Patch #142All Power to the People
by Roz Payne
An old standby image from the Black Panthers; an African American civil rights and self-defense organization, active within the United States in the late 1960s. Founded in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in October 1966, the organization initially espoused a doctrine of armed resistance to societal oppression in the interest of African American justice, though its objectives and philosophy changed radically throughout the party's existence. As the organization's leaders passionately espoused socialist doctrine, the party's black nationalist reputation attracted an ideologically diverse membership base. The group was founded on the principles of its Ten-Point Program, a document that called for "Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace," as well as exemption from military service that would utilize African Americans to "fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized by the White racist government of America." While firmly grounded in black nationalism, and begun as an organization that accepted African American membership exclusively, the party reconsidered itself as it grew to national prominence and became an iconic representative of the counterculture revolutions of the 1960s. The Black Panthers ultimately condemned black nationalism as "black racism", and became more focused on socialism without exclusivity, instituting a variety of community programs to alleviate poverty and illness among the communities they deemed most needful of aid, or most neglected by the American government. While the Party retained its all-black membership, they recognized that different communities (those they deemed oppressed by the American government) needed to organize around their own set of issues and encouraged alliances with these organizations.
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