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Ex-Black Panther Head on Gun Control, Obama

Elaine Brown told us how reform "could result in policies that further criminalize and target black people."

  •           |          Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:44 AM         


(The Root) -- Elaine Brown, the only woman to head the Black Panther Party, became chairman when Huey P. Newton fled to Cuba to avoid jail in 1974. The party shocked the nation with its advocacy of self-defense and images of defiant young black men and women in black leather jackets carrying rifles. What is less known -- and perhaps what made FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover deem the party "the greatest threat" to national security -- was its uniting of poor white, Latino, Asian-American and Native American organizations in an anti-racist and anti-capitalist coalition, and its affiliations with international "revolutionary" organizations.  

Brown, like many former Panthers, has continued her political activism. Her books include A Taste of Power and The Condemnation of Little B. She is currently co-authoring, with Karima Al-Amin, For Reasons of Race and Belief: The Trials of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), a biography of the iconic '60s revolutionary who is currently serving a life sentence for murder in a supermax prison, where he is held in solitary confinement, according to his wife.  

The Root spoke with Brown about the gun control debate and her advocacy for the people she deems as American political prisoners -- including Michael "Little B" Lewis, a man sentenced to life in prison at age 14 for a murder Brown says he did not commit.

The Root: The debate over gun control is gripping the nation, fueled by the Newtown, Conn., tragedy and the bully pulpit of President Obama. How do you see gun control and the impact on the black community? 

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Elaine Brown: The position of the Black Panther Party was that black people live in communities occupied by police forces that are armed and dangerous and represent the frontline of forces keeping us oppressed. We did not promote guns but, rather, the right to defend ourselves against a state that was oppressing us -- with guns.

There were innumerable incidents in which police agents kicked in our doors or shot our brothers and sisters in what we called red-light trials, where the policeman was the judge, the jury and the executioner. We called for an immediate end to this brutality, and advocated for our right to self-defense. Today, the brutal police murders of Sean Bell in New York and Oscar Grant in Oakland are just two examples of how little has changed. 

The gun control discussion could result in policies that further criminalize and target black people ... Bill Clinton's "three strikes and you're out" crime legislation emerged from a similar discussion over "black violence," and that law has resulted in an explosion of incarceration disproportionately of black people, some sentenced to life for crimes as minor as stealing pizza. We have to remember that the NRA represents the moneyed power of gun manufacturers who will stand in the way of any meaningful gun control laws, but will support policies, like guns in schools, that will further oppress black people.  

TR: How do you answer those who say that we need tough gun control laws to stem the tide of illegal guns contributing to widespread black-on-black violence and murder in cities like Chicago?

EB: The proliferation and distribution of guns have nothing to do with black people. The answer to the so-called violence in black Chicago, or Los Angeles or other urban areas, is the elimination of poverty. We have 70 percent black male unemployment in many communities, along with crumbling public schools and deteriorating housing. The shootings that riddle some of our communities do not represent a problem of guns. This is a problem arising from entrenched poverty and oppression.

TR: You've worked extensively to free political prisoners. Some would argue there are no political prisoners in the U.S., yet you point to Little B as the face of political prisoners today.



EB: The majority of black and brown people -- and even poor whites -- held in America's prisons and jails are political prisoners in that they have been convicted and sentenced under a political agenda that condemns the poor for their behaviors in trying to survive.

"Little B," Michael Lewis, was convicted as an adult when he was 14, and sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder he did not commit. The witnesses were all neighborhood drug dealers or addicts whom the state paid "reward" money or lighter sentences for drug charges they were facing. There was no physical evidence. He had an alibi, and there was a videotape, obscured by the prosecution for 10 years, of the victim's two children identifying another man as the killer.

Michael has been in prison 16 years for this wrongful conviction ... The United States is the only nation in the world to try children as adults. Even the child killers of Rwanda were not tried as adults but rehabilitated as children.  

TR: You have lived through the age of Martin Luther King Jr. and now of President Obama, who are sometimes compared to each other. Yet you see them as diametrically opposed to each other. How?

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EB: Today America is involved in war in Afghanistan, armed drones killing civilians and so-called terrorists for reasons no one can clearly identify, while the Obama administration continues Bill Clinton's welfare-reform bill, which at once criminalized millions of poor women and their children and removed all so-called safety nets from them. We see other social programs being defunded without any real opposition from the Obama administration. The administration won't fight to reduce mass incarceration or overturn the insidious "three strikes and you're out" crime law …

Dr. King would be advocating forcefully against all of these policies. He denounced poverty in America, as he denounced capitalism. King understood that black people did not put themselves in this position of being oppressed, and that the system that had so enslaved and impoverished our people had to be overturned.  

Leila McDowell is a freelance journalist. She also serves as managing director for Communications with Advancement Project. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.









"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins









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A gun or other weapon must be armed, and someone must pull the trigger or leave such a weapon in a precarious position before any physical bodily harm or property damage can take place.
Furthermore, the 2nd Amendment will never be repealed, because the "right to bear arms" is a tool to be used against government when it violates the rights of law abiding U.S. citizens.  Black leaders, the black community in general is not doing its' job of protecting the Black community against anything, including rogue police officers, unethical public servants, etc., etc.


"There is no doubt that racism exists. Just as it always has, and always will.


And a perfect example is Ome's claim that unless you are black you can't understand what the black race has been through. I agree with his statement. I also believe it is inherently racist. That statement indicates that any individual's life experience will largely be shaped by their race. And the ability of an individual to relate to certain experiences is determined by their race. Arguments predicated on race are inherently racist because they dismiss the ability of people of other races to share similar experiences."- CKThompson





There are university educated individuals teaching Black men, women, and children that he or she are not U.S. citizens.  More astonishing is that far too many U.S. born Black men and women, including university educated Black men and women are or have given this idiot a forum, support, and/or are even buying his books.


RE: YouTube: "Black People Were Never Citizens Of Amerikkka" - Dr. Umar Johnson


Selected comment:


"The Constitution was written by SLAVEHOLDERS.  Africans weren't on their minds when it was written.  All my days on this planet, I have never been referred to as an American.  I hear MINORITY (lesser than) all the time, and behind closed doors, I imagine it gets worse than that.  When the African goes wrong, it's not the AFRICAN who handles the situation, It's the CAUCASIAN.  Had we all been born in Japan or China, would we be calling ourselves African-Japanese or African-Chinese?  If we did, how dumb would we be and how dumb would we appear??  Just asking!! by Norland


This is not 1865, and the Dread Scott decision has no bearing on what happens today.  

The only enslavement that U.S. born Blacks face today are the obstacles that he or she place on themselves and/or any treasonous misfit from within the Black community itself who contributes to disparaging Constitutional protections.


Slim chance exists that any of these individuals, as it concerns Dr. Umar Johnson, any loud mouth and misguided Black nationalists talking against the merits of the Constitution and the value of American citizenship racing to relocate to any other part of the planet to make a living, to raise their families, relocating once and for all to leave the U.S. for Cuba, the Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, South Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico, Kenya, Nigeria, North Korea, China, Japan, Brazil, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Belize, etc., etc.


Clearly, Illegal aliens and his or her lawyers have a better understanding of how best to hold a public servant or anyone else accountable to the Constitution, the "Oath of Office", and/or the "Rule of Law" than far too Many U.S. Born Blacks!

Last edited by TheRealDeal
RE:  "Ex-officers get probation in Houston teen beating" by JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press | April 24, 2013
Here again, when U.S. born Blacks place no value in Constitutional protections for U.S. citizens, and when there are no civil lawsuit mega-buck penalties on the back end, to hold public servants or anyone else financially liable for damages in the City (Houston, TX), County, State, or Federal jurisdiction where this beating, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment....a police officer is not the judge, jury, and executioner" of a Black teen took place it will be business as usual. 
Furthermore, U.S. born black men, women, and minors must stop committing or being involved in criminal activity.   
The Clean Hands Doctrine should send a strong message to anyone who seeks redress for wrongdoing of another individual, a government or private business entity.  The individual making any claim for redress must first be law abiding before he or she can demand redress from anyone else who violates the law, the Constitution, the property rights of another individual, etc., etc..
Just think how strong this teen's legal claim for damages/redress would be, had he been innocent, not involved in an alleged burglary, etc., etc., leaving the police officers with "no probable cause" or means to explain or to justify the arrest, assault/battery on the teen in the first place.


This is not 1865, and the Dread Scott decision has no bearing on what happens today.  

The only enslavement that U.S. born Blacks face today are the obstacles that he or she place on themselves and/or any treasonous misfit from within the Black community itself who contributes to disparaging Constitutional protections.


Clearly, Illegal aliens and his or her lawyers have a better understanding of how best to hold a public servant or anyone else accountable to the Constitution, the "Oath of Office", and/or the "Rule of Law" than far too Many U.S. Born Blacks!


CNN i-Report:  "President Obama Forget RICH & WHITE Americans FIGHT for Black/Hispanics American NOW" by Vera Richards


Selected comment:


"African and Hispanic Americans need President Obama to fight for us NOW. FIGHT FOR us President Obama Don’t sign Senate “Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013” Bill. FIGHT tell Reid to do filibuster reform so that you can appoint federal judges and deliver on your campaign promise to make this a more just nation for all Americans not just the RICH AND WHITE!" by Vera Richards




Well Vera Richards, don't hold your breath too long, because President Barack "the Chicago-Cut Throat-Illegal-Alien-Bootlicking" Obama thinks more of illegal aliens than U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.




Hispanics (legal or illegal) are doing very well under Obama, and Hispanics do not need the first U.S. born Black man or woman, to speak in his, her, or their behalf. 




You, Vera Richards, must be, one of the better than 90% of the misguided Black electorate who overwhelming voted for Obama in 2008, and 2012.


You voted for a liar, a hypocrite, and a despot in no good Barack Obama.  You should be pointing the finger at yourself, and all the other misguided black men and women who voted for this misfit.


Selected Comments:


"And here for over four years we've been told he's everyone's president.  Except for that part when he referred to anyone who disagrees with him as his enemy." by Obamalaise


"Change is coming to America with the young people and Obama's presidency. Unfortunately all we will have left after Nobama is done with the US economy is pocket change."- 12wright  


 Indeed, 12wright, Obamalaise, etc., etc.


I'm U.S. born, black, from the inner-city, and with good reason I didn't vote for, and do not respect President Barack "the Chicago Cut-Throat-illegal alien bootlicking" Obama, and/or other Black elected officials who are a disgrace to the essence of what it means to be an elected official or public servant.


CNN i-Report:  Beats Me Why Better Than 90% of the Black Community Voted For Obama, When It Will Still Be Business as Usual


CNN i-Report:  Well Sandy Banks, Blacks are Irresponsible and Dysfunctional for Making Heroes Out of Misfits like Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, Herb Wesson, Mervyn Dymally, Mark Ridley Thomas, Yvonne B. Burke, Kwame Kilpatrick, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.


CNN i-Report: If given the opportunity or money, I wouldn't be willing to attend no good President Barack "the Magic Negro-Boot licking Illegal Alien-the Food Stamp President" Obama's inauguration because with good reason I don't respect BO.  


Aside from having contempt for BO, other information has come to my attention.  It is alarming that no one, or very few individuals from within the Black community even raise questions when individuals enter the Black community or any other community without proof of legal status, proof of naturalized U.S. citizenship, etc.  


CNN I-Report:  Indeed, it is commendable that the Nigerian immigrant, Emmanuel Ohuabunwa has achieved such a milestone. A strong possibility exists, that Emmanuel Ohuabunwa and all his family members could also be illegal immigrants!

Originally Posted by Yemaya:



RE:  "US & France Intervene in Mali To Protect Land & Resource Grabs, Not Because of Al Qeda" by Bruce A. Dixon, 4-23-2013,  and uploaded by Yemaya


US Constitution, Article 2, Section 2:  

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."


Your buddy, President Barack Obama to whom, possibly a lot of you voted for is also the Chief executive.


US Constitution, Article. II., Section. 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

......Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."


Since President Barack "the Magic Negro" Obama and his appointee U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder  have held office there have been more un-Constitutional infractions against U.S. citizens, more freedoms for illegal aliens, and you can forget Constitutional protections for any U.S. born descendant of slavery, because Barack Obama could care less, the unemployment rate of Black men and women is the highest it has ever been, more Drone strikes than ever, U.S. soldiers....U.S. Veterans are more vulnerable than during any previous U.S. President, or Presidential Administration.


After all, more than any other U.S. President, President Barack Obama is more likely to be used, because as it stands Barack Obama will to throw anyone under the bus to promote himself, to make history to be the first Black President, to keep from being held accountable for unethical, criminal, illegal, un-Constitutional, inhumane, and treasonous decisions he has made, or will make. 


If former President George Bush were to give the order commit all the inhumane things in Sub-Sahara Africa that have occurred during President Barack Obama's tenure, U.S. born Black men and women would have been marching on the White House, protesting, condemning the President, you name it.





“There are cases where an individual has been wrongfully treated by his government and about the only way, unless the individual resorts tocourt, and even in some cases the courts are not able to give proper relief, the only area or avenue open to the individual is through his representative. When you find a bona fide error has been made, I suggest that you make a maximum effort to remedy it. This I feel is a vital and important function of those of us in the House of Representatives”. Authors: Donald G. Tacheron and Morris Udall, from the book entitled, “The Job of the Congressman”, pages 65 and 66.


(The above excerpt “The Job of the Congressman” holds true for all elected office officials)


Article VI, USC:  This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. “……Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and Members of several State legislatures (all elected officials), and all executive and judicial Officers of the United States and of the several states, Shall be bound by oath of affirmation, to support this Constitution. 14th Amendment, USC, Section 1:   “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 14th Amendment, USC, Section 4:   “……But neither the United States public debt of the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave: but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”



Oath of Office,: "I, (President, Supreme Court Justice, Congressperson, Assemblyman, Mayor, City Councilperson, Judge, ), during such times as I hold the office, I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States (the Constitution of the State of California, Maryland, Illinois, etc., etc.), against all enemies foreign (terrorist enemies of the U.S., illegal immigrants, un-American or un-Constitutional anything and everything, etc.) and domestic (treasonous individuals or organizations, any Police Chief who condones this and the Police Chief's rogue police officers, unethical or criminal elected officials or public servants, illegal aliens or his or her advocates, un-American anything and everything), and that I will bear true faith and allegiance, to the Constitution of the United States , (State Constitution), and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter."


U.S. Senate and Congressional Oath of Office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

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