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Romanticising foreign movements, ignoring their lessons

Posted by Left Luggage on April 26, 2009

The sell-out event at last year’s Marxism conference, organised by the Socialist Workers’ Party, was a talk by David Hilliard, former chief of staff of the Black Panthers. By all accounts the event was standing room only and Hilliard was accorded a standing ovation at the beginning and end of the meeting.

This would be unremarkable, except that almost his entire lecture was spent urging those activists present to reformulate their strategies in light of the Black Panthers’ experience. If you watch the meeting in full, it almost seems that two different languages are being spoken, with Hilliard’s message – restated over and over – unacknowledged by almost every speaker from the audience. Hilliard stresses the relevance today of the Panthers’ ten-point programme (08:09 = time into video), argues that the most important aspect of the group’s activity was its “survival programmes” (10:24), suggests one of the most pressing issues for left-wing activists in London is knife crime and gang violence (13:27), and proposes practical solutions to black people being harassed via police stop-and-search powers (48:34). Here are a few selections from his speech: -Keep reading>

Posted in International movements, Socialism, Strategy | 6 Comments »