The United States is home to numerous parties which have various agendas and represent different peoples. Some of these parties cater for special interest of particular groups in the population and may hold extremist views. The New Black Panther Party falls under this category of parties. This paper proposes to give a deeper understanding of the NBPP by performing concise yet informative research on the party. A brief history of the party, its ideologies as well as significant activities that the party has engaged in over the past shall be highlighted.
Overview of the NBPP
The New Black Panther Party (NBPP) is hailed as a high-profile contemporary Black Nationalist group that came into prominence in the 1990s. The NBPP was founded in 1989 by Aaron Michaels in Dallas Texas and advocated Black Nationalism. The party followed in the footsteps of the Black Panther Party (BPP) which had been active for about a decade starting from the mid- 1960s. Alexander and Rucker (2010) note that the party’s literature references the renowned Pan-African Nationalist Marcus Garvey’s separatist movement and calls for an independent African state within the USA. The current leader of the group is Malik Zulu Shabazz who took over in 2002 following the death of the former NBPP chairman, Khalid Abdul Muhammad.
Group Ideologies and Philosophies
The group has a ten-point platform which articulates the group’s goals and objectives. This ten-point platform represents the group’s demands on the government and borrows largely from the original Black Panthers “ten-point program”. These demands as articulated in the official NBPP website include; freedom and power to practice self-determination by the Black community, full employment, tax exemption, decent housing and free healthcare, amnesty for all incarcerated blacks in the world among other demands (NBPP, 2010). The most ambitious goal of the group is the creation of black national liberation and a black “liberated zone” which will be an independent entity from the rest of the US and will have its own government.
The party is keen on disseminating information to make its members politically aware and sympathetic to the group’s ideologies and philosophies. The group endorses books such as “Blueprint for Black Power” by Amos Wilston and “The Reawakening of the African Mind” by Asa Hilliard. Both these books promote the idea of self-determination and the establishment of a Black Nation; both of which are among the ideologies endorsed by the party.
While the party claims to be opposed to racism and only concerned with the welfare of the black communities all over the world, it has been labeled as a hate group owing to some of its ideologies and remarks made by its leaders in public. The current leader of the group exclaimed to the press that “I can’t wait for the day that they’re all dead. I won’t be completely happy until I see our people free and Whitey dead” (Anti-Defamation League, 2009). Such vehement attacks on the white race have resulted in the NBPP being labeled as a hate group by the SPLC.
Like the BPP which the NBPP purports to have succeeded, the party also calls for the armament of Blacks. A particularly public demonstration of this was in the 2008 elections where members of the NBPP went to a polling station dressed in military fatigues with the aim of “protecting black voters from having their rights violated” (SPLC, 2010). As a result of this, charges of alleged voter intimidation were brought against the NBPP members by the Department of Justice. However, the charges were dropped before any convictions could be made.
The group is opposed to the police force as a matter of principle and they constantly promote anti-police messages through the mass media. This stance is well articulated by the group leader Malik Shabazz who is quoted as saying “If police ain’t messing with me, I ain’t doing something right… When the cops are knocking on your door, now you’re doing something right” (The Anti-Defamation League, 2010). However, unlike its predecessors, the NBPP has failed to win the approval of the Black community residents it purports to be protecting with these demonstrations of armed self-defense and opposition to the police.
The NBPP also engages in activities aimed at the betterment of the community. For example, the party has a sponsored breakfast program at city recreation centers and engages in the donation of food and furniture to community residents. In addition to this, the party also organizes transportation for families to go and visit their incarcerated members in far-away prisons.
Opposition to the NBPP
The similarity between the “New Black Panther Party” name and that of an earlier African American party, the “Black Panther Party” which was at its peak in the mid-1960s and 1970s has caused many people to assume that the NBPP is the natural successor to the Black Panther Party. However, an authority on the original Black Panther Party, the Dr. Huey Newton Foundation (2000) accuses the NBPP of being guilty of “exploitation of the Party’s name and history”. Also, owing to its racist tendencies and its anti-Zionist sentiments, the NBPP has been condemned by members of the original BPP for claim that while the BPP had operated with love for blacks and not hatred of whites, the NBPP propagates hatred of whites.
This paper set out to perform concise yet informative research on the NBPP. From the discussions herein, it is clear that the party has gained prominence in the US over the last two decades mostly for its racist and anti-Zionist tendencies. However, the party does perform some activities which are for the betterment of the community, and for this reason, the NBPP remains a prominent party within the Black community.
Alexander, L. M. & Rucker, C. W. (2010). Encyclopedia of African American History, Volume 1. NY: ABC-CLIO.
Anti-Defamation League (2010). Justice Department Files Suit Against New Black Panthers. Web.
Dr. Huey Newton Foundation (2000). There Is No New Black Panther Party: An Open Letter From the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation. Web.
New Black Panthers (2010). The New Black Panthers. Web.
Southern Poverty Law Center (2009). New Black Panther Party. Web.