On its 50th anniversary, the revolutionary legacy of the Black Panther Party lives on

Today, October 15, 2016, is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, one of the most important revolutionary organizations in US history.

The party was brutally repressed by the US government — through surveillance, infiltration, and even assassination. Yet its legacy as a revolutionary Black nationalist, anti-imperialist, and socialist party lives on, especially at a time when white supremacy and fascism are on the rise, and when the growing Movement for Black Lives has made revolutionary, anti-imperialist demands of its own; at a time when police continue to kill Black Americans in the street with impunity; when the US wages war after war throughout the Middle East and North Africa; and when Wall Street ravages Main Street, dispossessing working-class and oppressed people.

As is the case with any revolutionary movement that poses a threat to power, there is no dearth of rumors that have been spread about the Black Panthers. The following are recommended readings to dispel such myths on this historic day:

  • In Defense of the Panthers: Why the Film The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution Should be Put Down, and the Book Black Against Empire Picked Up”
  • Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Partyan excerpt
  • “Imperialism’s Policy of Mass Murder and the Black Panther Party’s Analysis of Survival

  • 1970 speech by Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton, expressing solidarity with the women’s liberation and gay liberation movements
  • Illinois chapter Chairman Fred Hampton’s legendary speech “Power Anywhere Where There’s People,” given just before the FBI murdered him
  • The Black Panther Party and Palestine Solidarity