The rapid rise and fall of the Black Panthers

1. Circa 1970, “43 percent of blacks under 21 years of age [have]…a great respect for the [Black Panther Party].”  Many thousands of young black people joined the party.

2. The North Vietnamese “discussed releasing POWs in exchange for the release of Panthers from U.S. jails.”

3. Algeria granted the Panthers national diplomatic status and an embassy building of their own.

4. By mid-1972, the Party “was basically a local Oakland community organization once again.”

5. The Party formally closed its last office in 1982.

That is all from Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, pp.2-3.  Here is my previous post about the Black Panthers.


An excellent, neglected book about institutional racism is walter williams' "the state against blacks." Minimum wage laws and occupational licensing keep poor blacks locked out of jobs. Other great reads are d. eric schansberg's "poor policy," william tucker's "the excluded americans," jonathan levine's "zoned out," and don shoup's "the high cost of free parking." Zoning, licensing, and min wage laws are a war on the poor.

These things are stupid and institutional but they're not racist.

You know, when the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University Williams, who is also a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh, decries something as racist, the odds are extremely good that it is, actually, racist. ( )

But why should anyone take Prof. William's words at face value? After all, the odds of him having any personal experience of American racism are probably about the same as anyone else who looks like he does.

You know, when the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University Williams, who is also a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh, decries something as racist, the odds are extremely good that it is, actually, racist.

The odds are very good you'd insult him in any other circumstances.

The odds are also very good that Williams (who is a capable performer) is performing.

You haven't noticed the essentially total lack of mention of GMU econ dept. chairs Karen Vaugh or Walter E. Williams or Donald Boudreaux, all three of whom I've dealt with professionally (in one case, in two different capacities)?

Maybe that is because regardless of their politics or their place in GMU, none of them begin to approach the sort of behavior of people like S. Fred Singer or Dean Manne?

Prof. Williams likely remains one of the more interesting people of the GMU faculty, regardless of what one thinks of him and his politics. And no one has ever said his classes were boring. However, to say he had a reputation as a prima donna 2 1/2 decades ago is likely nothing compared to the size of that reputation today. Humility has never been something he felt need to be applied to himself. At least in my personal experience, years before he became a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh.

But if it makes you feel better - his politics in terms of how society should be run is about as awful as one would expect from anyone associated with the GMU econ dept. That he made a very good living (though likely not at Prof. Cowen's level) from his politics merely means that ensuring that one's politics and one's opportunity to make money are properly aligned is the sort of banal observation that public choice is famous for.

none of them begin to approach the sort of behavior of people like S. Fred Singer or Dean Manne?

I gather you didn't like the reference they gave you.

The lack of self-awareness here is quite amusing. Public Choice is stupid, Mercatus affiliated faculty are stupid, this blog is stupid...oh, and that Walter Williams is really lacking in humility.

Keep going, guy. Tell us more about your personal experiences and opinions!

'I gather you didn’t like the reference they gave you.'

I never worked for either man, and the idea of asking either of them for a reference for anything is hilarious. The thought of actually being involved helping either (S. Fred Singer's future wife handled that in the GMU PR dept. at the time, and we all laughed in Fenwick about how Manne would lose his job at GMU years before it happened, for the reason we all agreed would be most likely) does not burden my soul in the least.

'Tell us more about your personal experiences and opinions!'

I just did - though oddly, at no point did I mention the Mercatus Center (after my time at GMU, and a decade after my experience working with Prof. Williams - why yes, I knew him before he was nationally syndicated) or any faculty associated with it. Admittedly, you might know whether Prof. Williams has any connection to the Mercatus Center, as I cannot be bothered to check. No reference to this web site, and as for Prof. Williams - well, you don't know anybody who is familiar with him, do you? (Art Deco actually seems to be acquainted with Prof. Williams, at least.)

But you got me - the idea that public choice economics is stupid is something I can get wholeheartedly behind, mainly because which American who isn't familiar with the works of Twain, Rogers, and Mencken could possibly believe that politicians ever act in anything but their own interest?

To be racist in modern America something only has to have a disparate impact. All of those things have a disparate impact. Therefore they are racist.

I don't think the minimum wage even has that. If the minimum wage were eliminated a lot of Blacks would see their wages decline over time. This would have a "disparate impact."

Very few people of any description are paid minimum wage.

Yet oddly, all kinds of people in the U.S. are paid enough to be eligible for food stamps - including, in the past, members of the American military.

Which has a bit of history - 'CNN Money reported yesterday that the use of federal food benefits, also called Food Stamps or SNAP benefits, has increased at military commissaries. It was an interesting article, but it missed a major piece of information. The military services offer an allowance specifically designed to lift the income of a military family above the eligibility for food stamps. Any active duty family who is utilizing food stamps has failed to take full advantage of the benefits being offered by the military services. You should know about this allowance because you may know someone who could benefit.

The Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) was created in 2001 in response to reports about service families requiring federal food benefits. Eligibility for FSSA is based upon the total household income and the total household size. Eligibility amounts vary depending on your duty station, as there are different rates for the contiguous 48 states, Hawaii, and Alaska/overseas.

The FSSA is designed to raise a military member’s household income to 130% of the federal poverty level for their area. Service members who are eligible for BAS, and meet gross income guidelines as determined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), should complete the application process. If certified as eligible, the service member will receive up to $1100 per month in FSSA. The FSSA is non-taxable and is in addition to all other pays and allowances. To apply for the FSSA, utilize this online application link.'

News flash, p_a: nineteen year-olds beginning a career with no education and no skills can’t really earn enough money to support a stay at home wife and three kids without taxpayer assistance – even in the military!

Should the taxpayers not help people who make poor choices, such as starting a family before having the skill set necessary to earn a decent living for that family?

If they agree to kill on our behalf, sure why not? This is the thrust of most armies in human history pay people you make dangerous to not be dangerous to you. Thinking that judging them on their life choices and finding them wanting is out of touch with reality. It always suprises me when certain anarchistic sentiments forget the brutal calculus of running an empire.

Have you not looked at the history of MW and licensing laws?

The Panthers were a subset of hippie culture. Nobody believes in that sort of idealism anymore.

Why did the Black Panthers decline so rapidly? Perhaps you should ask Alex Rackley, Kathleen Smith, or Betty van Patter? Perhaps they failed because the communities in which they lived came to see them as just other violent street gang?

Yes, police responded with great violence. But maybe, just possibly, the communities they claimed to support and be supported by (on the Maoist model of guerrillas swimming in a sea of peasants) came to fear and resent them and their violence to the extent that they were perceived as more of a liability and threat than as a revolutionaries offering something of value?

They bore as much resemblance to actual hippies as inner-city gangbangers bear to a Goth chick that might have been played by Ally Sheedy.

Panthers were generally thought of as a targeted group by federal forces, and successful suppressed by Federal forces. This isn't new to that community to be intimidated out of certain movements black commerce was checked in the Tulsa race riots. As victims of oppression these efforts whether real or imagined were familiar to the Panther-sympathizing community. A loss of public faith killed the partisan movement. Its hard for Americans to see outside of the racist language but observed dispassionately barring language of Gang-Bangers! and such silly juvenile American racial color the collapse of the Panthers isn't surprising at all. It just isn't exceptional that a minority partisan movement of a poor ethnic group rising and falling in a flare up in any country except for the early these super-special U.S.A. because we believe that we have to be super-special in all of our occurrences. We are not. We are only special in how polite that flare up was considering the history. And gladly. Reagan would of had to get really ugly. They would of been ethnic cleansing once he got into the White House and Guerrillas chasing each other of both "colors" all over the mid-west by the late 80's.

From Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers by Tom Wolfe (1970):

"The willingness to be violent was a way of saying we are serious, we intend to go all the way, this is a revolution. But this was a long way from the notion that all black militants in the ghetto were ready to be violent, to be revolutionaries. They weren't. A lot of whites seemed to think all the angry young men in the ghettos were ready to rise up and follow the Black Panthers at a moment's notice. Actually the Panthers had a complicated status in the ghettos in San Francisco. You talked to almost any young ace on the street, and he admired the Panthers. He looked up to them. The Panthers were stone courageous. They ripped off the white man and blew his mind and fucked him around like nobody as ever done it. And so on. And yet as an organization the Panthers hardly got a toehold in the ghettos in San Francisco, even though their national headquarters were just over the Bay Bridge in Oakland. Whites always seemed to think they had the ghetto's leaders identified and cataloged, and they were always wrong. ... The Panthers were on a very special trip. The Panthers were fighting The Pig. And the Pig was fighting the Panthers. If you joined the Panthers, you had to be ready to fight the police, because that was the trip you'd be on. One of the main things you stood to get out of it was a club up side your head, or a bullet. If you were a man who had really been worked over by the police, then you could relate to that and you were ready for that fight. The Panthers were like the Muslims in that respect. But as bad as things were in the ghettos, there weren't but so many aces who were ready to play it all or nothing that way."

Speaking as an Eastern European, you guys have a problem and Ferguson and Baltimore are symptoms. It's not white racism that's the problem, though white passivity is a part of the problem. When the black elites (especially intellectuals) gain their cred by spouting this dreck, then the entire culture is a problem that demands a solution.

Dr. Kamau Kambon, former visiting professor of African Studies at NC State University, made the following remarks at “Black Media Forum on the Image of Black Americans in Mainstream Media.” This was a program presented on October 14th at Howard University and broadcast by C-SPAN. “And then finally I want to say that we need one idea, and we’re not thinking about a solution to the problem … And the one idea is, how we are going to exterminate white people because that in my estimation is the only conclusion I have come to. We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem … [We need to] get very serious and not be diverted from coming up with a solution to the problem and the problem on the planet is white people.”

Chancellor Williams (Afrocentrist and author of The Destruction of Black Civilization) — “The necessary re-education of Blacks and a possible solution of the racial crisis can begin … only when Blacks fully realize this central fact to their lives: the white man is their Bitter Enemy.” [Phil Collier and David Horowitz, The Race Card, 1997, p. 104.]

Amiri Baraka (poet laureate of the state of New Jersey) “When I die, the consciousness I carry I will to black people. May they pick me apart and take the useful parts, the sweet meat of my feelings. And leave the bitter bullshit rotten white parts alone. (from his classic “Leroy”) [John McAlpin, “NJ Gov. Seeks Authority to Fire Poet,” AP, Oct. 6, 2002.]

William Raspberry (black columnist)- “It is hard to think of whites-only groups formed for the benefit of their members that could gain our approval. Perhaps an organization of white LA police officers formed to help its members improve their attitudes towards minorities … It’s always illegitimate for white men to organize as white men.” [William Raspberry, “Dubiously Exclusive,” Washington Post, Nov. 24, 1995.]

Miles Davis (black jazz musician) “If somebody told me I had only one hour to live, I’d spend it choking a white man. I’d do it nice and slow.” [Miles Davis Can’t Shake Boyhood Racial Abuse, Jet March 25, 1985.]

Eldridge Clever (former Black Panther leader on why he raped white women) “Rape was an insurrectionist act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women …” [Eldridge Clever, Soul on Ice, McGraw-Hill, 1968, p.14.]

Khalid Abdul Muhammed (former assistant to Louis Farrakhan) (on what South African blacks should do to any whites who refuse to leave South Africa): “We kill the women. We kill the babies. We kill the blind. We kill the cripples. We kill them all … When you get through killing them all, go to the goddamn graveyard and kill them a-goddamn-gain because they didn’t die hard enough.” [November 29, 1993 speech at Kean College in Union, New Jersey.]

Mary Frances Berry (current head of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) — “Civil rights laws were not passed to protect the rights of white men and do not apply to them.” [Civil Rights Under Reagan, San Francisco, ICS Press, 1991, p. 141.]

Malcolm X — “The death of over 120 white people is a very beautiful thing.” [Speech in Los Angeles on June 3, 1962 upon learning of a plane crash. He also said on numerous occasions, “The white man is the devil.”]

Rev. James Cone — “What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world.” [Quoted in David Horowitz, Hating Whitey, Spence Publishing, 1999, p. 44.]

It is hard to imagine two more dissimilar peoples in the same polity. For the ethnic minority, it is life as a conquered, at best patronized, people. QED, electing one of their number as President, giving them their own cities to run, welfare transfer payments, or paying a select few millions of dollars in sports and entertainment does not solve the problem.

We have been paying for Southern planters' venality over one and a half centuries, and will continue to do so. Learn from our example: there's no such thing as cheap labor. Automated harvesters are much cheaper.

electing one of their number as President, giving them their own cities to run,


Obama's connection to the domestic black population is that he married into it. So did May Britt.

No one 'gave' blacks cities to run. Demographic shifts in metropolitan settlements (and the disappearance of municipal annexation as a practice) generated municipalities wherein they were a majority.

Federal judges and desegregation of schools?

'No one ‘gave’ blacks cities to run.'

Well, in the very specific circumstances relating to the District of Columbia, it would not be inaccurate to say that Congress gave DC to its residents to run, the majority of whom were blacks. Not that the residents actually run DC without Congress's explicit approval, but DC is no Bantustan.


That last line is very catchy. Fortunately, Eastern Europeans are not a target for migration, unfortunately they are a source, exporting not only the undesirables you see on TV, but also the best and the brightest and a lot of average law abiding joes. However, I am shaken by the madness of the immigration and asylum policies of Western Europeans, especially the French and the Swedes. They are in the process of electing a new people while silencing the current one who is anti-immigration, as is the natural impulse of high trust, homogenous societies.

There are a mess of professional motormouths and lumpenintellectuals with a very bad attitude and given to making exhibits of it.

What does that have to do with Mr. Washington at your local post office, or Miss Jefferson, CNA at St. John's Home?

What's the point? Some black people have said some incredibly stupid & hateful things at some point? Hardly surprising.

The point, not that you actually need it explained to you, is that whites, who inevitably are the ones actually in charge, celebrate such people, which, again as your playing-dumb ass well knows, has real consequences for real people. That problem our Eastern European friend mentioned? It's you.

The problem is that, aside from a few intellectuals who are pretty well known outside the US, the black intelligentsia exists solely to deal with issues of blackness, while being elevated beyond what their merits would warrant in a color-blind and non-racist society. When the issues are running out, new ones are invented and trivial ones are magnified. What is also evident in what I quoted above is that all of these people were given podiums from which to spout politically correct hate - professorships, access to politicians, leadership roles, credentials possible only through affirmative action and white abasement. Positions of prestige in societies, wherein you hold a megaphone, are naturally scarce and rely on consuming a scarce resource - "oxygen in the room" and attention span. You validate these individuals whenever you accept them to teach future generations of leaders or professionals (who are indebted for life for this dubious education) and whenever you handsomely reward them for the audience their hate-mongering brings, or the liberal (American style liberal) validation it brings to their White supporters or minority allies. This rat race to victimhood and unearned privilege is destructive not just for society, but for individual people, who have to perform crimethink or accept (self)flagellation for things they have never done. And, believe me, I know what Orwell was talking about.


On the bright side, I don't think contemporary blacks pay much attention to the black intelligentsia.

I chose not to repost them because I find them obscene, but the link I posted also has some ideas from a noted black psychiatrist. Using (abusing I would say) the language of the despised oppressor, he makes out a case for whites desiring to become blacks because they are the superior race. You might dismiss him as another crackpot, but bad ideas win out all the time when they are presented in elevated terms by a figure with the presumption of expertise and wisdom. The rationalization of hatred for whites, of their inferiority, of the necessity of their destruction, spreads from the lower rungs of society (the hateful losers or the simply racist) to the winners and the authority figures, even as whites deny having a cultural and ethnic enemy in their midst. It is the building of a case against a people, as surely as anything that happened in my neck of the woods. A recent post on MR said that rarely do we understand the gravity of events as they are unfolding. Your presumption that people will exercise common historical sense, personal judgment and fairness and so on to see these people in the same terms you see them (incredibly stupid and hateful) is, at best, naive.

Some of those hateful / stupid things you quoted were said almost 50 years ago. Yet I see no systematic nor successful attempt by blacks to rape & pillage whites or exterminate them from the face of the earth.

Ergo, I think people have better common sense & judgement than you give them credit for. Even black people.

As an aside, the most notorious extermination attempt of the last century was perpetrated by whites on other whites.

There will never be another hippie movement again, because young people in America will never be that optimistic about their futures agaIn on a mass scale.

What we will get is increasing localized anger and hatred, because the American Dream was a lie.

"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

You mean White small-c conservatives will never have the electoral clout to create such an open, free and prosperous society where everything seemed possible. The future now is, at best, Bladerunner but without the robots.

Or, as I put it, Blade Runner but without the Han doing genetic engineering in sidewalk bazaars.

Where everything seemed possible if you were white

Waaahhhhh, the American Dream was a lie, Waaahhhh!

Young people will continue to believe whatever they are told. If they are told to be optimistic, they will be optimistic. If they are told to wear tie-dye and take drugs, they will do that, provided they are told in the right way.

Evangelical youth ministers wish you were right.

Told by high status people.

the American Dream was a lie.

What does that even mean?


The New York Times Op-Ed pages told me that because of the Republican majority in Congress, the American dream has been dead since Newt Gingrich was born, and lots of other stuff too. Ya got it dummy?

Funny, conservatives - at least the ones spouting stuff online - are as cynical about the "American Dream" as anyone else. But because distrust of American Dream rhetoric is the province of the left, dissing it is a signal to conservatives that you're not one of them. So they end up kinda default hesitant boosters of what all think is a kinda silly notion.

It's a lie now. It didn't used to be.

Never say never. You have no idea what will happen in the next 100 years, let alone the next 1000, and neither do it.

4. By mid-1972, the Party “was basically a local Oakland community organization once again.”

In 1971 the Black Panthers split with Eldridge Cleaver falling out with Huey Newton. They soon started murdering each other's supporters and Newton expelled Cleaver and the entire international wing of the movement.

So their decline is hardly surprising. Mind you everyone knew they were thuggish torturers and murderers by this stage. That may not have hurt their recruiting.

"thuggish torturers and murderers by this stage"

"by this stage"? They were always "thuggish torturers and murderers", At least the leaders, some of the followers were probably just naive.

Who then are the "New Black Panthers", some of whom have been documented intimidating voters, etc? Is it really and Rise and Fall, pr a Rise, Fall, and Transformation. At least it shows that their strategy has changed from violence to electoral fraud.

As San Francisco housing prices rise into the stratosphere, I imagine lots of people will be eyeballing that other city just across the Bay. Then we'll get to test Sailer's hypothesis on the Panthers' hometown: black political violence correlates to the threat of displacement. But I don't know if his hypothesis explains Hispanics displacing blacks from LA.

The New Black Panther Party is an unrelated organization that Huey Newton's followers unsuccessfully sued to try to prevent them from using the name. It also has a few thousand members total, maybe, if that.

They're just making sure everyone has their ID, as required to vote at your local polling station, after waiting in the extra-special very long line just for where minorities live.


DId the CIA break up the SDS, Promise Keepers, and the 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan as well?

Also, Cato Institute.

A fad organization rather like the Students for a Democratic Society. The SDS went from 2,000 members to 100,000 members to 2,000 members all in the space of about four years. A more recent (and benign) example would be Promise Keepers.

SDS turned from a mass movement to a "revolutionary vanguard" when freaks like Ayers and Dorhn took over. The misguided but non-violent moved away as quickly as the scales fell from their eyes.

It was actually the 'Progressive Labor Party' cadres who took over.

The PLP caused a schism. The Weathermen faction had already taken control of SDS before that and retained control of the national office afterwards.

The Panthers are just a black version of the KKK and deserve the same derision.


But they were so chic and cool! Those berets!

Which leads to the broader question - does black power deserve the same derision as white power? To get concrete - is a black power salute at the 1968 Olympics as worthy of derision as a Hitlergruß at the 1936 Olympics?

I'm confident you are up for this one, though let me help with the correct spelling from a German keyboard - white power über alles.

Pretty much. The 'black power' mess was always an obnoxious performance completely irrelevant to the black population's actual problems.

Well, you're the expert on black people's problems.

Maybe Black community members realized that alienating their sugar daddies aka White Liberals with racist threats of revolution wasn't such a good idea.

It's not alienation, it's a mugging.

Ah, the good old days, when the NRA supported gun control laws.

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