I originally wrote this blog for The Free Thought Project
At the young age of just 21 years old, this Black Panther leader managed to pull off what many at the time considered to be impossible — uniting different races and seemingly opposed political groups in common cause against the ruling class.
Some say this is the true reason why he was assassinated.
Sadly, very few people today know who Fred Hampton really was, what he truly stood for, and how he was brutally assassinated. In this blog I will not be exploring the complexity and exceptional integrity of this man’s character in detail, since I believe he is deserving of a much more meticulous write up than I can offer at this time. Nonetheless, I would like to share his transcendent message of unity and solidarity to help remind everyone who the real enemy is.
Rising quickly within the ranks of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, under Fred Hampton’s leadership they were feeding more hungry children free meals than ever before through the BPP Free Breakfast Program. The group also offered free healthcare to those in need; safe transportation for the elderly and they provided education to children and adults on subjects like political science, and other relevant topics, that were (and still are) sorely lacking from government controlled education. Perhaps most controversial, but well known today, is that they also had patrol units that would police the police, and ensure the cops were not violating anyone’s constitutional rights.
The BPP Free Food Program fed hungry children regardless of skin color, Photo credit: Bev Grant/The Guardian
Fred Hampton also managed to broker a peace between some of Chicago’s most powerful gangs and formerly opposed groups, by helping them become aware of their mutual struggles and human principles. It was through these brilliant communication skills that he was also able to coordinate the establishment of the “Rainbow Coalition,” which brought together the Young Lords (Largely representing poor Latinos), Young Patriots (Largely representing poor Whites), and the Black Panthers. The group would also later be joined by a number of other revolutionary groups from other walks of life, including the mostly White Students for a Democratic Society, the mostly Mexican Brown Berets, the American Indian Movement and the mostly Chinese Red Guard Party, amongst others.
Fred Hampton and other Rainbow Coalition members, Photo credit: Dave Nystrom/Chicago Tribune
U.S. Government Counters Fred Hampton’s Efforts For Unity By Weaponizing Racism & Spreading Divide & Conquer Propaganda
According to FBI documents, Fred Hampton was considered a major threat to the U.S. government, as was the Black Panther Party in general. In fact, the FBI Head at that time, J, Edgar Hoover, considered them to be “the most dangerous group in the U.S.” and viewed their Free Breakfast Program to be a top priority to undermine since it was gaining so much public support.
According to historian Franziska Meister, this resulted in parents being told food was contaminated with venereal disease in an effort to shut them down; parents were also told that the youth were being indoctrinated to hate white people and even become killers. Police officials also raided these Breakfast gatherings randomly and openly harassed BPP members which terrified attending kids. In Los Angeles, police officials reportedly forced children to leave at gun point and then threw out all of the food. Bear in mind that these programs were feeding ±20,000 hungry children every school day.
The FBI resorted to even more reprehensible methods to create division between some of the more militant groups that the Black Panther Party members worked so hard to unite with, such as the Blackstone Rangers and the United Slaves(US). They did this by falsely insinuating that the BPP put out an assassination hit on the head of the United Slaves, Ron Karenga, and that Fred Hampton personally put out a hit on the head of the Blackstone Rangers. This resulted in a “gang war” that saw 4 members of the BPP being killed and many more, on all sides, being injured. They were also successful at creating division within the Black Panther Party itself.
In 1971, it was discovered that this was all part of a shocking illegal secretive FBI program known as COINTELPRO, where the FBI illegally targeted anti-war activists and civil rights groups, amongst others.
The Ruling Class Fear Unity & Favor Racism & Division
When we consider the elaborate tactics employed by the establishment authorities to sabotage the Black Panther Party’s efforts to promote unity and peace amongst different gangs, racial groups, and the oppressed masses in general — which was truly an unprecedented and extraordinary accomplishment — one can’t help but logically consider that they actually favor racism, division and war, over unity and peace.
This becomes particularly propitious, when we consider the bizarre case of another high ranking member of the group, Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, who was also a highly decorated soldier that rose to the position of sergeant whilst in the military. He was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years — 8 of which were served out in solitary confinement. He was finally released after it was discovered that the prosecution knowingly concealed evidence that could prove his innocence — which is simply mind blowing to say the least. In 2000, he reportedly settled his false imprisonment case for $4.5 million. Sadly, he had a heart attack just a few years later and died.
A number of other BPP members were killed or imprisoned on various charges as well. How many of them were authentic and how many were the result of manipulation is something we may never know. In the case of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, it is open knowledge today that police officials outright murdered them by raiding their residence while most of the group were sleeping. It was also later found that Hampton had been drugged, which some people believe may have been the work of his personal bodyguard, who was later exposed as an undercover FBI agent. After more than a decade of legal battles surrounding their murders — which the authorities first tried to cover up — the government reportedly paid $1.85 million to the parents of the slain victims, and other plaintiffs in 1982. To go to such extraordinary lengths to suppress this movement is simply uncanny and should warrant further interest from us for obvious reasons.
The True Black Panther Legacy Has Been Poisoned
Despite Fred Hampton and other Black Panther Party leader’s noble efforts, and sacrifices, to unite different races in common cause against a mutual enemy — and thus focus our collective capabilities in helping all oppressed people regardless of skin color — today their message of “fighting racism with solidarity“(unity) seems to have largely been lost.
Where once the BPP rightfully acknowledged the palpable struggles of impoverished white people, for example — which naturally resulted in a stronger sense of unity and camaraderie to create a better world for all — today this demographic is largely being forgotten about through the oversimplification of their existence to one of “privilege,” which sadly only serves to radicalize their unvented frustrations further, and make them ripe pickings for those with sinister agendas who pretend to care.
In addition to this departure from the original Black Panther Party’s code of conduct to create positive change, today many people — particularly white people — appear to be under the false pretense that the BPP was an anti-white organization, which is absolutely not true. In fact, they constantly went out of their way to make that very clear and even isolated themselves from more extreme black nationalist groups that viewed all white people as being the enemy.
One of the reasons that this myth persists today, I believe, is a very dodgy modern organization proclaiming themselves to be the “new” Black Panther Party, but their ideology and political position is clearly one of racial intolerance and even outright hatred for white people, to the point of openly advocating killing babies. This is a major insult to what the original Black Panther Party stood for. In fact, multiple original BPP members have made it very clear that they want nothing to do with this “new” organization. As co-founder Bobby Seale commented on CNN when asked about the group, “We will never, ever stoop to the low level of the mentality of a racist to just hate another person because of the color of their skin or ethnicity. We don’t do that. That’s not the goal objective. The goal objective is human liberation.” When invited to debate with Bobby Seale, the “new” BPP reportedly declined.
When we consider how the U.S. government went to such ridiculous, unethical, and extraordinary lengths to sabotage, falsely imprison, and even outright murder some of the original Black Panther Party members — who were calling for unity and working for peace in paradigm shifting ways — and then we consider how they have made no such efforts to silence or suppress the “new” Black Panther Party — who are openly calling for violence against white people and working for dangerous divisions — one can’t help but become extremely suspicious about this group and their relationship with the authorities.
This is “King Samir Shabazz,” one of the “new” BPP’s most racist and controversial members, and fits the role of an agent provocateur well. He has been arrested on several occasion without any major consequence, which is common for someone working undercover.
Could it be that this “new” Black Panther Party group is largely, or at least partly, a front organization meant to serve the purpose of not only promoting racial division — which based on historical evidence seems to be a part of government policy — but could it also be a continued effort to undermine the integrity of the Black Panther Party’s revolutionary blueprint, which the government clearly feared?
Is it possible that this is just another page from the FBI’s surreptitious COINTELPRO book, and thus an attempt to smear the Black Panther Party’s name by associating it with obvious bigotry and hatred that any sensible person would impulsively dismiss, thus ensuring the argument regresses back into a state of race baiting politics rather than unity based solutions? Although we can only speculate at this point, personally, I would not put anything past this corrupt system.
“It’s a Class Struggle, Goddamnit!”
All throughout history, long before different races and skin colors even encountered each other, the problem of elitism already existed — which is the notion that one class of people are superior to another, and therefore have a right to rule over and exploit the “lower” class.
If we go back to Africa, before the encroachments of Europeans or Arabs, for example, we find that Africans elitists enslaved other Africans. If we look at ancient Greece, or Rome, we find the same thing, only with elistist Europeans enslaving other Europeans. In fact, both ancient Greece and Rome were largely built on the backs of “White European” slave labor. Similar scenarios can be found throughout other parts of the world, from ancient Sumer to China and beyond. In other words, class warfare has been haunting humanity for thousands of years.
A more modern example that helps to also quantify this, can be found in the writings of the great author Frederick Douglass — who was himself a former slave — in which he clearly considered the West African slave traders to be no different than the European slave traders;
The savage chiefs of the western coasts of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage, and pocketing the ready cash for them will not more readily accept our moral and economical ideas than the slave traders of Maryland and Virginia.
Correspondingly, during the 17th century, Black slaves and White servants commonly drank together, ate together, worked together, and even ran away from their masters together. According to historian Edmund S. Morgan, “It was not uncommon for them to make love together” as well. In short, they viewed each other being part of the same class. Unsurprisingly, they eventually began to also rebel together, such as during Bacon’s rebellion in 1676 when they united against the ruling class of Virginia.
Historians believe that fear of this unity amongst the ruling class is what ultimately inspired the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705. These new laws served to usher in stringent segregation policies between these two demographics to prevent the possibility of them uniting again in the future. They also began to give poor Whites favorable treatment whilst psychologically conditioning them to view Black people as being inferior. In fact, this is recognized as being a key event that gave birth to the racism that so deeply dominates the United States today.
Unlike most people around the world today, Fred Hampton understood this proverbial chess game very well, and constantly tried to make the common people wise to this immutable Truth. He knew that psychopaths, war mongers, and agents of deception came in all shapes, sizes and colors; and he also knew that decent people came in all shapes, sizes and colors too. Just one month before his assassination, for example, he gave a powerful speech entitled, “It’s a Class Struggle Goddamnit,” in which he expressed these views cogently and with enlightening context.
One very fitting example that he mentioned in his efforts to help enlighten people to the greater problem of elitism beyond the danger of “white supremacy” alone, was sharing some history from Haiti, where there was a “revolution” under the guise of black nationalism and black empowerment by “Papa Doc” François Duvalier. Once Duvalier came to power though, he resorted to terror tactics against his own people, stole millions from the people, declared himself dictator for life, and even created a death squad known as the Tonton Macoute which ultimately murdered and tortured tens of thousands of men, women and children that were suspected of being opposed to his rule. Furthermore, in a move of extraordinary hypocrisy, he also turned around and worked with the U.S. government who provided him with tens of millions of dollars in “foreign aid,” as well as invaluable military training for his death squad the Tonton Macoute.
You see, good and bad is not about external skin color, it is about internal character. Elitists are united through their internal interest of gaining power and exploiting the common people, and they intelligently put their minor differences aside to achieve that greater goal. Fred Hampton clearly understood this and was extremely outspoken about it in his efforts to disillusion others. This alone was already threatening enough for the ruling class, but where Fred’s influence became intolerable for the powers that be, is when he began to unite different races and people against this mutual threat.
So always remember, that in spite of the incessant race baiting from the media, or even the opinions of seemingly “independent” influential figures on social media and elsewhere, the overwhelming majority of society are decent human beings.
You Cannot Kill The Truth
Fred Hampton’s murder is a tragic loss for the whole human race for obvious reasons. His authentic integrity and compassion — complimented by his fierce courage, raw charisma, and enlightening perspective — is why I view him as being one of the single greatest revolutionary figures in modern history. This is especially true to me, when we consider that he was only 21 years old. Imagine what he could’ve accomplished had he not been taken away from us so soon.
In spite of Fred not being with us physically anymore, however, we have the privilege to still be guided by his beautiful spirit; which lives on through his transcendent speeches and indomitable convictions; reminding us to stand together and remember who the real enemy is; reminding us that you cannot kill the Truth.
Thank you for your great courage and guidance my brother, your noble sacrifice has not been in vain.
In an effort to ensure that Fred Hampton’s great legacy continues to live on and reach as many lost minds as possible, his son Fred Jr is currently working on a project called Save The Hampton House, which will “preserve, protect, and rehabilitate the childhood home of Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton,” by turning it into a museum where people can learn about what this great man stood for. They will also be “facilitating educational services, community gardens, and a meeting place for community development.”
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