Black Liberation, Proletarian Internationalism and Socialism
Why were the Black Panthers particularly singled out as the supposed ‘greatest internal threat to national security’ by FBI head J. Edgar Hoover? Because they were succeeding in organizing large numbers of
Black people to fight for revolutionary change with a socialist vision. They were inspiring hundreds of thousands of people of all nationalities toward revolutionary and socialist politics. They launched programs and campaigns to fight for the felt needs of the masses of poor and working class Black people and organized thousands of mostly young Black people into a revolutionary organization. They dedicated themselves to overthrowing white supremacist capitalism in the U.S. and replacing it with a socialist system based on the needs of the people. Following in the footsteps of Malcolm X, they upheld the right to armed self-defense. They identified with the national liberation movements and socialist countries in the Third World and they studied the writings of Mao, Fanon, Lenin, Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevarra, Kim Il Sung and other Third World socialist revolutionaries. The Black Panthers' socialist politics and identification with anti-imperialist liberation movements around the world caused the ruling class see them as a real threat.
Working Class Stand
"You're gonna have to keep on saying that - I am the proletariat, I am the people. I am not the pig. You've got to make a distinction." -Fred Hampton
The Black Panthers didn't mainly focus on organizing the working class as such. They tended to focus
attention on the lower sector of the working class in their communities and on the ‘lumpen proletariat’
(poor people who are basically outside of the formal economic system and get by on the 'informal economy', hustles, petty crimes and the like), and they also had a large base of support and members from petty bourgeois and student backgrounds. But Fred Hampton always spoke of the working class, the
‘proletariat.’ From his practice it's clear he was talking about the working cla
ss as a whole - including the lower sector and the lumpen, but not just them - the working class as a whole.