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New Black Panther Party
Chairperson Malik Zulu Shabazz
Founded 1989, Dallas, Texas, by Aaron Michaels
Headquarters Dallas, Texas
Ideology Black nationalism, Pan-Africanism, Black supremacy, Antisemitism[1], Anti-capitalism, Anti-imperialism
Politics of the United States
Political parties

The New Black Panther Party (NBPP), whose formal name is the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, is a U.S.-based black supremacist organization founded in Dallas, Texas in 1989. Despite its name, the NBPP's founding was independent and it is not an official successor organization to the Black Panther Party.[2] Members of the original Black Panther Party have insisted that this party is illegitimate and have vociferously objected that there "is no new Black Panther Party".[2] The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center identified the New Black Panthers as a hate group.[3][4]

The NBPP attracted many breakaway members of the Nation of Islam when former NOI minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad became the national chairman of the group from the late 1990s until his death in 2001. The NBPP is currently led by Malik Zulu Shabazz, and still upholds Khalid Abdul Muhammad as the de facto father of their movement.



With the Panther Party in shambles, in 1987 an alderman in Milwaukee threatened to disrupt white events throughout the city unless more jobs were created for black people. A "state of the inner city" press conference in 1990 at city hall brought this situation to a head as the alderman, Michael McGee, announced the creation of the Black Panther Militia, which inspired Aaron Michaels, a community activist and radio producer, to establish the New Black Panther Party.

Michaels rose to widespread attention for the first time when he called on blacks to use shotguns and rifles to protest against the chairman of a school board who had been taped calling black students "little niggers."[5] Then, in 1998, Khalid Abdul Muhammad brought the organization into the national spotlight when he led the group to intervene in response to the 1998 murder of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas. He also made the NBPP well-known for their vehement school board disruptions and public appearances.

Philosophy, ideology, and criticism

The New Black Panther Party self-identifies with the original Black Panther Party and claims to uphold its legacy. It also says that many others see the organization this same way. But the NBPP is apparently largely seen by both the general public and by prominent members of the original party[6] as illegitimate. Huey Newton Foundation members, containing a significant number of the original party's leaders, once successfully sued the group, though their ultimate objective in doing so — to prevent the NBPP from using the Panther name — appears to have been unsuccessful. In response to the suit, Aaron Michaels branded the original Panthers "has-been wannabe Panthers", adding: "Nobody can tell us who we can call ourselves."[7]

Although it says it sees capitalism as the fundamental problem with the world and "revolution" as the solution, the new party does not draw its influences from Marxism or Maoism as the original party did. Instead, in a carefully-worded, roundabout form of ethnic nationalism,[8] they say that Karl Marx based his ideology and teachings on indigenous African cultures, and that the NBPP therefore need not look to Marxism or Maoism as a basis for their program, but can look to ideologies that stem directly from those African origins. The NBPP says it fights the oppression of black and brown people and that its members are on top of current issues facing black communities across the world. Also, it points to not all of its members being NOI, though the group acknowledges universal "spirituality" practices within the organization.[9]

Over time, many groups subscribing to varying degrees of radicalism have called for the "right to self-determination" for black people, particularly U.S. blacks. Critics of the NBPP say that the group's politics represent a dangerous departure from the original intent of black nationalism; specifically, that they are starkly anti-white, and also anti-Semitic. The NBPP is considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be a "black racist" hate group, and even many of the mildest critics of the organization have said that, at the absolute least, the NBPP's provocative brand of black supremacy undermines other civil rights efforts. Members have referred to "bloodsucking Jews", and Khalid Abdul Muhammad has blamed slavery and even the Holocaust on the "hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, perpetrating-a-fraud, so-called Jew"."[10]

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a NBPP critic, has pointed to NBPP members stating sympathy or understanding of Kamau Kambon's advocacy of the genocide of whites, and Khalid Abdul Muhammad in his statement that "there are no good crackers, and if you find one, kill him before he changes."[11]

Recent controversies

During the 2008 presidential election, poll watchers found two New Black Panther militia members outside of a polling place in Philadelphia.[12] One of these two was a poll watcher, while the other was a New Black Panther member who had brought a nightstick. Republican poll watcher Chris Hill stated that voters had been complaining about intimidation, while the DA's office stated that they had not been contacted by any voters.[13]

The New Black Panther with the nightstick was escorted away by the police.[14][15]

On January 7, 2009, the United States Department of Justice filed a civil suit against the New Black Panther Party and three of its members relating to the incident that occurred at the Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 election. The suit seeks an injunction preventing further violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The suit accuses members Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson of being outside a polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.[16] On May 15, 2009, the Obama Administration DOJ, having obtained an injunction against the defendant who had carried the weapon, dropped the suit against the remaining defendants, against the advice of its prosecutors who had worked on the case.[17]

According to a statement posted on the homepage of the New Black Panther Party, the Philadelphia Chapter has been suspended relating to the incident that occurred at the Philadelphia polling location during the November 2008 election.[18]

Following the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, the party promoted the 9/11 conspiracy theory that 4000 Israelis who worked at the World Trade Center were warned ahead of time by the State of Israel and called in sick the day of the attack — a theory propounded by Amiri Baraka in his poem Somebody Blew Up America.[19] The party also participated in the Reparations marches on Washington in 2002 that drew hundreds of African-Americans.

The New Black Panther Party provoked a melee outside of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's campaign headquarters after she had lost a Democratic primary to her opponent, Hank Johnson. The NBPP's Chief of Staff, Hashim Nzinga, had been acting as security detail for McKinney when, in a volatile confrontation, he physically attacked reporters, derogatorily calling them "Jews" and insisting that they must focus on Hank Johnson rather than on McKinney, since Johnson, he alleged, was a "Tom".[20] In a subsequent appearance on the Fox News Channel program Hannity & Colmes, Nzinga defended these actions and further accused his interviewers of being part of a Zionist media complex bent on defaming African-Americans and, by extension, the New Black Panthers.

Earlier in 2006 the New Black Panther Party regained the media spotlight by interpolating itself into the 2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal, organizing marches outside of Duke University and made numerous media appearances where they demanded that the jury organized by District Attorney Nifong convict the accused lacrosse players.[21] Malik Zulu Shabazz met with the DA and asserted repeatedly that the DA's answers meant he was supporting the claims made by the NBPP, a point that was widely disputed. On April 12, 2007, after District Attorney Nifong's case collapsed and the Duke Lacrosse players were exonerated, Malik Zulu Shabazz appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and declared that he would not apologize for his actions in the leadup to the Duke University lacrosse rape scandal, stating that he did not know whether or not anything happened to the young accuser. He stated his beliefs that the rich, white families of Duke had placed political pressure on the investigation and forced the charges to be dropped. When questioned by guest host Michelle Malkin, he labeled her a "political prostitute" and "mouthpiece for that racist Bill O'Reilly." In response, Malkin stated that "the only whore present is you." Malik Zulu Shabazz replied, "You should be ashamed of yourself for defending and being a spokesman for Bill O'Reilly."

Critics have called the NBPP extremist, citing Muhammad's "Million Youth March", a youth equivalent of the Million Man March in Harlem in which 6000 people protested police brutality but also featured a range of speakers calling for the extermination of whites in South Africa. The rally ended in scuffles with the NYPD as Muhammad urged the crowd to attack those officers who had attempted to confiscate the NBPP members' guns. Chairs and bottles were thrown at the police but only a few in the conflict suffered injuries. Al Sharpton appeared and spoke at this event, and was criticized later for taking part in its controversial rhetoric. The Million Youth March became an annual event thereafter, but rapidly lost popularity as time progressed.

Prevented from entering Canada

In May 2007, Party Chairman Shabazz was invited by Black Youth Taking Action (BYTA) to speak at a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and to later give a lecture to students at Ryerson University; the Ryerson Students' Union (RSU) had endorsed the event as it called for grade school curricula to acknowledge the historical contribution of African-Canadians and African-Americans, and for the Brampton, Ontario, superjail project to be dismantled.[22] However, a spokeperson for the RSU later stated that their support for the event was given "before they knew that Shabazz was the speaker."[22]

Shabazz arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport as planned, but was prevented from entering Canada by Canadian border officials because of "past rhetoric that violates Canadian hate laws." Though Canada's airports and borders are within the federal jurisdiction, Ontario Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter justified the barring of Shabazz,[23] while Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty expressed concern about Shabazz.[24] However, it was also reported that Shabazz was denied entry to Canada only because of a minor criminal record.[25] Shabazz then flew back to Buffalo, New York, and attempted to cross the border by car, but he was again spotted by border agents and prevented from entering Canada.[26]

The rally at Queen's Park went ahead without Shabazz, with approximately 100 people, plus at least two dozen journalists. However, the lecture at Ryerson University was cancelled.[24][26] On the day of the lecture, school administration alerted the RSU that they had received e-mails threatening to violently disrupt the event. The RSU subsequently cancelled Shabazz's lecture due to safety concerns. Heather Kere, RSU's Vice-President of Education, stated that "We definitely recognize there was some criticism of his views" and that "we were endorsing the campaign's goals and not the individual speaker." Kere added that "He deflected attention away from the main point of the campaign. We still strongly believe in the campaign."[22]

Hashim Nzingh, Shabazz's chief of staff, blamed Jewish groups for the incident, stating in a telephone interview that "they let these groups like the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and the JDL (Jewish Defence League), which is nothing but a bunch of gangsters, dictate what happens in the world today," and "they told Canada not to let us in and Canada followed their rules, because this country is run from Israel."[23] Nkem Anizor, president of the BYTA, also blamed the "Jewish lobby" for the government's decision to deny Shabazz entry to Canada,[23][27][28] Shabazz himself later stated that "Canada is on Malik alert," and that "B'nai Brith has won this one, and I'm starting to see the power of the Jewish lobby in Canada, full force. I thought Canada was free... I think this is evidence that black people are being oppressed in Canada."[28]

Condemnation by former members of the original Black Panther Party

The Huey P. Newton Foundation issued a news release denouncing the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Their release reads in part:

As guardian of the true history of the Black Panther Party, the [Dr. Huey P. Newton] Foundation, which includes former leading members of the Party, denounces this group's exploitation of the Party's name and history. Failing to find its own legitimacy in the black community, this band would graft the Party's name upon itself, which we condemn... [T]hey denigrate the Party's name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded... The Black Panthers were never a group of angry young militants full of fury toward the "white establishment." The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people.

Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation: "There Is No New Black Panther Party" [29]

See also


  1. ^ New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
  2. ^ a b "There is No New Black Panther Party: An Open Letter from the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation" [1]
  3. ^ "Active U.S. Hate Groups Black Separatist." Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved on February 11, 2009.
  4. ^ "New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense." Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved on February 11, 2009.
  5. ^ The Cats Came Back - philadelphia weekly online
  6. ^ Huey P. Newton Foundation, There Is No New Black Panther Party: An Open Letter From the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation
  7. ^
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ [4], [5], [6]
  11. ^ [7], [8],
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Voting Intimidation By Black Panthers In Philadelphia". Fox News. November 4, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Update: Police Confront Night Stick-Wielding ‘Security’ Patrol at Philadelphia Poll". November 4, 2008. 
  16. ^ Justice Department Seeks Injunction Against New Black Panther Party Lawsuit Seeks to Prohibit Voter Intimidation in Future Elections Wednesday, January 7, 2009
  17. ^ "Career lawyers overruled on voting case" The Washington Times May 29, 2009 By: Seper, Jerry
  18. ^ Accessed January 8, 2009
  19. ^ New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
  20. ^ [9]
  21. ^ [10]
  22. ^ a b c Adrian Morrow (August 21, 2007). "U.S. activist accused of anti-semitism invited to speak at Ryerson". The Eyeopener. 
  23. ^ a b c Lee Greenberg (May 16, 2007). "Black activist barred from entering Canada". CanWest News Service }. 
  24. ^ a b "Black Panther leader refused entry into Canada". CTV News. May 15, 2007. 
  25. ^ CBC News (May 15, 2007). "Black activist denied entry to Canada, group says". Canada Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). 
  26. ^ a b Joseph Brean (May 16, 2007). "Black Panther stopped at border". National Post. 
  27. ^ John Goddard (May 16, 2007). "Black activist blocked at border". Toronto Star. 
  28. ^ a b Joseph Brean (May 15, 2007). "Black activist stopped at border". National Post. 
  29. ^

External links



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