[News] Elbert “Big Man” Howard - a founding member of the Black Panther Party: Reflections of my life experiences, today’s conditions

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 10 20:18:10 EDT 2016


http://sfbayview.com/2016/08/big-man-reflections-of-my-life-experiences-todays-conditions/ 



  Big Man: Reflections of my life experiences, today’s conditions

*/by Elbert ‘Big Man’ Howard/*

My thoughts are the reflections of my life experiences. As to whether 
that is a life lived well or poorly, I will leave those questions and 
answers up to historians, critics, the general public and you, the reader.

In that respect, while time permits, I will express some of my opinions. 
I think that 78 years in the game we call “life” grants me that 
privilege. Current events and conditions demand this of me.

To jump right in, take “Black Lives Matter.” This was originally just a 
statement of how the victims of America’s system of racism feel, which 
then turned into an entire movement. This movement was created by the 
continuing mistreatment, persecution and killings of the victims, mostly 
young people of color, by law enforcement officers.

As usual, the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity utilize the 
media to try to control the thinking of the public, many of whom are 
confused and clueless. The public is fed garbage such as, “Black Lives 
Matter” means we Black people hate white people to the extent that no 
other lives matter but Black people’s lives.

Just a few decades ago, while the Black Panthers and others chanted, 
“Black is beautiful,” the corporate media spread the misinformation that 
this message meant that all white people should be killed. This created 
hysteria and led to many white Americans rushing to buy guns and ammo.

What a great deal for the gun dealers and for the economy! I say that 
this was an opportune time for the scum of the earth politicians to 
crawl out from under their rocks, proclaiming that they were going to 
save the white race by creating new laws, and then they began building 
more prisons and locking up more Black and Brown men.


      Take “Black Lives Matter.” This movement was created by the
      continuing mistreatment, persecution and killings of the victims,
      mostly young people of color, by law enforcement officers.

As prisons become increasingly overcrowded, police are given unlimited 
power and arms to render the Final Solution on the streets: “shoot to 
kill.” There will be no questions asked or explanations required. Make 
no mistake – the police are not out of control; they are in control, 
complete control.

The taxpayers have been fooled once again by the concept of body cameras 
for law enforcement. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to 
equip police with body cameras, yet police are never found in violation 
of any civil or criminal code which has occurred during a stop or 
arrest, regardless of the footage.

Officers are free to use and misuse this footage, to turn the cameras on 
and off and any number of other such acts. Who truly believes that a 
police officer would turn in evidence against him or herself? Wake up, 
everyone; the courts of our injustice system don’t expect that or demand it.


      *Some thoughts on the political process in America*

Will the November 2016 election bring about democracy or a dictatorship? 
In the recent campaigns for president, democracy is definitely not being 
practiced by either of the major political parties.

Both are heavily “owned” or influenced by the wealthy corporate 1 
percent and their lobbies, such as the NRA (National Rifle Association) 
and the large pharmaceutical companies. The other 99 percent of us have 
almost no power or voice, which means that a small minority of wealthy 
individuals have both political and social control of America.

Just watching those conventions demonstrates the overwhelming need for 
immediate reform to this absurd institution we have for choosing the 
candidates who run for president. The American people have in reality 
little or no control of who actually becomes president. Voting is little 
more than a ritual in many ways.

The person who gets elected – male or female – and who has power over 
this nation’s citizenry and huge accumulations of wealth and arsenals, 
who makes vital decisions in matters of war and peace, life and death 
and our social and medical programs, ultimately has power and control 
that affects the world. It is stunning the amount of power which is 
placed in the hands of the president of the United States and a small 
band of cohorts and advisers.


      Will the November 2016 election bring about democracy or a
      dictatorship? In the recent campaigns for president, democracy is
      definitely not being practiced by either of the major political
      parties.

I re-iterate here: What this boils down to is economic decision-making 
power which is not in the hands of the American people but in the hands 
of the large and wealthy corporations. Corporations are solely 
interested in what produces a profit and by any means necessary. The 
corporate media controls the advertising industry and persuades the 
public to purchase what is produced by the corporations, of course.

Due to an almost complete lack of standards and regulations, dangerous 
commodities are produced and sold, which destroy cities, beaches, 
forests, parks and other natural habitats, wildlife, the food we consume 
and the air we breathe. I am saying that democracy in the United States 
appears to me to be a complete failure.


      *Equality before the law*

In my opinion, equality before the law here in the United States has 
little or no meaning. In reality, if a Black child steals a 10-cent 
piece of candy and runs from the scene, he or she may be shot and killed 
by a police officer.

However, a wealthy man, particularly a wealthy white man, can pull off a 
million-dollar swindle, run to another country, but when captured, does 
not have to fear any kind of abuse at the hands of law enforcement. 
American courts, the system in place and district attorneys protect law 
enforcement officers, no matter what crimes against human beings have 
been committed.

The Andy Lopez shooting at the hands of law enforcement here in Sonoma 
County is a good example. Communities and attorneys have few means to 
combat these violations against humanity without large amounts of money.

Even then, these cases against an officer are usually lost or settled 
with no change in the officer’s position or income. Members of the 
communities who protest loudly must remember they are always in danger 
of being arrested.

In closing, I feel that we, the people, in order to begin to address the 
huge catastrophes we face, must unite – the need for this is appallingly 
urgent. In order to accomplish change, we must be dedicated to the ideas 
of freedom and justice for all, to the end of brutality and murder of 
people of color, an end to the militarization of police and to insist on 
the institution of nationwide, true community control of police.


      In my opinion, equality before the law here in the United States
      has little or no meaning.

Although we must remember that any movement for self-empowerment is 
regarded as a threat by the ruling class, we have to recognize that we 
have to overcome our fears which prevent our actions and create disunity.

We must join each other with heart-felt determination, focus, 
commitment, dedication and a feel for the urgent need for change and 
take a giant, evolutionary leap into consciousness. We must recognize 
the need to commit to each other as human beings, for the need to fight 
against racism and injustice is urgent, as is the need for freedom and 
justice for all. Our children and our grandchildren’s lives depend on it 
and we owe this to them and to ourselves.


      We must join each other with heart-felt determination, focus,
      commitment, dedication and a feel for the urgent need for change
      and take a giant, evolutionary leap into consciousness.

/Elbert “Big Man” Howard is one of the original six founding members of 
the Black Panther Party; he served as the first editor of the Black 
Panther newspaper and as the party’s deputy minister of information, 
central committee member, coordinator of national and international 
support committees and spokesperson. He is also a founding member of the 
Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline (PACH). An activist, author 
and lecturer, he resides in Sonoma County and can be reached at 
//bigman0138 at aol.com/ <mailto:bigman0138 at aol.com>/./

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