coard

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) had such a powerful agenda in pursuit of a pro-Black, class-conscious, and community protection policy that fascist FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described the BPP as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country …” because its revolutionary activities — especially the children’s free breakfast program — were “potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities ... to neutralize ... and destroy ... it.”

As bad as the FBI’s words were, its actions were even worse. As made clear in the 1976 report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence Activities, “In August … 1967, the FBI initiated COINTELPRO [i.e., the counterintelligence program that operated from 1956-1971] to disrupt and ‘neutralize’ … [certain] organizations.” By July 1969, indicated the report, “the BPP had become the primary focus of the program and was ultimately the target of 233 of the total authorized ... COINTELPRO actions … [targeting pro-Black groups].”

Why was the BPP such a threat to American law enforcement and to racist and classist oppression? It’s because of the BPP’s laudable demands as set forth in its “Ten Point Platform” initially drafted by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland when the BPP was envisioned on Oct. 15, 1966. Shortly afterward, Newton and Seale joined with Reggie Forte, Sherman Forte, Elbert “Big Man” Howard and “Lil” Bobby Hutton as the founders of this impressive and much-needed revolutionary organization.

Nearly five-and-a-half years later, on March 29, 1972, the BPP created an updated version of its Ten Point Platform.

Forty-one years after that, on July 13, 2013, the impressive and much-needed Black Lives Matter (BLM 2) was founded by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi to “create a world free of anti-Blackness where every Black person has the social, economic and political power to thrive.”

By the way, before there was a BLM 2, there was a BLM 1, which is the Black “Liberation Movement.” This movement began on Aug. 25, 1619 in America (technically in a British colony that would later become part of the United States) when whites formally initiated the “slave” trade beginning with 20-30 Kimbundu-speaking Angolan men, women, and children who had been kidnapped from the village of Ndongo in Luanda and sold, leased, and/or traded to perform brutal labor at Virginia Colony plantations and when — in response to that enslavement — many of those 20-30 Southwest Africans immediately began resisting by being recalcitrant.

That BLM 1 continued in (and actually occurred many times before) 1663 during the Gloucester County, Va. “Servants’ Plot,” 1687 during the Westmoreland County, Va. “Slave Plot,” 1712 during the “New York Slave Revolt,” 1739 during the Berkely County, S.C. “Stono Rebellion,” 1741 during the New York City “Slave Insurrection,” 1791 during the Pointe Coupee Parish, La. “Mina Conspiracy,” 1800 during the Richmond, Va. “Gabriel Prosser Rebellion,” 1803 during the St. Simons Island, Ga. “Igbo Landing,” 1811 during the LaPlace, La. “Charles Deslondes German Coast Uprising,” 1822 during the Charleston, S.C. “Denmark Vesey Rebellion,” 1831 during the Southampton County, Va. “Nat Turner Rebellion,” 1837 during the New York City “Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women,” 1859 during the Harpers Ferry, Va., “John Brown Raid,” and during many other known and unknown acts of resistance in the BLM 1.

This BLM 1 continued with the founding of the NAACP in 1909, UNIA in 1914, CORE in 1942, SNCC in 1960, the Black Liberation Army in 1960, the Revolutionary Action Movement in 1962, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, and many other pro-Black, anti-racist social change organizations.

BLM 2 is the strong pro-Black, anti-racist social change tree created from the BLM 1 strong pro-Black, anti-racist social change root. Therefore BLM 2 should be offered some strong pro-Black, anti-racist suggestions for the drafting of a specific BLM 2 agenda regarding specific BLM 2 policies and goals.

Accordingly, instead of starting from scratch, let’s apply and update what our ancestors and elders already wisely passed on to us — in particular, the aforementioned BPP Ten Point Platform:

1. “We want freedom ... [to determine] the destiny of our Black... communities ... by fully controlling all the institutions ... in our communities.”

2. “We want full employment [with living wages] for our people.”

3. “We want an end to ... [economic exploitation] of our Black ... communities.” We want a start to the long overdue payment of reparations in the form of a vast area of fertile and valuable land somewhere in the United States where we can re-create Tulsa, Oklahoma’s 1906-1921 “Black Wall Street” that was firebombed and completely destroyed by racist lynch mobs who slaughtered more than 400 Black residents. We want this on a statewide level with our own banks, schools, colleges, laboratories, factories, warehouses, farms, supermarkets, department stores, hospitals, etc., similar to what existed in the aforementioned obliterated “Black Wall Street.” In addition, we want reparations in the form of, for example, state and federal tax waivers, enhanced affirmative action (to equitably and necessarily counter centuries of whites-only policies, practices and laws), free education across the country, cultural museums and libraries in every state, small business start-ups funding, enhanced affirmative action, and free mental health therapy for what Dr. Joyce DeGruy diagnosed as “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome.”

4. “We want decent [and affordable] housing.”

5. “We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society ... [and] that teaches us our true history and our role in present-day society.” This can be done by having Dr. Edward Robinson’s African-centered educational project pervasively infused into school districts’ official curricula.

6. “We want completely free [quality] health care for all Black ... people.” The racially disproportionate adverse effect that deadly and otherwise incapacitating COVID-19 is having on Black people is undeniable proof of the urgent and long-overdue need for equitable quality universal health care coverage.

7. “We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people.” We want an end to illegal stop and frisk. We want an end to qualified immunity. We want police to be required to have professional liability insurance that would make it mandatory for them to personally pay higher premiums each time they brutalize or murder an innocent civilian and that would automatically lead to them being dropped by their carrier (and thereby fired from their job) following repeated insurance company pay-outs to victims or victims’ families. We want to defund the police, which means we want to defang the police of their wastefully bloated budgets along with their World War III-type military weapons of mass destruction and redirect those limited funds to conflict resolution services, drug rehabilitation services, job training services, mental health services, and other community-based services.

We want an end to police arbitration contracts that literally grant cops a license to brutalize and murder unarmed civilians with impunity and paid vacations.

We want to be allowed to freely exercise our lawful self-defense rights in conjunction with the free exercise of our Second Amendment rights as safely taught by the National African American Gun Association at naaga.co or the Socialist Rifle Association at socialistra.org.

We want an end to the kind of racist political hypocrisy that occurred on May 2, 1967, when 30 legally armed BPP members and supporters peacefully marched to the California State Capitol in Sacramento where Bobby Seale read a prepared statement opposing the Mulford Act, which was a legislative initiative that was later signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan. That law, for the first time ever, criminalized the peaceful carrying of loaded firearms in public — and did so only because Blacks had finally decided to assertively exercise their Second Amendment right and their self-defense right just like whites had always done.

8. “We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression” including, for example, to plunder other nations’ oil and other resources and/or to undermine other nations’ democratically-elected socialist political systems.

9. “We want freedom for all Black ... people ... [unjustly] held in... [American] prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of [our actual] peers.”

10. “We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice ... [basic human rights and services], and people’s community control of modern technology.” We want an end to toxic white male patriarchy as well as to creeping and sprinting American fascism.

These proposed 10 points are just that — proposed. They’re not etched in stone. Instead, they’re merely designed to spark a much-needed revolutionary discussion about crafting a specific BLM 2 agenda for the creation of specific BLM 2 policies that will lead to specific equitable pro-Black, anti-racist local, state and federal legislation.

Remember that “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. They are not necessarily intended to reflect the views of the Philadelphia Tribune.

Michael Coard, Esquire can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. His “Radio Courtroom” show can be heard on WURD96.1-FM and his “TV Courtroom” show can be seen on PhillyCam/Verizon/Comcast.

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