Authors
Jim Vernon
York University
Abstract
The Black Panther Party was founded to bridge the radical theorizing that swept college campuses in the mid-1960s and the lumpen proletariat abandoned by the so-called ‘Great Society’. However, shortly thereafter, Newton began to harshly criticize the academic Left in general for their drive to find ‘a set of actions and a set of principles that are easy to identify and are absolute.’ This article reconstructs Newton’s critique of progressive movements grounded primarily in academic debates, as well as his conception of vanguard political theory. Newton’s grasp of revolution as a gradual, open, and above all dialectical process, not only provides a corrective to many dominant academic accounts of the nature of progressive change but, more importantly, it also grounds an emancipatory philosophy that can direct collective struggle, precisely because it remains grounded in the imperfect and internally conflicted lives of those whose freedom is to be won through it.
Keywords Black Panthers, emancipation, Huey Newton, intercommunalism, vanguard theory
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A Tension in the Political Thought of Huey P. Newton.Joshua Anderson - 2012 - Journal of African American Studies 16 (2):249-267.

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