Ã¯Â»Â¿community. Its influence extended beyond the ghetto to alliances with a variety of groups including the national office of the Students for a Democratic Society, an Appalachian white youth gang called the Young Patriots and a Puerto Rican gang called the Young Lords.
The Panthers were respected because they spoke of carrying arms for self-defense (although they never publicly bore arms in the city), because they had a coherent socialist ideology and because they had a genius for organizing and administration. In the March special al-dermanic election they aided an independent candidate by stationing members outside of precincts where there were complaints of vote fraud. The candidate almost forced a runoff in one of the Democratic Party strongholds. In April, a party spokesman lambasted 5000 peace ...archers for not checking with the Panthers before conducting the march, and the march's leadership admitted its error. In May, they concluded an agreement with the Black P. Stone Nation, Chicago's most powerful teen gang, after having converted its traditional rivals, the East Side Disciples, to full Panther membership.
Days later, Mayor Daley announced that the city was launching a "war on gangs," which would be headed by State's Attorney Hanrahan. Hanrahan listed the Panthers as prime targets in his campaign, and talked about soaring gang violence (although a study conducted by the Chicago Journalism Review revealed that gang-related youth crime had actually declined during the year).
Fred Hampton soon had 25 criminal charges filed against him, but only one conviction"the somewhat strange case of assault in connection with the robbery of' $71 worth of ice cream. (Hampton commented: "I may be a big dude, but I can't eat no $71 worth of ice cream.")
Despite the constant arrests and the repeated raids on their headquarters the Black Panther Party continued to grow in strength. Favorable articles about the party's free breakfast program for schoolchildren were carried in three of the city's five daily newspapers, embarrassing city officials into launching their own, hopelessly bureaucratic free breakfast program Plans were announced, funds raised and equipment procured for a free medical clinic, to be opened on the West Side. By October, Chicago newspapers did not
find it unusual to quote Hampton's reaction to the "Weatherman" demonstration scheduled for down-town Chicago: he denounced them as "anarchistic" and "Custeristic"
On November 4, the Black Panther Party, somewhat weakened by arrests and raids, was still the most powerful single independent organization in the city. Its program of putting socialism into practice had attracted wide support. Its policy of analyzing problems by reference to economic class, not race, was working to depolarize whites and Blacks during demonstrations, and erroneous descriptions of the members as "racists" or "Black power militants" in the local press were beginning to be corrected.
The Black Panthers made the federal subversive list, they became a prime target for Chicago officialdom because of their success. I don't suggest that Mayor' Daley cynically set out to destroy the party because it might bring success to bis enemies at the polls"or that the Justice Department set out to crush the party nationally because it wanted to protect the country's big businesses against socialism
Mitchell and Hoover see the Panthers as an arm of an International Communist conspiracy (has not Panther information minister Eldridge Cleaver visited Cuba and Algeria while in exile"even lavishing his highest praise on the North Korean government?).
Mayor Daley views the Panthers as much of the rest of the population views them"as "Communists"; and worse still, young Black Communists who carry arms. (The Panthers are not reticent to express their views: they will explain patiently at a press conference that their political ideology is based on Marx and Lenin, and that they look to other revolutionary leaders, including Mao Tse-tung, for examples of how to translate ideology into political power.)
Policemen all over the country see the Panthers as their explicit enemies. The Panthers called the police "pigs," and even talk of killing pigs. (To the Panthers, "pig" means most importantly the "pig power structure," and secondarily the "pig police" who enforce the will of that power structure on the country's Black colonies.)
There is a "conspiracy" to get the Panthers, and it is a conspiracy tied t gether by the mutual convictions of
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policemen, local government and federal government. It is a conspiracy that puts the country's professed ideals to a hard test. Are we prepared to allow revolutionary Marxists"Leninists to campaign for public support and public office? Theoretically we are. Theoretically (at least according to a June 9, Supreme Court decision) we also cannot convict someone for merely advocating the moral propriety or necessity of using violence to overthrow the government.
But in practice we are not prepared to view the Black Panthers as a political party. One might argue that the Panthers should disarm if they are serious about politics and about only using their weapons for self-defense. The bearing of arms may be a fetish carried over from the formation of the party in Oakland in 1966, when it was called the "Black Panther Party for Self Defense," and when its primary goal was to defend Blacks from police harassment. Undoubtedly, the very existence of arms does much to provoke the police. But there are problems' with this argument: there is nothing illegal about carrying arms; that right is protected by the U.S. Constitution, Twenty Panthers have died in gun battles with police around the country (although police have died also"two in Chicago just two weeks before the raid). The Hampton killing itself r ises the grim possibility that the Panthers, even today in Chicago, do need guns for self-defense.
The State's Attorney's raid suggested another disturbing view"that this country is moving steadily toward the extreme political right. The proposed investigations of the raid provide an example of the extent of that shift. The FBI investigating? But the FBI has been involved in nationwide raids against the Panthers. The Justice Department? Attorney General Mitchell's approach to law enforcement is not reassuring.
The main investigation is to be conducted by a special U.S. District Court grand jury in Chicago. A seven"man racially integrated team of federal investigators, headed by Assistant Attorney General Jerris Leonard, will present the evidence to the jury. Leonard, head of the civil rights division, last May explained to Jay Miller, the executive director of Illinois American Civil Liberties Union, why Bobby Seale had been included among the Chicago Conspiracy trial defendants. "The Panthers are a bunch of hoodlums," he said. "We've got to get them."
* * *Copyright 1970 Harrison-Blaine, New Jersey, reprinted by permission The New Republic. Mr. Chandler is senior, editor of The Chicago Journalism Review.
High school unrest seen as preview
by Phil Semas "jv-"-Chronicle of Higher Education:
(CPS)-During the past few months, student radicals on many college campuses have sounded a warning in virtually the same words: "If you think we're bad, wait until some of these high school kids get into college."
So far during the present academic year, activism in the high schools has been even more widespread than in the colleges. Among the incidents:
* At Bladensburg High School in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., more than 60 students were arrested after a series of demonstrations over demands by Black students. The students charged that Principal David L. Dean had refused to discuss their demands, but the school later decided to establish a Black studies course and to allow establishment of a Black cultural organization.
* Balboa High School in San Francisco suffered two days of violent battles between white and Black students. There were no specific demands involved and Principal Harold Zimmerman put the blame on "pure hatred" between the races.
* Students ran through hallways and broke some classroom windows at Riverside High School in Milwaukee in a protest over school regulations.
* Several high schools and junior high schools in Detroit were closed after racial disturbances.
* At Central High School in Little Rock, Ark."where National Guardsmen were called out to enforce integration 13 years ago"150 Black students staged a walkout, charging racist policies at the
school All were suspended.
There have been many other disturbances and many quieter, non-violent protests.
During the 1968-69 academic year some of the worst disturbances occurred at schools in Los Angeles and the New York City area.
All 18 senior and junior high schools in the predominantly Negro south central area of Los Angeles were hit by fires, assaults on teachers, picketing, rock-throwing, and windowbreaking. On one day 65 fires were set in schools in the area. The violence started after the arrest of a Black college student at one of the schools.
A study of newspaper clippings by the Center for Research and Education in American Civil Liberties at Columbia University showed that from November, 1968, through February, 1969, there were 239 serious disruptions involving 348 high schools in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
"In this short period, the number of dippings we have been receiving monthly has increased almost three-fold, indicating a sharp rise in the rate of conflict." says Alan F. Westin, director of the center and a professor of public law and government at Columbia.
Mr. Westin's study involved only serious disorders such as "strikes, sit-ins, boycotts, protest demonstrations, and riots," but the extent of student unrest in the high schools is greater than that.
A random survey of 1,026 senior and junior high school principals conducted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals found that some form of protest had occurred at 59 per cent of the schools last year.
Unrest is most extensive in large urban and suburban schools, but even among small rural schools half the principals reported some form of unrest.
"One of the surprises of the survey," says J. Lloyd Trump and Jane Hunt, the researchers, "was the fact that protest is almost as likely to occur in junior high schools as in senior high schools." Fifty-six per cent of the junior high schools reported protests.
The extent of this unrest has caused some concern among federal officials. This fall James E. Allen, Jr., U.S. commissioner of education, sent special messages to high school principals and state school superintendents warning them of the likelihood of increasing high school unrest.
Since high schools enroll two and a half times as many students as the colleges, "these younger secondary school students potentially are more volatile than their college counterparts," says Gregory R. Anrig, a U.S. Office of Education official who headed a study of high school unrest. In addition, he says, "high school disorders are usually more precipitous, spontaneous, and riotlike" than college protests.
Students radicals in some cities have attempted to give more direction to high school unrest. High school student unions have been formed in San Francisco and New York and there have been attempts at coordination in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
So far, however, most attempts at organization have failed. A survey of 101 high schools by the Justice Department found only four with active SOS chapters, and witnesses at six days of hearings before the House Committee on Internal Security said SDS had failed to gain many converts in the high schools.
The most common topic of protest in the high schools-reported by 82 per cent of the principals whose schools had protests"is against school regulations. These include rules on dress and hair length, rules against smoking, censorship of student and underground newspapers, student government, and even cheerleader elections.
Racial issues are a less common topic of protest than school regulations, but protests over racial questions tend to be more violent.
The Justice Department survey, which included only high schools with at least a 10 per cent minority enrollment, found that 75 per cent had experienced unrest.
Some principals believe the colleges are partly at fault for racial protests in the high schools."Colleges are not Warning teachers for the urban school,"one principal told Mr. Trump and Miss Hunt.
The content of the education students are receiving is the other major issue in high school activism. Mr. Trump and Miss Hunt said that 45 per cent of the principals they surveyed reported student un rest over the instructional program.