Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall, Episode 14
What is Black Power? When, where, how, and why did it emerge? Taking a look at the Civil Rights movement in the broader context of a Black Liberation Movement, we must examine the concept of Black Power, and look to the revolutionary philosophers of action who both articulated the concept, and actively sought to mobilize and manifest it in the form of empowering communities and creating alternatives. With the ideas and actions of Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton and Angela Davis – among many many others! – we see a profoundly complex, indigenous, grassroots and globally-connected revolutionary movement emerge in the United States in the 1960s, led by young, black leaders, male and female, speaking out against the racism, imperialism, exploitation and domination of the American empire at home and abroad, historically and presently, from Harlem to Haiti to Hanoi.
The Black Panther Party was a particularly active component of the black power movement, organizing free breakfasts, medical care, and education for ghetto residents and children. So threatening to the power structure was the Black Power movement, that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover once declared the free breakfast program to be the “greatest internal threat to the United States.” A look at the Black Power movement helps us understand why it was so threatening back then, and why it’s important to remember today.