What is the Black Panther Party? The difference between new and old organizations

The long history of injustice faced by the black community throughout the world is no secret. In every era, the community has tried to raise voice against their oppression. Therefore, if you are wondering what is the Black Panther Party and why some people are opposing it, we would like to inform you that there is a marked difference between the new and old Black Panther Parties.

What is the Black Panther Party (Old)?

The old one was a revolutionary party that was initially formed by the community to guard their neighborhoods in an attempt to protect their families from brutal police activities. In fact, it was even known as the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The need was felt after one of the black nationalists and an unarmed black teenager were both killed by the state police. This party was founded in Oakland, California in 1966 particularly to safeguard the African American community. Its founders were two college students, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. The party’s uniform included black-colored berets and leather jackets.

However soon afterwards, the Black Panther Party started broadening its scope, much to the dismay of the government organizations. It started demanding the release of its community members from prisons, allowing them to carry weapons and called out the government authorities to compensate them against their mistreatment at the hands of white people for centuries. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that with the passage of time, this party shifted its focus from self-defense to politics.

Soon the phenomenon spread locally as well as internationally and the party’s chapters started emerging in various cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles. They also managed to open up an office in the UK. Only within the United States, the organization had around 2000 members by 1968. In spite of its popularity, the Black Panther Party could only survive till 1982.

Reason being that their extreme and fierce confrontations with the police resulted in one of the founders ending up in prison whereas the other one was killed. The lack of leadership and guidance gave rise to disputes within the party and the members ended up killing one of their own fellows assuming him to be a spy. The FBI took advantage of the party`s deteriorating condition and further ignited the internal rivalries along with launching a counterintelligence program against them.

Giving in to constant attacks by the FBI including savage ones, the Black Panther Party disintegrated and was finally terminated in 1982.

What is the Black Panther Party (New)?

Whereas the old Black Panther Party was formed with an aim to protect its community members and therefore, received support by many countrymen, the new one from the very beginning has clarified that its motive is to divide and break the country. Therefore, if you were to ask the United States Commission on Civil Rights or the Southern Poverty Law Center that what is the Black Panther Party, they would definitely label it as a hate group.

In fact, even the surviving members of what was the old or original party have disowned the new organization, clearly refusing any link between the two.

The New Black Panther Party came into being in 1989 in Dallas, Texas.

Rather than advocating for inclusivity and living together in harmony, the new Black Panther Party seems to promote sectarian exclusiveness. It demands a separate country for Black Americans where they could live freely, according to their own terms and laws. Furthermore, it even insists on the release of all black people in jail and demands their handover to the authorities of the to-be-constructed new Black Nation.

Even though there is no harm in standing up for your community, what makes most people classify the new party as a hate group, is their narrative of hatred about Jews and the white people. Though the party has published a 10-point agenda paper mentioning only noble causes for the black community, their intolerance towards the white people often reflects in their demonstrations and events that associate violence with their pride and an awareness about their rights.

Many are hurt over such statements because a large number of white people have been supporting the black community in protests that are aimed to oppose oppression against them and have stood by them in their demand for equal rights. The new party, on the other hand, has just triggered hatred and opposition.

Even the Old Black Panther Party members condemn such actions and statements and are actually annoyed at the new party for using their name without permission. The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation is an organization run by surviving members of the original Black Panthers Party to honor their founder. In 2007, they issued an open letter stating that they have nothing to do with the new party and some of the members also obtained a court order to stop the new party from using their name. However, that order was never actually used and the new party still thrives on the stolen name.

The members of the original Black Panther Party are furious because they think that such actions are not only dishonoring their organization’s name but also increasing the already prevalent misconception about what is the Black Panther Party. The Huey P. Newton Foundation released a statement clarifying how the rationale of the original organization was completely different:

 “………The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people.”

No wonder the New Black Panthers Party is on the list of hate groups. However, it has very few members and most Americans, either black or white, do not agree with its agenda.

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