International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S., wondering and waiting for us to come to our senses. Their problems and struggles with the Amerikan monster are much more difficult then they would be if we actively aided them. We are on the inside. We are the only ones (besides the very small white minority left) who can get at the monster’s heart without subjecting the world to nuclear fire. We have a momentous historical role to act out if we will. The whole world for all time in the future will love us and remember us as the righteous people who made it possible for the world to live on.
– George Jackson, 1970
The primary motive of a true revolutionary is love of the people – not just the people in your family, your neighborhood, or your country, but also the people of the whole world, and particularly the generations of people yet unborn. It is the duty of a revolutionary to represent and fight for the future in the struggles of today.
Not everything is possible, but what is possible is for human society to, at long last, break free of the Epoch of Exploitation, that has, since the rise of the Patriarchy and the institution of Slavery, chained human society to a succession of forms of political economy based upon class exploitation and oppression. It is not just possible…It is necessary, because unless we do so, the present monopoly capitalist system (imperialism) will be the end of our evolution. It will bring on the extinction of our species, (and all our relations), by its wanton destruction of the ecosystem on which our survival depends, and by the necessity of unending war on which imperialism’s existence depends.
The leopard cannot change its spots, and imperialism cannot change its nature. It is driven by only one law, and that is the maximization of the rate of profit on investment of capital. Capital seeks the highest rate of profit like a vampire seeks blood. It cannot change its predatory nature. It can only put on a “human face” to conceal its fangs and lull its victims into a false sense of security, but everyone is on the menu. Money is the master, and people are the slaves, even the monopoly capitalists. They are bound by the Law of the Maximization of the Rate of Profit as if by an unbreakable curse, and they will do whatever serves this master regardless of the human cost, even to the point of their own self-destruction.
Money is a human invention. It is an abstract idea to represent value created by human labor to price commodities in the market of exchange. It is only as real as we agree that it is. Value is created socially by the masses of workers each doing their jobs, extracting wealth from the earth and transforming it by their labor and the application of technology into commodities for consumption. The labor power of the workers is itself a commodity, bought by the capitalists, and is the source of their wealth and power. The difference between the cost of the workers’ labor power and the value created by it is the capitalist’s profit, (less the cost of materials and overhead), and the rate of profit is the speed at which a profit is turned. Capitalists compete to invest where the rate of profit is highest.
The contradiction between the social nature of production and the private ownership of the means of production, (including the workers’ labor power), prevents the social control of production and society and ensures the dictatorship of the monopoly capitalists over the whole of society. The politics of imperialism are dictated by the class interests of the monopoly capitalists. As it is the nature of the rate of profit to fall under conditions of automation, (as production becomes more capital intensive and there are fewer workers to exploit), the monopoly capitalists are driven to seek cheaper labor costs and lower overhead, (cheaper rent on land, cheaper raw materials and energy costs, lower taxes, and less safety and environmental protection regulation), and thus boost their rate of profit. This is the force that drives politics under imperialism and brings on wars as the imperialists contend among themselves to control the underdeveloped countries, (and their natural resources), and keep the people of these countries poor and down-pressed as a reserve of cheap labor.
The vampires seek the freedom to suck the peoples’ blood, and their appetite only grows, it doesn’t slacken. The alternative to this “free market” political economy is a “command” economy (socialism), where the people make decisions about what is best for them on a collective basis and decide how to develop their economy. As every movie buff knows, when you’ve got vampire troubles, it doesn’t do any good to try to reason with or make deals with the vampire. You’ve got to get scientific on its ass. You’ve got to study and learn all about vampirism, what they can and can’t do, what their weakness are and how to take them out. They are powerful and scary, but they are not invincible. You just have to go about things the right way, use the right weapons and pick the right time to do battle with them. Meanwhile, you’ve got to survive while you get your shit together.
Now, everybody knows that the monopoly capitalists hate socialism. They hate the word; hate the merest whisper of it. They hate it like a vampire hates holy water or the light of the sun. Even a little socialism, like nationalization of a country’s oil reserves, drives them into a murderous frenzy. They want to privatize everything: That is, they want to own everything, and squeeze a profit out of everything and everybody. They don’t want the people to control a thing.
Socialism is more than a break on the excesses of a free market economy dominated by the interests of global monopoly capitalists. It is the means to escape the Epoch of Exploitation altogether: A means to slay the vampire and end vampirism once and for all, by abolishing the division of society into classes and all forms of exploitation and oppression that go with it. It is the dawning of a New Day.
All societies based upon exploitation are class dictatorships. The ruling class dictates to and oppresses the exploited classes in order to maintain the unequal and exploitative relations that have been created. But under socialism, the working class has seized the power to change these relations.
All governments consist of “special bodies of armed men,” (and now wimyn as well), whose job it is to maintain the existing property relations in society. They are the military, secret agents, the police and prison guards and those who command them. After a socialist revolution, the class at the bottom, the workers, create their own state with their own special bodies of armed men and wimyn in order to transform the property relations in society. This is necessarily a protracted process that advances in stages. Step by step, they revolutionize society to uplift and empower the poor and create new social relations based upon serving the people’s needs, promoting social justice and the highest interests of humanity, while preventing a capitalist restoration and a return to the old exploitative ways.
At a certain point, society takes a qualitative leap forward, and the need for a state withers away because the basic contradictions and divisions in society have been eliminated. The Epoch of Exploitation will be over, and the new Post-Exploitative Epoch, or Communism, will be a radically different new world, in many ways reminiscent of the Pre-Exploitative Epoch but on a global basis and with a much higher technological base. The operating principle will be: “FROM EACH ACCORDING TO THEIR ABILITY AND TO EACH ACCORDING TO THEIR NEED.” Money will be a thing to show the kids in museums.
When we speak of “Panther Love,” we are not just talking about serving the people as a form of charity, but as a means of creating a new social order based upon equality and true freedom. Panther Love is revolutionary love, liberating love, world-changing love. We begin with the people’s basic needs, their survival needs, because to make revolution, we must first survive. We are everywhere under the gun, and we are the victims and survivors of genocide.
Afrika is the poorest place on earth: That is, it is, under the guns of imperialism and neo-colonialism. Otherwise, it is the richest place on earth: Richest in natural resources and the cultural legacy of human social evolution. Afrika is where it all began. Every person on the planet can trace back their roots to Mother Afrika and to the first man and womyn in the genetic chain that makes us all one human family. Nowhere did the Pre-Exploitative Epoch last longer.
Its wealth is its curse. Capitalism emerged sucking the blood of Afrika. European imperialists rose to global domination by colonial domination, slavery and genocide, starting with Afrika. Technological advances in the building of sailing ships gave the European merchants mastery of the seas in the 15th Century. European nobles had gotten a taste for the riches and fine things of Asian craftsmanship during the Crusades. They were hungry for the opulence of silks and jewels, spices and teas, but their conflict with Islam cut them off from the traditional trade routes that connected the Near and Far East, until the Portuguese found an alternative route by sailing around Afrika.
The Spanish then discovered the Western Hemisphere by sailing west to reach the Far East. But even though there was a great market for the goods of China in Europe, there wasn’t much of a market for the goods of Europe in China, until the Spanish started sending the silver extracted by Amerindian slave labor from Peru and Mexico. While the China Trade was the top end of mercantilism, the “meat and potatoes” was the “Triangle Trade” between Europe, Afrika and the Amerikas. This was based on transporting Afrikan slaves to the Amerikas (principally to Brazil and the Caribbean) to grow sugar to make rum.
Rum and guns and the goods of European manufacture were traded to the Amerindians of North Amerika in exchange for furs for Europe and China to make hats and warm clothing for the rich, and rum and guns and the goods of European manufacture were traded to the Afrikans to get more slaves. The introduction of tobacco as a commodity on the world market inspired the colonization of North Amerika and the creation of tobacco plantations worked by the forced labor of local Amerindians, the transported poor of England and Ireland and Afrikan slaves.
Eventually, Afrikan slaves were exclusively employed on the southern plantations of British North Amerika. As the genocide and dispossession of the indigenous Amerindian nations opened more land for cultivation, cotton was introduced, and after the invention of the cotton gin, the rate of profit was so great that millions of Black slaves were imported and bred to work these plantations concentrated in the “Black Belt” South. This continued after the Civil War, when former slaves and poor whites were made sharecropping peasants tied to the land by the terror of the KKK and institutionalized racism and enforced illiteracy and poverty. Black people were forged into the New Afrikan Nation under these conditions of internal colonialism.
In Afrika, European colonialism pushed inland, as those fleeing enslavement moved inland, and here too, the European colonial-settlers established plantations and instituted forced labor to grow export crops and work the mines, raping Afrika of its great mineral wealth. The various imperialist powers of Europe carved up the continent into colonies and viciously suppressed resistance with genocidal violence. Countless millions of Afrikans and Amerindians perished in the centuries of primitive accumulation of capital that brought forth the dominance of capitalism in the world’s political economy.
White racism emerged as justification for these great crimes against humanity, and Christianity offered its blessing for this “spreading of civilization,” and “saving the souls of the heathens.” Christian missionaries worked to pacify and control the colonized offering the crumbs of Christian charity and limited educational opportunities to a select class of elite Afrikans groomed in European prejudices and culture to act as go betweens and front men. But a few of these assimilated Afrikans, men like Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral and Agostinho Neto, ended up becoming the revolutionary intellectuals and leaders of the anti-colonial struggles that rocked Afrika in the post WWII period.
In the course of the world wars, and in their wake, great upheavals and revolutions rocked the imperialist world. In 1917, the Russian Revolution brought forth the world’s first socialist state. Following WWII, triumphant revolution in China, led by Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese Communist Party, created a socialist people’s republic in a formerly colonized Third World country. All across Asia, Africa and Latin America, anti-imperialist struggles challenged the reactionary dictatorships and colonial administrations with the support of the socialist countries.
Imperialism was seriously threatened, but it reasserted itself, and the U.S. emerged as the sole imperialist super-power. But the high tide of struggle in the 1960s shook up the system within the U.S. as well with the revolt of Blacks and other oppressed people, students, wimyn, and youth in general. The Black Panther Party emerged as the revolutionary vanguard of this mass upsurge. The Panthers combined vigorous community-based survival programs with revolutionary political education and armed self-defense.
Most successful was the Free Breakfast for Children Program, started by the Seattle Chapter of the BPP in 1968, which by the following year had been replicated by all of the Party’s chapters across the country. Getting up early every morning, the young Panthers served a hot breakfast to tens of thousands of poor Black children every day. Mostly, the program was run out of churches and community centers. This demonstrated the Party’s love for the people and commitment to the community’s health and welfare. Other programs included “Liberation Schools,” free clinics, free clothing and shoes, free ambulance services, and other creative applications of the dictum to: SERVE THE PEOPLE!
As Huey p. Newton, the BPP Minister of Defense, pointed out: “Politics are merely the desire of individuals and groups to satisfy first their basic needs – food, shelter and clothing, and security for themselves and their loved ones.” Demonstrating that these things could be obtained through self-reliance was the first step in getting the people to see the potentiality of their taking history into their own hands.
ADDRESSING THE PEOPLE’S SURVIVAL NEEDS
We must first of all make a concrete analysis of conditions to assess the most urgent needs of the people in different settings and then organize the appropriate programs, uniting all who can be united and interfacing with existing groups and services as much as possible. Everywhere Black people are concentrated, there are common problems; poverty, hunger, police oppression, illiteracy, unemployment, disease, crime, homelessness, hopelessness, mental illness and fear. Children wake up hungry, the elderly need help to survive, families of prisoners want to see and hear from their loved ones, the homeless seek shelter, and workers want better wages and working conditions. All of these basic needs and more need to be addressed by the Party and the people’s mass organizations.
To accomplish this, the Party must initiate and build neighborhood councils composed of the veteran organizers and respected elders of the communities. Programs can be organized under these councils including the employment of people’s security forces. These councils would serve as parallel government formations in the oppressed communities and the embryo of people’s power.
FREE BREAKFAST FOR CHILDREN
The Party should set as its goal seeing that every poor Black child on the planet starts the day with a wholesome breakfast. This includes areas of Afrika where famine is raging. It will take an army of workers to achieve this goal, and it is an army we must build. Children are not hungry, even starving, because there is a shortage of food in the world, but because their families cannot afford to buy enough food, and there is no profit in feeding them.
Every basic unit of the Party should maintain a mobile field kitchen and stockpile of powdered eggs and milk and dry goods to make hot cereal and coco, so that it can set up to provide emergency breakfasts for masses of children in disaster situations. Party members should be rotated to do service in other regions and countries wherever poor Black people are, and we should be as active in Luanda, Kinshasa, Dar Es Salaam, Cape Town and Port Au Prince, as in Harlem, Detroit, Chicago, Compton and Oakland. This massive undertaking is central to the Party’s work, and other programs such as supporting the establishment of grower’s co-ops, food co-ops, liberation schools, daycare centers and free clinics should be unfolded around it.
COMBATING THE AIDS EPIDEMIC
AIDS/HIV is an epidemic particularly affecting Black people. AIDS kills some 6,000 people each day in Afrika. 2.2 million of the 3 million people who died from AIDS in 2002 were Afrikans. Almost 2/3rds of those affected by AIDS/HIV are in Afrika, and Black people make up a considerable number of the 9.8 million victims outside of Afrika. 40 million Afrikan AIDS orphans are predicted by 2010. To make matters worse, AIDS relief efforts have been backing off from condom distribution under pressure from the Bush administration in favor of abstinence education and offering bounties to girls who remain virgins.
In response to this problem, the Party should strive to distribute 100’s of millions of condoms with a black panther logo and the words: SURVIVE AND MAKE REVOLUTION! in many languages on the packaging. The broadest international support should be sought to fund this effort. A mass publicity campaign involving buttons, posters, billboards, websites, and TV and radio spots should be waged, and in particular, mass youth organizations should be enlisted to help with fundraising and condom distribution.
The issue of finding sponsoring families, (both in-country and internationally), for AIDS and war orphans, should also be addressed by the Party. This is an area where the Party can grandstand, creating media events where planeloads of orphans from Afrika are united with host families in America and Europe. These families can also be enlisted in mass mobilizations to call attention to the issue and the obstructionism of the imperialists.
OVERALL HEALTH CARE AND PUBLIC HEALTH
The situation presents a wide range of problems calling for a variety of programs including; free clinics, free pre-natal care and maternity centers, immunizations, sewage treatment and composting, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, abuse shelters, hospices, public heath education and free ambulance services. The “barefoot doctor” program developed in People’s China can be replicated, training volunteers in traditional herbal medicines so they can go deep into the countryside to provide medical and health services. Well digging crews can address the problem of potable drinking water, particularly in the urban shantytowns and poor villages. Portable public chemical toilets can also be used, swamps can be drained and so forth.
ASSISTING PRISONERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
The Party’s work among prisoners revolves around the strategy of; “TURN THE IRON HOUSES OF OPPRESSION INTO SCHOOLS OF LIBERATION, AND THE OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES INTO BASE AREAS OF CULTURAL, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL REVOLUTION!”, and the struggle for prisoners’ rights and against cruel and unusual punishment, including capital punishment, the sentence of life without parole, and indefinite confinement in SHU (Special Housing Units) without review. We raise the demand: “NO INCARCERATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!” and call for amending the 13th Amendment to abolish all slavery. Special human rights watchdog committees should be organized to monitor prisons, sentencing and parole proceedings. Legal defense funds should be created for political prisoners and movement lawyers trained and retained to free them.
Free bus rides and overnight accommodations should be organized for the families of prisoners, and they should be organized to press for prison reforms. Mutual aid associations should be formed among these families, and the Party should carry out political education among them. Particular attention should be paid to the welfare of children of prisoners.
Contention between rival imperialist corporations, (particularly between U.S. and French-based multinationals), and rival factions has led to brutal genocidal wars between tribes and ethnic groups and warlordism, (particularly in the Congo), causing millions of deaths and even more displaced people, who are crowded into refugee camps. These masses, who are the witnesses and survivors of genocide, suffer from malnutrition, shock and often debilitating wounds. Particular attention should be paid to their survival needs.
BUILDING PAN-AFRIKAN UNITY
In rejecting the narrow nationalism on which the New Black Panther Party was founded and returning to the original 10-Point Program of the BPP, the NABPP-Prison Chapter adopts a broader perspective. We reject hate and playing the racial blame game. The old definitions of “nationalism” no longer apply. The new reality doesn’t fit the language. The New Afrikan Nation is no longer a predominantly peasant nation concentrated in the Black Belt South but a dispersed nation of predominantly proletarian composition. We are part of the multinational U.S. working class and the international working class. It is also true that we are part of the Pan-Afrikan Nation, and comprise a significant portion of its proletariat. We still suffer national oppression, but not in the same old way.
The emergence of U.S. imperialism as the sole superpower and the headquarters of global imperialism has changed the situation. The principle enemy and oppressor of the people of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands, Angola and Mozambique is no longer Portuguese imperialism, as it was in the 60s and 70s. Throughout Afrika, the rising force and dominant vampire is U.S. imperialism, (along with its pack of junior partners), exercising neo-colonial domination. Many of the forces that resisted direct colonial rule have dropped their Marxist and Afrikan Socialist politics and become eager allies and clients of U.S. imperialism, as if the problem of the fox in the chicken coop was to get a bigger fox.
The same superpower and headquarters of the New World Order is now the principle enemy and neo-colonial slave master of the whole Afrikan Diaspora. European imperialism still exists in Afrika, and it is fighting (by proxy) to retain some measure of its old feeding grounds in Afrika (and elsewhere), but it is the Amerikans who are consolidating their grip. The practicality and desirability of Pan-Afrikan unity is now infinitely greater than ever before. It is based primarily on class interests and anti-imperialism rather than a vague sense of cultural nationalism or desire for racial separatism.
INTERCOMMUNAL NEWS SERVICE
It is important to have a regularly published newspaper that is a collective organizer that links up all the fronts on which the Party is active, and that is published in all the necessary languages. This can be accomplished with internet computer technology, and it is also possible to run a news wire on the net to supply raw news to Panther Radio outlets. These local radio shows can also be carried on the internet. Everywhere the Party organizes, it should distribute its newspaper, translated into the local language, with local sections added on. Besides English, the paper should be available, in print and on line, in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Arabic and major Afrikan languages.
Afrikan and New-Afrikan people share a common history — Slavery and Colonialism — and a common destiny — Liberation! We need a line of communication and education to understand our history, our situation and the collective corrective action to effect our common liberation. Pantherism is the glue to hold together the Pan-Afrikan World. Each country must form its own vanguard party and army of liberation to carry forward New-Democratic Revolution and advance to socialism, but it must also be guided towards a Union of Afrikan People’s Republics, a union as unbreakable as a bound together bundle of arrows.
SOWING THE SEEDS OF WORLD SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
Understanding the role that the Party must play is also understanding the role others must play and how these roles fit together to serve the highest interests of humanity. The Party cannot be all things. Its special purpose is to represent the future in the movement of the present and illuminate the path forward. It is a Black revolutionary nationalist party that recognizes that class struggle and socialist revolution is the path forward. Black people alone cannot make this revolution, not even all the people of color in Amerika acting together can do that. A significant section of the white workers and people in general must commit themselves to this revolution, and to lead this requires a vanguard party of the whole U.S. proletariat acting as a detachment of the whole world proletariat. What we can, and must, do on our own is use our struggle to create more favorable conditions for this revolution, by liberating, (to the greatest extent possible), the ground under our feet, creating base areas for revolution in our communities and culturally, socially and politically asserting our will and desire for all-the-way revolution.
Too many people have become addicted to the insanity, and pulling a new order out of this chaos is a great challenge, but the struggle is a great teacher. We must use the struggle and let it teach us, sowing the seeds for the ultimate show-down with imperialism, sowing the seeds for the people’s victory. Comrade Jackson’s words at the top of this essay are more glaringly true today then when he wrote them more than 30 years ago. They call out to us to be the “righteous people,…who can get at the monster’s heart.” To perform this service, we must be worthy. We must kick our addiction to the insanity and purge ourselves of hate. We must nurture and fill our hearts with love, Panther Love!
We must commit ourselves to a long and protracted struggle, one that will test and strengthen us, perfect us, and make us worthy to win the love and respect of the whole world and future generations. We must: “DARE TO STRUGGLE AND DARE TO WIN!”
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!