The former chairwoman of the Black Panther Party isn’t fond of the Black Lives Matter movement. Elaine Brown believes that the BLM and it’s “hands-up, don’t shoot” slogan, reflects a “plantation mentality.”
“I know what the BPP was,” explained Brown. “I know the lives we lost, the struggle we put into place, the efforts we made, the assaults on us by the police and government – I know all that. I don’t know what Black Lives Matter does. So if you can tell me, I’ll give you my thoughts.”
Brown also stated that the “new generation” of young people “complaining and protesting about the murder of young black men and women by police” have no other plans beyond public protests.
“They will protest but they will not rise up in an organized fashion, with an agenda, to create revolutionary change,” noted the 73-year-old activist. “We advocated community self-defense organizations to be formed, so that we would not be assaulted by the police, so that we would bear arms and assume our human rights.”
Brown continued, ‘This to me is a plantation mentality. It smacks of ‘master, if you would just treat me right’. And it has nothing to do with self-determination, empowerment and a sense of justice, or anything else. When, in 1967, the California state legislature was tabling a bill banning the open carry of firearms – in direct response to the Panther patrols – [BPP founders Huey P.] Newton and [Bobby] Seale led an armed delegation to the State Capitol. One need only contrast that to BLM protests in the wake of police shootings – where they host ‘die-ins’ – to see the chasm between the two movements.”
Founded 1966 in Oakland, California, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party.
Brown described the Party as a “24-hour” job, that included armed members patrolling neighborhoods, monitoring and fighting back against police brutality, and implementing social programs within black neighborhoods.
As chairwoman from 1974-1977, Brown assisted in the Black Panther’s well known “survival programs” like the Free Breakfast for Children and health care programs.
“You didn’t have a life outside the Black Panther Party. We said no part-time revolutionaries,” Brown recently told the Huffington Post . “So we knew collectively everything we’ve ever earned, we pulled together and things that we had, we pulled together so we can cut back on personal expenses to serve the larger good.”
While women were prominent leaders within the party, Brown stepped down after male members beat, Panthers’ school administrator Regina Davis, as punishment for reprimanding a male colleague. Brown says Newton ordered the physical assault that left Davis hospitalized with a broken jaw.
From its inception, the Party was under constant surveillance by the FBI, who worked to dismantle the movement from the inside out, as revealed in the PBS documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
The Black Panther Party eventually fell apart by the early 1980s.