(The Panther Series) To Die For the People – Huey P. Newton

Excerpt p. xvi

“Today, the model of the Party’s Survival Programs is relevant not only in terms of the need for universal health care but also in consideration of widespread unemployment and the struggle being waged by the great majority of people to satisfy basic needs. For black people in specific there is the ongoing oppression of suffering the highest poverty and unemployment rates, incarceration rates, infant mortality rates and cancer death rates in the country, and having the least educational opportunities. Indeed, the need for the resurrection of such Survival Programs, pending revolution, is self-evident and urgent.”

-Elaine Brown, February 2009

What are these statistics presently? Based on these statistics are the Party’s demands and initiatives (The Survival Programs) still relevant?

Unemployment Rate 16 years and older:

  • Total: 3.9
  • White: 3.4
  • Black: 6.5
  • Asian: 3.3
  • Hispanic: 4.5

Poverty:

  • 12.3% Total population
  • 21.2% African American
  • 18.3% Hispanic
  • 8.7% White

(Source: Talkpoverty.org)

First, when looking at these statistics, it is important to remain attached to humanity, understanding that these number represent real people.

Second, if Race is not real, then what causes these statistical differences among people?

Incarceration Rates:

  • 2.3 million imprisoned people
  • “Black people in this country are imprisoned at more than 5 times the rate of whites; one in 10 black children has a parent behind bars, compared with about one in 60 white kids, according to the Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality.

Infant Mortality:

Based on these statistics, it is clear that the Panther’s Survival Programs are as relevant today as they were in the late sixties.

Excerpt p. xxx

“The people of our inner Third World Revolution want work, education, and the basis of a good life which capitalism gives its rulers and class allies. The people of the inner Third World Revolution want the liberty, equality, and fraternity which can only come about by finally doing away with the class divisions that hold fast in this country.”

How do we dissolve class divisions? By ridding ourselves and our society of private property? (Ownership)

THE Ten-Point Program

“What we want.”

Excerpt p. 3

“3. We want full employment for our people.”

“We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.“

Should it be a government responsibility to ensure that people have jobs?

If it is a desire of a citizen to be a “productive member of society,” should our government not see to it that said individual is employed to a level that matches her or his capability?

Excerpt p. 4

“4. We want decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings.”

“We believe that if the White Landlords will not give decent housing to our Black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.”

How are people really living in America? What are the present housing conditions and how much have they changed from the original creation of the Black Panther’s Ten Point Program?

We know, as seen above that 12.3% of our population lives in poverty. We know that 21.2% of these people are African American. At worst this means that 39.7 million people (of all races and 9 million black people) are without or struggling to acquire the basic necessities of life.

How much different would our society look if people were given an equal playing field? If people were given an equal education, decent housing, healthy food, clean water? Would we all not fare better? Would we not achieve more as a society? And when we don’t supply these things as a base for individual success are our shortcomings not due to our own failure to do so?

Does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs not lend itself to proving this point?

We can’t reach or even attempt to reach our fullest potential without fulfilling basic necessities.

“7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.”

“We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves for self- defense.”

Communities that police themselves would negate the need for police as they currently exist.

Are the negative police interactions with African Americans not as natural as breathing when understood in the context of a society that encompasses inter-generational prejudice, a racist media, and a system of education that has implicitly taught us all to ignore and devalue the voices of women and racial minorities through its omission of these groups? And if so, then is not the only way to resolve this issue than to create a system of community policing?

Speech Delivered at Boston College

November 18, 1970

“They looked at toil, working for your necessities, as something of a curse.”

Excerpt p. 21

“It is necessary for our children to grow up healthy with functional and creative minds. They cannot do this if they do not get correct nutrition. That is why we have a breakfast program for children.”

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (pictured above) is very relevant to the analysis of the Black Panther Party’s Survival programs. The Panthers understood that in order for our children to reach their full potential we had to first fulfill their essential needs.

“We also have community health programs. We have a busing program. We call it, “The Bus for Relatives and Parents of Prisoners.” We realize that the fascist regime that operates the prisons throughout America would like to do their treachery in the dark. But if we get the relatives, parents, and friends to the prisons they can expose the treachery of the fascists. This too is a survival program.”

The panthers were very strategics with their actions. Along with feeding, clothing, healing, and transporting, The Panthers sent political messages to the masses with their efforts.

Excerpt p. 24

“Marx, as a social scientist, criticized other social scientists for attempting to explain phenomena, or one phenomenon, by taking it out of its environment, isolating it, putting it into a category, and not acknowledging the fact that once it was taken out of its environment the phenomenon was transformed.”

People and things must be analyzed and understood in context.

Their background and experiences are relevant to their current state.

Excerpt p. 29

“They looked at toil, working for your necessities, as something of a curse.”

“It sounds to me as though he saw a proletarian working class transformed and in possession of a free block of time, to indulge in productive creativity, to think about developing their universe, so that they could have the happiness, the freedom and the pleasure that all men seek and value.”

Imagine where our world would be if we were able to spend our time creatively. Imagine what that would look like.

Spending time on survival is futile, a never-ending cycle.

Excerpt p. 34

“…how can we say that we have accomplished revolution if we redistribute the wealth just to the people here in North America when the ruling circle itself is guilty of trespass de bonis asportatis. That is, they have taken away goods of the people of the world, transported them to America and used them as their very own.”

We must think broader than ourselves.

And when we begin to think of everyone, then we begin to accomplish something.

“Simple reparation is not enough because the people have not only been robbed of their raw materials, but of the wealth accrued from the investment of those materials.”

Reparations would have to be on a global scale because America has benefited off people of color all over the world.

Statement

May 1, 1971

Excerpt p. 58

“If, in fact, participating in the democratic process in America were in the interest of the Black community there would be no need for a Free Breakfast Program, there would be no need for Free Health Clinics or any of the other programs we have developed to meet the people’s need.”

With the various facts presented above (unemployment, poverty, incarceration, and infant mortality) what has being a democrat, a republican, or an independent done to help the black masses?

On the Relevance of the Church

May 19, 1971

“…people are the makers of history, the people make everything in their society.”

Excerpt p. 66-67

“We have a clothing factory we are just erecting on Third Street, where we will soon give away about three hundred to four hundred new articles of clothing each month.”

“We have a shoe factory that we’re opening up on 14th and Jefferson. We’ll use it to get inmates out of prison…”

What would The Panthers have become if they had not had the forcefulness of the opposing power structure in their way?

Excerpt p. 69

“We know that operating within reality does not mean we accept it; we’re operating within it so that the reality can be changed.”

I’ve often been criticized for what may be deemed as an overactive imagination. Because I envision a future without prisons, where everyone can operate from a base where they have clean water, fresh food, clothing, and shelter, where women are paid as much as men, where women’s rights are protected, and where we have an education system that encompasses the contributions of women and minorities.

I am told that I’m not living in reality. But in a world where people spend hours a day on social media, a world that they themselves have curated, which of us is not living in reality?

My mind and my spirit are not operating in this world, that I must admit, but my body is here.

And although my mind is elsewhere, I am still fully cognizant of the fact that I live in a society whose leaders are hell bound on seizing the reproductive rights of their women, a society who boasts about freedom but incarcerates 25% of the world’s prison population, a society where 21% of its children live in poverty, and a society that estimates that it will take 208 years to achieve equal pay.

It is this cognizance that that gives me my overactive imagination.

Because otherwise, why would I want to get out of bed in the morning if this was the best that I thought we could do?

Excerpt p. 70

“…people are the makers of history, the people make everything in their society.”

Are you happy with what you’ve produced? Are you happy with the society you’ve help create and shape?

Black Capitalism Re-Analyzed II

August 9, 1971

“We closed Mayfair in four days.”

Excerpt p. 109- 110

“But if they refuse to help the Black community they are parasites that must be forced out of business through economic boycott. Why should the Black community nourish a Black profiteer who has no concern for his brother?”

I strongly believe that the NFL is a parasite. Black men sacrifice their bodies to make rich white men richer.

https://www.theatlas.com/javascripts/atlas.js

And after metaphorically lynching Colin Kaepernick and sending a message to all of their players, I don’t want partnerships (Jay Z). I don’t even want apologies. I’d like to see the entire organization destroyed.

“Mayfair is located in the Black community, but had the audacity to purchase alcoholic beverages from companies that excluded Black truck drivers. We closed Mayfair in four days.”

The NFL is much more audacious, so I can’t seem to reconcile why its still standing.

“We will not be paid off; we will not be quiet; we will not go away as long as there is one hungry child, one barefoot person, one medically neglected individual, one brother or sister without a winter coat.”

What a sustained and lasting effort. Disciplined and determined!

HE WON’T BLEED ME

June 19, 1971

Excerpt. 133

“The victimizers can not accept the reality and truth of the view of the victims, and therefore they say that the victims are always wrong in their view of reality.”

We have to find some common ground by understudying that different experiences and forms of existence are happening simultaneously.

So first, we must understand all these experiences as valid, then we must search for common ground.

The Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements

August 15, 1970

Excerpt p. 155

“We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest.”

This is why I will not call Jay Z out of his name. I will not call him a sellout just because I don’t agree with his methods.

To the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam

Excerpt p. 182

“…seek our guidance from the future.”

“…constantly in motion and progressing, rather than becoming stagnated by the bonds of the past.”

I asked above if you were happy with what we’ve created. I asked if you were happy with what we’ve silently submitted to.

Now I ask what you want to create? What is your wildest dream unbound by the current and past methods?

Excerpt p. 182-183

“We contend that it is time to open the gates of this country and share the technological knowledge and wealth with the peoples of the world.”

“This will lead us into the era where the withering away of the state will occur and men will extend their hand in friendship throughout the world.”

Nationhood is a farce, used for the purpose of expedient division.

We are all one and the time for acting as such is long overdue.

Repression Breeds Resistance

January 16, 1970

Excerpt p. 207

“The people are as people all over the world, so tied up and so involved in their survival from day to day that much of the time they over-look, or they don’t understand, the international nature of the struggle.”

People are so wrapped up and drained by survival that they don’t have the energy to involve themselves in the international struggles, the larger pictures. And this is by design, much like the systematic destruction of the attention span, which have both played a role in our empathy exhaustion and indifference.

Uniting Against the Common Enemy

October 23, 1971

Excerpt p. 212

“…a future of the world, where a human world society may be so structured as to benefit all the earth’s people (not peoples).”

Excerpt p. 217

“We will have a human culture, a human language, the earth will be all our territory, serving all our interests; serving the interests of all people.”

Again, the idea of nationhood or territory is a fallacy.

An idea that is quite absurd especially when considering Pangaea.

So no, I can’t reconcile or wrap my head around deportation, border walls, or depriving captive “illegal” children of toothbrushes and soap.

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