Tag Archives: Black Panther Party

Why We Call Them Pigs: Huey P. Newton Explains the Black Panther Party’s Use of the Term Pig

I have always considered it extremely important to understand each and every aspect of the Black Power Era. Anyone who has studied this era will tell you that the language used by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was not only used to convey a message but also intended for that message to be delivered with laser-like precision. Considering the Panther Party’s never-ending conflict with law enforcement agencies at the Federal, State, and local levels it is not surprising that Huey P. Newton’s cadre would have their unique way of referring to law enforcement personnel that was often behaving lawlessly.

While researching my book, Creating Revolution as they Advance, I came across the following explanation and justification for the use of the term “Pigs” by Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton.

We thought up new terms for them. At first I figured that the reverse of god – dog – would be a good epithet, but it did not catch on. We tried beast, brute, and animal, but none of them captured the essential quality we were trying to convey…Eldridge showed us a postcard from Beverly Axelrod. On the front was the slogan “Support Your Local Police”; there was a sheriff’s star above the phrase, and in the center of the star a grinning, slobbering pig. It was just what we were looking for. We began to show policemen as pigs in our cartoons, and from time to time used the word. “Pig” caught on; it entered the language…

“Pig” was perfect for several reasons. First of all, words like “swine,” “hog,” “sow,” and “pig” have always had unpleasant connotations…”Pig” has another point in its favor: in racial terms “pig” is a neutral word. Many white youths on college campuses began to understand what the police were really like when their heads were broken open during demonstrations against the draft and the Vietnam War. This broadened the use of the term and served to unify the victims against their oppressors. Even though white youths were not victimized in the same way or to the same extent that we were, they nonetheless became our allies against the police. In this case the ruling circle was not able to set the victims against each other, as the racists in the South had done by setting poor whites against Blacks.

Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide

And You Call Yourself a Panther?: The Hate-Filled Dead-End Road that Cultural Nationalist Routinely Travel

It is amazing that the same problems afflicting the African-American protest community 50 years ago remain prevalent to the present day. I am confident that most people think that I am referring to the dogged refusal of America’s leading cancers — prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and racism — to excuse themselves from “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
If those are your thoughts, you are going to be disappointed to learn that I am not alluding to the pernicious evils mentioned above as I am attempting to address an ever-present danger found within the black activist community. The evil I speak of is the continuing tendency of Cultural Nationalists to haphazardly denigrate and mischaracterize all whites as a monolithic population whose sole political priority is to retard African-American politico-economic progress.

I am honest by relating that I have yet to find the words to express my frustrations with the manner that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s legacy of racial progressivism has been co-opted and revamped to fit the needs of contemporary “activists.” Unfortunately, the activists mentioned above are absent a political platform capable of addressing the pernicious evils affecting the black community. The alluded to individuals believe that an integral part of revolutionary politics is not political mobilization or economic solidarity, rather they seek to advance their understanding of the black agenda via “hate-speech.”

Make no mistake about it, the re-surfacing of imagery intentionally designed to stir up memories of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPPSD) by individuals lacking even a superficial understanding of either the Panthers political platforms or historical experiences has needlessly marred the Panther legacy for counter-revolutionary self-serving purposes. The legacy left by Huey, Bobby, Eldridge, Kathleen, Lil’ Bobby, Bunchy, Fred, Geronimo, Elaine, and those who made up the Panther cadre deserve so much more than what contemporary manifestations of the Panther Party are providing.

What makes the denigration of the Panther image so painful is that if those behind the many attempts to resurrect the Panthers had taken a moment to study BPPSD ideology, they would have quickly discerned that Huey P. Newton opposed any effort to characterize other activist communities, including the white community, as being monolithic. Those who have studied Huey realize that he was not only a genius but also used that mental acumen to in a wise and judicious manner. Consider for a moment, that the Panthers, at the behest of Eldridge “Papa Rage” Cleaver, forged an alliance with the Peace and Freedom Party, a group of white radicals, because it served the interests of the Party at that particular moment. The Panthers are a great example of the utility of alliances and coalitions with like-minded groups, regardless of their race/ethnicity. Those who disagree with the above assertion know little about both the Panther legacy and the black struggle for racial equality.

Unfortunately, phrase-mongering rabble-rousing Cultural Nationalists who are quick to speak, yet slow to study, are not only comfortable spewing vitriolic hatred, but also often encouraged to do such by adoring audiences. Little do they know, that such a backward political stance stunts their political power as it alienates all around them regardless of race, class, or gender.

I have dealt with Cultural Nationalists long enough to know that they will both ignore and deny an easily accessible historical record that proves that inter-racial alliances were a hallmark of the BPPSD. It is for this population that does not mind existing under a yoke that is equal parts illogical and shockingly uninformed that I include the following quote by BPPSD co-founder Huey P. Newton.
According to Newton, the African-American activist community “…must also be able to realize that there are white people, brown people, red people, yellow people in this world who are totally dedicated to the destruction of this system of oppression, and we welcome that. We will always be open to working with that.

I am quite confident that luminaries of the African-American freedom struggle such as Newton, Hampton, Baldwin, Du Bois, and King are rolling over in their graves at the ascension of a black political platform that rests upon nothing more than divisive hate-filled rhetoric. Put simply; such rhetoric not only fails to represent black leaders who came before us, but also guarantees that none of the previous mutually beneficial alliances that aided our community in its pursuit of liberation are possible today. Contemporary so-called black leaders have efficiently placed themselves in a box of irrelevancy that they cannot escape.
Despite the euphoria that many of these new activists feel after hearing a profanity-laced rant against some yet to be identified “white man,” the truth of the matter is that such rhetoric serves as a highly imperfect substitute for a well-thought out political agenda. Not to mention that such hate-speech has yet to move the struggle forward one iota. Trust me when I say that it never has and it never will.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

Why the Revolutionary is a Doomed Man Win or Lose According to Huey P. Newton

Rarely does a day go by that I am not made aware of some self-promoting “Black Revolutionary.” If only I had a dollar for every “Revolutionary Black Man” that I encountered, I would be a very wealthy man. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these individuals have little understanding of the steep cost one must make to carry the revolutionary mantle.

I rarely encounter people who understand even the first lesson of being a revolutionary. If they were in possession of such knowledge, I am confident that they would choose a different life path.

According to Black Panther Party for Self-Defense co-founder Huey P. Newton, a figure that so many of today’s so-called revolutionary-minded individuals admire, “The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man.” Let me repeat this prophetic statement by a brother who most certainly possessed the revolutionary spirit, “The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man.

Although I would love to disagree with Newton’s position on this matter, to do such would make me illogical and a liar. If one understands the role of a revolutionary among an oppressed people, there is simply no way of avoiding the harsh reality that Huey is communicating.
A revolutionary is a doomed man for the following inescapable reasons. If he fails at his attempt to overthrow the oppressive regime oppressing his people, he will meet a quick demise at the hands of the oppressor. If he can successfully lead a revolutionary struggle, he is therefore of no additional utility to those who have been able to escape the yoke of oppression. Put simply; win or lose, a revolutionary is a doomed man.

It is this primary lesson of revolutionary struggle that so many of today’s vain, self-centered, and boastful revolutionaries fail to consider. The alluded to failure is predictable for a so-called revolutionary class that spends more time talking, making Facebook posts, and Youtube videos than conducting substantive research regarding the catalyst behind and perpetuation of real politico-economic problems affecting those that they publicly proclaim to represent. Put simply, today’s “Black Revolutionary” class is continuing one of their grandest traditions of “talking loud and saying nothing.” Such inactivity is far from revolutionary and one of the primary reasons that our community continues to be disorganized politically, economic inefficient, and clueless regarding even a proper academic or cultural diet.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017

Dr. James Thomas Jones III is the author of Creating Revolution as they Advance: A Narrative History of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. (Available at Amazon and Other Fine Bookstores.)

Yet Another “Nigga Moment”: How An Invitation to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s 50th Anniversary Turned Horribly Awry

A nigga moment is when ignorance overwhelms the mind of an average male. To put it plainly, they act like niggas…one of the common misconceptions is that it can be avoided by avoiding every nigga. But niggas are crafty, they will find you. They are always around the corner.

(HUEY FREEMAN)

October 15th was the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. It should have been an exhilarating time for me as I have spent the better portion of my life researching, studying, and writing about the Vanguard organization of not only the 1960s Black Power Era, but also the general American protest scene.

In many ways, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was the most significant hope for this nation to deal with its foremost, KCLeaverseemingly intractable maladies such as: racism, police brutality, inter-racial conflict/discord, and a predatory Capitalism that demanded that all Americans view one another as potential prey. Put simply, the genius of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale’s organization was that it provided hope to a suffering Black community and injected hope for a nation that had turned in on itself.

I planned to be in Oakland, California, participating in the official 50th Anniversary Celebration and why shouldn’t I? I had finally released my book, Creating Revolution as they Advance: A Narrative History of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and considered it an honor to have been invited to speak at the event; however, I soon learned that due to circumstances beyond my control, I would not be in Oakland. The word disappointed does not begin to describe how I felt.

Although I believe that everything happens for a reason, this injustice of not being present for the 50th Anniversary, and yes I do consider it an injustice, was beyond my comprehension. Optimistic friends rationalized that God must have something else for you to do for ‘the movement’ at this moment.

Such reasoning seemed to actually be sound after I received an invite from a local group that was seeking to celebrate the Panthers 50th Anniversary at a local park in Houston, Texas. With my trip to Oakland shot to bits, I decided to join the celebration; I rationalized that although it is not the official celebration, maybe I can still do some good by working to uplift a few minds locally.

Let me say that the organizers for this venue and the roster of speakers, the vast majority of whom were members of Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s ‘New Black Panther Party’, were an impressive group of orators who simultaneously inspired and provided much needed information for those who ventured to the park on this 90 degree day. I was provided the honor of being scheduled as the event’s final speaker.

As the event reached its apex, meaning during my address, a group of African-American men of various ages entered the basketball bpp8court area where the celebration was occurring, after a few moments of listening, they began dribbling basketballs in unison. This intentional attempt at disrupting the program was not only noticed, but also addressed by those assembled for the celebration.

Recognizing that their petty attempt at disrupting the program was failing, these fools raised their antics to another level by launching basketballs that invariably clanged off of the rim and made an unbelievably loud sound. As one could expect, the request from those who were assembled for the event for the disruptors to wait until our event was concluded prior to dribbling and shooting baskets, was met with a crescendo of ignorance.

Man, fuck that Black Power bullshit. You niggas ain’t talking about shit.

Another chimed in with, “Uplifting the community? What that even mean? I’m here to play some ball. We play everyday at 4:00.

As if things could not get any worse, an individual who was present bpp6for the Panther celebration grabbed an errant basketball and threw it into the parking lot, causing one particular loudmouth rabble-rouser to state,

Nigga is you fucking crazy? If you don’t go over there and get that ball, the revolution is going to start with me shooting a couple of you revolutionary ass niggas.

As I am certain that you can imagine, things spiraled further out of control when both groups began yelling at one another regarding the others presence.

One particular ‘brother’ related,

You niggas don’t understand, I don’t give a fuck about no Black shit, so y’all had better watuzi your Black Power asses up out of here or its about to be on right here, right now.

Before long, the Panther celebration disassembled and these fools bpp1began playing basketball. As I drove away from the venue, I could not help but think about what it all meant.

What does it mean when a segment of ‘our people’ see no value in honoring their own?

What does it mean when a segment of ‘our people’ see no value in Black life?

Does it mean that they are actually not ‘our people’?

One thing is for certain, I hate that I didn’t make it to Oakland, because I never imagined that I would experience a ‘nigga moment’ at any celebration surrounding the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

I pray that Huey, Lil’ Bobby, Eldridge, Chairman Fred, and Mark Clark are resting in peace, because the antics of these nigga’s proves that they were not worth dying for.

Black Power!!!!!!!!!!

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016