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Same Old Black Panthers
The dropping of charges by District Attorney Eric Holder against members of the so called “New Black Panther Party,” observed on video in their uniforms and carrying police batons “discouraging” white voters and chasing away Republican monitors at the time of the 2008 election in Philadelphia, is the most blatant outrageous example of an administration committed to total abandonment of the principles on which this nation WAS built and finally achieved a generation ago with the passage of civil rights legislation and first and foremost, protection of voters at the polls to cast their ballot. It is proof, if any more were needed, that Barak Obama’s electoral campaign was a fraud and that instead of a color blind society we are in a new age where the administration relies on pandering to minorities to ensure its survival.
It didn’t surprise me that apart from Fox News, this item has not been reported at all by the New York Times and major network media except for interviews of the New Black Panther Party representatives accusing Fox News of “scare tactics.” In these interviews, pains are taken to convince the audience that the New Black Panther Party has nothing to do with the “old Black Panthers” founded in 1966 in Oakland by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton with its explicit doctrine calling not just for protection of African Americans from “police brutality” but a passionate espousal of communist (Mao variety) ideology and Black Nationalism.
Watching the news on t.v. a few nights ago brought back my own confrontation with the Black Panthers then at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (circa 1970-71) where I was a graduate student and the similar total cowardice and neglect of their responsibility by University administration officials to protect their students on the campus. I attended a showing of the political cult film “Battle of Algiers” glorifying the terrorism of the FLN in their fight against French Colonialism (nevertheless, the largest number of victims were Muslims who refused to cooperate with the FLN). I believe, if memory does not fail me, that the event was also in support of Angela Davis, who was then trying to run for political office in California. After the showing of the film (the reason I had attended the event), several uniformed members of the Black Panther Party stood on the stage and posted several of their colleagues at the rear of the auditorium barring exit from the auditorium.
When I and several other students got up to leave. The uniformed “chairman” on stage (dressed in exactly the same get-up as the “new Black Panthers” but minus the batos, who barred entrance to the polling booths in Philadelphia in the 2008 election), loudly proclaimed “Nobody is to leave!”
I immediately shouted back that I had come to watch the film and had no interest in the rest of the event and intended to leave and that nobody was going to prevent me. This produced a cheer by another dozen or so students who followed me to the exits where the uniformed “monitors” looked doubtful about how to prevent us from leaving. I was prepared to use force but was very grateful that the leader on stage “relented” and gave orders to his henchmen to step aside and “let the fascist pigs pass.”
This was an event in which no one from the administration was present but my attempt to protest the lack of any supervision by the University the next day was met with the official response that I did not have “proof” of my allegations (unless I could contact others who were present and could verify my accusations). This was the line taken by a university that continues to call itself a great liberal institution of higher learning dedicated to education and the promotion of equality, harmony, tolerance and diversity, etc., etc. (just like the Obama administration today and its anemic Department of Justice under Eric Holder).
Norman Berdichevsky (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1974)