<eng>Panther 21 Anniversary

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Sat, 20 Apr 1996 16:57:36 +0000 (GMT)

Posted nattyreb@ix.netcom.com Thu Apr 18 14:42:01 1996
From: nattyreb@ix.netcom.com (Jahfree I Kupendua)


This is going to be a major historical event and these
tickets are going to go fast! If you can't make it, please send in
a contribution for Black Political Prisoners.


Sis. Marpessa

Contact: Shaba Om
Telephone: 718/329-2353

May 13, 1996 marks the 25th anniversary of the acquittal of the
Panther 21, who in 1971 were the leadership of the eastern region
of the Black Panther Party (BPP). The Panther 21 were arrested
in a pre-dawn raid on April 2, 1969 and charged with conspiracy
to blow up the New York Botanical Gardens, department stores,
etc. On May 13, 1971, after the longest political trial in New
York's history, all 21 New York Panthers were acquitted of all
charges in just 45 minutes of jury deliberation. The acquittal of
the Panther 21 was a major political setback and embarrassment
for the Manhattan District Attorney's office and the New York
Police Intelligence unit known as BOSSI which extensively
infiltrated and disrupted the BPP's community programs. On May
14, 1996, the Committee to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the
Acquittal of the New York Panther 21 will host a program at the
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located at 515
Malcolm X Boulevard (at 135th Street in Harlem) which will run
from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM - Speakers will include former Panther
21 members:
Afeni Shakur (mother of Tupac Shakur); Dhoruba Bin-Wahad
(political prisoner for 19 years until his release in 1990); Jamal
Joseph; Kwando Kinshasha; Shaba Om; Ali Bey Hassan; and
former BPP Communications secretary, Rosemary Byrd.

The case of the Panther 21 serves as a classic example of police
infiltration and political repression which created a new generation
of political prisoners in the United States. For many membership
in the Black Panther Party proved to be a serious liability that
resulted in assassinations, frame-ups, long-term incarceration.
Unlike Mark Rudd, Jerry Rubin and other white "radicals" who
were able to re-integrate into the mainstream, the lives of former
Black Panther Party leaders were, more often than not, irrevocably
shattered. Their lives will bear the scars of the brutal and violent
repression they endured forever. Many believe that the indictment
of the Panther 21 was a racist and politically motivated frame-up
by the government, through its Counter-Intelligence Program, to
destroy the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation

The Black Panther Party was a grassroots organization of young
Black men and women dedicated to the empowerment of Black
people. While the Black Panthers advocated self-defense they
never supported unprovoked, random, indiscriminate violence -
The right to self defense was but one of the ten points of its
political platform. Contrary to the racist image painted by the
mainstream media, the BPP was not a bunch of gun-toting thugs,
blood-thirsty fanatics -

Leaders of the Black Panther Party were targeted by the
COINTELPRO for what the FBI termed "neutralization" (a code
word for assassinations, frame-ups, imprisonments and public
vilification) in early 1969. Federal and local law enforcement
agencies successfully assassinated many Black Panthers (Fred
Hampton, Mark Clark, Zayd Shakur) or successfully imprisoned
them for life (Geronimo ji jaga pratt, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Marshall
Eddie Conway, etc.) by utilizing extra-legal means (e.g. suborning
of perjury, harassing and intimidating witnesses, withholding of
exculpatory evidence, etc.)

In the late 1960s, as the U.S. "civil rights" movement grew and
became more militant in its opposition to racist and poor domestic
and foreign policies, the FBI intensified its domestic surveillance
and counter-insurgency programs aimed at the Black community.
The BPP became the primary target of the FBI's Counter
Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). The 1974 findings of the
Church Committee (a Senate Committee on Government
Operations) revealed that almost 90% of the FBI's
counterintelligence activities that were aimed at the Black
community targeted the BPP. The US government's Counter-
Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) effectively destroyed radical
Black political dissent in the US by murdering, framing,
incarcerating its leaders or forcing them into exile.

The United States denies the existence of political prisoners within
its borders - Instead, the US law enforcement agencies classifies
these former political activists that it targeted as mere criminals.
Within the US, the criminal justice system (law enforcement, the
courts, jails and prisons) is used to repress political activists -
Illegal methods were used to frame political prisoners - A review
of these cases reveal gross patterns of prosecutorial misconduct
which includes: the fabrication or concealment of evidence by the
government during trial. Statistics prove that political prisoners
consistently receive longer prison terms than do right-wing fanatics
or non-political offenders. They are also forced to endure the
harshest conditions of confinement. The majority of political
prisoners in the US today are Black and former members of the
Black Panther Party.


We welcome your support and ask that you attend a Celebration
of the 25th Anniversary of the Panther 21 Acquittal on Tuesday
May 14, 1996 at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black
Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd (at 135th Street) New York, NY

Reception at 5:30pm - 6:45pm
Program (From 7:00pm - 9:15pm)

RSVP by May 3, 1996
For information call 212-410-6593
$500 Patron, $250 Sponsor, $100 Supporter, $50 Friend, $35
Associate, $20 General Admission