Huey P Newton
Reading the original works of revolutionary writers means getting around and past all the commentators and analysts and academic secondary writers who would want to tell their readers what to think of the primary sources, usually without offering more than a few short quotations from any primary source.
Consequently, reading the original works is apt to result in a re-evaluation, either upwards, or downwards.
In the case of Dr Huey P Newton and The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense which Newton co-founded with Bobby Seale in October 1966, and of which Newton was the main ideologue, the re-evaluation is definitely upwards.
In the early days of the BPP, Newton was the “Minister of Defense” while Eldridge Cleaver became the “Minister of Information” for the party. This made sense insofar as the BPP was for Defence, and so Defence was the senior position. But in practice, Newton was still the thinker of the BPP. Cleaver was only interested in armed struggle. But Cleaver was often seen as the mouthpiece, until he fled to Algeria in 1968. Cleaver ended up as a supporter of the right wing of the US Republican Party.
The BPP was under constant attack, mainly as a consequence of the activities of COINTELPRO, a part of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), organised to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" political targets of which most were black or communist organisations.
‘COINTELPRO began in 1956 and was initially designed to "increase factionalism, cause disruption and win defections" inside the Communist Party U.S.A. (CPUSA),’ says Wiikipedia.
In short, there were political conflicts within the BPP, and between the BPP and other organisations, which had a real basis; and there were other disagreements and conflicts, even armed conflicts resulting in many deaths, that were the consequence of US government action against a political party, the BPP.
This is the USA and how it works. Some say it has changed. Some say it has not changed.
The attached document (also linked for download) shows Huey Newton to have been a sophisticated political thinker with theory, strategy and tactics that were fitted to the times and the circumstances. He promoted a Ten-Point Plan that, as he said, was “not revolutionary in itself, nor is it reformist. It is a survival program.” And he proposed a classless society and a world that would be communist.
It seems clear that Huey Newton was not a terrorist and that he had every intention of helping to organise the oppressed black people of the USA into primary mass organisations for their survival and self-defence. As such, he was going to be more effective than any terrorist. The BPP was a serious political party. It is surprising to read about such things existing in the USA, but of course it is possible, and it has always been possible.
To download the Huey P. Newton Reader (55MB PDF), Click Here.
The Dr Huey P Newton Foundation web site is at http://www.blackpanther.org/.