Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Conscious Words in Early January 2015

When I was a kid coming up in one of the housing projects in East Baltimore, the Panthers began organizing around the corner from where I lived. And my mother became very pro-Panther, especially after the assassination of Dr. King. Within a year the Panthers in the hood had established a breakfast program for the kids, education in the form of literacy classes, English, Math and Political History (often taught by revolutionary AA university students in, or close to, the BPP). They set up patrols which eased the pressure of police violence (though it drew repressive police attention upon themselves). The patrols also put pressure on some of the unsavory elements in the community: pimps, drug dealers, racketeers of all kinds. Within a year the drug traffic nearly dried up from my neighborhood. Even Saturday night brawls declined as did fights between school boys and catfights between young sisters. I recall hearing two armed Panther brothers and an armed Panther sister reading the riot act on one of the dope dealers and pimps."We got these guns with the pigs in mind, to protect our community from these fascist pigs. But we will defend our community from anyone who harms us. Now we have the children's breakfast program here, and the school, and we're working on a clinic. And we can't have you peddling dope and pimping sisters around our community's children. We welcome to abandon that raggedy sh___ you doing and join the struggle. Otherwise, you need to move on. Either move on or we move you. And if we have to move on yo a___ the WHOLE COMMUNITY will back us up, and you know." The Panther punked out the pimps, and the bad___ dealers. We youngsters could hardly believe it, but it happened. And these dregs of the community were gone, and didn't return until well after the Panthers were gone. A couple of petty dealers, by the way, actually gave up that nefarious trade and became activists. Now imagine if the Panthers has somehow survived COINTELPRO, maintained their revolutionary character, and pioneered more fundamental revolutionary changes in the consciousness and activity or our community. We'd be in a much different (I believe BETTER) place today.



 O.K. Problems with the computer. Now let's try this again. Perhaps the one (or at least main) problem I have with your suggestion is that it seems to make the same mistake made by Nikki. It seems to suggest that the problem is basically good cops vs bad cops. Of course, that's a relevant issue. But the real problem is the police as an INSTITUTION. Just as racism is not simply a matter of good and bad white people, but of institutionalized racial inequality and oppression, the problem with police is that they were designed from the beginning in the 19 th centuries as arms of enforcement of the Establishment, or the "power structure" as they used to say in the 1960s. That power structure is a complex system of race and class privilege, which requires repression of the underprivileged and subordinate races and classes. Merely increasing the number of Black cops while leaving the system as it is will mean that the same oppression will exist with a Black face (or multicolored face) rather than a white one. Black policemen are themselves sometimes involved in the violent repression of their own people. A Black cop infiltrated the Black Panther office in Chicago and set up Fred Hampton to be murdered in his sleep. Black police agents (sometimes with FBI affiliations) infiltrated Malcolm's ORGANIZATION OF AFRO-AMERICN UNITY, and one of them (Gene Roberts) later infiltrated the NYC chapter of the BPP. Black as well as white policeman are often involved in the drug trade in the ghettoes. I grew up in the black ghettoes of East Baltimore. I've SEEN how they work. So, some of the worst criminals on the street ARE cops. My dad who used to supplement his meagre income with involvement in the numbers business could (before he died) tell you a long story about police corruption, incompetence and brutality. No, we must bring the cops under control or dissolve the police institution altogether. And no, it is not the white man's job to police our community. Our job is to achieve the maximum of self-determination for our community in a liberated society where freedom and dignity will be the birthright of every man, woman and child. "We want freedom. We want the power to determine the destiny of our Black communities."



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