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It is safe to state that America has become an empire that is crumbling day by day and is becoming inundated with widespread hate and fear and maladjustment to suffering and injustices.  Right and left-wing cable chatter has galvanized a multitude of individuals to act in a way that is contrary to the ideal of loving thy neighbor.  Congruent with this notion is the fact that the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) has recently reported  a rise in criminal and extremist groups and associated hate crimes.

In a majority of the cases, most of these clandestine organizations have been associated with right-wing extremism.  There have been some leftist groups over the years that have caused minor alarm, but one left-wing organization that is currently capturing the attention of conservatives with a certain sense of urgency is the New Black Panther Party (NBPP).  Talk show hosts such as Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity continue to ask, “Who and what is the NBPP?”

To understand the “who” of the “new” party, it is logical for one to become acquainted with the “who” of the “old.”  As commonly understood, the original Black Panther Party (BPP), was an organization of young African-Americans, mostly under the age of 25, that operated within the context of neo-Marxist principles to primarily “protect” African-American neighborhoods from rampant racist practices.

These young “militants” were secular, persuasive and articulate communicators and were comprised almost entirely of citizens from the poor and working classes.   Although the United States government had promulgated public policies (i.e., Civil Rights Act of 64’ and Voting Rights Act of 65’) that would yield voting, education and civil liberties for minorities, many of these young “revolutionaries” did not believe that the government had done anything to help transform the age-old racist and xenophobic mindsets among Caucasians.  Relative to the “what” of the BPP, they believed through their Ten-Point program that a self-determinative and revolutionary approach was needed to replace the fundamentally corrupt American institutional, corporate, financial and military systems, which would ultimately result in breaking the chains of oppression from the poor and working classes.

Many commentators, then and now, would stereotypically state that the BPP was strictly a hateful, violent and racist group that was out to kill white people.  There were likely some members who held these sentiments.  But based on robust analysis of factual, unbiased and documented evidence, I do not believe that this was the underlying platform of the organization, at least as the BPP matured.  To be sure, their initial black nationalistic thought processes were racist in context, but the BPP later denounced this racism and became more socialistic while excluding race.  This was evidenced as they ultimately enjoined hands with Native Americans, Asians, women and individuals of other ethnicities from around the world.

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