GLEN FORD—Trump has slunk off the national stage for the time being, but we must remember who made him a contender for president in the first place: the Democrats and their corporate media. As Wikileaks revealed , the Clinton campaign encouraged friendly media to boost Trump’s Republican primary prospects, hoping to set up a straw man that could easily be knocked down in November, 2016. By Election Day, the corporate press had lavished $5 billion in free media on Trump – more than Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and all of Trump’s Republican presidential competitors, combined. If you are desperate to flush the stink of four years of Trump out of your brain, remember who put it there, through constant, daily repetition.
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GLEN FORD—In the latest installment of “The Black and the Powerless,” the usual gaggle of national Black civic organizations are awarded a closed-door meeting with their love-object, president-elect Joe Biden. The civic leaders respectfully requested that the Party protect the voting rights of its most loyal constituency, and use the powers of the executive branch to curtail the police violence that has plagued the Black community since the days of the slave-disciplining “paddy-rollers” – in addition to their perennial concern that more Black faces be elevated to high places in the new administration. However, as senior editor Margaret Kimberley recounts in this issue of BAR, Biden immediately put the house Negroes in their place.
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) — the most important and most powerful pro-Black, class-conscious, community protection organization in American history- was born 51 years ago on October 15, 1966. It was so important and so powerful that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described it as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country…” He added that its revolutionary activities, especially the children’s free breakfast program, were “potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities… to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for.”
As bad as the FBI’s words were, its actions were even worse. As made clear in the 1976 report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence Activities, “In August… 1967, the FBI initiated COINTELPRO (i.e., the counterintelligence program that operated from 1956-1971) to disrupt and ‘neutralize’… (certain) organizations…” By July 1969, indicated the report, “the BPP had become the primary focus of the program and was ultimately the target of 233 of the total authorized… COINTELPRO actions… (targeting pro-Black groups).”
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FLINT TAYLOR—Fifty-one years ago this past week, Illinois Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were slain by the Chicago police in a murderous pre-dawn raid. Over the next five decades the Hampton and Clark families, their lawyers, the Black Panther Party, movement activists, honest reporters and documentary filmmakers, and peoples’ historians have waged a continuous battle to uncover and speak the truth about Fred Hampton, the BPP, and the December 4th raid. These intergenerational and interracial efforts have led to a changing of the historical narrative from a shoot-out between the Panthers and the police, to a “shoot in” where the police fired more than 90 shots to one by the Panthers, then to a murder of Fred Hampton while he slept, drugged, in his bed, and now, to a political assassination orchestrated by the FBI under its notorious COINTEPRO program.
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The Black Misleaders give the impression of exercising black empowerment when they are in fact only promoting themselves.
MARGARET KIMBERLEY—The presidency is a powerful office. If he wants to, Biden can make every fatal encounter with police subject to federal instead of local prosecution. He can issue an executive order forgiving student loan debt. Biden can direct the Department of Labor to stop wage theft, including the misclassification of workers as managers which deprives them of overtime pay. The new president can do all of these things without congressional approval and that is what the CBC and NAACP ought to demand but won’t.