Saturday, February 15, 2014

Out In The Black Liberation Night- The Black Panthers And The Struggle For The Ten-Point Program-The Complete Stories


One-A Room Of One’s Own

Big Joe Barker (the Big Joe, rather than just Joe earned from many labor battles along the docks, along the waterfront, going back to the big one, the Frisco big one in ’34) sat in that Merritt College (Oakland, out in California, if you didn’t know its locale) classroom, a room like many another he had sat in over the years, chalky blackboard, wooden chairs and all, wondering what Bobby Seale, the Chairman of this new Black Panther Party that had gotten all the notoriety earlier in the year flashing rifle barrel up shot guns over in the state capitol, Sacramento, and had the all the power puff white boys all freaked out, freaked out big time, was going to say about the black nation, about how he, and his black brethren were going to finally inherit the earth, finally have a place to call home without ever eye-balling whitey hanging his fat white ass all over the place.

Funny, Big Joe thought, as he waited for the room to fill a little and the program to begin, how what goes around comes around. He remembered way back in the early 1930s when he first heard of the Communist Party when they had come around the Embarcadero, around Third Street over in Frisco and were helping him and a couple of the brothers out trying to stop people from being evicted on his block at the height of the Depression that one of their comrades had mentioned, mentioned in passing, wouldn’t it be great if black people had their own nation. That idea, that simple seeming idea, had drawn his interest since he had been (and his daddy too, his daddy like Malcolm’s never getting over that first thrill of black-ness, black righteousness) a fervent supporter of Marcus Garvey and his black- nationalist movement back in the early 1920s. So at that time he was all ears when that guy had mentioned something about Harry Haywood and his work on the black nation question, the question of the right of national self-determination, for their organization.

And so, like this evening, he had gone to a meeting, a meeting like this one, chalkboard and wooden chairs included, over at Berkeley, when Harry Haywood had come to town on a speaking tour touting Communist Party work, work on the Negro question as it was then posed. Now this Harry Haywood was beautiful, smooth as silk, seemed like a “talented tenth” guy (although not having read W.E.B. Dubois then he would not have used that term), a good speaker, and fashioned himself out as the “black Bolshevik,” but some of the stuff he had to say was just pure air.

See, he, or someone, had gone to a lot of trouble, to show on a map just exactly how the right to self-determination (that’s the way they liked to present the idea, present it in democratic terms) would look if a black nation was created, created in the south of the United States where most black people lived then. He had laughed, laughed to himself that the damn thing looked like a checker board. Moreover, he (and his daddy) had hightailed it out of the south, the damn Mister James Crow south in the late 1920s to get the hell away from that crap. If that was the black nation they wanted him to fight for then no deal, no sale. So while he worked with the Communists in that '34 Frisco strike, and a few things afterward, sometimes very closely, he always kept a certain distance even though he had never given up on that idea of a black nation, or black something.

So he wondered, wondered what this Bobby Seale was going to say, say about what this right of self-determination was going to look like. He swore if they brought that old time Haywood map, or something like it, out he would walk right out. If Seale said let’s take California as our space then he would give a serious listen. Still, he had learned a few things since those old days, that the black man’s fate, his fate (or, more importantly his grandchildren's) for better or worse, and he hoped not for the worst like always, was trying to break down the goddam barriers in the whole country, trying to jail-break out of the whole thing. Still he liked the idea of a black nation, a room one could call one’s own…


Ten Point Program[edit]

The original "Ten Point Program" from October, 1966 was as follows:[43][44]
1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our black Community.
We believe that black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.
2. We want full employment for our people.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the white American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
3. We want an end to the robbery by the white man of our black Community.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules was promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of black people. We will accept the payment as currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over 50 million black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.
4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
We believe that if the white landlords will not give decent housing to our black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
6. We want all black men to be exempt from military service.
We believe that black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like black people, are being victimized by the white racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
7. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of black people.
We believe we can end police brutality in our black community by organizing black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all black people should arm themselves for self defense.
8. We want freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
We believe that all black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that black people will receive fair trials. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the black community from which the black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of the "average reasoning man" of the black community.
10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. And as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate for the purpose of determining the will of black people as to their national destiny.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

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