by Elbert “Big Man” Howard
Like many of my comrades, original Black Panther Party members, I have for years watched these strutting caricatures who call themselves the New Black Panther Party and expressed my disgust. First of all, I say there is no such thing as a “New” Black Panther Party. If this group is anything, it is a collective of racist, reactionary thugs and tools of the still-very-much-alive Cointelpro government agency.
Like others, I have had to explain to many folks, who are not aware of what the Black Panther Party was about, what our original BPP history and legacy is and what damage these thieving, reactionary mimics have done to that legacy. This makes me angry, as I am now 77 years old, with just a limited amount of energy, and I am getting tired of doing this. So, in the past, I have limited my comments to an extent, as I have always felt that these fools need to be given as little acknowledgement and public attention as possible.
I have always felt that it was just a matter of time before they self-destructed. Since coming to public notice, this group has shown itself to be little more than opportunistic, treading on the work, dedication and sacrifices of others.
After all, what community programs have they created in all these years? What good have all their racist epithets or their military-style formations in black uniforms done our Black communities? What kind of learning institutions or medical centers have they opened?
First of all, I say there is no such thing as a “New” Black Panther Party. If this group is anything, it is a collective of racist, reactionary thugs and tools of the still-very-much-alive Cointelpro government agency.
But now I have had enough – they have crossed a line, a clear line in the sand. I say now, in case you are one of those people who have any doubts or thoughts of these thugs as just crazy cartoon characters, think again. Their most recent attack on our comrade, former member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Dhoruba bin-Wahad on Aug. 8, 2015, at a conference in a downtown hotel in Atlanta, needs to be addressed in no uncertain terms.
This unprovoked attack has nothing to do with the Black Liberation Movement – this is an attempt to assassinate a former BPP leader and political prisoner and his comrades, a 71-year-old respected elder, who is still an activist in the struggle for human rights for all people.
What community programs have they created in all these years? What good have all their racist epithets or their military-style formations in black uniforms done our Black communities? What kind of learning institutions or medical centers have they opened?
The so-called New Black Panther Party has proven itself to be one which consists of agents for the corrupt system designed to undermine the legacy of the Black Panther Party. Although they stole our Ten Point Platform and Program and then twisted it for their own negative purposes, they have no political consciousness, no program or agenda for serving the community, the Black race, or any oppressed people.
On the contrary, to scream, “Kill him, kill him!” is exactly what the U.S. government would like to see happen to all the original BPP members. Those this government could not frame and imprison for life are never forgotten, no matter how many decades have gone by.
They continue to harass, implicate and if possible, eradicate them. By the actions of these thug, reactionary, so-called New Black Panther Party members, they have exposed themselves for what they are – agents – would-be killers of freedom fighters and the legacy of the Black Panther Party.
This latest incident, their cowardly assault on Dhoruba bin-Wahad and his comrades, is indeed a wake-up call. I ask you, why is it that we seldom, if ever, hear of them being arrested, terrorized or killed by the police? The so-called New Black Panther Party should not attend any more Black Panther Anniversary Celebration events. They ARE banned.
However, no matter what these opportunistic, headline-seeking, would-be thieves of our legacy attempt to do, they will not succeed. Their antics and actions cannot eradicate those contributions to history created from the lives lost, the blood which was shed, the decades suffered in this system’s dungeons and the daily struggles, hardships and self-sacrifice of the members of the original Black Panther Party.
No matter what these opportunistic, headline-seeking, would-be thieves of our legacy attempt to do, they will not succeed.
Our history and legacy has lasted almost 50 years and will last another 50 years – and beyond that, forever.
I say again, as always, true power lies in the hands of the people and I wish you all well, comrades and community members.
Elbert “Big Man” Howard is a founding member of the Black Panther Party and is an author, lecturer and community activist in Sonoma County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.