Let’s get this party started: On the split in the New Afrikan Black Panther Party and founding of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party

This self-portrait by Rashid is the way that prisoners and advocates in California knew him when he sent the logo for the California Hunger Strikes that has symbolized those phenomenal events ever since.

by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson, Minister of Defense, RIBPP

On Dec. 29, 2020, I joined with several recently expelled members of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) and other comrades to create a new revolutionary intercommunal party as a split from and restructuring of the NABPP.

This new formation, unlike the NABPP, has a democratically elected leadership and is called the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP).

The dividing line

This separation was compelled by maneuverings of Tom “Big Warrior” Watts aka Xing Eela, the present general secretary of the NABPP, and Shaka Zulu aka Zulu Sharod, the NABPP chairperson. Their maneuverings included expelling and silencing anyone who questioned or challenged their behavior or self-appointed and self-validating holds on power over the NABPP.

On Dec. 21, 2020, an agenda was issued to all NABPP members to hold a party-wide meeting where all members could hear and consider a proposal to democratically elect a new leadership. The meeting included criticisms of Tom and Shaka as obstacles to the development and growth of the NABPP, its mass organizations, its work and the application of its rules and principles.

These were important considerations in light of the resignation of the entire Central Committee (CC) – five people total including myself – because of Tom’s and Shaka’s problematic leadership and behaviors. I formally resigned as minister of defense and from the Central Committee and Politburo on Nov. 12, 2020, in protest of Tom and Shaka’s failures to abide by the principles of the NABPP and Tom’s flagrant dishonesty and role as de facto controller of the party.

To prevent the party-wide meeting from taking place, Tom first issued a threat to publicly expel me if I supported going forward with the efforts to criticize him before the entire party, which all NABPP members had a right to do under the organization’s rules and principles requiring the practice of criticism and self-criticism, democratic centralism (DC) and inner-party democracy, but which Tom and Shaka prevent.

Purging all critics

On Dec.12, 2020, the day after the call for the party-wide meeting was issued, Tom and Shaka went further to declare themselves to be the only legitimate NABPP members outside of prison, essentially liquidating the entire outside party, including loyal and committed comrades whom they’d publicly embraced as bona fide NABPP members just the day before.

Rashid drew this updated self-portrait in 2013. He’s been in prison far too long.

This opportunist move to liquidate critics and challengers to their power followed on the heels of them also declaring all of the UPM (United Panther Movement) illegitimate – wholly liquidating the NABPP’s whole mass organization – and Shaka’s unilaterally expelling another party member on Nov. 8, 2020, a leading member of the UPM, all to avoid criticisms that the UPM had against Shaka for commandist behavior, mistreatment of women members, threatening others and so on. 

Before I had resigned from the CC, it was collectively agreed that Shaka should allow the UPM to voice those criticisms of him, which he’d been dodging for over a year.

Manufacturing Shaka loyalists

Tom and Shaka then moved to replace the rank and file NABPP and UPM membership who they expelled with people they perceived could be directly controlled, declaring that the only “legitimate” party members and UPM consisted of entirely new people personally recruited and trained by Shaka in the Newark, N.J., area where he lives.

To accomplish this, Tom and Shaka have instituted political education classes for new recruits presided over by Shaka, where he presumes to teach political material – like dialectical and historical materialism – that he demonstrably doesn’t understand himself. The obvious objective and result being not to win these people over to the politics and work of a revolutionary party and mass organization, but instead to Shaka’s personality.

We uphold the purposes and principles and find the need to continue with the actual line, strategy and ideology of the NABPP which we believe in and believe to be the most advanced.

Like Huey P. Newton did in splitting the original BPP in 1971, Tom and Shaka have expelled and threatened everyone whom they felt criticized them and threatened their self-appointed and self-validating holds on power over the organizations – positions they believe they “own” – embracing only people whom they can directly supervise and control.

Returning to the course

I, along with the unjustly expelled members of the NABPP and others who’ve worked closely with the NABPP, find Tom and Shaka’s designs and deviations from the basic principles of inner-party democracy, DC, revolutionary proletarian ideology (Maoism), and basic justice unacceptable and a perversion of the founding purposes and principles of the NABPP.

We uphold those purposes and principles and find the need to continue with the actual line, strategy and ideology of the NABPP which we believe in and believe to be the most advanced. We simply cannot do so within organizations controlled by Tom Watts and Shaka Zulu, because of their dishonest and unprincipled deviations and the fact of their threats against and expelling us so we could not struggle internally against them.

The NABPP has not adhered to the mass line, has not developed bases within the oppressed communities, and has essentially become a platform for Shaka to build a celebrity cult around himself and a Black front organization that is actually controlled by Euro-Amerikan Tom Watts but is portrayed as New Afrikan-led.

We have therefore split with the NABPP and reconstituted as the RIBPP to carry forward the line, strategy and ideology to which the NABPP is supposed to adhere. We don’t seek “All power!” as Shaka Zulu is fond of exclaiming, but instead, “All power to the people!”

This pronouncement is made on behalf of the Central Committee of the RIBPP:

Chairperson Stephney “Sojurner” Soreal

General Secretary Shupavu wa Kirima

Minister of Justice Maurice Garlic Jr.

Minister of Labor Peter “Comrade Pitt” Mukuria

Minister of Defense Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

Dare to struggle! Dare to win!

Send our brother some love and light: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 264847, Pendleton Correctional Facility, G-20-2C, 4490 W. Reformatory Road, Pendleton, IN 46064.