is the power of the people and the people only to whom we will
be thankful, and in whom our faith rests for the future.”
Huey P. Newton
these perilous times of corporate media and government manipulated
false “hope” and fake “change” gimmickry - combined with the dangerous
messianic illusions on the part of some pertaining to Barack Obama,
who is the U.S. Empire’s latest cynical attempt at mass political
hallucination and control; it is important, necessary, and sobering
to reflect upon the accomplishments of a genuine people’s warrior
for real change, the late (Dr.) Huey P. Newton.
P. Newton was born on February 17, 1942, and ultimately cofounded
the Black Panther Party, in which among other things, he served
as Minister of Defense and its chief theoretician. Today it remains
accurate that, “Perhaps no single political organization in modern
U.S. history still evokes more joy, pride, hope and debate in the
hearts and minds of people than the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary,
community based, national Black political organization founded in
October of 1966, which by the end of the 20th century had been physically
the leadership of Huey P. Newton, the Black Panther Party consistently
and nationally demonstrated the unmitigated audacity to demand full
human rights in the U.S., including the right to “full employment,”
“an immediate end to police brutality,” the right to “land, bread,
housing, education, clothing, justice and peace” [from the Ten-Point
Program of the Black Panther Party]. Huey P. Newton succinctly authored
the aforementioned Ten-Point Program of the Black Panther Party,
which Program was effectively designated into the simple and crystal
clear format of “What We Want” and “What We Believe.” The issues
of the Ten-Point Program including “housing, employment, police
brutality, education, justice and peace” are just as relevant,
if not even more so today in the 21st century, for
Black, Brown, White, Red, and Yellow peoples in this nation, as
when they were first penned over four decades ago under the
auspices of Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party.
P. Newton’s message was one of action, of self actualization, not
false hope, fake change, and the cynical opportunism of continued
U.S. Empire. Rather, Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party
went about the work of creating nationally in Black communities
“free breakfast programs, free health clinics, free child care programs,
free food programs, free seniors escort programs, free shoe and
clothing programs,” etc.
with the guidance and encouragement of Huey P. Newton, the Black
Panther Party established the Oakland Community School for children
in the community of Oakland, California. Huey P. Newton “immediately
went about finding a way to develop a nonprofit corporation
and to secure funding to buy the building that the Oakland Community
School sat in for almost ten years.” [Reference paragraph 2 in part
2 of the August
28, 2008 Black Commentator article titled, The Oakland
Community School, Oakland, CA, The Hope Is Our Young People.
the leadership of Huey P. Newton, and the Central Committee of the
Black Panther Party, the Black Panther Party stood in stalwart and
open opposition to the U.S. war of aggression in Vietnam, and strongly
supported the rights of peoples around the world in Africa, Asia,
Cuba, Palestine, South America and elsewhere to self determination,
free of U.S. hegemony. The internal and external political stance
of Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party incurred the vicious
wrath of the ruling elite of ‘America,’ which wrath continues to
the present day in the form of constant efforts to obfuscate, distort,
and destroy the true legacy of the Black Panther Party.
it is irrefutable and well documented that the local, state, and
federal authorities of the U.S. Government used every fiendish and
despicable means to discredit, “neutralize,” and destroy the Black
Panther Party and its leaders, including Huey P. Newton. These means
included drugs being pumped into Black communities nationwide with
the objective of hooking and destroying its leaders and potential
revolutionary community leaders, and of course the infamous and
bloody government program of destruction and horror known as
COINTELPRO, the Counter Intelligence Program. Of course, there were
also other well known individual targets of COINTELPRO, including
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not to mention entire
political organizations such as the Black Panther Party (BPP), the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference (SCLC), the American Indian Movement (AIM),
and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), etc., in this nation.
individual and personal consequences of serious political organizing
in opposition to the systemic status quo have been, and continue
to be, severe. Make no mistake about it: Real political
organizers who are in opposition to the status quo and systemic
oppression do not end up in the White House in service
to the U.S. Empire. More often than not they find themselves
in the proverbial “big house” (i.e. jail / prison). Thus, to discerning
persons, Huey P. Newton’s role in history and the ongoing struggle
is one of honor and respect, as well it should be. Huey P.
Newton, like Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., were serious and real political
organizers. While none of these aforementioned men and women (including
Huey P. Newton) were messiahs, nor did they “walk on water;” they
did seek to serve the everyday Black, Brown, White, Red,
and Yellow peoples of this nation and world. It must be remembered
that the U.S. government, the corporate news media, and the corporate
/ military apparatus were definitely not their friends or
allies; nor are these institutions friends or allies of the ongoing
freedom struggle today.
political struggle that was taken up by Huey P. Newton and the Black
Panther Party over four decades ago is far from over. Indeed, the
insidious nature of the oppression of everyday Black, White,
Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples today has been intensified.
Nevertheless, the example of Huey P. Newton is a reminder of not
only what has been accomplished thus far in this struggle but also
of how so very much further we must go and some of the pitfalls
that we must seek to avoid along the way.
heads held high, let us salute and honor Brother Huey P. Newton
this February 17th, 2009; for like Brother Malcolm X, he stood tall
in the struggle. Huey did not struggle for sainthood. He struggled
for the real social, economic, and political freedom of Black and
other oppressed peoples nationally and internationally; and as brother
Malcolm X so appropriately put it: “I for one believe that if you
give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and
the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program,
and when the people create a program, you get action.”
information on Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party as a whole
can be obtained from 1) the University of California at Berkeley’s
Bancroft Library; 2) the Dr. Huey P. Newton Collection / Archives
at Stanford University, Stanford University Libraries [Collection
Number M864], Stanford, California; and 3) online at the It’s
About Time detailed web site of the Black Panther Party
Legacy & Alumni.
can best celebrate the birthday of Huey P. Newton by recommitting
ourselves to the ongoing struggle for single payer health care,
decent jobs, housing and education and an immediate end to police
brutality at home and U.S. military adventurism and wars abroad.
us not seek to make meaningless and destructive bourgeois history.
Let us seek to change the course it has taken.
White, Red, Brown, and Yellow Sisters and Brothers: All Power To
Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party,
the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a
former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully
self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations
under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In connection with his political organizing
activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was
interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist
and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here
to read excerpts from the book). Click here
to contact Mr. Pinkney.