“As late as February 1968, the Black Panther Party was still a small local organization. But … by December, the Party had opened offices in TWENTY CITIES … , and by 1970, the Party had opened offices in SIXTY-EIGHT CITIES from Winston-Salem to Omaha and Seattle.”
(“Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party,” 2013; emphasis mine)
The Black Panther Party grew very quickly, and there is a reason for that. It is not enough to say they were acting in a revolutionary moment–that doesn’t explain why they among so many other groups were the ones who succeeded.
The reason *they in particular* grew so quickly is that their guiding theory was correct, and they were bold enough to implement it. Everyone who wants to duplicate their success should be clear:
The Black Panther Party’s guiding theory was Marxism-Leninism, especially ML as applied and advanced in the Chinese Revolution.
There are many things to criticize the Panthers for, among them their inconsistent gender practice. But probably their greatest error was twofold:
One half of the party abandoned their revolutionary politics and became nothing more than a nonprofit. This wing became “poverty pimps”–careerists making money treating the symptom instead of slowly and carefully building an armed people’s revolution to pull out the root: capitalism itself.
The other half of the party abandoned their masses-oriented perspective, and went into direct conflict with the u.s. government as themselves. The u.s. government IS the enemy of all freedom-loving people and must be destroyed, but it cannot be destroyed by anything less than a people’s army–an army that is made up of, harbored by, and beloved to the masses. It was the Vietnamese people’s army that defeated the u.s., the greatest military power on earth. Nothing but a people’s army will do it.
To succeed in destroying capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy, a party must do both: it must serve the people ever-attentively to recruit from and build mass support among them, while always acting in sight of the ultimate goal: armed revolution to smash the capitalist government and bring about a government of the working and oppressed people.
Today Marxism-Leninism has been advanced by a few decades more of global struggle, and its most advanced form is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Anyone who wants to honor the Panthers, and to recreate their success, should study and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism: anticapitalismfaq.com/misc/MLM_Basic_Course/
If you’ve ever listened to Fred Hampton, who was one of the BPP’s greatest theorists, it’s hard to imagine he would say anything different: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffmg6i0lv_k
#FredHamptonTaughtMe #AssataTaughtMe #HueyTaughtMe