Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 19:52:51 -0500
The FBI's War on the BPP's Southern California Chapter
By Sikivu Kabaila, 31 October 1999
[Moderator: the message below is a response to the following article which just appeared on BRC-NEWS: The FBI's War on the Black Panther Party's SoCal Chapter: http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/mt/mt11bpp.html ]
By way of introduction, My name is Sikivu Kabaila, a former Vice Chair of The Organization Us, chaired by Dr. Maulana Karenga. I am no longer an active member of the Us Organization, though I support it's basic positions and philosophy as it relates to Black struggle in the U.S. and abroad. I matured in the Black Liberation Struggle after joining the Us organization in 1967, after listening to a lecture at L.A. City College, where I served as V. Chair of the BSU. I was a dedicated and disciplined soldier in the infamous youth group of Us, known as the Simba Wachanga, and served as V. Chair from 1979-1985.
The assertions made in this article regarding the relationship between the Us organization and the BPP are ridiculous to say the least and absurd at best. The first erroneous assertion is that the Us organization, its leader, Maulana Karenga or any of it's members had amicable relations with the FBI. Just like most organizations during that era, our organization faced police and FBI harrassment under the guise of the Cointelpro program. As a personal account, two members of the LA based FBI office visited my parents home in New Jersey in 1968 after i remained in Newark, N.J. after the Black Power Conference in Philly of that year to organize in Newark for Black electoral candidates, Tucker and Pinckney as a prelude to the election of the first Black Mayor, Kenneth Gibson. The FBI agents attempted to terrorize my parents further by bringing up their involvement in the Paul Robeson campaigns of the mid forties. Later these same agents visited my wifes' job in an attempt to get her fired from a job she held the the Dept. of Water and Power, Los Angeles. The point here is that we all were harrassed and terroized by the FBI. The assertion that the Us organization, it's members and/or it's leader were on the payroll of the FBI is ludicrous and is a continuing attempt by agents of the FBI and the white leftist movement to put out disinformation and to discredit one of the most dominant forces for social change to come out of the sixties movement.
Our leader, Dr. Maulana Karenga, and organization created and founded Kwanzaa, the only nationally celebrated, non-heroic Afro-american holiday, Co-founded and planned all three Black Power Conferences, 1966-68, developed Kawaida, a cultural nationalist philosophy drawing on our life and struggle as an Afro-american and African people, built alternative black cultural schools, supported the liberation struggles on the African and Latin american continents, were Co-Founders of the National Black United Front, the National Black Independent Party (of which the Panthers also were involved), and locally in the L.A. area the Black Congress [Moderator: that's the BC not the BRC], Black American Political Action Committe (BAPAC) and the Brotherhood Crusade. Additionally not only were we involved in organizing the Million Man March, but Dr. Karenga wrote it's Mission Statement. The above are only representative of the many contributions that the Us organization and its leadership have contributed to Black struggle in this country.
With these credentials it is little wonder that the white left and the local and national police agencies find it in their interest to continue to malign this group and it's leadership, and continue the character assassination and undermining begun in the late 60's when they allied themselves with the Panthers.
Secondly, a word on the UCLA incident. Both members of the Us organization and the Panthers attended UCLA under the "Hypertension" program and were even roomates and studied together. Elaine Brown was roomates with a sister from the Us organization and had an intimate relationship with one of the brothers from Us. It was Elaine Brown, who was at the center of the shooting that occurred on the campus of UCLA, January 17, 1969. It was she who had called Bunchy and Huggins over to talk to the Us member that she was intimate with. Instead of choosing to talk Bunchy and Huggins drew guns and put them to the Us members head. Another Us member, seeing this and thinking they were going to shoot drew his weapon and fired. The shooter, being an expert markman (I've been to the shooting range with him), hit his targets in his usual precision manner. As Huggins was hit with a bullet his gun fired erractically, thus hitting two Us members also. Therefore to characterize this incident as an "assassination" and/or "FBI hit" is at best a rewriting of history and at least and attempt by Panther sympathizers, the white left and various national and local police agencies to discredit the work and history of one of the most disciplined, ideologically oriented, effective organizations to come out of the Black Liberation Movement of the 60's. Furthermore, Gerinomo Pratt, a Panther Leader from the era, and one who witnessed the UCLA shooting validates that both organizations were victims of Cointelpro and that the UCLA incident was a direct result of such activities by police agencies.
Thirdly, the Us Organization still remains a viable force for social change and Black struggle, locally and nationwide. It is for this reason that certain former Panther members, their former allies in the white left and the various police agencies continue such vitriolic attacks on the Us Organization, it's leadership and program. In spite of these attacks the Us Organization remains a viable and dominant force in the Black Liberation Struggle and work in many organizations and movements right along side ex-Panther members. Despite these obvious attacks and character assassinations of its leaders and members, history and this Organizations work, programs and ideology will vidicate it in the end. Let us learn the lessons of Marcus Garvey's Movement and its relationship with the white left, Paul Robeson, WEB Du Bois and Malcolm X. Let us make history and not repeat its mistakes.
W. Sikivu Kabaila
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