Book Review: From the Bullet to the Ballot: An Unfavorable Review of a Work on the Black Panther Party Bruce A. Dixon

11 December 2013 — Black Agenda Report

Historians are supposed to help us make sense of the world, by illuminating the forces and trends that shape the lives and destinies of ordinary people. But historians in the service of power do something else. Whether carelessly or carefully, they omit and distort to come up with histories that justify today’s establishment as the inheritors of a noble tradition of struggle on the part of ordinary people. It’s time for more people’s histories of our movement, and of the historic Black Panther Party. Regrettably, this is not one of them.

Continue reading

Marshall Eddie Conway talks about COINTELPRO and the Black Panthers By Michael Richardson

15 June, 2010 — SF Examiner


COINTELPRO target Marshall Eddie Conway has been in a Maryland prison 40 years for a crime he denies AFSC photo

Red Emma’s independent bookstore in Baltimore, Maryland recently had a book release event but without a book signing. Fifty people crowded into Red Emma’s to listen to the author they could not see talk about a secret government program, Operation COINTELPRO.

Marshall Eddie Conway, former Minister of Defense for the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panthers, is one of the longest imprisoned targets of Operation COINTELPRO. Jailed forty years for the 1970 murder of a Baltimore policeman. Conway called Red Emma’s bookstore in Baltimore from his cellblock to talk about his new book, The Greatest Threat.

Conway has been confined four decades since his arrest while at work at the Post Office. Conway was charged with the shooting death of a policeman on the basis of a photo identification by another policeman who allegedly saw Conway in the distance at the crime scene the night before his arrest.

No physical evidence linked Conway to the shooting and his primary accuser ended up being an informer cellmate who bought his own freedom by claiming Conway confessed to the crime. Conway has consistently maintained his innocence and objected to his cellmate fearing subsequent perjured testimony

The Greatest Threat details the heady days of revolutionary spirit and the rise of the Black Panthers that led to the subversion of justice by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, led a personal secret war against American political activists and targeted the Black Panthers as the most dangerous group in America. Hoover prodded field agents to ‘disrupt’ the Panthers and break the organization by attacking its leadership.

Hoover’s COINTELPRO campaign was national in scope and eventually became a major priority of the police agency–all in secret.

Conway’s controversial trial resembled a farce with Conway denied his own attorney and often not present in the courtroom. The court-appointed attorney, not of Conway’s choosing, only met with Conway for two brief meetings as part of trial preparation. Conway kept a defiant posture when he was in the courtroom and his fate was sealed with a life sentence.

Conway was able to speak with the Red Emma’s audience for the better part of an hour reflecting on his time in prison and answering questions. Several times the call-in lecture was interrupted and Conway had to call back in from the medium-security cellblock where he is imprisoned.

Proceeds from the sale of the book go to Conway’s legal defense fund.

To listen to Marshall Eddie Conway’s call-in click on link:

Permission granted to reprint

Black Agenda Report 26 May, 2010: Obama Prepares Iran Attack / Rand Paul's Racism / Aiyanna Jones Murder

Iran Apocalypse Soon
Thu, 05/27/2010 – 11:30 – Glen Ford
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The Obama administration’s behavior toward Iran is eerily reminiscent of George Bush’s mobilization for war against Iraq in the half-year before the actual invasion. A recently leaked Pentagon directive and a host of other factors are “consistent with preparations for a general mobilization, as begun against Iraq by the Bush regime in the summer of 2002.”

Freedom Rider: America Kills Peace
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Nothing scares the United States more than the possibility that peace might break out. Turkey and Brazil committed an unforgiveable sin, by finding a way to resolve questions about Iran’s nuclear fuel stocks. The U.S. pushed the agreement aside, preferring to move closer to war – as if that is Washington’s desired result.

Her Name Was Aiyana Jones
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
Rev. Al Sharpton preached that her death was a “breaking point” – but he’s said that too many times before. Even the police execution of a child fails as a catalyst for change. “These issues are the result of a legacy of enslavement which has seemingly permanently inscribed an archetype of Black people as property and predators.”

Click here to download the MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.

Rand Paul Tells On Self and Fellow Tea Partyers
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
It was like pulling teeth, but Tea Party star Rand Paul finally blurted out his core, racist ideology in front of national TV cameras. Property rights trump Black rights, every time. “White supremacy is the connective link that holds the ‘Tea Party’ together – that, and relentless media coverage.”

Click here to download the MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.

New York City Beats Arizona Hands Down in Police Abuse of Citizens
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
New York City – a place imagined as a center of liberality – is a mega-human rights violator, where 8:30pm curfews are enforced to make minority neighborhoods into “ghost towns.” In the Bedford-Stuyvesant section, police “are told to make arrests for incidents they have not seen and probably didn’t happen, all to meet quotas and clear the streets.”

Click here to download the MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.

The Media and the Murder of Aiyanna Jones
by Sikivu Hutchinson
During the same week that CNN aired a program on children’s perception of the race and social values, the Detroit police provided their own lesson on the subject, callously killing a 7 year-old Black girl. Any kid might conclude that Aiyanna Jones was not a valuable person. Certainly, society had treated her as worthless.

The Rise of Rand Paul: Dissecting the Reactionary Right on Civil Rights, the Environment, and Worker Safety
by Anthony DiMaggio
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is credited with “outing” Tea Party champion Rand Paul, winner of the Republican senatorial nomination in Kentucky, as a racist. In point of fact, Paul’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act has long been known. Most of the corporate media chose to cover it up. “While a Lexis Nexis search shows that Rand Paul was mentioned in 66 national newspaper articles from April 25th to May 19th, not a single one mentioned his position on the Civil Rights Act.”

What Really Separates the Tea Party from The Black Panther Party
by Crystal Hayes, the online site targeted at Blacks but owned by the huge Washington Post corporation, recently ran an idiotic piece comparing the Tea Party to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense – an insult to history and a painful affront to the author, the daughter of a Panther political prisoner. “When our history is so carelessly blurred, we do not know the right questions to ask or the right steps to take to rectify the societal ills that plague us today.”

The story of Kamau Marcharia (a.k.a. Robert John Lewis)
by Kevin Alexander Gray
Over decades of fighting to empower Blacks in South Carolina, Kamau Marcharia has made lots of enemies. Marcharia is running for a seat in the state legislature, but his foes are mounting a campaign against a fellow named Robert John Lewis – the guy he used to be.

Israel’s Secret Nuclear Alliance with Racist South Africa
by Stephen Gowans
In the mid-70s, the world’s two pariah states, Israel and South Africa, sought to seal their relationship with a nuclear kiss. A new book claims Israel tried to sell South Africa nuclear-tipped missiles – the price was too high. Israel denies the charge, but Tel Aviv has never told the truth about its atomic arsenal and activities, so why should anyone believe them.

Bruce Dixon: I Remember Fred Hampton

(This article, with minor revisions, was originally published in Black Commentator on December 7, 2004)

Fred HamptonDecember 4, 2008 marks the 39th anniversary of the police executions of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, in Chicago. Bruce Dixon, then a member of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, offers this recollection of Hampton.

I remember Fred Hampton. For the last year of his life, which was the whole time I knew him, he was Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Fred was a big man whose inexhaustible energy, keen insight and passionate commitment to the struggle made him seem even larger still. We called him Chairman Fred. Chairman Fred was murdered by the FBI and Chicago Police Department in the pre-dawn hours of December 4, 1969. He was just 21 years old. Fred’s family and comrades mourned him for a little while and have celebrated his life of struggle, service, intensity and sacrifice ever since.

Continue reading