---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 19:51:05 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Reporters Tapes Stolen By Black Panthers
Reporter's Tapes Stolen By Black Panthers
By Christopher Chow
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 22, 2002
Editor's note: This article is part of a weeklong series of reports from
the Black Panthers' 35th anniversary reunion held last weekend in
"WELCOME to the people's university," Dr. Timothy Jenkins proclaimed to the
congregants at the Black Panthers 35th anniversary reunion. "We welcome you
here, because this is an open forum," the University of District of
Columbia President remarked. "We don't weigh your ideas. We don't weigh
your conclusions. We have no test of ideology to sit in this hall."
Jenkins was wrong.
I know this because I, along with Accuracy in Academia executive director
Dan Flynn, was kicked out of the conference for writing for a conservative
newspaper. More importantly, the Black Panthers violated my First Amendment
Rights and forcibly took my property. A Boston College professor of
sociology, and an accomplice, followed me several blocks from the
conference, took my bag, and confiscated my tapes of conference sessions.
On Saturday, April 20, I attended two panel sessions at the Black Panther
Party's 35th anniversary reunion. The morning event focused on the FBI's
Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro). The second event was an
afternoon workshop called "Marxist Theory in the Black Panther Party,"
hosted by Boston College sociology professor Charles Pinderhughes.
Pinderhughes, who worked as the Lieutenant of Information in the Panthers'
Boston chapter, professed, "If you are not a Marxist-Leninist, you cannot
be a member of the Black Panther Party." A young man in the audience asked,
"What's Marxism?" Pinderhughes explained the Karl Marx was the founder of
Communism. He went on to describe how Communism has helped China, Cuba, and
other countries, but led to genocide in Cambodia. The graying Panther
added, "Nazi Germany was capitalist so don't tell me that's worse."
After the session, I confronted Pinderhughes in private about his comments
concerning genocide. I asked why he described the Nazis as "capitalists"
when the very word "Nazi" means National Socialist. I asked him why he
ignored mass-killings by Stalin and Mao, and advanced a sugarcoated
portrayal of Communism. Pinderhughes labeled the story of death camps in
China as "right-wing propaganda." Outraged, he demanded to know what
publication I wrote for. "Campus Report," I replied.
Upon hearing this, Pinderhughes's tone turned aggressive. "That's a
conservative paper." He demanded the audiotape I made of the Marxist
session, claiming he had not given permission to be taped. At the time of
the session, Pinderhughes didn't object to me taping it. Only when he
realized that I didn't buy into his ideology did he raise objections.
Throughout the conference, the videotaping and audiotaping of sessions had
been quite common. In fact, Pinderhughes himself had recorded his own
workshop. He didn't feel it necessary to get others' permission.
As I attempted to leave the event, Pinderhughes and an associate followed
me out into the hall filled with dozens of Black Panthers, shouting, "This
guy's a conservative! This guy's with Campus Report! This guy's a
conservative!" Two other Panthers approached and told me that audio
recording was not allowed at the event. This was patently untrue. Dozens of
conference participants had audiotaped and videotaped sessions throughout
Pinderhughes and his younger associate followed me as I left campus and
continued to demand the tape. As I walked down Connecticut Avenue, the BC
professor and his cohort trailed me for several blocks. Finally, I tried to
find refuge from my stalkers in the apartment building of AIA executive
director Dan Flynn. Flynn was not there to let me in and I was trapped in
the building's exterior lobby with my two stalkers. At this point
Pinderhughes backed me against the wall putting his face right up against
my face, shouting, "I'm not threatening you! Get off the phone! Give me all
the tapes! I want all the tapes!" He grabbed my bag containing audiotapes,
a recorder, cellular phone, wallet, car keys, and other personal items.
Pinderhughes put the bag around his own shoulder and said, "We're leaving!"
Seeing that Pinderhughes was going to walk away with my belongings, I
shouted, "OK. Take the tape!" The bag was searched and the session tape
Pinderhughes removed the tapes. This was not good enough. Pinderhughes
yelled, "We're taking all the tapes!" and was about to leave when Mr. Flynn
arrived at the building.
No longer commanding a numerical majority, Pinderhughes changed his tone
and allowed that if the conference organizers ordered him to return the
tapes, he would do so.
With all the audiotapes in Pinderhughes's possession the foursome walked
back to UDC. Pinderhughes agreed to return the tape of the Cointelpro
session. The Black Panther officials sided with Pinderhughes, and allowed
him to keep the tape he admitted to taking. The organizers made the
facetious claim that recording sessions was against event rules, rules that
they admitted weren't announced at any time or written anywhere. The Black
Panthers demanded Accuracy in Academia's contact information to bar the
organization from attending future events. Both Flynn and myself were then
ejected from the conference.
Throughout the conference, the Black Panthers portrayed themselves as a
group targeted for persecution. This is an inversion of reality. The Black
Panther Party was itself a force for repression. Individual Panthers
kidnapped, murdered, stole, and participated in bombings. Individuals
(including their own members) who dissented were forever silenced. The
Black Panthers didn't seek to advance freedom. They sought to curtail it.
More than thirty-five years after their founding, not much has changed.
Chris Chow serves as a program officer for Accuracy in Academia and a
reporter for its publication, Campus Report.
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