War against the Panthers: A study of repression in America - Huey P Newton

War against the Panthers: A study of repression in America - Huey P Newton

Ph.D. dissertation by Huey P Newton, analysing certain features of the Black Panther Party and incidents that are significant in its development. Some central events in the growth of the Party, from adoption of an ideology and platform to implementation of community programs, are first described. This is followed by a presentation of the federal government's response to the Party.

Much of the information presented herein concentrates on incidents in Oakland, California, and government efforts to discredit or harm me. The assassination of Fred Hampton, an important leader in Chicago, is also described in considerable detail, as are the killings of Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter and John Huggins in Los Angeles.

Supporting evidence for a great deal of this dissertation has come from two federal civil rights lawsuits filed by the Party: one initiated in 1976 in Washington, D.C., and still pending against the FBI and other federal agency officials, [3] and another which ended after a nine month trial in Chicago, Illinois. [4]

It is logical that Oakland, California, should be the focus of hostile government actions against the Party because it is the place where the Party was founded, and it is the center of its organizational strength. In discussing Party leaders, including myself, and events in which they were involved, there has been a persistent temptation to write personally and emotionally. Individuals, with all their strengths and weaknesses, make significant differences in the outcome of political struggles; however, their roles are too often romanticized, clouding an understanding of the political forces propelling them into struggle. I have tried to maintain an objectivity consistent with scholarly standards by placing the roles of the involved personalities in proper political perspective. To aid in this effort, I will be referred to throughout this study in the third person. This dissertation is then, by necessity, illustrative, not exhaustive; a history in brief, not a biography of the Black Panther Party [BPP].

What is perhaps most significant about [this study] is that it suggests how much we still do not know. How many people's lives were ruined in countless ways by a government intent on destroying them as representatives of an "enemy" political organization? What "tactics" or "dirty tricks" were employed, with what results? Perhaps we shall never know the answers to these questions, but this inquiry about the BPP and the federal government will hopefully help us in our search for "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

[3] On January 25, 1980 the court dismissed our lawsuit because we refused to disclose the names and addresses of BPP members and provide additional information concerning criminal charges ending against certain members. We did provide the government with the names and addresses of all Central Committee members, i.e., the governing body of the Party, who are publicly known. Since the purpose of our lawsuit was to seek redress against unlawful government actions a gains our members, we had an obligation to protect their right of anonymity as an integral part of [a] minority political association that seeks through litigation to halt the government from illegally harassing its members. This will now be resolved by an appellate court. The Black Panther Party v. Levi, No. 76-2205, U.S. Dist. Ct. (D.C.). See also, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 January 1980, p. 2, col. 2.

[4] Iberia Hampton v. City of Chicago, No. 70-C-1384, U.S. Dist. Ct. (N.D. I11., 1977). On June 2, 1980, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way to reopen this case.

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Comments

Steven.
Feb 20 2016 18:59

Someone posted a useful comment about this on Facebook which I thought would be worth posting here:

Quote:
There are actually a couple of errors in this to bear in mind. Foremost, he writes that COINTELPRO was launched in 1969 in response to Panthers; in fact the program was around since the late 1950s. Even the "Black Hate" COINTELPRO program had been around since 1967 and didn't originally focus on the Panthers because they weren't a coherent national organization at the time.