Editorial: Gun Control for Whom?

The rise in racist militarized police shooting sunarmed Black people, racists shooting demonstraters protesting police brutality, armed racist storming the capital, and mass shootings, the liberal wing of the United States ruling class have been agitating for gun control.  The real goal is prevent organized slef-defense.  For example: New York State has/had strict gun control restrictions. The crooks had no problem getting guns, but when Malcolm X and his supporters tried to get a gun permits, they were denied.

What gun control is intended to prevent is organized armed self-defense of the working class, Blacks, and oppressed sectors of society! With all the liberal  gun control agitation, here are a few examples of armed self defense that was part of the success of the 60’s civil rights movement’

The Deacons for Defense and Justice

The Lessons of the Montgomery Bus Boycott By Roland Sheppard:Why the Boycott Was Successful!

  1. It had mass support and it strength developed from the unity of the Black masses to boycott the buses.
  2. In order to sustain the boycott, the MIA had organized an alternative transportation system, which gave the masses the ability to get to work for over a year, something that was crucial to the success of the boycott.
  3. The democratically organized Montgomery Improvement Association had regular weekly mass meetings of thousands to decide the strategy and tactics of the movement. The people in the struggle had control and the final say — not the leaders from on high. This helped to insured the power of the movement, for the masses saw the MIA as theirorganization and were committed by their votes to implement their tactics of both mass civil disobedience (the boycott) and self-defense by the MIA was key to the success of the struggle.
  4. They used the tactic of self-defense, From my conversations, prior to this forum, with E.D. Nixon and Clifton DeBerry, (1964 Presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers Party), who, along with Farrel Dobbs (1956 Presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers Party) helped organize the 1956 Stationwagons for Montgomery Campaign, it became clear to me, that the success of this transportation system was made possible by the Korean War GIs. They were able to use their experience in the army’s “motor pools” specifically and the army generally, to perform the maintenance of the automobiles and become the hard core of the drivers that sustained this transportation system for a year. It was also widely known, in Montgomery, that these men also had the ability and the willingness to defend themselves if the KKK attacked the transportation system. Due to the wide knowledge of this fact, and the world attention that the Boycott had achieved, the racists were unable to disrupt the carpool, that “worked with military precision.”
  5. The power of independent mass action, independent of the politicians, was demonstrated by the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This is the power that inspired and garnered support from throughout the nation and the world.
  6. Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power (Video)

    The Deacons for Defense and Justice: Guardians of the Black Community In 1964, the Deacons for Defense and Justice were formed by black men in Jonesboro, Louisiana to protect the black citizens and civil rights activist from the Ku Klux Klan. Armed self-defense was inconsistent with the non-violent philosophy adopted during the civil rights movement. Two military veterans named Earnest “Chilly Willy” Thomas and Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick were the original founders of the Deacon for Defense.

However, righteous self-defense, became a call of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, during this time: The Deacons for Defense and Justice was an armed self-defense African-American civil rights organization in the U.S. Southern states during the 1960s. Historically, the organization practiced self-defense methods in the face of racist oppression that was carried out under the Jim Crow Laws by local/state government officials and racist vigilantes. Many times the Deacons are not written about or cited when speaking of the Civil Rights Movement because their agenda of self-defense – in this case, using violence, if necessary – did not fit the image of strict non-violence that leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. espoused. Yet, there has been a recent debate over the crucial role the Deacons and other lesser known militant organizations played on local levels throughout much of the rural South. Many times in these areas the Federal government did not always have complete control over to enforce such laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Voting Rights Act of 1965.      The Deacons were instrumental in many campaigns led by the Civil Rights Movement. A good example is the June 1966 March Against Fear, which went from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi. The March Against Fear signified a shift in character and power in the southern civil rights movement and was an event in which the Deacons participated. . .Scholar Akinyele O. Umoja speaks about the group’s effort more specifically. According to Umoja it was the urging of Stokely Carmichael that the Deacons were to be used as security for the march.      Many times protection from the federal or state government was either inadequate or not given, even while knowing that groups like the Klan would commit violent acts against civil rights workers. An example of this was the Freedom Ride where many non-violent activists became the targets of assault for angry White mobs. After some debate and discussion many of the civil rights leaders compromised their strict non-violent beliefs and allowed the Deacons to be used. One such person was Dr. King. Umoja states, “Finally, though expressing reservations, King conceded to Carmichael’s proposals to maintain unity in the march and the movement. The involvement and association of the Deacons with the march signified a shift in the civil rights movement, which had been popularly projected as a ‘nonviolent movement.”‘[7]— WilkipediaThe Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights Movement By Roland Sheppard

The Black Panther Party The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) was founded in October 1966 in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, who met at Merritt College in Oakland. It was a revolutionary organization with an ideology of Black nationalism, socialism, and armed self-defense, particularly against police brutality. It was part of the Black Power movement, which broke from the integrationist goals and nonviolent protest tactics of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The BPP name was inspired by the use of the black panther as a symbol that had recently been used by the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, an independent Black political party in Alabama.  The BPP’s philosophy was influenced by the speeches of Malcolm X of the Nation of Islam, the teachings of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung of the Communist Party of China, and the anti-colonialist book The Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnés de la Terre, 1961) by the Martiniquan psychiatrist Frantz Fanon. The BPP’s practice of armed self-defense was influenced by African American activist Robert Williams, who advocated this practice against anti-black aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in his book Negroes with Guns (1962). Newton and Seale canvassed their community asking residents about issues of concern. They compiled the responses and created the Ten Point Platform and Program that served as the foundation of the Black Panther Party. The ten points are:

  1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
  2. We want full employment for our people.
  3. We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our Black Community.
  4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
  5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
  6. We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
  7. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
  8. We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
  9. We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
  10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.

Because of its practice of armed self-defense against police, as well as its Communistic and revolutionary elements, the BPP was frequently targeted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s COINTELPRO program as well as by state and local law enforcement groups. However, despite its militant stance, the BPP also provided free breakfast for school children, sickle cell anemia screening, legal aid, and adult education.     The National Archives and Records Administration contains over 2,400 records relating to the Black Panther Party. Most of these records are textual records, but there are also motion pictures, sound recordings, and photographs.

Armed Black Panthers in the Capitol, 50 Years On  It’s largely forgotten now, but 50 years ago, it created a national sensation. It even caused the National Rifle Association and Ronald Reagan to back a gun-control bill authored by a Republican. Tuesday is the 50th anniversary of the May 2, 1967 “invasion” of the state Capitol by two dozen gun-toting Black Panthers. Carrying rifles, pistols and shotguns, and wearing dark glasses, leather jackets and berets, they marched up the front steps and into the Capitol to demonstrate their opposition to an anti-gun bill by Oakland Republican Don Mulford (1915-2000).