Now as we did mention the FBI was targeting the Black Panther Party and believed them to be a dangerous organization. Now I know some folks might be thinking, “Krish you did also mention that they were pretty aggressive towards the cops and such, so this would make sense”, but the FBI wasn’t involved when Copwatch was put into place! They were harassing Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. The FBI set their minds to destroy the Black Panthers when they started their non-violent, Survival Programs!
After his arrest in 1966, Bobby Seale was released from Prison 3 years later. Upon his return to the party, he decided to implement more community based programs. He called them the Survival Programs, which had lasting effects in our country’s history. These Survival Programs fell in line with the 10 points that the Panthers believed in and were necessary because the government wasn’t taking care of any of these communities!
One of the major things the Black Panthers did was enact Medicare For All within their communities. They did this by having Dr. Tobert Small talk to pharmaceutical companies to donate medicine. Doctors and nurses volunteered at the George Jackson Free Clinic to ensure that people would have the check ups they needed despite their incomes.
The wild part of this is that Dr. Small was not a Party member. He was a good samaritan that saw what the Black Panther Party wanted to do and decided to help. Bobby Seale put him in charge to test as many black folks for Sickle Cell which was a disease plaguing the community. The government had less than $100k in their budget allocated for this. And to be fair to the government, they had to murder Asians in Vietnam and that was important because Communism, which has never actually set foot in America and that’s why it’s so dangerous. It doesn’t even need feet to destroy freedom!
You know for how much we are afraid of the Reds in America, it’s a wonder that we keep that color as part of the flag. And for as racist as America’s history is, I’m surprised it’s not just 3 shades of white; Eggshell, Alabaster and Klan.
Now the media was obsessed with the Panthers and their look. They looked bad ass and have become iconic to what a revolutionary is supposed to look like. The leather jacket, the berets, the afros and Bobby Seale took advantage of that to shine a light on the Survival Programs.
Self Proclaimed Dreamer, John Lennon invited Bobby Seale and a few other Panther Party leaders on National Television to talk about their Survival Programs they put into place, which led to President Richard Marion Nixon signing a legislation to find the cure for Sickle Cell! And lest we forget, the Panthers were basically enacting Medicare For All here! And this means that Medicare For All can work, but it’s just out of sheer callousness & greed from both parties that continue to block it.
Their most famous Survival program was the Free Breakfast for kids program. The Panthers noticed that kids were more fatigued and distracted in school, which came from a lack of nutrition in the morning. So they decided to make sure that all the kids in their community would be fed. On the first day they fed 11 kids and by the end of the first week they fed 135!
By the end of 1969 they were serving 20,000 meals across 19 communities. They did this by teaching the leaders of every Black Panther Party chapter on how to initiate these Survival Programs in every community. As former Panther Bill X. Jennings points out “Every office was supposed to send 2 people so people could learn how the program worked and start one in your area”. And again, we see how this idea was white-washed as the Sith from Star Wars took this idea for nefarious deeds! The Sith basically gentrified the Rule of Two!
This program transformed a lot of things. Men were in the kitchen cooking for children in the 60s and 70s! Women were holding guns and leading the charge in these programs. They broke gender norms! The image of a revolutionary went from the leather jackets & berets to an apron & a spatula! Bill X. Jennings calls this “one of the biggest and baddest things” they ever did. The Black Panthers are living proof that kindness, compassion and community are the real revolutions!
In 1975, 6 years after the origin of the Panther’s Survival Programs, Nixon instituted the breakfast program in every public school in America and that’s a direct result of the Black Panther Party! This wasn’t the only thing they were doing! They enacted Free Ambulance Rides, Free Dental check ups, free bussing to prisons to see incarcerated loved ones, free clothing & shoe programs! Hell they even took kids off the yards of the elderly and shook their fists at them. It was a variation on the “Black Power” symbol. It said “Black Power, but get the fuck off my lawn you whipper-snapper!”
This is where the FBI comes in! As the success of these programs designed to help the American populace who were ignored by the government grew, so did J. Edgar Hoover’s paranoia. There was a contest between Hoover and Nixon on who could be the more paranoid, racist, wrinkly old white man! J. Edgar Hoover said these Survival Programs “represents the best and most influential activity going for the BPP and, as such, is potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for”. That’s right folks, the greatest threat to the nation was kids with full bellies and medicine!
To break that down a little. J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI said a positive thing for low income communities was a threat to the state and these programs are what the Black Panther Party stands for and they have to destroy that! So essentially they’re saying they’re going to run a covert counter-intelligence coup against the American people! And that is the most accurate word for the FBI, counterintelligence. Because everything in that statement is counter to the intelligence of a well run society and government!
This program was called CoIntelPro, or Counterintelligence…Pro. You guys know how when you get an app, there’s a free version called ‘lite’ and then the full version called ‘pro’. This was basically the full version of Counterintelligence. The lite version was just profusely using the N-Word…and also indiscriminately killing black people on the streets. This Pro version was going to take the Jim Crow cake.
There were 290 Counterintelligence programs and 245 were dedicated to the Black Panthers. That’s 85% of their dumbassery targeted a group that was helping feed kids, take care of a community’s health and help the elderly! And dumbassery is a synonym of counterintelligence so that’s an accurate statement.
To J. Edgar Hoover any type of black organizing was a threat to the status quo. The status quo being over-policed and poor communities of color that don’t say anything when injustice happens in their communities. He wrote that CoIntelPro was set to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit & neutralize the so called “Black Nationalist” movements.
The term neutralize was a feel good word for state sponsored murder! Now this is the type of disruption the Democrats and Republicans can really get behind. If you protest killer cops and disrupt the daily life of complacent Americans you are dubbed a terrorist. But if you imprison or kill organizers by propagandizing the narrative, you’re a valued government official.
The FBI would create suspicion by following Panthers, tap their phone lines, harassing family members and even sending letters of infidelity to loved ones! Every person involved in CoInTelPro was the School’s Hall Monitor that would tell the Principal if they caught you kissing the hallway! These guys were wound up so tight they should be called CoINCELPro!
They used these letters as leverage to create informants. And they were also opportunistic about misdemeanors from young black men! This was to fulfill one of the FBI’s mission statements to destroy the Panthers.
They wanted to “Prevent the appeal of radical political movement on black youth”. Basically they wanted to uncool the revolution, by showing everyone how great life can be if you’re a paranoid, delusional, racist who hasn’t their dick in 30 years.
J. Edgar Hoover took this paranoia and went on National TV proclaiming that the Panthers were a dangerous terrorist organization. You know all those terror organizations and dictators always feeding children, clothing poor people, delivering medicine and helping the elderly cross streets. You guys remember how Al-Qeda was just trying to deliver a plane full of pizza on 9/11 to hard working Americans and got too much pizza grease on the instruments! Those terrorists I tell yah!
This let the cops drop what little civil liberties they were respecting to go guns a blazing to kill Panthers! The FBI manipulated various police departments with tales of Panthers that could transform into literal Black Panthers with a Gatling Gun on their backs! Some of them would also turn into the Tiger from He-Man! Remember the cops started escalating things with the Panthers first and the FBI not only excused this, but fan the flames! This might prove that paranoia is a contagious virus!
The cops not only raided Panther Pads and HQs, but arrested scores of rank and file members. One of the largest examples of this was when the entire Party leadership of the New York City Black Panther Party was arrested on bombing conspiracy charges with no evidence! They became the ‘Panther 21’, because every illegally charged racist crime needs a fun name for the T-Shirts!
There were people trying to raise money to the Panther Defense Funds to pay for legal fees of illegally arrested Panthers. The expenses were so high that the Panthers had to depend on high profile donations like from Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando! After 13 months of trials and re-trails, they were found innocent!
This was part of the full sweep of tactics used by the FBI. They went after the Panthers violently, depleted their people power, depleted their economic resources and hung most them up in litigation so they couldn’t focus on their Survival Programs, which continued to thrive despite the FBI fuckery. They use manipulation to ensure kids would stay hungry! That’s what the FBI represents; starving children!
The craziest element of CoIntelPro was the final part of their mission statement which was to prevent the rise of a black messiah! J. Edgar Hoover was terrified of a Black Messiah that would come forth, speak clearly & eloquently and liberate the working class people against the oppressive government. Usually when we have people speaking of looking for messianic figures we put them into psychiatric care, but in America they are granted a high power job with all the benefits! This notion is why he directed Bobby Seale to be arrested over an anti-war speech in 1969, and worse led to the death of young Fred Hampton.
Fred Hampton at age 20 was the leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party. By age 20 my biggest accomplishment was bonging a beer without crying. Fred Hampton was a magnetic speaker and one of the most accomplished Panthers around! Fred Hampton was working together with Latin and white gangs, dissolving their disputes and bringing them into the fold!
Nothing shrivels a racists dick like solidarity that goes beyond melanin, and J. Edgar Hoover’s dick was going concave! Hoover was afraid that Hampton was the black messiah and so he made his personal bodyguard, William Neal, an informant, tip off the Chicago PD that there were illegal guns in the Panther Pad. Neal gave them the layout of the apartment and the Chicago Police Department murdered Fred Hampton. The media lied about them being violent.
This is what happens when people put down their hatred over melanin content. This is what happens when the community decides it’s going to feed its people, clothe its people and provide all the basic needs and shows a government that has ignored them that we are self sufficient and don’t their shriveled dicks getting our way. The Panthers moved in a peaceful direction and the FBI used the police as a force of violence to run them down!
The Panthers ceased to be in 1982. Huey Newton was getting into drugs and depression. Eldrich Cleaver was running a violent operation from Algeria. The FBI used letters to instigate both of them. The FBI really liked using letter writing campaigns. They were basically like the Civil Rights’ deadliest pen pal. Not just that, but because of the FBI & cops harassing their family, the Panthers isolated themselves to ensure their families safety. The FBI made the revolutionary road a lonely one.
Eventually Bobby Seale distanced himself from the Party as well. He ran for Mayor in Oakland on Panther philosophies and actions! Seale actually increased voter registration because people wanted to vote FOR him instead of against his opponent! Go figure when you run a campaign where you ensure you’ll work for the people, the people want to participate in the election.
There are those that will keep gaslighting society to believe that Socialism in America won’t work. The Black Panthers are proof that it will. They were able to provide healthcare, elder assistance, shelter, food and water to communities that the corporate duopoly forgot. The FBI and the police made the Panthers defend themselves and these community driven programs by taking up arms. They lied and they cheated and unfortunately the American populace fell for it. We were grifted out a better future.
The legacy of the Panthers is not what the media portrays of them. They weren’t violent Black Militants or Cop Killers. The legacy of the Black Panther was in the work of the rank & file to create community, the words of solidarity from Bobby Seale & Fred Hampton, the intellect from Newton and even the sass of Eldrich Cleaver. They exposed the underbelly of the paranoid, conspiratorial, corrupt system in place in every which way. Don’t let their History be written by the bad guys that won.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!