New Black Panther Party

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Not to be confused with the Black Panther Party.
New Black Panther Party
Slogan "Freedom or death"
Founded 1989, Dallas, Texas
Headquarters Dallas, Texas
Ideology Black nationalism
Pan-Africanism
Black supremacy
Anti-Zionism
Anti-imperialism
Party flag
Afroamèrica.svg
Website
newblackpanther.com

The New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (NBPP) is a U.S.-based black political organization founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1989. Despite its name, NBPP is not an official successor of the Black Panther Party.[2] Members of the original Black Panther Party have insisted that the newer party is illegitimate and have firmly declared, "There is no new Black Panther Party".[2]

The New Black Panther Party is currently led by Hashim Nzinga.[1] Malik Zulu Shabazz announced on an October 14, 2013 online radio broadcast that he was stepping down and that Nzinga, then national chief of staff, would replace him.[1] Chawn Kweli, who, initially, served as NBPP national spokesman replaced Nzinga as national chief of staff. Still, the NBPP upholds Khalid Abdul Muhammad as the de facto father of the movement. When former Nation of Islam (NOI) minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad became the national chairman of the NBPP from the late 1990s until his death in 2001, He, Shabazz, and many other, breakaway members of the NOI followed minister Muhammad to the NBPP during this period. Nzinga served as personal assistant to minister Muhammad.

In April 2010, Malik Zulu Shabazz appointed French Black leader Stellio Capo Chichi as the representative of the movement in France.[3] Capo Chichi has been holding the position of head of the francophone branch of NBPP.[4]

The Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights consider the New Black Panthers to be a hate group.[5][6][7]

Formation and early years[edit]

In 1987, Michael McGee, an alderman in Milwaukee, threatened to disrupt white events throughout the city unless more jobs were created for black people. He held a "state of the inner city" press conference in 1990 at City Hall to announce the creation of the Black Panther Militia. Aaron Michaels, a community activist and radio producer, was inspired to establish the New Black Panther Party.[citation needed]

Michaels rose to widespread attention for the first time when[when?] he called on blacks to use shotguns and rifles in Philadelphia to protest against the chairman of a school board who had been taped calling black students "little niggers".[8]

In 1998, Khalid Abdul Muhammad brought the organization into the national spotlight when he led the group to intervene in response to the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas.

Philosophy, ideology, and criticism[edit]

The New Black Panther Party identifies with the original Black Panther Party and claims to uphold its legacy. It also says that many others see the organization similarly. The NBPP is largely seen by both the general public and by prominent members of the original party[2] as illegitimate. Huey Newton Foundation members, containing a significant number of the original party's leaders, once successfully sued the group; their ultimate objective in doing so—to prevent the NBPP from using the Panther name—appears to have been unsuccessful. In response to the suit, Aaron Michaels branded the original Panthers "has-been wannabe Panthers", adding: "Nobody can tell us who we can call ourselves."[9]

Although the NBPP says it sees capitalism as the fundamental problem with the world and revolution as the solution, the new party does not draw its influences from Marxism or Maoism as the original party did. Instead, it promotes the Kawaida theory of Maulana Karenga, which includes black unity, collective action, and cooperative economics.[10] The NBPP says it fights the oppression of black and brown people and that its members are on top of current issues facing black communities across the world. Also, it notes that not all of its members are members of the Nation of Islam, although the group acknowledges universal spirituality practices within the organization.[11]

Over time, many groups subscribing to varying degrees of radicalism have called for the "right to self-determination" for black people, particularly US blacks. Critics of the NBPP say that the group's politics represent a dangerous departure from the original intent of black nationalism; specifically, that they are starkly anti-white, and also antisemitic. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the NBPP as a "black racist" hate group.[12] Even the mildest critics of the organization have said that the NBPP's provocative brand of black supremacy undermines other civil rights efforts.

Membership size[edit]

As of 2009, the NBPP claimed a few thousand members organized in 45 chapters, while independent estimates by the Anti-Defamation League suggest that the group is much smaller but is nevertheless able to attract a large turnout of non-members (some of whom may not even realize what this group actually stands for) to its events by focusing on specific issues of local interest.[13]

Controversies[edit]

Quanell X (center), the party leader in Houston, at Joe Horn protest, 2007

The New Black Panther Party provoked a melee outside Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's campaign headquarters after she lost a Democratic primary election to her opponent, Hank Johnson. The NBPP's Chief of Staff, Hashim Nzinga, had been acting as security detail for McKinney when he physically attacked reporters, calling them Jews and insisting that they must focus on Hank Johnson rather than on McKinney, since Johnson, he alleged, was a "Tom."[14] In a subsequent appearance on the Fox News Channel program Hannity & Colmes, Nzinga defended these actions. He accused his interviewers of being part of a "Zionist" media complex bent on defaming African Americans and, by extension, the New Black Panthers.[15]

In 2006, the New Black Panther Party regained the media spotlight by intervening in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal, organizing marches outside Duke University and making numerous media appearances to demand that the jury organized by then-District Attorney Mike Nifong convict the accused lacrosse players.[16] Malik Zulu Shabazz met with the DA and asserted repeatedly that the DA's answers meant he was supporting the claims made by the NBPP, a point that was widely disputed.

On April 12, 2007, after the case brought by Nifong collapsed and the Duke Lacrosse players were exonerated, Malik Zulu Shabazz appeared on The O'Reilly Factor. He refused to apologize for his actions in the leadup to the Duke University lacrosse rape scandal, stating that he did not know whether or not anything happened to the young accuser. He stated his beliefs that the rich white families of Duke had placed political pressure on the investigation and forced the charges to be dropped. When questioned by guest host Michelle Malkin, he labeled her a political prostitute and mouthpiece for a male, chauvinist, racist Bill O'Reilly. Malkin said, "There's only one whore on this split screen and it's you, Mr. Shabazz." Shabazz replied, "You should be ashamed of yourself for defending and being a spokesman for Bill O'Reilly, who has no respect for women."[17][18]

Calling the NBPP extremist, critics have cited Muhammad's Million Youth March in Harlem, a youth equivalent of the Million Man March, in which the protest against police brutality included speakers calling for the extermination of white South Africans. The rally ended in scuffles with the New York Police Department as Muhammad urged the crowd to attack officers who had attempted to confiscate firearms. Chairs and bottles were thrown at the police, but only a few in the clash suffered injuries. The Million Youth March was subsequently named an annual event.

King Samir Shabazz, a former Nation of Islam member and head of the New Black Panther Party's Philadelphia chapter, has a long history of confrontational racist behavior. He advocated racial separation and made incendiary racial statements while promoting anti-police messages in the media and on the streets of Philadelphia. He publicly announced, "I hate white people. All of them." He also suggested the killing of white babies.[19][20][21][22][23] Shabazz was arrested in June 2013 for carrying a loaded, unlicensed weapon.[24] The party has claimed his arrest is part of an “onslaught of attacks against the New Black Pan­ther Party."[25]

Alleged voter intimidation in Philadelphia[edit]

Alleged instance of voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the 2008 US presidential election.

During the 2008 presidential election, poll watchers found two New Black Panther militia members shouting racial slurs outside a polling place in Philadelphia.[26] One of the two was a credentialed poll watcher, while the other was a New Black Panther member who had brought a police-style nightstick baton. A University of Pennsylvania student, Stephen Robert Morse, was hired by the local Republican Party on behalf of the John McCain presidential campaign to tape the incident.[27] His video aired on several news outlets throughout the country. Republican poll watcher Chris Hill stated that voters were complaining about intimidation, while the District Attorney's office stated that they had not been contacted by any voters.[28] The New Black Panther with the nightstick was escorted away by the police.[29]

On January 7, 2009, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil suit against the New Black Panther Party and three of its members alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 over the incident at the Philadelphia polling place. The suit accused members King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson of being outside a polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and said that Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.[30] The suit sought an injunction preventing further violations of the Voting Rights Act. After the defendants did not appear for court, a default judgment was entered.[citation needed] On May 29, 2009, the Department of Justice requested and received an injunction against the member who had carried the nightstick, but against the advice of prosecutors who had worked on the case, department superiors ordered the suit dropped against the remaining members. On July 6, 2010, J. Christian Adams, a former lawyer for the Justice Department, testified before the Commission on Civil Rights and alleged that the case was dropped because “We abetted wrongdoing and abandoned law-abiding citizens,”.[31] Former Civil Rights Division Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates testified on September 24, 2010, "I am here today to testify about the Department of Justice's final disposition of the New Black Panther Party case and the hostility in the Civil Rights Division and the Voting Section toward the equal enforcement of some of the federal voting laws." (pp. 7, 22–25; pp. 8, 1–2)[32] Abigail Thernstrom, the Republican-appointed vice chairwoman of the Commission, has written that perhaps the Panthers should have been prosecuted under section 11 (b) of the Voting Rights Act for [its] actions of November 2008, but the legal standards that must be met to prove voter intimidation—the charge—are very high. And "The incident involved only two Panthers at a single majority-black precinct in Philadelphia. So far—after months of hearings, testimony and investigation no one has produced actual evidence that any voters were too scared to cast their ballots."[33]

According to an April 23, 2010 press release from the New Black Panther Party, the Philadelphia member involved in the nightstick incident was suspended until January 2010. "The New Black Panther Party made it clear then and now we don't support voter intimidation...The charges against the entire organization and the chairman were dropped. The actions of one individual cannot be attributed to an entire organization any more than every act of any member of the Catholic Church be charged to the Vatican."[34]

Bounty for George Zimmerman's capture[edit]

Another controversy occurred in 2012 after the NBPP offered a $10,000 bounty for the "legal citizen's arrest" of George Zimmerman, the perpetrator of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The group also stated that it believed in "a life for a life". The bounty offer was condemned and repudiated by Martin's family and others, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The NBPP's organizer, Mikhail Mohammed, said that the United States Constitution granted the right to a citizen's arrest, but he also said that "I don't obey the white man's law, I don't follow the American law." [35]

Prevented from entering Canada[edit]

In May 2007, Chairman Shabazz was invited by Black Youth Taking Action (BYTA)[36] to speak at a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and to give a lecture to students at Ryerson University. The Ryerson Students' Union (RSU) had endorsed the event as it called for grade-school curricula to acknowledge the historical contribution of African-Canadians and African-Americans, and for the Brampton, Ontario, super jail project to be dismantled.[37] But, a spokesperson for the RSU later stated that support for the event was given "before they knew that Shabazz was the speaker."[37]

Shabazz arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport as planned, but he was prevented from entering Canada by Canadian border officials because of past rhetoric that violates Canadian hate laws. Although Canada's airports and borders are within the federal jurisdiction, the Ontario Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister, Monte Kwinter, justified the barring of Shabazz.[38] Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty expressed concern about Shabazz.[39] The press reported that Shabazz was denied entry to Canada because of a minor criminal record.[40] Shabazz flew back to Buffalo, New York, and attempted to cross the border by car, but he was spotted by border agents and prevented from entering Canada.[41]

The rally at Queen's Park went ahead without Shabazz, with approximately 100 people, plus at least two dozen journalists. Ryerson University canceled the planned lecture.[39][41] The university administration alerted the RSU that it had received e-mails of threats of violent disruption of the event. The RSU canceled Shabazz's lecture because of safety concerns. Heather Kere, RSU's Vice-President of Education, said, "We definitely recognize there was some criticism of his views" and "we were endorsing the campaign's goals and not the individual speaker." Kere added, "He deflected attention away from the main point of the campaign. We still strongly believe in the campaign."[37]

Hashim Nzinga, Shabazz's chief of staff, blamed Jewish groups for the incident, stating in a telephone interview, "They let these groups like the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and the JDL (Jewish Defense League), which is nothing but a bunch of gangsters, dictate what happens in the world today," and "They told Canada not to let us in and Canada followed [its] rules, because this country is run from Israel."[38] Nkem Anizor, president of the BYTA, also blamed the "Jewish lobby" for the government's decision to deny Shabazz entry to Canada,[38][41][42] Shabazz later said, "Canada is on Malik alert," and "B'nai Brith has won this one, and I'm starting to see the power of the Jewish lobby in Canada, full force. I thought Canada was free. I think this is evidence that black people are being oppressed in Canada."[41] Hashim Nzinga is now the National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party.

Criticism by former members of the original Black Panther Party[edit]

The Huey P. Newton Foundation issued a news release denouncing the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Its release reads in part:

Bobby Seale, one of the co-founding members of the original Black Panther Party, spoke out against the New Black Panther Party. Calling the rhetoric of the New Black Panther Party xenophobic, he spoke of their remarks as absurd, racial, [and] categorical.

Reacting to a video of two representatives of the NBPP positioned outside of a polling place on Election Day in 2008 in Philadelphia, who called themselves "security",[45] he referred to their actions as voter intimidation. He also noted the major differences between the original Black Panthers and the New Black Panthers, particularly the differences in their 10-Point Plans. Before the close of the interview, Seale reiterated that there is no connection between the original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and the New Black Panther Party.[46]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "New Black Panther Party Announces New Chairman, Same Hateful Message". Access ADL. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "There is No New Black Panther Party", The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation.
  3. ^ "Kemi Seba nommé par le NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY, basé à Washington, Ministre francophone", Official Web site of MDI
  4. ^ "Interview d’Hery Djehuty Sechat, nouveau Président du MDI", Official website of MDI
  5. ^ "New Black Panther Party." Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed March 17, 2011.
  6. ^ "New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense." Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  7. ^ U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, interim report, 11-23-2010 [1]. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Gregory, Kia (2003-12-17). "The Cats Came Back: Can the Black Panther Party become a force again in Philadelphia?" Philadelphia Weekly, 17 December 2003. Retrieved from http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/cover-story/the_cats_came_back-38373074.html.
  9. ^ "Black Panthers: old v. young". London Sunday Times. March 16, 1997. Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ Local Objectives at official Web site
  11. ^ 10 Point Platform at official website
  12. ^ "New Black Panther Party". Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Inside the New Black Panthers, National Geographic (aired 2009). Discussion of membership size starting at 07:40.
  14. ^ "?". [dead link]
  15. ^ Video clip on YouTube, Hannity & Colmes, FOX News.
  16. ^ Biesecker, Michael. "New Black Panthers demonstrate, but not on Duke campus", The News & Observer, 2 May 2006.
  17. ^ NBPP Malik Shabazz on Fox with Michelle Malkin. The O'Reilly Factor. April 12, 2007. Event occurs at 3:30. 
  18. ^ "Racial dialogue? Don't bet on it". The Washington Times. April 16, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Justice Department Files Suit Against New Black Panthers". Anti-Defamation League. January 9, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  20. ^ Greg Chapman (January 9, 2009). "Going Inside the New Black Panther Party". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Arrest in L.A. Grim Sleeper Case; Accused Spies Could Plead Guilty; NY iPhone "Doctor" Fixes All That's Droppable". CNN. July 8, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  22. ^ Dewan, Shaila (July 18, 2010). "Call for Justice Sets Off a Debate". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  23. ^ "New Black Panther Party". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  24. ^ "King Samir Shabazz, NBPP National Field Marshall, Arrested On Weapons Charge". June 25, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  25. ^ "New Black Panthers Respond To King Samir Shabazz’s Arrest". July 1, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  26. ^ Personal video by University of Pennsylvania student on YouTube
  27. ^ "On Fox News, ex-Civil Rights Division Lawyer Blasts DOJ". July 2, 2010. 
  28. ^ Ruppel, Paul. "Philly DA: No Complaints About Black Panthers At Polls", WTXF, FOX Television Stations, Inc., 4 November 2008.
  29. ^ "Voting Intimidation By Black Panthers In Philadelphia". Fox News. November 4, 2008. 
  30. ^ Justice Department Seeks Injunction Against New Black Panther Party: Lawsuit Seeks to Prohibit Voter Intimidation in Future Elections", US Department of Justice, 7 January 2009.
  31. ^ Racial Motive Alleged in a Justice Dept. Decision", New York Times, July 6, 2010
  32. ^ "The Department of Justice's Actions Related to the New Black Panther Party Litigation and its Endorcement of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act" (PDF). U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. September 24, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  33. ^ Thernstrom, Abigail (July 6, 2010). "The New Black Panther Case: A Conservative Dissent". National Review Online. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  34. ^ "The Phony Politicized Case and U.S.C.C.R. Hearing Against The New Black Panther Party", The New Black Panther Party, April 23, 2010
  35. ^ "Separatist black group stands by bounty offer for man who killed Florida teen". CNN. March 27, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Groups decry visit by New Black Panther leader". Toronto Star. May 14, 2007. 
  37. ^ a b c Morrow, Adrian (August 21, 2007). "U.S. activist accused of anti-semitism invited to speak at Ryerson". The Eyeopener. 
  38. ^ a b c Greenberg, Lee (May 16, 2007). "Black activist barred from entering Canada". CanWest News Service. 
  39. ^ a b "Black Panther leader refused entry into Canada". CTV News. May 15, 2007. 
  40. ^ CBC News (May 15, 2007). "Black activist denied entry to Canada, group says". Canada Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). 
  41. ^ a b c d Brean, Joseph (16 May 2007). "Black Panther stopped at border". National Post. 
  42. ^ Goddard, John (16 May 2007). "Black activist blocked at border". Toronto Star. 
  43. ^ Huey P. Newton Foundation. "There Is No New Black Panther Party"
  44. ^ Interview with Robert George "Bobby" Seale, CNN, 8 July 2010.
  45. ^ "Security" patrols stationed at polling places in Philly on YouTube
  46. ^ Bobby Seale on the New Black Panther Party on YouTube CNN Interview

External links[edit]