“We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism.”
“We’re gonna fight reactionary pigs with international proletarian revolution. That’s what it has to be. The people have to have the power: it belongs to the people.”
On this day, Dec. 4, in 1969, Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party was murdered by the Chicago police, in conspiracy with the FBI and who knows what other government agencies. “Chairman Fred”, as he was known, was a shining light to the entire revolutionary movement of the times, known for his dedication, seriousness, and thoughtfulness. Totally committed to the struggle against racism, he also understood that, as he put it, “racism is just a byproduct of capitalism.” Based on that understanding, he reached out to the Puerto Rican street gang, the “Young Lords” as well as to a similar street gang of white youth, the “Young Patriots.”
Here, Bruce Dixon of “Black Agenda Report” reviews a book on the history of Fred Hampton. Dixon worked closely with “Chairman Fred” in the last year of Fred’s life. His comments are important because they go beyond simply reviewing the book to talk about the importance of the life of Fred Hampton.
Just as Martin Luther King, jr. was assassinated as he was linking up the struggle against racism with the class struggle, it was this as much as anything else that made Chairman Fred a real danger to “the system”.
A sidelight in considering his murder was the role of police informant William O’Neal, who was also a Black Panther Party member in Chicago. Among other things, O’Neal provided the authorities with a sketch of the layout of the apartment where Hampton slept. This allowed them to go directly into his bedroom and shoot him as he lay asleep in his bed. It’s important to keep this in mind when we hear about government spying. It’s not about invasion of privacy; it’s about their collecting information to use against us – including frame-ups and outright murder if necessary.
Here is a link to a section of “Democracy Now” dedicated to Fred Hampton. More than anything else it’s worth watching because it contains a lot of original video of him speaking. http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2014/12/4/watch_the_assassination_of_fred_hampton