'I Am We': The Dialectics of Political Will in Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party

Theory and Event 17 (4):NA (2014)
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Abstract

In this paper, I reconstruct the conception of political will implicitly developed by the ‘philosophical theoretician’ of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton. Counterintuitively, I argue that his ‘dialectical’ account of political will is best understood through categories derived from G.W.F. Hegel. Briefly, both Hegel and Newton identify abstract negation and situational concretion as equally essential to actualizing the free will, and thus advocate the channeling of revolutionary enthusiasm into reformist modes of institutional transformation. I conclude by arguing that it is precisely this collective, but contested, unity of revolutionary and reformist tendencies that the Black Panther Party itself embodies.

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Jim Vernon
York University

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Huey Newton's Lessons for the Academic Left.Jim Vernon - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (7-8):267-87.

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