Black Panther Party and Anarchy

From Anarchy In Action

The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was founded in 1966 by the Californian Black college students Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. On 15 June 1969, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called the Black Panther Party “the greatest threat to internal security of the country.”[1] The party had 45 branches and sold a quarter-million newspapers a week at their peak. They reportedly enjoyed 90 percent support among blacks in major cities.[2]

Although the BPP was officially Maoist, and heavily influenced by Malcolm X and Frantz Fanon, its commitments to community control and direct action led the social ecologist John Clark to observe “radically decentralist and anarchistic dimensions” in the party's organizing[3] BPP members had direct ties to Anarchism before, during, and after the party's existence.

BPP co-founder Huey Newton explained that in his pre-Panther days he "fell in love with Bakunin and Nechayev's Catechism of the Revolutionist," and his autobiography praised Bakunin as speaking for the First International's most militant wing.[4]

The anarchist San Francisco Diggers printed the first issues of the BPP's newspaper, and BPP member David Hillard says these anarchists' free grocery service inspired the Panthers' famous Free Breakfast Program.[5] In 1968, when the BPP's Eldridge cleaver ran for president under the Peace and Freedom Party, he selected Jerry Rubin, a member of the anarchistic Yippies, as his running mate.[6]

Several former Black Panthers - including Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, Ashanti Alston, and Kuwasi Balagoon - became self-identified Anarchists later on, and another, Russell Maroon Shoatz, went on to support an entirely anarchist theory without actually adopting the identity.[7]

The section on “Political Prisoners” has information on how to write to and support Black Panthers who are currently incarcerated.

Ideology and Structure

According to political prisoner and former BPP member Mumia Abu-Jamal, most Black Panthers were much more familiar with the speeches of Malcolm X than they were with Chairman Mao's Red Book. “[T]he Black Panther Party was a Malcolmist party far more than it was a Marxist one,” Abu-Jamal recounts.[8]

Isolated from the party's grassroots beliefs, a smaller handful of leaders, including undercover FBI informant Richard Aoki, shaped the party's official Marxist-Leninist ideology. Aoki claimed to have contributed, “[t]he Maoist twist, I kind of threw that one in. I said so far the most advanced Marxists I have run across are the Maoists in China."[9]

Despite having a Marxist-Leninist ideology, the Black Panther Party was not especially influenced by the USSR's domestic or foreign policies. In fact, Huey Newton made a speech in 1970 that rejected Stalin's belief in "socialism in one country."[10]

At least initially, the Black Panther Party advocated the establishment of a socialist, Black nation-state independent from the United State of America.[11] However, Newton's 1970 speech disavowed nationalism in favor of a "revolutionary intercommunalism." He said that Blacks in the United States were by that point not a nation but a "collection of communities."[12]

In the past decades, some Black Panthers have since became Anarchists, especially when in prison and facing the most extensive brutalities of the State head on. These Panthers have come to criticize the Party's hierarchical organization. According to Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, the BPP “partially failed because of the authoritarian leadership style of Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and others on the Central Committee.”[13]

The Panthers had a Ten-Point Program that emphasized community control of the economy and police, workplace self-management, cooperative housing, and communal health care.[14]

Black Panthers' Ten-Point Program

1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine The Destiny Of Our Black Community.

We believe that Black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.

2. We Want Full Employment For Our People.

We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.

3. We Want An End To The Robbery By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community.

We believe that this racist government has robbed us, and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over fifty million Black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.

4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.

We believe that if the White Landlords will not give decent housing to our Black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.

5. We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role In The Present-Day Society.

We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.

6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.

We believe that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized by the White racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.

7. We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.

We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves for self- defense.

8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held In Federal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails.

We believe that all Black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.

9. We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.

We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that Black people will receive fair trials. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being, tried by all-White juries that have no understanding of the "average reasoning man" of the Black community.

10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. [15]

Survival Programs and Community Control

The Black Panthers had members in more than forty cities across the United States. Almost every chapter or branch had a Free Breakfast for Children program, a health clinic, and a free clothing program.[16] Huey Newton said Panthers described these initiatives as “survival programs pending revolution.”[17] These programs constituted direct action, offering services to communities that capitalists and the State were not offering. Panther David Hillard credited the anarchist San Francisco Diggers' free grocery service with inspiring the BPP's Free Breakfast program,[18] which in turn would help propel the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.[19]

Some BPP chapters had liberation schools, which each week offered children free breakfasts and lunches, three days of classes, and three days of films and field trips. Adult education courses were offered in the evenings.[20]

Panthers set up patrols to follow the police, armed with tape records, cameras, law books, and guns.[21] The party proposed that the police should be controlled by elected neighborhood councils which would have the ability to discipline the police and recall commissioners at any time.. Members of the neighborhood could recall council members.[22]

scott crow, a Texas-based Anarchist who collaborated with former Panther Malik Rahim to set up survival programs in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005[23], reflects on the impact of the BPP's historic survival programs:

What frightened the state so much about the programs run by Panthers? It was that they advocated that people take power into their own hands through food programs, educating themselves, and defending their communities from police assaults and harassment. If they had been an unarmed church group, no one would have paid attention' but they were offering underserved communities tools for creating dignity and self-determination in the face of oppression.[24]

Rainbow Coalition

In the fall of 1968, the Illinois Black Panthers partnered with the Young Patriots (a white working class group) to form the Rainbow Coalition. The Young Lords (an organization of Puerto Ricans) then joined. The Panthers' Fred Hampton named the coalition and took a leading role in organizing it. The multi-racial working class organization energized Chicago's grassroots, and it also appeared to frighten authorities. That December, the police murdered Hampton, as discussed later in this article.[25]

Women in the Party

BPP member Safiya Bukhari-Alston recalled that women held leadership positions on every level of the Party and that the Party adopted anti-sexism policies which in practice were sometimes followed and other times ignored:

In its brief history (1966-1973) of seven years women had been involved on every level in the Black Panther Party. There were women, like Audrea Jones, who founded the Boston Chapter of the Black Panther Party, women like Brenda Hyson, who was the OD (Officer of the Day) in the Brooklyn Chapter of the Black Panther Party, women like Peaches, who fought side by side with Geronimo Pratt in the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Kathleen Cleaver who was in the Central Committee, and Sister Rivera who was one of the motivators behind the office in Mt. Vernon, NY. By the same token there were problems with men who brought their sexist attitudes into the organization. Men who refused to take direction (orders) from women, and we had a framework established to deal with that but because of liberalism and cowardice, as well as fear, a lot of times the framework was not utilized.[26]

Afeni Shakur (later famous as the mother of rapper Tupac Shakur) took on a leadership poisition in the Party's Harlem branch. Shakur recalled, “When I first met Sekou [Odinga] and Lumumba [Shakur] it was the first time in my life that I ever met men who didn't abuse women. As simple as that. It had nothing to do with anything about political movements. It was just that never in my life had I met men who didn't abuse women, and who loved women because they were women and because they were people.”[27]

According to former Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, “the Black Panther Party, for ideological reasons and for reasons of sheer survival, gave the women of the BPP far more opportunities to lead and to influence the organization than any of its contemporaries, in white or Black radical formations.”[28]

Black Liberation Army

An underground group comprised largely of former BPP members, the Black Liberation Army conducted guerilla actions including bank expropriations and attempted jailbreaks. While the Army espoused a hierarchical Marxist-Leninist ideology, in practice it conducted actions in a decentralized manner through autonomous cells.[29]

The Wikipedia page on the Black Liberation Army discusses an “Anarchist turn” among members of the Black Liberation Army: “Following the collapse of the BLA, some members - including Ashanti Alston, Donald Weems (a.k.a. Kuwasi Balagoon) and Ojore N. Lutalo - became outspoken proponents of anarchism.[30]

State Repression

In November 1968, the FBI's director J. Edgar Hoover called on FBI field agents “to exploit all avenues of creating...dissension within the ranks of the BPP.”[31]

The FBI's Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, took 233 actions against the Black Panther Party.[32] These operations included a range of tactics from spreading false rumors about certain Panthers being snitches, to making up evidence, to conducting outright assasinations of Panthers.


Some COINTELPRO actions involved bad-jacketing, meaning the spread of false rumors that certain Panthers were snitches. A COINTELPRO document from 10 July 1968 proposed “convey[ing] the impression that [SNCC leader and BPP Honorary Prime Minister Stokley] CHARMICHAEL is a CIA informer.”[33] Later, the Black Panthers' Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton began denoucning Charmicahel. On 5 September 1970, Newton proclaimed, “We...charge that Stokley Charmichael is operating as an agent of the CIA.”[34]

In another instance, the FBI spread a rumor in 1969 that a Panther named Fred Bennett was a police informant. Other Panthers killed Bennett and cremated the body. In the study Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, authors Churchill and Vander Wall comment that this outcome demonstrates bad-jacketing's “leathal implications.”[35]

Fabricating evidence

Other COINTELPRO operations involved the fabrication of evidence. The FBI trained bogus witnesses to testify in the Chicago Eight trial involving the Panthers' Bobby Seale. The FBI also sent a fake threatening letter to jurors signed as “the Black Panthers.”[36]


COINTELPRO even resorted to outright assassinations. At 4:30 AM on 4 December 1969, FBI agents broke into the Black Panther Fred Hampton's apartment in Chicago and shot three Black Panthers. The raid left Brenda Harris injured and Mark Clark and Fred Hampton dead. The only shot fired by the Panthers during the raid was one reflexively fired by Clark after he had already been shot by federal agents.[37]

The targeting of Hampton was likely a response to Hampton's demonstrated skill at community organizing and ability to work effectively with people across cultural boundaries. Hampton helped influence a Puerto Rican street gang to form the Young Lords Party. He collaborated with apolitical black gangs, Asians, Mexicans, poor whites, and others.[38]

The Split and Decline

A split between Black Panther Party leaders Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver effectively tore apart the party. The split came about, first of all, because of the intense campaign of state repression directed against the party. The FBI wrote fabricated letters to party leaders with the attempt of driving a wedge between them. For instance, one FBI-written letter, allegedly by the Panther Elbert Howard, addressed the BPP's Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver and accused BPP Minister of Defense Huey Newton of lying to him about the use of Party funds.[39] In 1971, the split between Cleaver and Newton went public when they disputed each other during a television call-in show. On the air, Newton called Cleaver a “punk” and “coward.”[40]

Mumia Abu-Jamal claims that the party's hierarchical structure allowed it to be more easily destroyed by the FBI's divide-and-conquer attempts.

Despite the ideological claim that the Party functioned under the principle of criticism and self-criticism, the Party hierarchy in fact functioned much like any other group in bourgeois society, that is, according to the principle of power dynamics: those who have power strive mightily to keep it-period.

So when Huey received letters full of criticism of his leader­ ship, he struck out at those he thought were angling to undermine his rule of the organization. When Eldridge received letters critical of Huey's leadership, he felt a sense of affirmation. Neither appar­ ently questioned the authorship of this critical correspondence. [41]

Moreover, the party's Central Committee, under Newton's influence, made decisions alienating to some rank-and-file Panthers. One such directive asked Panthers around the country to close down survival programs and come to Oakland to work on Bobby Seale's mayoral campaign. According to Abu-Jamal, this order led to many defections and gave the impression that the organization was in decline:

The order meant that Panthers from across the country had to close their local offices, close their local com­munity survival programs, and, essentially, leave for Oakland. For some Panthers, this was simply unacceptable. Many people left the Party.[42]

Russell Maroon Shoatz argues that the U.S. government, by letting Huey Newton leave jail despite pending charges for allegedly killing a cop, and thereby keeping him on a "short leash," encouraged Newton to drive the party in a reformist and "gangster" direction:

Newton continued to use his iconic stature and renewed direct control of his faction again to play the cool-political-gangster role; and like any drug addict who refuses to reform, he kept sliding downhill, even turning on old comrades and his main champion, Elaine Brown, who had to flee in fear.

Sadly, for all practical purposes, that was the end of the original Black Panther Party.


Later, as is well-known, Newton’s continued drug addiction cost him his life, a sorry ending for a once great man.[43]

According to Anarchist and former Panther Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, the BPP “partially failed because of the authoritarian leadership style" of the Central Committee. Ervin elaborates:

"Because of the over-importance of central leadership, the national organization was ultimately liquidated entirely, packed up and shipped back to Oakland, California. Of course, many errors were made because the BPP was a young organization and was under intense attack by the state. I do not want to imply that the internal errors were the primary contradictions that destroyed the BPP. The police attacks on it did that, but, if it were better and more democratically organized, it may have weathered the storm."

in Black Anarchism: A Reader By Black Rose Anarchist Federation.</ref>

Huey Newton and Anarchism

Despite his praise for Bakunin (described above), the BPP's co-founder and Minister of Defense Huey Newton wrote an article criticizing anarchism as lacking organization and being too individualist:

In this country the anarchists seem to feel that if they just express themselves individually and tend to ignore the limitations imposed on them, without leadership and without discipline they can oppose the very disciplined, organized reactionary state. This is not true. They will be oppressed as long as imperialism exists.[44]

Murray Bookchin responded that Anarchists emphasize organization while insisting on autonomy and horizontal structures:

I don't know who Huey is arguing with when he speaks of "anarchists" who believe all they have to do is "just express themselves individually" in order to achieve freedom. Tim Leary? Allen Ginzberg? The Beatles? Certainly not the revolutionary anarchist communists I know -- and I know a large and fairly representative number.[45]

Political Prisoners

For up-to-date addresses and information on how to write to and support incarcerated Panthers and other prisoners, see NYC Anarchist Black Cross's Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War.[46] The following descriptions are quoted from this guide. The guide also includes links to websites of relevant prisoner support campaigns.

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Birthday: April 24

“Mumia is an award winning journalist and was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Philadelphia, PA. He has struggled for justice and human rights for people of color since he was at least 14 years old ~ the age when he joined the Party. In December of 1982, Mumia, who moonlighted by driving a taxi, happened upon police who were beating his brother. During the melee, a police officer was shot and killed. Despite the fact that many people saw someone else shoot and then runaway from the scene, Mumia, in what could only be called a kangaroo court, was convicted and sentenced to death. During the summer of 1995, a death warrant was signed by Governor Tom Ridge, which sparked one of the most effective organizing efforts in defense of a political prisoner ever. Since that time, Mumia has had his death sentence overturned, but still has a life sentence with no opportunity for parole.”

Sundiata Acoli

Birthday: January 14

“A New York Black Panther, he endured two years of prison awaiting trial for the Panther 21 Conspiracy Case. He and his comrades were eventually acquitted on all the bogus charges.

The case was historic and a classic example of police and government attempting to neutralize organizations by incarcerating their leadership. As a result of this political attack and because of the immense pressure and surveillance from the FBI and local police Sundiata, like many other Panther leaders went 'underground'. On May 2, 1973, Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur and Zayd Shakur were ambushed and attacked by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike. Assata was wounded and Zayd was killed. During the gun battle a state trooper was shot and killed in self defense. Sundiata was tried in an environment of mass hysteria and convicted, although there was no credible evidencethat he killed the trooper or had been involved in the shooting. He was sentenced to thirty years. Sundiata was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court in New Jersey in September 2014 when the court ruled the parole board had 'acted arbitrarily and capriciously' when it previously denied him parole. The State of New Jersey has appealed the decision.”

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

Birthday: October 4

“Formerly known as H. Rap Brown, the Imam came to prominence in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. He is perhaps most famous for his proclamation during that period that 'violence is as American as cherry pie', as well as once stating that 'If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.' He is currently serving a life sentence for homicide.”

Zolo Azania

Birthday: December 12

“Zolo Azania is a former Black Panther convicted of a 1981 bank robbery that left a Gary, Indiana cop dead. He was arrested miles away from the incident as he was walking, unarmed, down the street. The prosecution intimidated witnesses, suppressed favorable evidence, presented false eyewitness and expert testimony, and denied him the right to speak or present motions in his own behalf.”

Herman Bell

Birthday: January 14

“Herman Bell moved to Brooklyn as a boy. He was a talented football player and won ascholarship to UC-Oakland. While in Oakland, Herman joined the Black Panther Party and became active around human rights issues in the Black community. In 1971, due to relentless FBI attacks on the Party, Herman went underground. While underground, Herman joined the Black Liberation Army, and in September of 1973 he was captured and extradited to New York on charges of having killed 2 New York City police officers—a case for which other Panthers were serving time. No witnesses were able to put Herman at the scene of the crime. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but Herman was convicted at his second trial and sentenced to 25 years to life. In 1990, he earned his B.S. degree from the SUNY-New Paltz. Herman remains a prison activist, having coached sports teams inside the prison system, as well as mentoring younger prisoners. His next parole hearing is scheduled for 2016.”

Joe-Joe Bowen

Birthday: January 15

“Joseph 'Joe-Joe' Bowen is one of the many all-but-forgotten frontline soldiers in the liberation struggle. A native of Philadelphia, Joe-Joe was a young member of the '30th and Norris' street gang before his incarceration politicized him. Released in 1971, his outside activism was cut short a week following his release when Joe-Joe was confronted by an officer of the notoriously brutal Philadelphia police department. The police officer was killed in the confrontation, and Bowen fled. After his capture and incarceration, Bowen became a Black Liberation Army combatant, defiant to authorities at every turn. In 1973, Joe-Joe and Philadelphia Five prisoner Fred 'Muhammad' Burton assassinated Holmesberg prison’s warden and deputy warden as well as wounded the guard commander in retaliation for intense repression against Muslim prisoners in the facility. In 1981, Bowen led a six-day standoff with authorities when he and six other captives took 39 hostages at Graterford Prison as a freedom attempt and protest of the prison conditions. Much of his time in prison has been spent in and out of control units, solitary confinement, and other means of isolating Joe-Joe from the general prison population. These include three trips to Marion Penitentiary, where he met Sundiata Acoli and other BLA members. He is legendary to many prisoners as a revolutionary. 'I used to teach the brothers how to turn their rage into energy and understand their situations,' Bowen told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1981. 'I don’t threaten anybody. I don’t talk to pigs. I don’t drink anything I can’t see through and I don’t eat anything off a tray. When the time comes, I’ll be ready.'

Veronza Bowers, Jr.

Birthday: February 4

“Veronza was a member of the Black Panther Party and was convicted in the murder of a U.S. Park Ranger on the word of two government informants, both of whom received reduced sentences for other crimes by the Federal prosecutor’s office. There were no eye-witnesses and no evidence independent of these informants to link him to the crime. At his trial, Veronza offered alibi testimony which was not credited by the jury. Nor was testimony of two relatives of the informants who insisted that they were lying. The informants had all charges against them in this case dropped and one was given $10,000 by the government according to the prosecutor’s post-sentencing report. Veronza has consistently proclaimed his innocence of the crime he never committed, even at the expense of having his appeals for parole denied for which an admission of guilt and contrition is virtually required. He insists on maintaining his innocence.”

Chip Fitzgerald

Birthday: April 11

“Romaine 'Chip' Fitzgerald, born and raised in Compton, California, joined the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party in early 1969 as a teenager who had just been released from the California Youth Authority. In September of that year, as a dedicated member of the Party, Chip was arrested in connection with a police shoot-out and tried for assault on police and related charges, including the murder of a security guard. He was sentenced to death.”

Robert Seth Hayes

Birthday: October 15

“After the assassination of Martin Luther King and the social upheaval which followed it, Robert Seth Hayes joined the Black Panther Party, working in the Party’s free medical clinics and free breakfast programs. Like many other activists, Seth was forced underground by FBI and police repression of the Panther movement. Once underground, Seth joined the Black Liberation Army. In 1973, following a shootout with police, Seth was arrested and convicted of the murder of a New York City police officer, and, while maintaining his innocence to this day, sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Imprisoned for nearly forty years, Seth has long since served his sentence. Seth first came up for parole in 1998, but prison officials have refused to release him, focusing on his involvement with the Black Panther Party and his knowledge as to the whereabouts of Assata Shakur and not his conduct while imprisoned. While in prison, Seth has worked as a librarian, pre release advisor, and AIDS counselor, mentoring younger prisoners and continuing to struggle for his people.”

Ruchell Magee

Birthday: March 17

“Commonly regarded as the longest held political prisoner in the U.S., Ruchell Magee has been imprisoned since 1963. He was politicized in prison and participated in the August 7, 1970 Marin County Courthouse Rebellion— the attempted liberation of political prisoner [and Black Panther] George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers by Jackson’s younger brother Jonathan. Magee was seriously injured in the incident and subsequently pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping. He was sentenced in 1975 to life in prison and has been denied parole numerous times.”

Jalil Muntaqim

Birthday: October 18

“Jalil became affiliated with the Black Panther Party at age 18. Less than 2 months before his 20th birthday he was captured with Albert Nuh Washington in a midnight shootout with San Francisco police. He was subsequently charged with a host of revolutionary activities including the assassination of two police in New York City, and is currently serving a 25 years to life sentence in New York State. His case is known as the New York 3 case as his co-defendants include Nuh and Herman Bell. He was also implicated in the San Francisco 8 case, and pled guilty to a lesser offense. His next parole hearing is scheduled for 2016.”

Kojo Bomani Sababu

“Kojo Bomani Sababu is a New Afrikan Prisoner of War, currently serving a 55 year sentence for actions with the Black Liberation Army and attempted prison escape with Puerto Rican Independista Oscar López Rivera. Sababu was convicted of one count of conspiracy for an alleged escape plan that included the use of rockets, hand grenades, and a helicopter.”

Kamau Sadiki

Birthday: February 19

“Kamau Sadiki is a former member of the Black Panther Party and was convicted of a 30-year old murder case of a Fulton County Police Officer found shot to death in his car outside a service station.”

Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Birthday: August 8

“In 1987 Dr. Shakur was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment for his role in the Black Liberation Movement. In March 1982, Dr. Shakur and 10 others were indicted by a federal grand jury under a set of U.S. conspiracy laws called Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws. These conspiracy laws were ostensibly developed to aid the government in its prosecution of organized crime figures; however, they have been used with varying degrees of success against revolutionary organizations. Dr. Shakur was charged with conspiracy and participation in the Black Liberation Army, a group that carried out actual and attempted expropriations from several banks. Eight incidents were alleged to have occurred between December 1976 to October 1981. In addition, he was charged with participation in the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur, who is now in exile in Cuba. After five years underground, Dr. Shakur was arrested on February 12, 1986. While he was on the street, Dr. Shakur challenged the use of methadone as a tool of recovery for addicts. He believed in natural remedies instead and, based on those beliefs, founded the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America. Many people credit Shakur with saving their lives. Dr. Shakur has worked to free political prisoners and to expose government abuses against political organizers. While in prison, he has struggled to create peace between rival gangs.”

  1. scott crow, Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective (Oakland: PM Press, 2011), 77.
  2. Adrian Wood & Nutan Rajguru, Panther: The Black Rebellion, Socialist Alternative,
  3. John Clark, “Power to the Community: The Black Panthers' Living Legacy of Grassroots Organization”
  4. Sam Farber, "The Black Panthers, Reconsidered," Against the Current, 1996, retrieved from Marxists Internet Archive,
  5. Andrew Cornell, Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016), 253.
  6. Farber, "The Black Panthers."
  7. Black Anarchism: A Reader, Black Rose Anarchist Federation, 2016, Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz, edited by Fred Ho and Quincy Saul (Oakland: PM Press, 2013).
  8. Mumia Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party (Cambridge: South End Press, 2004), 65.
  9. Aaron Leonard and Conor Gallagher, "The Case of Richard Aoki: Berkeley Radical, Black Panther, FBI Informant," Jacobin, 26 August 2018,
  10. Mike Harman, "Everything you ever wanted to know about tankies, but were afraid to ask," Libcom, 8 March 2018,
  11. Abu Jamal, We Want Freedom, 7.
  12. "Huey newton introduces Revolutionary Intercommunalism," Libcom,
  13. Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, “Anarchism and the Black Revolution” in Black Anarchism: A Reader By Black Rose Anarchist Federation, 66.
  14. Clark “Power to the Community.”
  15. “The Ten-Point Program,” Marxist Internet Archive,
  16. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 6, 70-71.
  17. crow, Black Flags and Windmills, 76.
  18. Cornell, Unruly Equality, 253.
  19. Roots of Change, "Food Justice & Racism in the Food System," accessed 11 October 2021,
  20. Clark, “Power to the Community.”
  21. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 67.
  22. Clark, “Power to the Community.”
  23. See Common Ground Collective.
  24. crow, Black Flags and Windmills, 77.
  25. Michael McCanne, "The Panthers and the Patriots", Jacobin, May 2017,
  26. Safiya Bukhari-Alston, “On the Question of Sexism in the Black Panther Party,” Anarchist Panther,
  27. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 163.
  28. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 161.
  29. Ashanti Alston, “The Panthers, the Black Liberation Army and the struggle to free all political prisoners and prisoners of war,” Libcom, Rashad Shabazz, “Black militancy: notes from the underground,” Libcom,
  30. “Black Liberation Army,” Wikipedia, Accessed 05 February 2017,
  31. Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret War Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Boston: South End Press, 1990), 63.
  32. the stimulator, “The Revolution has Come,” It's The End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine, 24:18, 17 October 2016,
  33. Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 49.
  34. Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 49.
  35. Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 49-50.
  36. Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 51.
  37. Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 71-73.
  38. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 120-121.
  39. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 211-212.
  40. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 216.
  41. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 208.
  42. Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 224.
  43. Liberation or Gangersterism
  44. Huey Newton, “Huey on Anarchists and Individualists as Related to Revolutionary Struggle and the Black Liberation Movement”, 1 March 1968, in Essays From the Minister of Defense, Black Panther Party,
  45. Murray Bookchin, “Anarchy and Organization: A Letter to the Left,” Anarchist Panther, Reprinted from New Left Notes, 15 January 1969,