Tags Seth Rosenfeld
Tag: Seth Rosenfeld
The Los Angeles Richard Aoki Commemoration Committee will acknowledge the life and legacy of San Francisco Bay Area activist and organizer Richard Aoki, member of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 4 p.m., at Centenary United Methodist Church in Little Tokyo at 300 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Far from bringing “discredit to the Panthers,” as Rosenfeld contends, the Black Panthers’ armed street patrols dramatically reduced the level of violence visited by Oakland’s white cops upon the city’s Black residents, earning the admiration of 62 percent of inner city Blacks, according to a 1969 Wall Street Journal poll. Rosenfeld’s portrayal of the Panthers, including Richard Aoki’s role in the organization, is grossly inaccurate. His analysis of the violence surrounding the party’s challenge to racial inequality and injustice is simplistic and racist.
Richard Aoki has been used as a sensationalized hook to sell Seth Rosenfeld’s book. The recently released FBI documents still don’t pass the burden of proof and only fuel more speculation as to Rosenfeld’s motives. The only thing that I believe can be confirmed by these heavily redacted files is that the FBI believed it had an informant.
Cowardice in journalism triumphs when an experienced reporter uses insufficient evidence to accuse a movement leader of being an FBI informer betraying the Black Panther Party and others – after the brother is dead and the crows and worms have already done their work.
Seth Rosenfeld’s dramatic announcement that Richard Aoki was an FBI informant provoked an enormous response from Chronicle readers. Could it be true? Or was this a “snitch-jacketing,” a classic FBI tactic used to cast suspicion on a legitimate activist by spreading rumors and manufacturing evidence?
Brother Richard Aoki demonstrably and sincerely dedicated the vast majority of his life and his every living thought to achieve the overcoming of racism, poverty and inequality, without giving up. Richard was indeed exactly who he claimed to be, who is exactly what people back in the day of the struggle also knew him to be: a dedicated, brilliant revolutionary.
Aoki NEVER was an agent. The over-emphasis upon Aoki providing the Panthers their first firearms is sensationalist fodder. What is conveniently ignored is what he contributed most to the Panthers and to the legacy of the U.S. revolutionary movement: promoting revolutionary study, ideology and disciplined organization. That’s why he was field marshal – because the cat could organize and tolerated no indiscipline and lack of seriousness. To the end of his life, Aoki could go toe-to-toe with any intellectual, theorist or organizer on the complexities and challenges of revolutionary theory.