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Home page > 20- ENGLISH - MATERIAL AND REVOLUTION > What is the Black Panthers Party ?

What is the Black Panthers Party ?

Wednesday 26 February 2014, by Robert Paris

Black Panthers Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22, are gunned down by 14 police officers as they lie sleeping in their Chicago, Illinois, apartment. About a hundred bullets had been fired in what police described as a fierce gun battle with members of the Black Panther Party. However, ballistics experts later determined that only one of those bullets came from the Panthers’ side. In addition, the "bullet holes" in the front door of the apartment, which police pointed to as evidence that the Panthers had been shooting from within the apartment, were actually nail holes created by police in an attempt to cover up the attack. Four other Black Panthers were wounded in the raid, as well as two police officers.

The raid, which had been led by Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan, was only one of many attempts by the government to weaken the Black Power movement. Under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI had been battling civil rights activists and other minority leaders for years with their Cointelpro program, whose purpose, according to one FBI document, was to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership and supporters." Although the FBI was not responsible for leading this particular raid, a federal grand jury indicated that the bureau played a significant role in the events leading up to the raid; Hanrahan had utilized information provided by FBI informant William O’Neal, who was third in command of the Chicago Panthers, to plan his attack.

There was also a conscious effort by the FBI to use "aggressive and imaginary tactics" to prevent the "rise of a ’messiah’ who could unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement." They apparently considered Fred Hampton, an outspoken, charismatic activist who was chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, to be such a potential leader. Hampton became involved in the civil rights struggle at a very early age: At 15, he organized a chapter of the NAACP at his high school, and he became chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party when he was 20. Many other leaders of the Panthers, such as Huey Newton, Assata Shakur, and Bobby Seale, spent time in jail on charges based on little or no evidence.

Although most media coverage of the Black Panthers focused on their violent rhetoric and the fact that they carried arms, the Panthers were involved in many nonviolent community-organizing activities. They provided food and medical care to the needy, preached political empowerment, crusaded against police brutality, and started a school. As Fred Hampton himself said shortly before his death, "There have been many attacks made upon the Black Panther Party, so we feel it’s best to be an armed propaganda unit. But the basic thing is to educate." Unfortunately for Hampton and the other Panthers targeted by the FBI, being armed did not help to protect against governmental repression. In fact, it may have even made matters worse by aiding the FBI in legitimizing their aggressive tactics.

Despite the evidence provided by ballistics experts showing that police had fired 99 percent of the bullets and had falsified the report on the incident, the first federal grand jury did not indict anyone involved in the raid. Furthermore, even though a subsequent grand jury did indict all the police officers involved, the charges were dismissed.

Survivors of the attack and relatives of Hampton and Clark filed a lawsuit against Hampton and other officials, which was finally settled in 1983.

The murder of Newton, Hampton and Clark by the FBI (Cointelpro)

27 Black Panthers were assassinated by the FBI between 1968 and 1976

3 Forum messages

  • Read upon the Black Panthers 25 February 2014 19:52

    Le 6 avril 1968, un des "black panthers", Bobby Hutton, qui n’est âgé que de 17 ans et qui n’est pas armé est tué par la police au cours d’une fusillade.

    Le 4 décembre 1969 à 4 heures du matin, grâce aux informations d’un "indic" du FBI qui a infiltré les panthers de Chicago et qui est devenu le responsable de la sécurité de Fred Hampton, la police de Chicago lance un assaut sur l’appartement des panthers de Chicago. Hampton est assassiné dans son sommeil. Mark Clark, un autre panther est également assassiné dans son sommeil. Quatre panthers dormant dans le même appartement sont blessés. Hampton avait 21 ans lors de son exécution, Mark Clark 17 ans. 90 balles furent retrouvées dans l’appartement, une seule avait été tirée par un panther. Aucun policier ne fut inquiété alors que tous les panthers qui avaient survécu à l’assaut furent arrêtés pour tentative de meurtre.

    En septembre, Huey Newton est condamné reconnu coupable de meurtre et condamné à 2 à 15 années de prison (il sera finalement libéré en 1970 pour vice de procédure).

    En 69, Seale est arrêté et condamné à 4 ans de prison. En mars 1970, alors qu’il est toujours emprisonné, il publie "Seize The Time", l’histoire des panthers et de Huey Newton. Au cours de l’année 1970, 38 militants sont tués lors de raids organisés par les polices locales. Quelques mois plus tard, Geronimo Pratt, un des membres les plus en vue du Black Panther Party de Los Angeles est arrêté pour le meurtre d’une femme blanche alos que selon de multiples témoignages, il assistait à une réunion de son organisation à Oakland. Il sera finalement libéré en 1998 après avoir passé plus de 27 ans en prison.

    Les querelles et dissensions fomentées par le Cointelpro au sein du Black Panther Party amplifie les divergences internes nées de l’affrontement entre le "ministre de la défense" qui est resté à Oakland, Huey Newton, et Eldridge Cleaver en exil à Alger. Certains des partisans de Cleaver fondent alors la Black Liberation Army (BLA) clandestine.

    Les militants radicaux les plus chevronnés sont soit mort, soit en exil, soit en prison. Un nouveau programme de contre-espionnage, "newkill", directement mis au point par Hoover et Nixon s’abattra sur les membres du BLA.

    Le Cointelpro (programme pour assassiner les militants radicaux, noirs mais aussi indiens ou communistes) sera officiellement arrêté en 1971 après sa découverte fortuite par un groupe d’étudiants parti s’introduire dans un bureau du FBI.

    La Note envoyée par J Edgar Hoover à l’ensemble de ses agents, le 25 mars 1968 fut exécutée à la lettre : le Cointelpro devait "empêcher la coalition de groupes nationalistes noirs (...) empêcher la naissance d’un messie qui pourrait unifier et électriser le mouvement nationaliste noir (...) Il faut faire comprendre aux jeunes Noirs modérés que, s’ils succombent à l’enseignement révolutionnaire, ils seront des révolutionnaires morts". Une autre note datée du 3 avril, expose les termes de l’alternative. "Ne vaut-il pas mieux être une vedette sportive, un athlète bien payé ou un artiste, un employé ou un ouvrier (...) plutôt qu’un Noir qui ne pense qu’à détruire l’establishment et qui, ce faisant, détruit sa propre maison, ne gagnant pour lui et son peuple que la haine et le soupçon des Blancs ?"

    Huey P Newton continua ses activités militantes au cours des années 70 et 80. Il fut abattu en 1989.

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  • What is the Black Panthers Party ? 25 February 2014 20:28

    Le Black Panther Party (à l’origine le Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) est un mouvement révolutionnaire afro-américain formé en Californie en 1966 par Bobby Seale et Huey P. Newton qui a atteint une échelle nationale avant de s’effondrer à cause de tensions internes et des actions menées par l’État, en particulier le Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (arrestations et agitation de factions rivales via des infiltrants).

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  • read “The Black Panthers speak” :

    here

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