce with organizations like the Panthers around specific common interests. Did you have anything else you want to say mommy. Because we must close if we're going
- Contributing Organization
- Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
- AAPB ID
- Elsa Knight Thompson moderates a panel discussion about the alliance between the Black Panthers and the Peace & Freedom Party. Participants are Bobby Seale, Chairman of the Black Panther Party, and Bob Avakian and Mike Parker, two organizers of the Peace & Freedom Party. Seale clarifies that the Panthers are not an anti-white organization but are anti-racism and oppression. Parker explains the origin of the Peace & Freedom Party's name and their coalition with the Black Panther Party. Avakian discusses Huey Newton's mayoral candidacy and how it has opened up discussion of radical politics throughout the country. Seale talks about the Panthers platform, which includes arming black people in self-defense, full employment and housing for the black community. The three panelists discusses how their ideologies translate into political action.
- Talk Show
- Black Panther Party; African Americans--Civil rights--History
- Media type
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 21332_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB1632_Are_the_Black_Panthers_violent (Filename)
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- Chicago: “Are the Black Panthers violent? / moderated by Elsa Knight Thompson,” Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 3, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-4b2x34mw6g.
- MLA: “Are the Black Panthers violent? / moderated by Elsa Knight Thompson.” Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 3, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-4b2x34mw6g>.
- APA: Are the Black Panthers violent? / moderated by Elsa Knight Thompson. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-4b2x34mw6g