>From: luisa brehm <email@example.com>
>Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 17:25:43 +0100
>From: WW <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Via Workers World News Service
> Reprinted from the July 11, 2002
> issue of Workers World newspaper
> STATE REPRESSION AND THE BLACK STRUGGLE:
> WW INTERVIW WITH SAFIYA BUKHARI,
> PART 2
> By Imani Henry
> In Part 1 former political prisoner Safiya Bukhari said that
> her personal experience with police harassment, not the
> revolutionary program, inspired her to join the Black
> Panther Party for Self-Defense. Her appreciation for the
> program would develop after she joined the BPP.
> This part of the interview focuses on the FBI's brutal
> attack on the Panthers under Cointelpro.
> On April 2, 1969, 21 members of the Black Panthers in New
> York were indicted on charges of conspiring to blow up five
> department stores, a police station, railroad tracks and the
> Bronx Botanical Gardens. Those arrested were held on
> $100,000 bail each. Many Panther followers and supporters
> considered this a form of "ransom bail" used by the district
> attorney and the court system to keep freedom fighters in
> jail throughout the protracted trial process. On May 13,
> 1971, after mass protests, they were acquitted of all the
> trumped-up charges. The Panther 21 defendants included Afeni
> Shakur, mother of the late rap artist Tupac Shakur.
> Fred Hampton, at the age of 20, became leader of the Chicago
> chapter of the BPP. From his work with the free health care
> clinic to the free breakfast program to organizing community
> control of the police, he evolved into a beloved leader of
> the Black community. On Dec. 4, 1969, Chicago police
> assassinated Hampton while he was sleeping, along with Mark
> Clark. Four other Panthers were also shot, beaten and
> arrested. Hampton had just been appointed to the Party's
> Central Committee as chief of staff.
> Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins were both indicted and later
> acquitted of murder charges in the death of a police
> SAFIYA BUKHARI: I tell people straight up that it was the
> New York Police Department that made me decide to join the
> Black Panther Party. In college I supported the war in
> Vietnam. I was so far to the right it was ridiculous. I was
> writing essays on "Why we should be in Vietnam." But by the
> time the summer of 1969 was over, in November, I was in the
> That's why I got involved. If these police are supposed to
> be the protectors of the community and they're violating
> rights, then somebody has to stand up and speak up against
> We saw several attacks that came down so quickly with the
> Cointelpro program. Everything was just geared to making
> sure that we did not get a chance to work step by step
> through stages of political education, to organize in the
> community in the method that would have insured that the
> masses of the people would have been involved in our
> movement by the time it came to the stage of armed struggle.
> IMANI HENRY: WHAT WORK DID YOU DO WITH THE PANTHERS?
> SB: As part of my work, we did community self-defense,
> community organizing, the breakfast programs, the liberation
> schools. I did welfare rights organizing. The welfare rights
> organization that came into existence came out of a lot of
> the work we did organizing welfare mothers. I sold papers in
> my community because papers were very important. That's how
> you got the information out. I taught political education
> And soon I was given a section. My section was 125th to
> 116th streets from 7th Avenue to 1st Avenue. That's a big
> section, but we didn't think that it was going to happen
> overnight. So I would spend a lot of time out in the
> community organizing. Be aware of what's going on in your
> community and make your daily reports of what you
> encountered. That's how you learned about the community that
> you lived in and the issues that affected your community.
> Basicly we organized on whatever were the needs of the
> community. I remember this sister had gotten raped and we
> went to work with her and the person who attacked said they
> were coming back, and so we set up this sting to catch the
> person who had raped this sister.
> IH: HOW DID COINTELPRO IMPACT THE EAST COAST BPP?
> SB: Well, during this time the Panther 21 were on trial. A
> big part of the organizing was to make sure the courtroom
> was filled and money was there for their legal defense.
> The 21 were basically the leadership of the New York chapter
> of the party prior to them getting captured. They thought
> that by taking the leadership away they would destroy the
> New York chapter of the party.
> IH: So was the raid on the office?
> SB: No, on their homes. Simultaneously, all these people
> were arrested almost at the same time, during the early
> morning that day.
> IH: So this is a perfect example of Cointelpro-a systematic
> raid on everyone's home, 21 people.
> SB: Actually, 1969 was a very bad year for the party. 1969
> was the year Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were killed in
> Chicago. Also during this time Panther leaders Bobby Seale
> and Erica Huggins were arrested in New Haven, Conn. Huey
> Newton was already in jail and BPP Minister of Information
> Eldridge Cleaver was forced into exile.
> There was like a command coming from somewhere in the party
> on what to do. So even though we were doing the community
> programs, the government's operation to destroy the party
> continued. Most of the time I was in the party, the issue of
> political prisoners was the major thing because we had
> Panther trials going on all over the country.
> So if they weren't already on trial, their offices were
> being raided and more people were going to jail. The media
> were televising raids on Panther offices.
> By 1971, the government's dissemination of false information
> played upon internal contradictions within the organization
> that brought a split in the party and basically the
> disintegration of the party.
> [Next--Part 3.]
> - END -
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