Fred Hampton participatied in a mock people’s trial, where he articulates why the Black Panther Party, and he as a leader within the party, was being viciously targeted by the US government.
Hampton suggests the most formidable threat from the BPP (in the eyes of the power structure) was not its willingness to take up arms in defense, but rather its focus on the “proletarian” class struggle shared by “poor people of all descents.” In response to the constant manipulation of working-class fears (often directed from above), used to divide the masses through the promotion of racism, Hampton made this powerful statement:
“We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism.”
Threat #1: The promotion of working-class solidarity across racial lines.
Threat #2: Seeing beyond identity politics.
Threat #3: Rejecting the near-sighted goals of assimilating into (as in the case of many Civil Rights leaders at the time) or replicating (as in the case of Black Nationalists) the capitalist system.
A valuable and often forgotten message.
This clip is from the documentary, “The Murder of Fred Hampton.”