Re: [sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-The Black Panthers

From: David Horowitz (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 23:19:31 CUT

  • Next message: William Mandel: "[Fwd: [sixties-l] Re:Vietnam War]"

    I repeat my offer to anyone who can find any documentary evidence for the false statements
    made in this post by Jeffrey Blankfort. Serious activists distanced themselves from Huey
    Newton at this time because they accepted Eldridge's claims that Huey was a sell-out, or that
    he was on drugs. Who wasn't "on drugs" in the left at this time? Newton was holding seminars
    at Yale with Erik Erikson, one of the most celebrated intellectuals of the time in 1973. So
    let's get our perspectives straight on this. (For the record I had no knowledge of the Pratt
    proceedings at the time.) Blankfort's "history" of police attacks on Panthers is pure fantasy
    as Edward Epstein's definitive article on the subject (a response to Charles Garry's similar
    claims at the time) will show any reasonable person, regardless of politics. Blankfort should
    read Elaine Brown's A Taste Of Power to get an idea of who the LA Panthers were (they were
    Watts' largest street gang).

    As for Blankfort's conspiracy theory of judges letting activists off -- name me some
    activisst who were tried in the Sixties or Seventies for serous crimes (e.g., Angela Davis,
    Los Siete De La Raza) who was not both guilty in fact and acquitted by the courts? The
    repression of the Sixties was all in the minds of radicals like Blankfort.

    Nice of Blankfort to bring up Geronimo Pratt. Of course it wasn't just Huey who refused to
    give the guilty Pratt an alibi, but also Elaine Brown, Bobby Seale and David Hilliard, among
    others. I have written a long review of the case (go to, click on
    Archives, then on Horowitz and then on "Johnnie's Other OJ" or pick up a copy of Hating
    Whitey) proving that Pratt was guilty and that there was no Cointelpro, FBI, LAPD conspiracy
    against him.

    I will skip over the absurdities about racial profiling which seems like a side issue to this
    squabble over history.

    I have no recollection of trying to hire Blankfort (and I reject the innuendo about Ramparts
    ripping people off -- when Peter Collier and I took over the magazine, Bob Scheer and Warren
    Hinckle were living high off the hog, it is true and were making $25,000 a year (a handsome
    some in those days) about three times what senior editors were making and five times what the
    receptionist made. Peter I immediately equaliized all salaries at $6,000 a month or what the
    magazine could afford. I don't remember the conversation about People's Park, nor do I
    recognize my views of the time in Blankfort's remarks. I suspect that his demand to put the
    money in the bank suggested to us that he was already so suspicious of us based on the
    Hinckle =-Scheer record that he would be more trouble than he was worth.

        Blankfort's comments on the Vietnam War shows how little he has thought about these
    things in the years that followed and how little he has learned as a result. The information
    that has come from the Communist side since then clearly shows that the New Left prolonged
    the war which was lost by the Communists on the ground during the Tet Offensive of 1968 when
    the so called National Liberation Front was destroyed. Hanoi's calculation was that if they
    held out long enough (at a catastrophic human cost) America would eventually lose its will to
    fight. Which is what happened. Since two and a half million Indo-Chinese were slaughtered by
    people whom Jeffrey Blankfort called "comrades" in those days, his inability to accept any
    responsibility for what happened shows a shallowness that would be remarkable in anyone who
    was not a progressive to begin with. Blankfort should read the passages in Tom Hayden's
    Reunion where he does admit that he helped -- that we all helped -- bring Pol Pot to power.

        The JB Matthews "analogy" with which Blankfort ends his piece just an irrelevant smear
    (perhaps of Matthews as well). In Radical Son I have written at great length and in great
    detail about the process of my second thoughts. I spent seven years rethinking my political
    views. I didn't change sides in the midst of any battle. Nor did I do it for any material
    rewards. I made my living at the time writing dynastic biographies, which happened to be
    best-sellers. Becoming a conservative actually hurt my literary career. But for someone who
    had been born into the left and spent his whole adult life in it until the age of 35 -- such
    considerations were irrelevant anyway.

        It's too bad people like Jeffrey Blankfort are so locked in their ideological mindsets
    that they can't use their autumn years for serious reflections on what was and could have

    Jeffrey Blankfort wrote:

    > What I have always found curious about Horowitz is that be became
    > involved with the Panthers in 1973, at a time, two years after the
    > split, when most of the serious activists who had previously supported
    > the Panthers had long since distanced themselves from the party based on
    > much of information that Horowitz has made his new career wallowing in
    > and was common knowledge among much of the left at that time. The split,
    > for those with short memories, was initiated by Newton expelling a large
    > number of Panthers from the BPP including the entire International
    > Section, following his release from prison, at which time he obviously
    > was a serious coke addict, something that Horowitz, with a background as
    > an "armchair revolutionary" had apparently never encountered.
    > While wishing Newton freed, I was nevertheless troubled by the news
    > reports (I was in Europe at the time) that THREE judges had reviewed the
    > case and decieed that Huey should be freed. One, maybe, but the thought
    > that three judges in a judicial system that has historically been
    > weighed against political activists with an FBI that had made the BPP a
    > number one target for destruction, indicated to me that it was part of a
    > plan to destroy the BPP from within. And who better for them to do it
    > than its co-counder and most famous member?
    > Horowitz must have been aware by then of Newton's involvement, abetted
    > by FBI agent-infiltrator Melvin 'Cotton" Smith" in the arrest and
    > imprisonment of Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, and how he prohibited BPP
    > members from the Oakland section from testifying that Geronimo had been
    > in Oakland at the time of the Santa Monica tennis court killing. And
    > that Newton, acting, apparently on COINTELPRO provided "information" had
    > accused Geronimo, who had led the defense of the BPP hq in LA against an
    > attack by Horowitz's beloved LAPD, of being a CIA agent, with no other
    > evidence being offered.
    > Was Horowitz ignorant of the fact that when the trial on that shootout
    > took place in the Spring of 1971 that (1) all of the BPP members in
    > Huey's faction were out on bail while those relating to Eldrige Cleaver
    > were brought into the courtroom shackled together like a Southern chain
    > gang, (2) that Huey had put the "word" in the Black community that
    > people should stay away from that courtroom, despite the fact that
    > thouands of peoppe had turned out in the streets to support the BPP
    > office when it was under attack and (3) Huey had apparently put the word
    > out among his friends in the white community Bert Schnieder, Jane Fonda,
    > etc., to also stay away. Having returned to LA and not being aware of
    > that reality, I was one of two persons attending the trial (and was
    > arrested shortly thereafter for an "unpaid" parking ticket in Santa
    > Moncia that had been paid a month before, taken, handcuffed, to the
    > Glass House, photographed and fingerprinted and thrown into a cell. I
    > guess the LAPD and Huey had the same agenda for that trial. When I
    > asked Jane Fonda, at a Fuck the Army party in Beverly Hills a few days
    > later to make a short announcement encouraging people to go to the trial
    > she refused to do so. I didn't know she was then tight with Huey. Was
    > Horowitz ignorant of all that?
    > Two other statements that Horowitz keeps throwing around also need some
    > response. That the Panthers were "criminals" and the Black community
    > dodn't support the Panthers. First, what was the situation in Oakland
    > for young black men when Huey and Bobby Seale founded the BPP? They
    > were being shot down in incredible numbers by a police force largely
    > recruited from the White South, not an unusual situation in any of
    > America's large cities where the police have served as an occupying army
    > whose main job is to preserve the interests of property holders and
    > those with Horowitz's mindset.
    > I remember one day standing on the corner of Vermont and Washington and
    > in a space of a few minutes I watched three patrol cars drive by, LAPD,
    > LA Sheriff's and the CHP. Was the area a high crime area? It certainly
    > didn't seem so, and the papers didn't report that it was. In those days,
    > when a Black or Latino couple would attempt to leave Watts,Compton or
    > east LA, to go to Hollywood, or Beverly Hills, they would be
    > systematically stopped by white cops and the man would would be put
    > against the all and searched and humiliated in front of his wife or
    > ladyfriend. It was all part of a containment that exists in other forms
    > to this day, or maybe Horowitz hasn't heard of Driving While Black or
    > Brown. I know it hasn't happened to Horowitz but is happened to me a
    > number of times in the late 60s and early 70s in LA and SF when the
    > police thought I was Chicano.
    > So we had and have a system that criminalizes young Black and Brown men
    > simply on the basis of the color of their skin. Those victimized by "the
    > law" responded in different ways, depending primarily on their class
    > background, and it was from these folks, and those who came out of
    > prison, that the Panthers recruited their members who found in the BPP a
    > way to organize and fight back, and their success and the support they
    > received from their communities--despite Horowitz's know-nothing claim
    > to the contrary-- inspired other victimized communities, Chicano, Puerto
    > Rican, Asian and Native American, to follow their example.
    > Sure. some BPP members, who had been in the prison system went back and
    > did some criminal acts. but a number who I remained close to in the
    > years following the split, didn't despite the harassment by Horowitz's
    > "law and order" forces, but mainly these acts occurred after Huey was
    > released from prison.
    > As one example of community support, I can look back at my "heroic
    > portraits" of the black women and men of all ages who filled the Oakland
    > Auditorium, 7000 seats?, applauding the Panther leaders and supporting
    > political officials such as Ron Dellums and Jesse Jackson, to celebrate
    > the then-imprisoned Huey's birthday in 1967. You were in the Bay Area,
    > then, Horowitz. Were you there, or were you waiting until 1973 when
    > because of what was then the BPP in name only had done and was doing
    > and when the community knew better than you did?
    > It is worth recalling the last conversation I had with Horowitz. It was
    > in Sept. 1969 and he had called to offer me the job as Art Director at
    > Ramparts. In addition, to requesting that my salary be put in a bank in
    > advance, given Ramparts' unparralleled history of ripping off its
    > contributors (another story altogether, but not without humour), I told
    > Horowitz that I wanted to be a member of the editorial board, having an
    > equal say as to what the magazine would run. Horowitz then asked me if
    > I still felt the same way I did about People's Park, of which I had had
    > a number of criticisms, not the least of which the area selected in
    > Berkeley, was already surrounded by a two parks that went virtually
    > unused. Horowitz, who could be characterized as a "true believer," and
    > worshipped the whole idea of People's Park, then replied that if I still
    > felt that way I couldn't be on the board. And so, happily, I turned down
    > the job.
    > As for Horowitz' comments about the Vietnam War, and how the left, and I
    > guess, Mike Klonsky, in particualar, were responsible for the two and
    > half million dead Vietnamese and Americans and for the US losing the
    > war. With all of our efforts, we were unfortunstely unable to stop the
    > US airforce from dropping more bombs on that country than had been
    > dropped on all of Europe in WW2, and we dropped more on Laos, then we
    > dropped on Vietnam. Perhaps, Horowitz believes that was not enough.
    > Horowitz reminds me very much of JB Matthews, who in the 30s was a
    > leading left political economist who authored or co-aithored some
    > critical works on the evils of US capitalism. It seems, however, that
    > Matthews had a business, and one day the workers there decided to form a
    > union. This so outraged Matthews he went over to the other side and
    > appeared in later years as Joe Mcarthy's main source of information that
    > the protestant clergy was controlled by the Communist Party. I guess we
    > can call this the Matthews-Horowitz syndrome.
    > Jeff Blankfort
    > > Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 07:07:41 -0700
    > > From: David Horowitz <>
    > > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-The Black Panthers
    > >
    > > Jeffrey Blankfort was one of the propagandists for the Panther gang. As a
    > > photographer he took many of the pictures that created the heroic images of a bunch
    > > of street thugs. Apparently he has no regrets for the damage he did. His comments
    > > here are typical fantasies. The Panthers never had support in the black community,
    > > which was well aware of the Panthers' criminal activities. The Panthers were
    > > strictly the heroes of the white readers of magazines like Ramparts which ran
    > > Blankfort's heroic images. The Panthers' criminality, as Newton and Bobby Seale
    > > write in their autobiographies, was there from the outset. They recruited gangsters
    > > quite consciously. The Party was launched nationally when Newton murdered a 26
    > > policeman. As I pointed out in a previous post, 348 Panthers were arrested in 1969
    > > for strictly criminal activities, while Newton was in jail (and the Party according
    > > to Blankfort was free of his bad influence). The charges against them ranged from
    > > wife-beating to armed robbery and murder. The personal smears directed at Hugh
    > > Pearson and myself (Rockefeller life style -- yeah -- and "government-serving
    > > propaganda pieces") are typical and traditional Stalinist tactics: everybody who
    > > disagrees with the party line is a sell-out or a government agent. Discrediting
    > > witnesses is how leftists were able to kill so many people in the 20th Century and
    > > keep the support of "progressives" like Blankfort.
    > >
    > > ------------------------------
    > >
    > >> Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 17:36:34 -0700
    > > From: David Horowitz <>
    > > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Re: The Black Panthers (Horowitz reply)
    > >
    > > I defend the war because it was anti-Communist war but because losing it cost the lives
    > > of two and a half million poor people in Indo-China whose blood is on your hands Mike,
    > > along with all the rest of us who forced America's withdrawal. You supported the
    > > Communists (I'm sure you're capable of this level of candor) and the Communists
    > > slaughtered millions. Surely you've had some second thoughts about this.
    > >

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