The Arrogance and Conceit of Charleston Leadership

-Former Black Panther Leader Dhoruba Bin Wahad Fires Back at Charleston, SC National Action Network for comparing the Black Panther Party to the racist Ku Klux Klan

In the Shadow of Denmark Vessey there are Black people who cower and whimper and lower their voices lest white Americans become unruly and disturbed and call us thugs, criminals, social misfits or mentally deranged. Those Black organizations and individuals who perpetrate this fraud must be challenged and denounced in no uncertain terms.


The recent widely publicized statement by a Charleston, South Carolina National Action Network Secretary who equated the “Black Panther Party” with the racist, white supremacist terrorists of the Ku Klux Klan, is a good example of this servile approach and how it is a consequence of the Stealth Historical Revisionism of the Civil Rights Campaigns of the fifties, sixties, and early seventies projected by many of today’s Black leaders seeking mainstream credibility rather than providing historical clarity for Black people resisting the pernicious hypocritical effects of White Eurocentric-racism in America. To add insult to this ignorance is the appropriation of this Black historical misrepresentation by the avowed enemies of African people, the white supremacist themselves, who relish the “fear factor” the posturing image of Black booted and suited ahistorical opportunists with their seemingly aggressive anti-white rhetoric holds for white racist sympathizers or America’s dwindling “silent majority”. This is why such a statement by the Charleston NAN secretary must not only be condemned by those BPP alumni who sacrificed their liberty and often their limbs to serve the Black community and defend its integrity but that we demand NAN issue a public recognition of vital legacy of the original BPP that championed our right to self-defense during a tumultuous period of “state sponsored police terrorism” in the South and police brutality in the Urban North. All groups opposing white supremacist terrorism and those who would rationalize our humanity based upon the inhumanity of White Americans toward people of color should be equally outraged.


The “white washing” of the sixties “civil rights” era by todays’ cabal of Black misleaders, entertainers, pundits and their information managers, including the political figureheads running interference for the two major reactionary political parties always fails to differentiate between the terroristic racist violence of Black repression and the criminalization of organized Black self-defense and political value of spontaneous violent rebellion against racist injustice and militarized police occupation in blighted Black communities. 


When it comes to the understanding of the symbiotic historical relationship between “non-violent mass movements”, the “actuality of Black Self-defense” and armed resistance to white supremacist terrorism, those individuals and groups who covertly cooperate to perpetuate the perception that the only acceptable response to racist attacks is to embrace victimhood and engage in what amounts to a disgusting orgy of forgiveness that is almost pornographic and coopts the very integrity of Black Humanity. Given the collective reality of the Black experience in America, it can be truly said that there are few distinctions made by white supremacy, acts of racist political disempowerment or police terrorism reserved for Black people based solely on their zip-code. It is therefore arrogant and conceited for NAN officials or anyone else for that matter, to demand that Black folks, from anywhere, not demonstrate in a particular locality where Black people are the targets of racist attack. Only local Black sellouts and opportunists who pimp the notion of victimhood as arbiter of today’s Black militant activism would make such distinctions. The racist corporate media loves these types of people and gives them ample exposure.


Black People must always keep in mind the historical context of their experience as it relates to American racism and Corporate dominate capitalism.  The period of the so called “Cold War” when the “military industrial complex” consolidated its hold on both the American economy and its influence on the two major political Parties, marked a significant time in the history of African people in the Republic of the U.S.A. Between the end of WWII and the beginning of the Vietnam War, institutional racism and right wing extremism worked hand in hand to deny Black People basic human and democratic rights and created the instrument of militarized law enforcement to neutralize and check the political impact of universal Black suffrage brought about by Voter Rights Legislation. Mass imprisonment of surplus Black labor and criminalization of generations of Black youth has been White America’s push back against integration-based reforms.  Indeed, since the 1954 Supreme Court decision declaring “separate but equal” unconstitutional the violence by both the state law enforcement and white supremacist irregulars like the KKK, White Citizens Councils and Neo-Nazis visited on Black people has been horrendous. Scores of Black Human Rights activists of varying political persuasions loss their lives in the struggle for democratic freedom and Black empowerment. The U.S. government launched several nefariously racist programs to discredit and destroy Black activists seeking to transform the paradigm of White racist control over Black lives. Programs like the FBI’s COINTELPRO, NEWKILL, PRISACT were all aimed at thwarting Black Political insurgency in America. Central to all of this was White fears of Black people exercising their Right to Self-defense, especially from racist attack.  Ferguson, Baltimore, Atlanta, and now Charleston tell us this is still the fear of whites today – to morally sanction the Right of Black People to Defend themselves is at the root of racism in America today, and historically it was the BPP that recognized this and stepped forward to address our right to be treated as human beings, and defend ourselves by any means necessary.

Dhoruba Bin Wahad currently co-chairs the National Coalition to Combat Police Terrorism ( ) with former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.