The Black Panthers
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The Black Panthers were an African-American minority group that emerged in the 1960s and were distinguished by other Black Nationalist groups by their emphasis on revolutionary methods to achieve their ideological objectives. In general, Black Nationalism in the twentieth century was characterized by the following:
- Recognition of racial and cultural commonality among African-Americans
- A call to solidarity based on this similarity
- Nationalist movements manifested themselves in terms of religious, educational or cultural identity
However, the Black Panther revolutionary nationalism was based on a separatist ideology, which contended that African-Americans could not achieve self-determination in the existing political and social structure of the United States. As a result, the Black Panthers embraced revolutionary socialism, seeking to alter existing conditions by force of arms. Their emphasis on achieving a position of leadership among the various revolutionary movements throughout the world, however, caused the movement to lose a degree of support among African-Americans in the United States.
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense in 1966, selecting the name due to the characteristic of the panther not to engage in unprovoked attacked, but to defend itself vigorously when encroached upon. The Black Panthers advocated that all black people should bear arms to protect themselves from the state, and in particular the police, which were deemed the mechanism by which the state engaged in the oppression of African-Americans. At the same time, the Black Panthers considered themselves to be part of a world wide anti-capitalist movement intended to free oppressed people. As a result, the movement closely aligned itself with Marxism and the teachings of Mao Tse-Tung, which it perceived as the doctrine that unified oppressed people throughout the world and which encouraged the use of force in order to achieve the socialist objectives. As a result, it began to emphasize its relationships with other international revolutionary movements, looking for support from governments and revolutionary groups outside of the United States.
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