"What do today's protesters need?
Exactly what they've got at their disposal!"
A statement on today's protest movement from former
Black Panther Party Chairman, Bobby Seale.
Right on time! The protest movement in America is alive, well
organized, and kicking. What will happen at the Republican
National Convention this week? Will there be riots, arrests,
indictments and court trials? Let's hope not. For my
anti-political-convention protest back in the day, I was put in jail. It
was another time, but we seized it. Today's protesters have
inherited an even greater burden of issues than we had in the '60s:
global economic exploitation of the poor; human rights issues
touching every single individual on earth; killer diseases; ecological
degeneration and destruction.
These protesters have picked up the mantle of our '60s era, but
with their own updated perspectives: That we live in an
overdeveloped, fast-paced, high-tech, computerized, globalizing
social order, still controlled by too many avaricious corporate
interests - whom the Republicans avowedly support with draconian
policies and legislative ignorance. Back in the '60s, for the same
basic advocacy, my Black Panther Party organization alone wound
up with 28 dead and 68 wounded, with policemen at around 12
dead and 35 wounded. Thirty-two years later, I am living in Philadelphia,
where many thousands of another generation of protesters promise to amass,
march and demonstrate against the Republican Convention here in Philly,
and later in Los Angeles.
And I will be among the speakers.
I'll be summing up how things are different today, so far, from the late
'60s, when eight people, including myself, won, as Jerry Rubin so aptly put
it, "The Academy Awards of Protest," which were to be indicted and
subjected to a literal "political" trial - the great Chicago Eight
conspiracy trial, which became the Chicago Seven after I was chained,
gagged and shackled to a chair for three days in Judge Julius Hoffman's
federal courtroom. Then the judge, rest his racist soul, severed me from
the trial and sentenced me to four years.
What do today's protesters need? Exactly what they've got at their
disposal: the Internet, which allows activists to organize in a global
but definitive way. Look at the success the Green Party has had in
advocating its platform. The Internet can help us evolve a greater
direct democracy, in which the people have more decision-making
power in opposition to the too many bought politicians. Our
two-party system, much outmoded, has allowed politicians to
double-talk their way around the bottom-line, human-rights issues,
while rubberstamping the concentration of political and economic
power with the corporate-money rich.
And there's a way of thinking today's protesters should adopt,
especially suited for this new global reality. I call it the "non-linear
analytical view." We must see how things are interconnected,
interrelated and interdependent. That vision should guide the way
we organize, the way we calculate the outcome of our liberation
activity. It's a way of thought that reflects fact and science and yet
encompasses all ethnocentric views. That's the way we were trying
to think in our '60s coalition politics, crossing all racial, ideological
and organizational lines. (Most people ignored this fact about us,
preferring to think of us as a one-race advocacy group.)
It's actually a way of seeing things as they are as comprehensively as
possible. Such enlightened thinking is why the "pig" power structure
attempted to terrorize us out of existence. You could find that kind of
thinking in everyone from the Black Panther Party to the Rev. Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. It exemplifies effective protest, and there has never been
a better time for such thinking than now.
We did it then with our lives on the line. Today's protesters can do
it on a higher, more profound global level today - all in the name of
a future world of collaboration humanism, where decent
relationships between peoples, nations, men and women and
individuals and lifestyles, including all earth's essentialities,
ultimately prevail. And be ready for arrests, charges, indictments
and trials. They come with the territory.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Aug 08 2000 - 20:22:33 CUT