Fifty Years Later, Black Panthers’ Art Still Resonates

The Black Panther Party was founded 50 years ago in Oakland, on Oct. 15, 1966, and within two years it had chapters across the country. The New York Times is taking this opportunity to explore the Black Panthers’ legacy, through their iconic use of imagery and how they were covered in our own pages.

The Black Panther Party is often associated with armed resistance, but one of the most potent weapons in its outreach to African-Americans in cities across the country was its artwork. In posters, pamphlets and its popular newspaper, The Black Panther, the party’s imagery was guided by the vision of Emory Douglas, its minister of culture.

His art came from many sources. As a teenager in San Francisco during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Douglas found himself incarcerated at the Youth Training School in Ontario, Calif., where he got involved with its printing shop. He went on to study graphic design at San Francisco City College, where he developed a deep interest in the Black Arts Movement, the artistic arm of the Black Power Movement.

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The People–Not the System–will solve the Problem of White Supremacist Murders

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Reflection of the Times.   WE CHARGE GENOCIDE!

The People Must ORGANIZE!

Statement by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, July 13, 2013

Trayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will. Zimmerman was only put on trial because todos con una misma direcciónmillions of our people took to the streets in early 2012 and threatened to disrupt the system. The trial was a means to divert our energies and return things to the status quo.

Obama’s statement that a “a jury has spoken” encouraging what he called, “calm reflection”, is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo. The status quo of white supremacy has never and will never work for Black people.  As W.E.B. DuBois stated, “a system cannot fail those who it was never meant to protect.” White supremacy and the systems that support and reinforce it like capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy must be defeated and dismantled. We must always keep this in mind and be prepared in concrete, organized ways to ensure that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Now is the time for direct action in the form of organized Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.

We must also be clear that the Zimmerman verdict is a reflection of the times. 17-year old Trayvon Martin was the 31st Black person executed by someone employed or protected by the state in 2012. As we demonstrated in Operation Ghetto Storm, 313 Black women, men, and children were executed without trials by the police, security guards or certified “neighborhood watchmen” in 2012. These extrajudicial killings have by no means stopped or slowed down, as witnessed by the execution of Kimani Gray and dozens more Black people in the first six months of 2013. With the Zimmerman verdict justifying and setting new precedent for the disposal of Black life, we should expect the number of extrajudicial killings to increase. It is now more imperative than ever for us to strengthen the organization of our communities and defend ourselves. Continue reading

New Release “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense”

[We have received the following message from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, announcing and detailing the release of a new organizing manual for community self-defense.  When many reform activists continue to appeal to oppressive institutions to solve the problems of repression and oppression, the manual charts a different path where matters are taken into the hands of the people, both in response to specific attacks they face from government and reactionary aggression, but also in building the struggle to end those oppressive powers once and for all.  Well worthy of study and broad distribution and active organizing, Frontlines offers it here (see link at end of announcement), encouraging responses.  — Frontlines ed.]

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559790_10152641717070627_1177440510_nOppressed peoples and communities can and will only be secure in this country when they are organized to defend themselves against the aggressions of the government and the forces of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation. “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense”, is the latest contribution of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Every 36 Hours Campaign that seeks to strengthen organizing initiatives within Black or New Afrikan communities for self-defense, by presenting these initiatives with a comprehensive analytical framework and practical organizing tools to ground and unite them.

As the extrajudicial killing of Kimani Gray and the more than twenty other Black women and men by the police in the first two months of 2013 clearly illustrate, it is imperative that New Afrikan communities get organized and defend ourselves. As the real economy continues to contract, corporations become more vicious and exploitative, our communities are gentrified and displaced, public goods and services continue to be eliminated or privatized, and the national security state continues to grow and become ever more invasive, the attacks on New Afrikan and other oppressed and exploited people are only going to escalate. We must defend ourselves, and we have every right to do so by any means necessary.

“Let Your Motto Be Resistance” draws on the long history of New Afrikan peoples struggle to realize self-determination and defend our persons, our rights and our dignity from the assaults of the oppressive settler-colonial government and the forces of white supremacy. Building on this history “Let Your Motto Be Resistance” provides in summary form a vision of how we can (re)organize our communities from the ground up to defend ourselves and reassert our fundamental human rights to life, dignity, and self-determination. Continue reading

Tumultuous 60’s: an announcement of a forthcoming book on revolutionary Maoism in the US

[While many other books on the movements of the 60’s and 70’s in the US have either ignored or dismissed/denounced the role of Maoism in the United States, this announcement of a forthcoming book, “The Heavy Radicals: The Revolutionary Union/Revolutionary Communist Party 1968-1980”  by Aaron Leonard (to be published in early 2014), promises a detailed look and critical assessment of revolutionary Maoism (as practiced by the Revolutionary Union and the Revolutionary Communist Party-USA) and its impact on a variety of politically radical movements and popular struggles, from campuses to workplaces to anti-war, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist campaigns in those tumultuous times.  We expect the difference of this approach will stimulate much interest, which we look forward to, and debate, in which we expect many will engage.  — Frontlines ed.]

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Announcing “The Heavy Radicals: The Revolutionary Union/Revolutionary Communist Party 1968-1980”  by Aaron Leonard

The Revolutionary Union / Revolutionary Communist Party was the largest Maoist organization to arise in the United States in the tumultuous period of the late 1960s early 1970s. This is acknowledged not only by other Left political trends, but also by the Federal Government, which had it as subject of no less than four Congressional Hearings in its key years. Oddly though it largely stands outside established histories of the period; it is not taught in the academy, appears hardly at all in academic papers, and is passed over in the more popular books of SDS and sixties radicalism.

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The reasons for this are manifold. The organization is victim of its own discipline that had little interest in promoting its history beyond whatever campaign or controversy it was involved in at the moment. Further those leaving the organization were circumspect in talking about their time there — either out of standing respect for the group’s discipline, a desire to move on with their lives, or the belief that a return to “the mainstream” necessarily involved disassociating themselves from their sixties revolutionary past, or some combination of each.

There was also a penchant for the established media and other institutions to promote more sensational trends. Group such as the Weathermen — while more marginal, were ideologically more amenable as emblematic of the ‘madness’ of extremes or despair of fighting for lost causes. It is also the case that the dominant culture in the United States has no interest promoting the concept of domestic revolutionaries embracing Maoism and undertaking the long term work of preparing for insurrection in a highly developed capitalist country. Continue reading

Elevating Housing to a Human Right in May Month of Mass Action

PRESS RELEASE

Groups Take Back the Land During May 2010 Month of Action

May 3, 2010- Today, the Take Back the Land Movement (TBLM, www.takebacktheland.org) announced a May 2010 Month of Action in direct response to the ongoing economic and housing crisis. The month of action commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first Civil rights era sit-ins in Greensboro, NC. Thousands from across the country will participate in “live-ins” to demand the fundamental human right to housing. Groups in over a dozen cities across the country will move families into vacant government-owned and foreclosed homes, without permission, or physically defend families from eviction and foreclosure.

The objective of the coordinated civil disobedience campaigns is to build a national movement to elevate housing to the level of a human right and gain community control over land.

“We are defending families facing eviction and moving homeless people into people-less homes,” said Max Rameau of Take Back the Land. “While banks enjoy bailouts, executive bonuses and record profits, human beings and entire communities are suffering. The government does not appear interested in helping poor people, so we have no other choice.”

The TBLM is a network of community organizations or initiatives committed to community control over land and housing as a human right. The Movement receives national staffing and administrative support from the US Human Rights Network (ushrnetwork.org) and is organized in conjunction with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) (economichumanrights.org), an organization with a long history of housing takeovers and defenses. Continue reading

MLM Revolutionary Study Group Message to 7th Conference of the Communist Party of Greece (m-l)

Dear Comrades  of the Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) ,

The Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Revolutionary Study Group of the United States sends our greetings and salutations  on the occasion of The 7th Conference of your Party!

You meet at a time of extreme crisis—of both great opportunity and ominous danger. As we move forward in the 21st Century, we take a moment to reflect on the legacy of the 20th, which gave us the launching of great revolutionary ventures worldwide.  The experiences  gained from the communist-led projects of socialism and new democracy and struggles for liberation are bountiful, and give us much continued inspiration and lessons—though, it must be said, much of this  experience has not yet been adequately summed up, and many of the problems which arose and were confronted have not yet been solved.

In the closing decades of the 20th Century, the overthrow of socialism and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and in China have provided openings and resources for the world imperialist system.  Yet even this revisionist gift to the imperialists has run its course, and today the worldwide imperialist crisis is shaking the system deeply, amplifying the schisms in the recently “monopolar” (US hegemonic) imperialist world.

Worldwide, the revolutionary struggles of the people have marked important advances.  In several countries, revolutionary forces, many with a significant mass base, have united on a revolutionary basis and have taken the initiative leading the people’s struggles against horrifying conditions.  Revolutionary leadership has moved to clarify the pathways forward toward the revolutionary seizure of power, as applied to the various conditions the people face in different countries.  But in all countries, the path forward depends upon maintaining the independence and initiative of the revolutionary proletariat and its allies.

At every turn the people’s forces are confronted by apologists, defenders and promoters of bourgeois rule.  Revisionists in various disguise, social democrats, liberal and “humanitarian” imperialists, “populist” compradors, fundamentalist religious movements, and theocratic regimes continue to distract and confuse many of the people’s forces.  And that is not all:  the people’s forces are directly attacked, jailed, beaten, and murdered without respite, on a massive and unconscionable scale.

Yet the revolutionary  forces continue to resolve to meet these challenges, step by step.  And our efforts are joined, illuminated and guided, by the internationalism we share, and which is brought to the thousand battles waged every day.

We also share problems that need solution, and as we, in every country, work to contribute our share, we dedicate ourselves to reaching the most complete understanding through comradely exchanges of experience, investigations and analysis.  Among these are the ideological and political and strategic problems of revolutionaries in advanced capitalist and imperialist countries, who for many decades have suffered from the influence of revisionism and social-democracy and the corrupting “sugar-coated” bullets of imperialism as a whole, as well as from various idealist ventures and schemes.

In the US, we see this most dramatically in the ongoing effect of “Obama-ism”.  Similar magnets for capitulation of people’s forces exist all over the world.  “Maintaining independence and initiative” is the key, as revolutionary political forces are gathered and launch wave upon wave of struggle.  We look forward to hearing the summations of your experience through the recent struggles which have shaken the ground in Greece.  Your advanced experience enriches the classroom of us all.

As the saying goes, “the road is tortuous, the future is bright.”  We are proud to share with you the tortuous road and the bright future.

Our comradely salutations to the CPG (m-l)!

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Revolutionary Study Group in the US

www.mlmrsg.org