Happy birthday To The Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton

Happy birthday To The Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton is a hero in the struggle for Black liberation, revolution and socialism He should be remembered and his example should be followed by all progressive and revolutionary people Hampton was the Deputy Chairman from the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party. He was one of the most dynamic leaders in the Black Panther Party nationally until he was cut down in cold blood by the government at the age of 21

On Dec. 4, 1969 Fred Hampton was assassinated while sleeping in his bed by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fellow Black Panther Mark Clark was also assassinated that night. The murder of Hampton and Clark was part of the FBI’s plan to disrupt and neutralize the Black liberation movement and the Black Panther Party specifically.

Despite his young age, Fred Hampton made tremendous contributions to the movement for black liberation, working class revolution and socialism in the U.S. His example still shines and inspires people fighting for change almost 40 years later.

What Did Fred Hampton Do?

Fred Hampton was born in 1948 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in nearby Maywood. While a teenager he got involved in the NAACP and his leadership abilities quickly became clear as he led campaigns to improve services in the Black community When the Black Panther Party became established in Illinois, Hampton joined in 1968 and became a Party leader.

Hampton’s work over the next year made the Chicago Black Panthers one of the biggest and most successful chapters in the country – and therefore also one of the most targeted by the FBI. Fred Hampton did an amazing amount of organizing during his time as a leader in the Black Panther Party, before his assassination. He organized weekly rallies, worked closely with the Black Panther Party’s local People’s Clinic, taught political education classes and launched a project for community supervision of the police. Hampton was instrumental in the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for Children Program. He also engineered a truce between some of Chicago’s street gangs and built alliances with radical and revolutionary organizations of other nationalities, including the Puerto Rican organization Young Lords and the mostly-white organization Students for a Democratic Society.

In their political organizing, Hampton was adamant that the Black Panthers must raise the political consciousness of working and poor Black people toward socialism. He said that people learn through observation and participation, so the Panthers’ programs were modeled to show people in practice what socialism is, and to get them involved so people could learn from their own experiences in the struggle. He always said “all power to the people” – making clear that change is made by the masses of people and that the goal is to win real power, not small reforms that leave the existing power relations in place.

Black Liberation, Proletarian Internationalism and Socialism

Why were the Black Panthers particularly singled out as the supposed ‘greatest internal threat to national security’ by FBI head J. Edgar Hoover? Because they were succeeding in organizing large numbers of Black people to fight for revolutionary change with a socialist vision. They were inspiring hundreds of thousands of people of all nationalities toward revolutionary and socialist politics. They launched programs and campaigns to fight for the felt needs of the masses of poor and working class Black people and organized thousands of mostly young Black people into a revolutionary organization.

They dedicated themselves to overthrowing white supremacist capitalism in the U.S. and replacing it with a socialist system based on the needs of the people. Following in the footsteps of Malcolm X, they upheld the right to armed self-defense. They identified with the national liberation movements and socialist countries in the Third World and they studied the writings of Mao, Fanon, Lenin, Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevarra, Kim Il Sung and other Third World socialist revolutionaries. The Black Panthers’ socialist politics and identification with anti-imperialist liberation movements around the world caused the ruling class see them as a real threat.

Working Class Stand

“You’re gonna have to keep on saying that – I am the proletariat, I am the people. I am not the pig. You’ve got to make a distinction.” -Fred Hampton

The Black Panthers didn’t mainly focus on organizing the working class as such. They tended to focus attention on the lower sector of the working class in their communities and on the ‘lumpen proletariat’ (poor people who are basically outside of the formal economic system and get by on the ‘informal economy’, hustles, petty crimes and the like), and they also had a large base of support and members from petty bourgeois and student backgrounds. But Fred Hampton always spoke of the working class, the ‘proletariat.’ From his practice it’s clear he was talking about the working class as a whole – including the lower sector and the lumpen, but not just them – the working class as a whole.

In his speech Power Anywhere There’s People, Hampton said:

“We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism.

“We ain’t gonna fight no reactionary pigs who run up and down the street being reactionary; we’re gonna organize and dedicate ourselves to revolutionary political power and teach ourselves the specific needs of resisting the power structure, arm ourselves, and we’re gonna fight reactionary pigs with international proletarian revolution. That’s what it has to be. The people have to have the power: it belongs to the people.”

Hampton also said:

“You know, a lot of people have hang-ups with the Party because the Party talks about a class struggle. We say primarily that the priority of this struggle is class. That Marx and Lenin and Che Guevara and Mao Tse-tung and anybody else that has ever said or knew or practiced anything about revolution always said that a revolution is a class struggle. It was one class – the oppressed, and that other class – the oppressor. And it’s got to be a universal fact. Those that don’t admit to that are those that don’t want to get involved in a revolution, because they know as long as they’re dealing with a race thing, they’ll never be involved in a revolution.”

As can be seen above, Hampton spoke clearly of the fact that there is a multinational working class and that there are poor people of all nationalities. He talked about the need for working class and oppressed people to unite, and he initiated the original “rainbow coalition” of radical and revolutionary forces of different nationalities.

As a leader in the Black Panther Party, Hampton primarily built the Black liberation movement. This basic orientation of building the Black liberation movement is correct, since Black people as a whole suffer national oppression in the U.S., and the fight for Black liberation is vital and is revolutionary. Historically, the Black liberation movement has played a key role as a motor in propelling forward broader movements for change in the U.S.. The Black Panthers definitely played that role, inspiring many other people to come to revolutionary conclusions, and providing inspiration for the formation of organizations similar to the Black Panthers among other oppressed nationalities, such as the Brown Berets, I Wor Kuen, Young Lords Organization and the American Indian Movement.

While based in and building the Black liberation movement, at the same time Hampton correctly emphasized working class leadership within the movement and upheld a working class orientation overall. This was controversial, as some other Black organizations criticized the Panthers for working with white people and people of other nationalities at all and many also criticized the Panthers for focusing so much on class instead of just focusing on racial oppression.

Organize and Involve the Masses – Connect the Day-to-Day Struggle with Revolutionary Goal

“Any program that’s brought into our community should be analyzed by the people of that community. It should be analyzed to see that it meets the relevant needs of that community. That’s what the Breakfast for Children Program is. A lot of people think it’s charity. But what does it do? It takes people from a stage to another stage. Any program that’s revolutionary is an advancing program. Revolution is change. We say that the Breakfast for Children Program is a socialistic program. It teaches the people basically that – by practice. We thought up and let them practice that theory and inspect that theory. What’s more important? And a woman said, “I don’t know if I like communism, and I don’t know if I like socialism. But I know that the Breakfast for Children Program feeds my kids. And if you put your hands on that Breakfast for Children Program…”

Fred Hampton had a great ability to connect the daily struggle for immediate needs (reforms) with the larger revolutionary goal of transforming the whole society. He was able to put in practice and help people understand that we have to fight to improve poor and working people’s lives now through struggle, but without getting stuck in reformism and forgetting the need for revolutionary change. His ability to link the struggle for reforms with the struggle for revolutionary change was one of his greatest talents. Hampton avoided the errors of reformism for its own sake on the one hand, and ‘ultra-left’ revolutionary talk without action on the other hand. Revolutionaries need to learn from Hampton’s ability to put in practice what Marxist-Leninists call the ‘mass line’ – organizing around the particular felt needs of the masses, and out of those particular struggles drawing the general lessons of the need for revolution and socialism to truly win freedom.

Cruelly Murdered for Serving the People

The murder of Fred Hampton is one of the sharpest reminders in recent history of the ruthlessness of the ruling class in the U.S. It shows the naked oppression that the U.S. government won’t hesitate to use when working and oppressed people – particularly oppressed nationalities – start to organize effectively and gain mass support for fundamental change in the interests of poor, working and oppressed people.

There were many black progressive and radical organizations in the late 1960s, and they were all seen as a threat and targeted by the ruling class – whether the pacifist Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the revolutionary nationalist Malcolm X and his Organization for Afro-American Unity or the socialist Black Panthers and their leaders such as Fred Hampton and Huey Newton.

The FBI targeted the Black Panthers nationally, as part of their campaign of harassment and disruption of the Black liberation movement as a whole. Panther offices were raided around the country, prominent leaders were framed up and jailed on bogus charges, different people and groups in the movement were purposely turned against each other by writing fake letters from one group to another and spreading false rumors. And in the case of Fred Hampton, along with Mark Clark, Bunchy Carter and some other Panther leaders, there was outright assassination to try to silence the Panthers’ revolutionary spirit.

As part of this national counterinsurgency campaign against the Panthers, the FBI encouraged and helped the Chicago police launch an all-out assault on the Panthers in Chicago. The Black Panthers leaders were physically attacked and their offices were raided multiple times, including twice in July 1969 and once in October. During these raids over 100 Panthers were arrested. As another form of harassment, in May 1969 Hampton was prosecuted on ridiculous charges of stealing $72 worth of ice cream in Maywood two years earlier, and sentenced to two to five years in jail, though he managed to obtain a bond appeal and was released in August 1969.

The government’s neutralization campaign culminated in the brutal raid on Hampton’s apartment on Dec. 4, 1969 in which he was killed in his sleep, with his pregnant wife in bed next to him. The Chicago Police Department had been given the layout of the apartment by an FBI informant who had infiltrated the Panthers. Hampton was also drugged that night with the powerful barbiturate secobarbitol by the FBI informant so that he wouldn’t wake up during the police assault.

The FBI took a particular interest in Fred Hampton. They opened a file on him in 1967 that over the next two years expanded to twelve volumes and over 4000 pages. By May of 1968, Hampton’s name was placed on the ‘Agitator Index’ and he would be designated a ‘key militant leader for Bureau reporting purposes.’ FBI head J. Edgar Hoover had put in place a policy of trying to ‘neutralize’ key Black leaders, which meant in practice the fate that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. received in 1965 and 1968 – assassination. National Black Panther leader Huey Newton was also imprisoned on trumped up murder charges and the Party had a national campaign to fight for his freedom, which they ultimately won. By tagging Hampton as a ‘key militant leader’ the FBI put Hampton in the company of those great leaders and he ultimately shared their fate at the brutal hands of the FBI and Chicago police.

Like other Black Panthers, American Indian Movement members and Puerto Rican independence fighters that were killed or jailed on trumped up charges; like socialist and anarchist leaders from earlier generations such as Sacco and Vanzetti or the Rosenbergs who were jailed and executed; and like Black liberation fighters from earlier generations like Nat Turner, Denmark Vessey and Gabriel Prosser, Fred Hampton is part of a tradition of revolutionaries in the U.S. who were cruelly cut down for trying to mobilize the masses of people to challenge the existing order and fight for liberation.

Be Like Fred Hampton – Live for the People

“To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.” – Mao Zedong

We need to remember and celebrate Fred Hampton We need to popularize his contributions toward Black liberation, proletarian revolution and socialism in the U.S. Fred Hampton’s death was felt deeply by freedom-loving people everywhere. His death was definitely ‘weightier than Mount Tai.’ His contributions were so great in such a short period of time, that like Che Guevara he is still remembered and loved almost 40 years after his death. We must continue to learn from Fred Hampton, and strive to be like Fred Hampton – to serve the people and continue the fight for Black liberation, proletarian revolution and socialism

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How was Marcus Garvey important in African history?
Marcus Garvey was important to African history in several ways He led the largest black-led political movement in world history and his movement’s “Africa for the Africans” slogan exemplified its primary mission of African politico-economic independence, black control of religious educational and cultural institutions and an audacious worldview that linked the destinies of Africa and its diasporas Of course Garvey was part of a centuries-long history of diasporic blacks that sought re-connection with, and return to the African continent For continental Africans, Garveyism became a vehicle to express popular discontent with white rule, to animate and in some cases, reinvigorate their political organizations, their trade unions, etc to create and control black-led churches and schools and to spark a prophetic liberationist Christianity that placed godly black people at the center of a divinely-ordained historical drama that would lead to African redemption It is so ironic that Garvey’s extensive travels throughout the Atlantic World did not include Africa (though it should be noted several colonial states in Africa banned him) since Garveyism became such a vital ideology that linked continental Africans with diasporic blacks as they constructed transnational racial identities in their attempts to eliminate the global color line Garveyism was also an important bridge between the post-1890 African resistance movements and nascent Pan-African movements associated with diasporic blacks like Henry Sylvester Williams and the post World War Two anti-colonial and Pan-Africanist movements exemplified by future African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Jomo Kenyatta all of whom were influenced by Garvey and Garveyism in their respective youths For historians of African history Marcus Garvey and Garveyism illustrates how African history can be fruitfully studied beyond continental borders how Africa and Africans should be more central in African Diaspora Studies and how African American and Caribbean history remained linked to African history long after the Atlantic Slave Trade

THE AFRICAN UNION: A VERITABLE PROGENY OF PAN-AFRICANISM

  • Both as a philosophy and a movement, Pan-Africanism from the
    days of William Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, George Padmore and their
    like-minded contemporaries right down to the Founding Leaders of
    the OAU continued to linger on and inspire and spur generations of
    Africans into concrete action But as any detailed recounting of the
    ancient history of the Pan-Africanist Movement would require a forum
    and space much wider than what this piece can cover, we should
    make do with a resumé that seeks to capture some of the features
    characterizing the construction and subsequent actualization of the
    African Union which to all intents and purposes is a natural progeny
    of Pan-Africanism traced back to the yesteryear’s of the first African
    awakening It was indeed against the backdrop of the burning desire to revive that
    Pan-African spirit that the idea of creating an African Union as a minimum
    requirement of total continental unity and integration resurfaced
    It was, however spearheaded this time around by the Libyan Leader
    Muammar Gaddafi and fortunately resonated well with his peers As
    it was an idea whose time had then arrived Africa’s detractors could
    do very little to stem the tide of its resurgence Therefore, despite the
    disparaging innuendoes of those Afro-pessimists and the frail misgivings
    of the doubting Thomases from within coupled with all the other
    odds, collective Africa at long last made history during its epoch-ushering
    in Summit in the Indian Ocean City of Durban on 9 July 2002 It
    was there that our leaders took the bull by the horn, thus crossing the
    politico-ideological Rubicon into the proclamation of the ultimate birth
    of the African Union on the debris of its predecessor the Organisation
    of African Unity By exhibiting that rare single feat of unity of purpose,
    direction and destiny the present crop of African leaders were able to
    bring their continent and its otherwise disparate nations much closer
    to allowing the wildest dream of Pan-African pioneers in the calibre
    of Osgeyfo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Julius Nyerere and theirilk to come to pass There can be no gainsaying that the launch of the African Union in the
    manner described herein with all the pomp and pageantry that accompanied
    the occasion was a single act that undoubtedly marked a
    spectacular, but still a defining moment in the annals of the continent’s
    incessant search for self-assertion through the pursuit of a greater solidarity
    and a higher level of integration and cooperation in all walks
    of life that cut right across the borders inherited from the erstwhile
    colonial masters. The Constitutive Act serving as the legal linchpin
    of the Union edifice, has provided the requisite organs and institutions
    capable of causing the hitherto nascent Union to morph far beyond
    a mere declaration of intent by word of mouth into a broader and
    more efficacious and all-embracing continental organization already
    standing on its feet. The Pan-African Parliament the African Court on
    Human and Peoples Rights the African Investment Bank, the African
    Monetary Fund, among other organs, were all deliberately created to
    render the new reality of a continent determined to further consolidate
    its new Union status and gains both incontrovertible and irreversible.
    The central role of the Regional Economic Communities as the building
    blocks of the Union, the Civil Society Organisations and the African
    THE AFRICAN UNION: Directorate of Conference Management and Publications (DCMP)
    Diaspora in making this mammoth goal achievable was not lost either
    on the leadership of the Union That done the leadership of AU Commission in tandem with the duly accredited representatives of Member States acting within the framework of the equally nascent policy organs, got down to the business
    of actual Union building and operationalization as well as institutional
    transformation viewed as a sine qua non for the visible functionality
    of this replacement umbrella institution. This therefore explains why
    these institutions had to be further buttressed and harmonized for the
    effective discharge of their exacting mandate predicated on the mission
    and vision of the Union This way the Union was able to take off swiftly and efficiently, albeit traversing the bumpy road of getting to the stage it is today, where
    it can conveniently be said to have come of age in terms of defining
    Africa’s politico-economic integration, cooperation and development
    agenda at both regional and continental planes All that now remains
    to be pursued rigorously is the accelerated and effective implementation
    of this agenda which is well-articulated in the successive strategic
    plans of the Union That the challenge ahead is daunting even for a continent so determined is an understatement Africa must, therefore, mobilise its full
    potentials and marshal the formidable human and material resources
    it is endowed with, to rise to that challenge with a view to enabling the
    Union to forge ahead with the implementation of its huge mandate,
    particularly in the all-important twin areas of trans- border infrastructural
    development and Intra-Africa Trade promotion, thereby reducing
    in an exponential fashion the continent’s excessive reliance on external
    hand-outs for its own development. Parallel to that, is the need
    for the continent to make its dependency on external funding of its
    programmes both at the level of the African Union Commission and
    individual Member States, as it seems to be the case now a thing of
    the remote past, if the continent were to make it to the promised land
    of the much-talked about self-reliance whilst maintaining genuine partnership
    with the outside world One surest way of doing so is having a paradigm shift in its existing partnerships with other nations and institutions, whereby there can be
    a more balanced and mutually beneficial arrangement instead of the
    continent remaining on the receiving end in these partnerships Africa
    as we all can bear witness, can, with all the potential and resources it is
    thankfully blessed with, still offer other regions of the world a lot in this
    respect. But as the first point of departure the continent must place
    greater premium on South-South cooperation with particular emphasis
    on its partnerships with India, China, South Korea, Turkey, the South
    American States etc Certainly both Africa and these natural partners
    stand to gain far greater long-term dividends from such balanced partnerships

 

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 Not all resistance during the early years of European colonial rule took the form of pragmatic violence Most was more subtle and directed toward local issues of political and economic autonomy Particularly in British territories Africans commonly used local movements to resist European colonial policies or practices by the colonial administrations African proxies The 1929 Aba Women’s Revolt or Igbo Women’s War in southeastern Nigeria reflects this trend What is unique about the movement that produced the revolt is that its leadership was composed entirely of rural women It is also unique because it was the only mass protest to take place in Nigeria prior to the years leading to independence in 1960 There was a history of economic and social autonomy among Igbo women and they were well organized through communal associations. In 1929 Igbo women felt that their autonomy was threatened by an impending tax imposed by the local colonial administration. Rumors of this tax spread after the district administrations census of men, their wives, and cattle Within days of the census’s completion, up to ten thousand women reportedly confronted the Warrant Chief Okugo who had overseen the census on behalf of the district administration, and demanded that he resign The protests spread throughout the region and resulted in the death of fifty-five women The Aba Women’s Revolt was an effort on the part of Igbo women to protect their economic and political interests. It was not a movement against European colonial rule; rather, it aimed at particular policies that the women perceived to originate with the British-imposed warrant chiefs
 

 

Black women’s organizations and website protest and demand public apology for display of black boy mannequin with shackles on its feet in supermarket

Black Women of Brazil

BW of Brazil: Who comes up with this stuff? Sometimes one really has to wonder if these types of things are oversights, carelessness, lack of respect or simply blatant not giving a….Let’s just say, totally not caring. I mean, how else can one explain the continuous disrespect of the black community in negative depictions or references to black women, the sexuality of black women, and Afro textured hair (here and here)? In reality, in a country where the lives of black youth are so disregarded, it should come as no surprise that someone didn’t see a problem depicting a black boy wearing shackles on his feet in a country with a 350 year history of black slavery. Well, Brazil does it again!

Pão de Açúcar Supermarket Sugarloaf causes outrage after installing a black mannequin with chained feet

A statue of a black mannequin with…

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ANALYSIS OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

Landscape is the artistic architecture of natural scenery Politics is a natural phenomenon which has observable structure and form It is the duty of every citizen to study and observe complex composition of political elements and their combinations in society In modern times, elements of political landscape operate within a political party or organization in a given space A political party or organization is an interest based institution The combination of abstract parts in political party defines its character and behaviour The behaviour of a political party or organization is not accidental The manner of conduct flows from the ideological and political designs of the political institution The fundamental political factors are philosophy, ideology, governance doctrine, strategy and tactics The dynamic interaction between these five characteristics determines party ability to acquire and maintain power Party governance doctrine strategy and tactic determine cohesion and performance whereas the clarity in philosophy and ideology crystallize party policies and programmes Philosophy is a theoretical basis of understanding knowledge, ethics and existence It is personal belief on how to approach situation. It is spectacle through which a world is viewable All parties have attitude which is informed by its interest group Ideology is a form of political orientation that explains problems in society and their solutions It is a set of organised guiding principles The science of ideas that characterises the thinking of group informed by its interests The attitude and orientation determine party policy The ideological contradiction split the same constituency or class in different parties and the Governance doctrine defines how a party or an organization regulates and administers its affairs Strategy and tactic have to do with external operations of the organization The strategy and tactic are informed by philosophy, ideology and governance doctrine Policies and programmes are a product of party the ideological outlook Those who analyzise the political landscape through policy or program will fall in deceptive traps of parties,  Party change their policies and program as the environment dictates but do not change three fundamental characteristics namely philosophy, ideology and governance doctrine Politics is not a matter of entertainment but a matter of class or group interest It is a war for hegemony of state power and authority People should not join participate or vote for a political party without fully understanding their party’s interest informed by philosophy, ideology and governance doctrine

In any elections in Africa Voters should be taught to vote along ideological lines and not along ethnic and racial lines or according to personalities Ruling parties should not control funding and electoral commissions Political party funding and campaign spending should be regulated by legislation
African countries must develop legitimate and independent governance institutions The abuse of state power for personal gain or for the benefit of the ruling parties must be stopped Colonial constitutions must be done away with and be replaced by constitutions in which citizens have had input by Leadership in Africa