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Following Martin Luther King's murder says the Black Panther Party grew like wildfire from May of 1968 to December recruit 5000 full time active members and 45 chapters and branches at forty five different cities throughout the United States of America. I did the political education across the country. I taught them how to put the breakfast programs together to prevent in medical health care clinics et cetera et cetera. The defense programs the Ministry of Information the minister of defense et cetera the guns the right to defend. I said your officers attack you will defend yourselves. In 1969 every Black Panther Party office in this country was attacked at least once. Some was attacked as much as three and four times. He. Just said Africans and you did not say Africans. You know I've been doing research into the
fact you drop the are up on LCAC you have a connection with West Africa because according to Dr. Renzo downturned I don't know THP are our role in our sounds in the West African languages and you use and just get yo Mo and folk you're not saying this that you're more and for did that shit to dope. That's it that's what you say. So don't sit up and say you ain't got nothing to do with your African self. Take. My rap hardship. 12 13 14 got the contract to build houses and stuff. But later as that our family became associated with this banking family in East Texas in Jasper Texas he started getting a major billing contracts so that I was doing some so-called strip mining and I think in this town where again 20 miles east of Jasper and
my grandpa got the contract to build it tightened up the banking framework so he worked quite on this side and blacks on this side of my grandpas. Everybody get paid the same and I don't want to hear that because he was a. Rough old do being artist and etc. but never accepted some notion that you negro just because you ain't free. You don't know what freedom means. That's my background. I mean I didn't learn and know about this you know later. My father was raised a carpenter to build it too. One time he was building a house Whiteboys and liked the idea that he had this whole contract to build his house. So my dad was out there working one Saturday and they all drove up to Whiteboys jumped out Jordt come on board. Come on down here we go to see all the young white boys about my dad and my dad about 18 or 19. So my dad said OK I'll be right down. So he hops off the roof jumps all the way down. He say he deliberately jumped
to grab the first to fall on the ground long to about four and picked it up. No one was doing the most talking uncracked that white boy right across to head start whooping on a couple of the others and they got back and took the engine when got in the car. Then they were going to lynch and kill my father. But the white back old man said No you can't do it that way. When a banker has a little power I guess if you don't like each other and you have to have a fair fight and he got out in front of the city hall area around Jasper you know stuff. My dad whipped them all the way around the place every time he moved his toe right up next to his pussy Maharani. White Sergeant decided to. Buck Sergeant preachy. And I was a buck sergeant and other
white racists didn't like it so he called me a black nigger in the shop one morning. These were the days you know you have no political perspective in terms of understanding your own history. It didn't happen. It had not been taught to me. That's. I just picked up a piece of extrusions to beat the hell out this white boy. I got busted my nose stripes and went to the stockade. 30 days come out. Etc.. Work back to seconder crew chief corporal and so on. But I couldn't stay in the air force. In the meantime I was learning how to be a jazz drummer. At that time the last two years. And finally I got an argument with a colonel with some other racism and I got kicked out of the United States Air Force after three years 11 months and 11 days. Rather than say that racism as Richard Pryor said has. You see young black dude got placed himself no wishes enters racism and takes his stuff.
But I was the type person who couldn't hold me down. So when they gave me my undesirable discharge you got ten minutes to get off this base. What are you going to do with the other nine minutes and 15 seconds. You know I'm Roland. It. Sort of trained himself to speak you know that way simply because that white instructor had told you before he was supposed to graduate that he would never be college material when his older brother Melvin was already in University of California. So he rejected that and told his brother you've got to teach me how to read. He really didn't want to read from a primer book. No I want to learn how to read for those books you have there. What is this. Plato. Who is this how you price is a man you can't man you can't. So
what he would do men would go by a sentence. You would write the words write the letters because he was semi-literate. Boom boom boom. Read the sentence discuss it etc. etc.. And that's why he got was so theoretical and philosophical and his attempts to articulate himself in terms of the grass roots. See here we cannot take a theory and break it down for the average brother in the community who would stand up in front of our brothers and sisters if we could first agree on the dialectical principle that quantitative increase or quantitative decrease causes a qualitative leap or change. Then I think we can move forward. We loss everybody. Lost everybody. So the point here that is now here don't work like that. This way you do it. OK Bobby. Bobby. Bobby break it down for Gadhafi. Brothers and Sisters today we go down to the nitty gritty and we know it's
no grits at all. But he was trying to explain your dialect about quantitative increase in quantitative decrease but addition and subtraction in dialectics but argument a two sided argument. You increase one thing decrease another. In. One. Night. Here in Cleveland and Richard I said I was in Japanese when I was in middle school when I was a Japanese friend grew up in a black community and he was real. OK Richard I was an afro Americanized Japanese person but he was he's an American born citizen. My point though is that he was one of the intellectual groups you know along with John Thompson who basically function with one of the socialist groups but it was a good friend of ours good friend of Hewitt.
And we were sitting over his house one night wine and cheese and stuff and messing around talking and rap and no broad English. And so I say you you know we've been running around a bit too long is talking about a functional definition of power. So you've got to come up with something. So it really ok. Power is the ability to define phenomena and then make it act in this manner. I said wait a minute here it sounds pretty good. Oh you think so. When I'm in my room. Come on man power. He says is the ability to define phenomena. Then in turn make it less secure that's tough man. I think so Richard. It's a man that's heavy heavy Jack and he will say you guys what he thinks. I said Yeah man. Ok ok you break it down. How is the ability to define phenomena and to try and make it the exact minute we are talking about organizing some political organization to do what if we got to define the power the city council the phenomena of the city council I
said it's a bunch of races. It is not the institution it is the content of the makeup and the mentality and the racist mentality. They used that institution to exploit us to oppress us etc.. City Council in effect has an effect on all the agencies of government. So we have to define it. We have to make that institutionalized function as a political organization ACT and it is a man who's right. That's right. That's how we came up with this inadvertent thing of function definition but. After we have found the Supreme Court ruling for the right of the citizens to observe a poll is obscure enough. Judy I have found and disto here that we need to take the first two paragraphs of this famous document and put it at the tail end about ten point platform and program
when you made sense when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to separate themselves from the political pundits this shit. But the political will to have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station in with the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of humankind dictates that they should declare the causes which impel into that separation. It is I hate to say some more and more say this is when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably which is a design to reduce a people under absolute Despotism it is the right of the people to alter that government and provide new Guards for their future security. Now if we provide some new god damn God's Will people secure didn't happen the way political revolutionaries and I don't know what else. We'd put the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence to the United States of America.
Well what do you think some of the nastiness is going to say about this being written by white folk. Huey does dat damn yo Mo and folk still means this that you're more in. We got the highest pronouncer. Who writes it. They are. They have no right to any even their own. English language is not there is a blowsy matter because it evolved out of all of humanity. First of all we got an office I wanted to need office so I painted the sign. Being an architect of design and what I have etc. and that was on the telephone on blackboards. We didn't want a dinky office to represent African-American people in the committee to show them and willing to represent organization. We printed up to one thousand copies it's ten point platform and program. We had an application we had rules for the Black Panther Party. You had to study and know when reading lists everything
from every other book to you and I didn't read it we thought was necessary you know from the slave trade to Malcolm X's autobiography that just come out. You had to go to political education sessions. You have to know the ten point platform and program and we talked about more than a 10 point when we talked about the general politics of where we're going and why this political organization is about the liberation the unity the black community unity that even one day we used to read we will build a black community electoral unity power in the black community. I mean when new facts like 40 percent of the population of the city of Oakland with blacks in the media that we can unify that and coalesce with the Chicano peoples and others we could probably take over the city government you know
between 1967 December 8th when I get out of jail in August 1969 me with the help and the work and the dedication of Fred Hampton Mark Clark Bobby Rush other brothers and sisters in various chapters organize 5000 black brothers and sisters in the United States of America active full time programatic grassroots community organizing with guns in their offices and stuff with standing rules and political perspective idiology a Black Panther Party newspaper that grew to a point of circling. Two hundred and fifty thousand every week on time. That's organizing. See. THE GOOD brothers away from the macho bullshit and get to the principles of constitutional democratic silver human rights that you're fighting for you know
community control of economic framework she said I'm getting at communal control of education institutions and culture frameworks that affect our very lives. Re institutionalizing some economic political social and economic frameworks that make some human sense is the essence of what our liberation is all about. It ain't about no messiah leader it ain't about Farrakhan or Jesse Jackson. It's about real community control. How do you Voth community committee leadership. This is one of the same characters I put into the Black Panther Party. We have more than one leader. We will just claim we had Bobby Seale we had Kathleen clay we had Erika and we had them getting in with Fred Hampton. We had brothers and sisters. We had a broad range of spokesmen and leadership all across this country. So to me then each chapter and branch had to have a central committee meeting. And if you do organize some program out there you commit create a committee of black peasants community people as a committee to have run an appropriate community
committee level leadership people have never gotten a hold and understand it. I don't I'm not even a socialist. I've done my community control of economic frameworks to retain them produce services and goods. No the workers must control the means of production. I said definitively I'm right. No you're not. Yes I am. That's because every worker lives in a community. Community control whether it's community control the police committee try to clear his throat. Educational institutions said we must evolve step by step to a political revolutionary organizational framework. More and more community control of economic frameworks and all the political institutions social justice system. That said I don't want to hear. So this was the basis of my ideological approach because I was looking at state controlled socialism. A five year economic plan and a rush to take control of the bill to tell it to turn it take away the
basic democratic rights of the people for small click Polit Bureau group you said to me you don't know corporate monopoly avariciously racist capitalism. I'm rejecting both of these extremes. I'm going for grass roots involvement community control. This was the true synthesis of all the Daleks as they want the synthesis and the system is not just about looking at the people and theorizing about the people. That's why I would argue with them about. I said Brother you've got to organize these people on a three dimensional level to be involved. You have to raise that culture that's in the best conscious race in the world is active involvement. Those are my arguments. I don't know what I know because you are not going to come here to me running down here then infested Joe Duncan with too many existing footnotes on Leninism. You know what some linear
bullshit is too European for me because I'm trying to integrate the interconnected whole interconnected relationship of everything which is much more African which is much more Native American. We had six brothers come up after about a month to represent me and brothers on phone phones on the phone. I know you got a woman out here she's ruining a woman in a Boston tufted Black Panther Party. We call her to let you know that we don't have to have somebody or some brother here because we can be taking orders from a woman. I said oh you can't take directives from Sister Arthur Jones who was the deputy chairman of the Massachusetts chapter the Black Panther. Yes right. But we can say OK listen to me very closely. If you cannot take orders or directives from the deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party which happens to be Sister Adrea Jones then get the fuck out of my goddamn organization
now. How you niggas think you are. We dying up here going to GOD DAMN jail getting killed Haven't you got you and you worried about some sister who's African-American who got birth to live birth had a life. Some kid who will probably die to get the hell out of my goddamn organization. ROFL. You read the COINTELPRO FBI documents when Malcolm X was killed. I was already pegged as a supporter and a follower of Malcolm X said I'm going to get COINTELPRO. First came into the state police and the FBI observing us and feeding information and the local police with little infiltrators to try to see what we were doing. But also infiltrators around Meritt college campus for the Black Panther Party was ordering an Army intelligence personnel. They were there. I mean to read a Freedom of Information Act documents now to see what coverage
they were on me from jump street. Certain tactics you can use to send false letters and notes just about BCU about other members of the party. His dedication is so high with their writing that you could trick him like this. They had a lesser. It Or Not opinion that a lesser opinion about it. They did use it two other words they had psychological profiles and all. I mean to read some of this stuff you know to look at. I'm not trying to put myself above the brothers. You made a profound contribution to make his contribution. What I'm getting at is that they were they had been on me before Huey or LGC was ever in the pit.
You and elder split about seven months before I get out. Six months or seven months. Wanna get out there then that meant that a couple of chapters talk about threatening Huey with that and the COINTELPRO operation to get both sides to fight each other. That's really what happened because they killed and murdered Sam that period will just create splits. And I heard that some other Pence's killed two of them that killed Sam here in New York City. Now is the niggers fighting each other and the white man sit back laughing because he's helping this shit out. You see them getting it. But following that now they're talking crap. Some of the East Coast crew happened in New York to one killing Huey. Elders talk about killing you because they've been fed all this crap.
The COINTELPRO crap on. There's a lot of responsibility it's got to be taken for people like Elaine Brown. She knew. I'll just keep misunderstanding even though that was more COINTELPRO or and some of the dumb stuff that was done for me to walk away. And when I walked away from the Black Panther Party I knew it was four weeks later. Elaine Browning went to several meetings. I wasn't there Wednesday night political education sessions that I had structured for many years prior to that. Right. People well whereas the chairman when you see them two weeks. Well Bobbie and Leslie. My wife she's a member of the Black Panther Party on vacation. Finally after the fourth week Bobbie and Leslie has defected from the Black Panther Party to 180
some people in that audience half of them got and will the chairman say you know I'm out of here. Trying to do what we all did. I mean in the 1960s 50s Rosa Parks Martin Luther King Thurgood Marshall in the courts etc. and all the protest demonstration was all about wiping the laws of segregation off the books take to the laws of segregation were wiped off the books in the United States of America. It was only a half a victory but they still got it done. We came along in the 1960s Kwame to Ray Stokely Carmichael rap Brown the Black Panther Party Malcolm X when he first kicked out with the way it was about opting for broad political community control and politicization political What about just a right to vote. We were talking about running a political candidate. There was talk about taking over whole political institutions a framework at the time and what with 300 and do we elected black politicians in the
1960s when Malcolm X was killed. So brother you don't do much in the black panther party. How about we help put together broad political participation. We've got over 10000 black brothers and sisters been duly elected to political office from the local to the federal level that's already been done. And that was only half a victory. Why do I say whether the lot of segregation off the books only half victory is simple. The white folks still remain whereas thought it was a half victory. Why do I say political statements. It was only a half victory. Simple. Fifty percent of our black politicians were squat. Maybe 60 percent. Of course 90 percent of white when they were crap either. So that's been done. So you're telling young brothers and sisters man it's not about trying to repeat what we already done. It's about you getting the damn education for personal psychological liberation and also for community control and personal economic integration.
Certain cities marchers and then affirming too much gangsta crap from the Goodfellows murder killer shoot em up. I don't give a dern too much of that crap one. No education 3 coming up out of homes and friends with is not any black males really teach them principles about selves. But let me say something. Of the eighty nine. Of all the crime committed in the black community 89 percent of blacks committed this crime against blacks. A large segment of that kind of crime is the killing and murder of young black males. But even in all of that. There are less than 17 percent. When we start also giving some credit to all the young brothers and sisters going to speak at colleges. May I hit places there's a lot of brothers and sisters made that a bus that do a whole lot of great shit and I hope to some of them same brother. It's hard for me to organize some of them hardcore brothers.
They have to really sit down and take some discipline training. It's an do for me. You know I know a lot of people got upset with me. I try to get upset with me because I signed for my mind. He's 28 now but that was 10 years ago. I signed for him. He was 17. I want to go into a new army reserve I said here go jet magazine. Why would you let your son go in the Army Reserves and the commander in chief is Ronald Reagan your arch enemy from the old. I said Look my Summerlee gone. No they're just going to do just as much racism inside that military is he going to run into it on the streets. This now. I don't care what nobody say that discipline and you get inside the military. So you ask the average black male who haven't been there I said I had black males come from the Vietnam frontline realize here their heart mind. So what was it I said some of the best organizers I had most of my feel much better
person than me. I wanted to create environmental renovation youth jobs. I went with 100 to 200 youth that had male and female renovate no housing and renovating old cars and turning some of them into electrical cars as a major in a community economic effort. That's part of the economic liberation.
Straight Up with Bobby Seale
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Episode Description
Candid and informative interview with Bobby Seale, co-founder with Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Seale goes into great detail about his childhood and what inspired him to become an activist and civil rights leader. Seale also clears up common misconceptions about the Black Panther Party and its history. Also includes firsthand accounts of his work with COINTELPRO and the reasoning behind his resignation from the Party.
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Chicago: “Straight Up with Bobby Seale,” 1993-00-00, WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 25, 2022,
MLA: “Straight Up with Bobby Seale.” 1993-00-00. WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 25, 2022. <>.
APA: Straight Up with Bobby Seale. Boston, MA: WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from