Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Out In The Black Liberation Night- The Black Panthers And The Struggle For The Ten-Point Program- Nine –To Be Judged By One’s Own    

No question, no question at all that Robertson Edgars, twenty-two,  all sable warrior tough, six-two, two hundred and forty pounds, who had played some ball in high school, a rumbling, tumbling, stumbling break back fullback, the worst kind,  who devoured opposing linemen, was every white man’s nightmare, every white man’s nightmare dream that if he, Robertson Edgars, came into that white man’s range, say his neighborhood at dusk or dawn, never mind into his curtilage anytime, that he would sweat, sweat like hell, about what to do with the bastard, especially if the wife and kids were there to see him sweat, sweat death fear sweat. And no question either that every white woman, every white women, mothering woman, feared, feared that black night fear when she came within fifty feet of a monster like the brother. (Well, maybe not everyone since Brother Edgars had had a bed full of white chicks, white chicks who status conscious in high school craved amazing break-back fullbacks and others later craved that ersatz black man experience when the times dictated that as a rite of passage experience among certain white educated women, and a few not so well educated too, although nothing steady, that was strictly black stuff, strictly, some educated, some not)

So Robertson’s lawyer, his mother downtown red brick textile sweat shop crimp and save bought lawyer, Jim Everett,  was surprised (and in fact had tried like hell to argue him out of the decision, tried to explain one more time the what and why of the white man’s justice system that even he, an honored white man, knew, knew not just in his bones but through his pile of black convictions and the many years prison time was stacked again him) when he had told him that he preferred to have his case, his burglary case tried before a jury rather than a judge (the judge in this case, Judge Abbott, notorious in the Court of Common Pleas, for his quick dispatch of young men into the Texas prison system night with heavy terms, and fines too).              

And here was the rub. In Macomb County even though blacks outnumbered whites about three to two the jury pool would probably wind up being majority white. Robertson’s argument that a few black mothers empaneled might take pity on him since he actually was innocent and had an alibi (a black alibi but an alibi nevertheless) and although he had some priors (a couple of drug busts, a couple of DUIs, kids’ stuff really) he thought he could survive that information if the situation came to that since those mothers would perhaps have had their own crimp and save son in trouble woes, or knew of such doings) time came for that. His back-up was that maybe some black father (although not Robertson’s, his father had died in some stinking jungle hellhole in Vietnam in 1971) worried about his own son might see where Robertson had been framed, framed like a million other black kids. Jim thought he was foolish to believe that might happen but he kept it to himself once Robertson made it plain he was adamant on the question.        

On the day set for trial Judge Abbott, according to Jim Everett, seemed to be in a particularly bad mood. He was known to be ill-tempered even on his good days and was deliberately rude to Jim when he requested dismissal of the charges for lack of evidence, some standard Jim argued not met by the prosecution, and he ruled that motion down in about two seconds with no arguments heard. This action by the judge only confirmed in Robertson’s mind the wisdom of his choice. Shortly thereafter the jury selection proceeded and from the start things went badly when a young white woman was dismissed for some cause and then a young black woman who looked like she was making eyes at Robertson (neither of those two women would be picked, or have survived challenge, under any circumstances, black or white, being young was a bar to selection, an unwritten law). By noontime the jury had been selected and Robertson almost, as big as he was, cried. Not only in three to two black Macomb County was the jury all- white it was ten men and two women. And the two women might as well have been men because they looked and acted like they were prison guards at the women’s prison or some such thing. Robertson reached back as he was walking outside for a cigarette before the start of the trial itself that afternoon and said out loud to himself Paul (his black brother alibi) better come through, he had better come through…               

The original "Ten Point Program" from October, 1966 was as follows:[39][40]


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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