Huey P. Newton
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Huey Percy Newton (17 February 1942 – 22 August 1989) was co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, an African-American radical organization that began in October 1966 in Oakland, California.
- An unarmed people are slaves or are subject to slavery at any given moment.
- "In Defense of Self-Defense" (20 June 1967)
- To die for the racists is lighter than a feather, but to die for the people is heavier than any mountain and deeper than any sea.
- To Die for the People (1972), paraphrasing Mao Zedong's "Serve the People"
- My foes have called me bum, hoodlum, criminal. Some have even called me nigger. I imagine now they'll at least have to call me Dr. Nigger.
- Press conference (July 1980), quoted in Hugh Pearsons (1994) The Shadow of the Panther p. 288
- When you deal with a man, deal with his most valuable possession, his life. There's play and there's the deep flow. I like to take things to the deep flow of play, because everything is a game, serious and nonserious at the same time. So play life like it's a game.
- quoted in David Hilliard (2006) Huey: Spirit of the Panther, p. 46
- You can kill my body, but you can't kill my soul. My soul will live forever!
- Last words, quoted in Hugh Pearsons (1994) The Shadow of the Panther, p. 315
- To us power is, first of all, the ability to define phenomena, and secondly the ability to make these phenomena act in a desired manner.
- Black Capitalism Re-analyzed I: June 5, 1971 in The Huey P. Newton Reader, p. 277
Revolutionary Suicide (1973)
- I do not think life will change for the better without an assault on the establishment, which goes on exploiting the wretched of the earth. This belief lies at the heart of the concept of revolutionary suicide. Thus it is better to oppose the forces that would drive me to self-murder than to endure them. Although I risk the likelihood of death, there is at least the possibility, if not the probability, of changing intolerable conditions.
- p. 3
- Revolutionary suicide does not mean that I and my comrades have a death wish; it means just the opposite. We have such a strong desire to live with hope and human dignity that existence without them is impossible. When reactionary forces crush us, we must move against these forces, even at the risk of death.
- p. 3
- The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man. Unless he understands this, he does not grasp the essential meaning of his life.
- p. 3
- I have no doubt that the revolution will triumph. The people of the world will prevail, seize power, seize the means of production, wipe out racism, capitalism.
- p. 4
- The people will win a new world. Yet when I think of individuals in the revolution, I cannot predict their survival. Revolutionaries must accept this fact.
- p. 4
- Some see our struggle as a symbol of the trend toward suicide among Blacks. Scholars and academics, in particular, have been quick to make this accusation. They fail to perceive differences. Jumping off a bridge is not the same as moving to wipe out the overwhelming force of an oppressive army. When scholars call our actions suicidal, they should be logically consistent and describe all historical revolutionary movements in the same way. Thus the American colonialists, the French of the late eighteenth century, the Russians of 1917, the Jews of Warsaw, the Cubans, the NLF, the North Vietnamese—any people who struggle against a brutal and powerful force—are suicidal.
- p. 5
- My fear was not of death itself, but a death without meaning. I wanted my death to be something the people could relate to, a basis for further mobilization of the community.
- p. 190
- I expected to die. At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness.
- p. 196
War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America (June 1980)
- Always, the rulers of an order, consistent with their own interests and solely of their own design, have employed what to them seemed to be the most optimal and efficient means of maintaining unquestioned social and economic advantage. Clear-cut superiority in things social and economic—by whatever means—has been a scruples-free premise of American ruling class authority from the society's inception to the present. The initial socioeconomic advantage, begotten by chattel slavery, was enforced by undaunted violence and the constant threat of more violence.
- Direct and unconcealed brute force and violence—although clearly persisting in many quarters of society—are today less acceptable to an increasingly sophisticated public, a public significantly remote from the methods of social and economic control common to early America. This is not a statement, however, that there is such increased civility that Americans can no longer tolerate social control of the country's under classes by force of violence; rather, it is an observation that Americans today appear to be more inclined to issue endorsement to agents and agencies of control which carry out the task, while permitting the benefactors of such control to retain a semidignified, clean-hands image of themselves.
- It is a fundamental assertion of this study that the majority society, in its fear-provoked zeal to maintain and assure its inequitable position in American society, flirted with and came dangerously close to total abandonment of the particular freedom upon which all others are ultimately dependent, the right to disagree. Moreover, it is an ancillary claim of this study that the danger has not yet passed.
- The FBI was most disturbed by the Panthers' survival programs providing community service. The popular free breakfast program, in which the party provided free hot breakfasts to children in Black communities throughout the United States, was, as already noted, a particular thorn in the side of J. Edgar Hoover. Finding little to criticize about the program objectively, the Bureau decided to destroy it.
Quotes about Newton
- Huey P. Newton is the baddest motherfucker ever to set foot inside of history. Huey has a very special meaning to black people, because for four hundred years black people have been wanting to do exactly what Huey Newton did, that is, to stand up in front of the most deadly tentacle of the white racist power structure, and to defy that deadly tentacle, and to tell that tentacle that he will not accept the aggression and the brutality, and that if he is moved against, he will retaliate in kind.
- Eldridge Cleaver (1969) Post-Prison Writings
- He admitted killing Officer John Frey. He said that before he killed Frey, the police and the power structure could just come down to the black community and do anything they wanted. But after he shot Frey, much of that changed.
- Hugh Pearson (1994) The Shadow of the Panther p. 7, describing a statement to Willie Payne on the night of his death