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Holding High the Banner of Revolutionary Intercommunalism (By Chairman Shaka Zulu, NABPP and Tom “Big Warrior” Watts, National Chairman White Panther Organization of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter) 5/30/2019)

“Because the Black Panther Party is not embarrassed to change or admit error, tonight I would like to accept the criticism and say that those critics were absolutely right. We are a collection of communities just as the Korean people, the Vietnamese people, and the Chinese people are a collection of communities-a dispersed collection of communities because we have no superstructure of our own. The superstructure we have is the superstructure of Wall Street, which all of our labor produced. This is a distorted form of collectivity. Everything’s been collected but it’s used exclusively in the interest of the ruling circle. This is why the Black Panther Party denounces Black capitalism and says that all we can do is liberate our community, not only in Vietnam but here, not  only in Cambodia and the People’s Republics of China and Korea but the communities of the world.

We must unite as one community and then transform the world into a place where people will be happy, wars will end, the state itself will no longer exist, and we will have communism.” Huey P. Newton, “Speech at Boston College” (1970)

In 1970 the leadership of the original Black Panther Party made a qualitative leap on the ideological-political front-a leap from revolutionary nationalism to Marxism-Leninism and further to what Comrade Huey dubbed “Revolutionary lntercommunalism.” But it did not make this leap successfully. It did not hit the ground running. It did not consolidate as a Party around this more advanced ideological-political line organizationally. Instead, what it did was split apart into reformist and left-adventurist factions, and eventually liquidated itself as a party. We won’t say it ceased to exist, because there have continued to be Black Panthers, particularly inside the prisons, which is where the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (PC) was formed in 2005.

The NABPP (PC) was founded of the basis of revolutionary nationalism, though from the start we were conscious of Huey’s “Theory of Revolutionary lntercommunalism,” and made a serious study of it before making the leap from revolutionary nationalism to full adoption of it in 2010. Revolutionary nationalism is a “two-into-one-ism,” that is an eclectic mix of contradictory elements. In this case nationalism and socialism. They are like oil and water, and inevitably, one will divide into two. But it is how most people make the transition from bourgeois nationalism-what Huey used to call “pork-chop nationalism”-to proletarian internationalism. Generally speaking, a frog can’t sit on a lily-pad, because it won’t support his weight, but a frog can leap from one to another to reach a rock where he can perch.

Nations and nationalism belong to a specific era of history, the bourgeois (capitalist) era. There were empires under feudalism; the Spanish, the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, the English, and so on, but not nations as such. With the rise of the bourgeois class there came the emergence of nation states. They were the product of liberal bourgeois democratic revolutions that overthrew the old feudal order. As Marx and Engels explained in the Communist Manifesto:

“The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralization. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest , one frontier, and one customs-tariff.”

But even as nations were being formed, the development of a world market undercut the foundations of nationalism. Lenin explains: “Developing capitalism,” says Lenin, “knows two historical tendencies in the national question. First: the awakening of national life and national movements, struggle against all national oppression, creation of national states. Second: development and acceleration of all kinds of intercourse between nations, breakdown of national barriers, creation of the international unity of capital, of economic life in general, of politics, science, etc.

“Both tendencies are a world-wide law of capitalism. The first predominates at the beginning of its development, the second characterizes mature capitalism that is moving towards its transformation into socialist society” (see Vol. XVIIpp. 139-40). In other words the transformation of independent national economies into a globalized world economy with a global ruling class renders nations and nationalism obsolete. Huey dubbed this “reactionary intercommunalism.” More popularly it is known as “late capitalism” or “the Era of Neoliberalism.”

What Huey recognized was that People’s China, Vietnam, the emerging socialist countries in Afrika, etc., were not really “nations” but temporarily “liberated zones.” They could exist only as “rear areas” in a global “people’s war” in which the decisive front was here, inside the “belly of the beast.” And the decisive issue was black liberation. Mao recognized this as well. As he stated in 1963, in his “Statement Supporting the American Negroes in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism,” and again in 1968 in “A New Storm Against Imperialism”: “The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people.”

Comrade George Jackson came to the same conclusion in 1970 stating: “International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S., wondering and waiting for us to come to our senses. Their problems and struggles with the Amerikan monster are much more difficult than they would be if we actively aided them. We are on the inside. We are the only ones (besides the very small white minority left) who can get at the monster’s heart without subjecting the world to nuclear fire. We have a momentous historical role to act out if we will. The whole world for all time in the future will love us and remember us as the righteous people who made it possible for the world to live on.”

“The capitalist Eden fits my description of hell. To destroy it will require cooperation and communication between our related parts; communion between colony and colony, nation and nation. The common bond will be the desire to humble the oppressor, the need to destroy capitalist man and his terrible, ugly machine. If there were any differences between us in the black colony and the peoples of other colonies across the country, around the world, we should be willing to forget them in the desperate need for coordination against Amerikan fascism.

“We must accept the spirit of the true internationalism called for by Comrade Che Guevara….We need allies, we have a powerful enemy who cannot be defeated without an allied effort! The enemy at present is the capitalist system and its supporters. Our prime interest is to destroy them. Anyone else with this same interest must be embraced, we must work with, beside, through, over, under anyone, regardless of his or her external physical features, whose aim is the same as ours in this. Capitalism must be destroyed, and after it is destroyed, if we find we still have problems, we’ll work them out. That is the nature of life, struggle, permanent revolution; that is the situation we were born into. There are other peoples on this earth. In denying their existence and turning inward in our misery and accepting any form of racism we are taking on the characteristic of our enemy. We are resigning ourselves to defeat. For in forming a conspiracy aimed at the destruction of the system that holds us all in the throes of a desperate insecurity we must have coordinating elements connecting us and our moves to the moves of the other colonies, the African colonies, those in Asia and Latin Amerika, in Appalachia and the south-western bean fields.

“We must establish a true internationalism with other anticolonial peoples. Then we will be on the road of the true revolutionary. Only then can we expect to seize the power that is rightfully ours, the power to control the circumstances of our day-to-day lives.

“The fascist must expand to live. Consequently, he had pushed his frontiers to the farthest lands and peoples. This is an aspect of his being, an ungovernable compulsion. This perverted mechanical monster suffers from a disease that forces him to build ugly things and destroy beauty wherever he finds it.

“We must fall on our enemies, the enemies of all righteousness, with a ruthless relentless will to win! History sweeps on, we must not let it escape our influence this time!!!!”

(Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson, p 202-204, Bantam Ed., pub. 10/70)

This is the essential kernel of “Revolutionary lntercommunalism.” It is not as a disjointed collection of national liberation struggles but as a united struggle to end (by overthrowing) capitalist-imperialism that we can achieve worldwide revolutionary intercommunalism as a stepping stone to world communism. This spear must have a point and one that is right up against the throat of the beast. Together with the strength of all the oppressed people of the world we must ram this spear home and slay the monster.

With the collapse of the original BPP, a lot of revolutionary nationalist comrades slid backwards into “cultural nationalism,” and other forms of bourgeois ideology, and in general adopting a bourgeois political world view dressed up in militant posturing. It is time to end this “chicken shit” behavior and stop pretending it has anything to do with Pantherism! We should still be holding high the panther banner founded by Huey. You can’t be a black nationalist without being a white nationalist (and vice versa), and you can’t be either without being an integrationist into the bloodsucking capitalist system.

All the militant posturing in the world can’t hide that truth!

When Malcolm X said: “Show me a capitalist and I’ll show you a bloodsucker!” he was speaking the hard, cold, liberating truth! There is only one kind of capitalism and one capitalist system, and its headquarters is on Wall Street. Capitalism has only one law and that is to seek out the highest rate of profit on investments, and the “big dawgs” will eat up the “little dawgs” to concentrate wealth into ever fewer hands until the inequality of wealth is negated by socialist revolution. There is no other endgame possible and anyone who tells you different is a fool or a liar. It is late in the game now, and wealth is already well concentrated. If we’re not talking about socialist revolution, we are not revolutionaries. There are only two options, private ownership of the means of production or social ownership of the means of production. There is no third option.

National Socialism is fascism, and fascism is just the ruling class dispensing with the pretext of liberal democracy. It’s still capitalism, just no Bill of Rights.

Social Democracy is still capitalism, just with some liberal concessions. Fascism and Social Democracy do a dance number to keep the masses distracted but real revolution is not on the playbill. You can’t vote away the dictatorship of the rich, you can only overthrow it with the dictatorship of the proletariat. When we say: “All Power to the People!” this is what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about another Liberal Democratic Revolution, not even where there has yet to be one. There we are talking about a New Democratic Revolution-under the leadership of the proletariat, and then only to clear the way for Socialist Revolution and in the context of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.

Revolutionary lntercommunalism is the recognition that we need to put the emphasis on globalized struggle and overthrow of the global capitalist empire. The system is too integrated already to do otherwise. We can’t have another American Revolution outside the context of overthrowing the global monopoly capitalist empire the U.S. has become.

Where is the U.S. military? It is in 500 military bases around the world. If we’re serious about revolution, we need to have plans to build the United Panther Movement on those bases and in the countries where those bases are located, and on the continents where those countries are located. We need to build people’s power wherever people are concentrated. We need to create revolutionary literature in every language people speak.

We need to be Pan-Afrikanists, but we also need to be Pan-Americanists, Pan-Asianists and Pan-Europeanists too. We need to apply Pantherism to all the World! We need to unite Black Panthers, Brown Panthers, and White Panthers! As Huey said: “We have two evils to defeat, capitalism and racism.” And we need to address the oppression of women and gender oppression in general! We need to end caste oppression and religious oppression! To end child exploitation and the neglect and abuse of elders! We need to create “Serve the People!” programs and “Survival Programs” that address all of the people’s needs no matter what color the people are, what language they speak or where they live. Only in this way can we defeat capitalist-imperialism and create global revolutionary intercommunalism.

Talking about doing less than this is “chicken shit!” It is saying “I only care about ‘y people,”‘ which is really saying “I only care about myself”-which is the ideology of the bourgeoisie. It is what we must defeat if anybody is going to be liberated. When it comes to honoring heroes, history is full of worthy examples of people we should honor and teach our children about. We can people’s pride forgive people for having human failings and weaknesses, but their contributions should outweigh their negative aspects. Most importantly, we should strive ourselves to be people that will inspire our children by our actions and how we represent the bright future in the struggles of today. We should be humble and honest and strive to be the “people’s pride.” That’s what being a Panther is about!



Six Questions and Answers, with Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

rashid-2013-self-portrait11. What can we learn from the history of revolutionary struggles about the transition from bourgeois forms of security and policing to proletarian forms of state security

As a class question, we must of course begin with distinguishing between bourgeois and proletarian forms of state power. The state is nothing but the organization of the armed force of one class over its rival class(es). The bourgeoisie, as a tiny oppressor class that exploits or marginalizes all other classes to its own benefit, organizes its institutions of state power (military, police, prisons), that exist outside and above all other classes, to enforce and preserve its dominance and rule over everyone else.

To seize and exercise state power the proletariat, as the social majority, must in turn arm itself and its class allies to enforce its own power over the bourgeoisie.

Which brings us to the substance of your question concerning what lessons we’ve learned about transitioning from bourgeois state power (the capitalist state) to proletarian state power (the socialist state). In any event it won’t be and has never been a ‘peaceful’ process, simply because the bourgeoisie will never relinquish its power without the most violent resistance; which is the very reason it maintains its armed forces.

Well, we’ve had both urban and rural models of such transition. Russia was the first urban model (although subsumed in a rural society), China was the first successful rural one. There were many other attempts, but few succeeded however.

What proved necessary in the successful cases is foremost there must be a vanguard party organized under the ideological and political line of the revolutionary proletariat. This party must work to educate and organize the masses to recognize the need, and actively take up the struggle, to seize power from the bourgeoisie.

In the urban context, (especially in the advanced capitalist countries), where the bourgeoisie’s armed forces are entrenched, this requires a protracted political approach focused on educating and organizing the masses and creating institutions of dual and alternative collective political and economic power, with armed struggle prepared for but projected into the distant future (likely as civil war).

But in the rural context, where revolutionary forces have room to maneuver because the bourgeoisie’s armed forces are much less concentrated, the masses may resort to relatively immediate armed struggle, with political work operating to keep the masses and the armed forces educated and organized, and revolutionary politics in command of the armed struggle. This was Mao Tse-tung’s contribution to revolutionary armed struggle called Peoples War, and with its mobile armed mass base areas these forces operated like a state on wheels.

But the advances of technology since the 1970s, have seen conditions change that require a reassessing of the earlier methods of revolutionary struggle and transition of state power.

The rural populations (peasantry) of the underdeveloped world who are best suited to Mao’s PW model have been shrinking, as agrobusiness has been steadily pushing them off the land and into urban areas as permanent unemployables and lumpen proletarians, where they must survive by any means possible. Then too, with their traditional role as manual laborers being increasingly replaced by machines, the proletariat in the capitalist countries in also shrinking, and they too are pushed into a mass of permanent unemployables and lumpen.

So the only class, or sub-class, whose numbers are on the rise today are this bulk of marginalized largely urban people who don’t factor into the traditional roles of past struggles, with one exception. That being the struggle waged here in US the urban centers under the leadership of the original BPP, which designated itself a lumpen vanguard party. As such the BPP brought something entirely new and decisive to the table.

As the BPP’s theoretical leader, Huey P. Newton explained this changing social economic reality and accurately predicted their present development in his 1970 theory of “Revolutionary Intercommunalism,” and met the challenge of creating the type of party formation suited to meeting the new challenges of educating and organizing this growing social force for revolutionary struggle.

The BPP was able to create a model for developing institutions of dual and alternative political and economic power through its Serve the People programs creating the basis for transition of power to the marginalized under a revolutionary intercommunalist model instead of the traditional national socialist model.

The challenge in this situation where such work has been met with the most violent repression by bourgeois state forces is developing effective security forces right under their noses to protect the masses and their programs.

This is the work we in the NABPP are building on and seek to advance.


2. What has your experience of being a hyper-surveilled, incarcerated revolutionary taught you that is broadly applicable to the secure practice of revolutionaries in general

For one, the masses are our best and only real protection against repression. So in all the work we do, we must rely on and actively seek and win the support of the people, which is the basic Maoist method of doing political work and is what the imperialists themselves admit makes it the most effective and feared model of revolutionary struggle.

I’ve also learned that a lot of very important work fails because many people just don’t attempt it, due to policing themselves. Many fear pig repression and think any work that is effective must necessarily be done hidden out of sight, fearing as they do being seen by the state.

Essentially, they don’t know how to do aboveground work, and don’t recognize the importance of it, especially in these advanced countries. They think for work to be ‘revolutionary’ it must be underground and focused on armed struggle. And even those who do political work they stifle it by using an underground style which largely isolates them from the masses.

I think Huey P. Newton summed it up aptly when he stated,

“Many would-be revolutionaries work under the fallacious notion that the vanguard party should be a secret organization which the power structure knows nothing about, and that the masses know nothing about except for occasional letters that come their homes in the night. Underground parties cannot distribute leaflets announcing an underground meeting. Such contradictions and inconsistencies are not recognized by these so-called revolutionaries. They are, in fact, afraid of the very danger they are asking the people to confront. These so-called revolutionaries want the people to say what they themselves are afraid to say, to do what they themselves are afraid to do. That kind of revolutionary is a coward and a hypocrite. A true revolutionary realizes if he is sincere, death is imminent. The things he is saying and doing are extremely dangerous. Without this … realization, it is pointless to proceed as a revolutionary.

“If these impostors would investigate the history of revolution they would see that the vanguard group always starts out aboveground and is driven underground by the oppressor.”

3. Do you see it as a vulnerability to have our leaders organizing from prison? Some comrades refuse to engage in party/mass organizational work if it is conducted from prison. Don’t we sacrifice our best leadership if we don’t work directly/organizationally with our incarcerated leaders?

It can be a disadvantage, because it slows down development. But it is also an advantage, and our party is an example of this.

Historically, most revolutionary parties began on the outside and ended up targeted with repression, which included imprisonment of its cadre and supporters — fear of repression served as a deterrent for many would be revolutionaries as it was intended to do. For the NABPP, we developed in exactly the opposite direction. We began inside the prisons and are now transitioning to the outside.

Our cadre are getting out and hitting the ground going directly to work for the people. Look at our HQ in Newark, NJ where our chairman got out and has in less than a year led in developing a number of community STP programs, organizing mass protests that have shut down a prison construction project, given publicity and support to the people facing a crisis with lead in the water systems, etc.

So unlike the hothouse flower we’re already used to and steeled against state repression. The threat of prison doesn’t shake us — we’ve been there and done that. Like Huey asked, “Prison Where is Thy Victory?,” and John Sinclair of the original White Panther Party said, “prison ain’t shit to be afraid of.” And it was Malcolm X who was himself transformed into the great leader that he was inside prison who called prisons, “universities of the oppressed.”

All of my own work has been done from behind prison walls, and I have the state’s own reports and reactions of kicking me out of multiple state prison systems to attest to the value of what I’ve been able to contribute.

So, I think that, yes, some of our best leadership is definitely behind these walls.

Consider too that some of our best leaders developed inside prison: Malcolm X, George Jackson and Atiba Shanna aka James Yaki Sayles, for example. Which is something our party has factored into its strategy from day one. We’ve recognized the prisons to be potential revolutionary universities. Since our founding the NABPP has actively advanced the strategy of “transforming the prisons into schools of liberation,” of converting the lumpen (criminal) mentality into a revolutionary mentality.

In fact we can’t overlook remolding prisoners, because if we don’t, the enemy will appeal to and use them as forces of reaction against the revolutionary forces. Lenin, Mao and especially Frantz Fanon and the original BPP recognized this. What’s more, with the opposition’s ongoing strategy of mass imprisonment, massive numbers of our people have been swept up in these modern concentration camps. We must reach them with the politics of liberation. They are in fact a large part of our Party’s mass base.


4. How do you vet leadership and cadre? On what criteria to you make your judgement? Organizationally and personally.

Ideally this is determined by their ideological and political development and practice. But we expect and give space for people to make mistakes, although we also expect them to improve as they go. So we must be patient but also observe closely the correlation between their stated principles and their practice.


5. How should underground work relate to aboveground? How can the masses identify with the work of underground revolutionaries without compromising the security of the clandestine network?

Underground work serves different purposes and needs. One of which being to protect political cadre and train cadre to replace the fallen. Also to create a protective network and infrastructure for political workers forced to go to ground in the face of violent repression.

In whatever case the above ground forces should actively educate the masses on the role, function and purpose of underground actions while ensuring that the clandestine forces consist of the most disciplined and politically grounded people. It must also be understood that these elements do not replace the masses in their role as the forces that must seize power.


6. In your assessment, has the balance of forces between the police and the potential of revolutionary mass action fundamentally shifted over the past 5 decades? How does this affect our ability to form organs of political power among the masses?

What shifted, but I don’t think is generally recognized by many, is the PW theory is today too simplistic. Today we must organize and create base areas under the nose of the bourgeoisie with the growing concentration of marginalized people in impoverished urban settings. As I noted earlier the traditional mass base of rural peasants who feature in the PW strategy is shrinking. And Maoist forces in rural areas have been pushed to the furthest margins of those areas unable to expand.

There is little opportunity for New Democratic revolution in these countries, which calls for alliances with the native national bourgeoisie who are now being rendered obsolete by the rise and normalization of neocolonialism and virtual elimination of nation states.


Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin Rashid Johnson

panthervisionKevin “Rashid” Johnson entered the u.s. prison system over 20 years ago, one of countless young Black men consigned to lifelong incarceration by the post-civil right policies of anti-Black genocide. While behind bars, Rashid encountered the ideas of revolutionary Black nationalism and Marxism-Leninism, and of the people and organizations who have used and dev eloped these ideas in previous generations, foremost amongst these being the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Along with other Black/New Afrikan prisoners, Rashid helped found the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, while using both his artwork and his political writings as avenues to advance the cause of liberation for all.

Here, collected in book form for the first time, are Rashid’s core writings as Minister of Defense of the NABPP-PC. Subjects addressed include the differences between anarchism and Marxism-Leninsm, the legacy of the Black Panther Party, the timeliness of Huey P. Newton’s concept of revolutionary intercommunalism, the science of dialictical and historical materialsm, the practice of democratic centralism, as well as current events ranging from u.s. imperialist designs in Africa to national oppression of New Afrikans within u.s. borders. And much more.

As Professor Jared Ball explains in his preface,

“Rashid represents the fear expressed by COINTELPRO’s fearful question: What happens if this radicalism reaches successive generations and then explicitly calls for the same and more in their time? He both articulates to his contemporaries and those coming behind him the context in which their art exists, the shifts in the landscape that take us from African medallion hip-hop to the bling era. He can also demonstrate with wondrous skill the power artists have in articulating those same ideas, critiques and concepts of revolution. Rashid in this sense becomes the problem he has himself warned is necessary.”


Foreword by Jalil Muntaqim, introduction by Jared Ball; afterwords By George Katsiaficas and Tom Big Warrior.


What People Are Saying

“The original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense challenged the prevailing socio-political and economic relationship between the government and Black people. The New Afrikan Black Panther Party is building on that foundation, and Rashid’s writings embrace the need for a national organization in place of that which had been destroyed by COINTELPRO and racist repression. We can only hope this book reaches many, and serves to herald and light a means for the next generation of revolutionaries to succeed in building a mass and popular movement.”
Jalil Muntaqim, Prisoner of War

“All Praise due to Brother Kevin Rashid Johnson, for his courage, determination and commitment from deep within the belly of the beast. For using his pen as a weapon to put forth his vision and perspectives, to inform and enlighten, to be discussed and evaluated.”
Emory Douglas, Revolutionary Artist & Former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party 1967–1981

“The U.S. is a society that originally based itself on a form of prison labor called slavery. Then it based itself on a form of slavery called racial segregation. Now it sets at the core of its political culture a form of racial segregation called the prison industry, run by a judicial machine. Each of these phases of U.S. history has used its racialization of class relations to render its class exploitation extreme. As with all exploitation, there is resistance. Today, Rashid’s is one of the most powerful voices of that resistance.”
Steve Martinot, author of The Rule of Racialization

“Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Panther Vision is an extraordinary testimony to the human capacity to struggle against oppression.  Johnson, a Virginia prisoner, who has been moved to Oregon and Texas, is a radical writer, artist, and organizer and co-founder and current Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC). The theme of struggle against capitalism and white supremacy as central to revolutionary change runs throughout this collection of thirty-eight articles (written between 2005 and 2015) and fifty-five, often extraordinary, drawings – most done with only a pen. Panther Vision breaks out of the walls of physical imprisonment to treat such topics as politics, history, theory, organization, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown. It discusses well-known figures such as Marx, Lenin, Mao, Angela Davis, George Jackson, Ella Baker, Huey P. Newton, Assata Shakur, Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Howard Zinn, George Jackson, and lesser known, but important writers such as Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen. “Rashid” Johnson’s Panther Vision is a remarkable achievement — the power of his writings, art, and thought cannot be jailed and will continue to reach wider audiences and grow in importance.” — Jeffrey B. Perry, author, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918