New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
Leader: Malik Zulu Shabazz
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Ideology: A mix of black nationalism, Pan-Africanism and racist and anti-Semitic bigotry
Influences: Original Black Panthers, Black Panther Militia, Nation of Islam
The New Black Panther Party for Self Defense takes its name from the original Black Panther Party, formed by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California, in 1966. The original Panthers (at right) combined militant black nationalism with Marxism and advocated black empowerment and self-defense, often through confrontation. By 1969, the group had an estimated 5,000 members spread throughout 20 chapters around the country. In the early 1970s, however, the group lost momentum and most of its support due to internal disputes, violent clashes with police and infiltration by law enforcement agencies. Despite the collapse, the group's mystique continued to influence radicals, and by the early 1990s a new generation of militant activists began to model themselves after the original Panthers.
The roots of the New Black Panthers can be traced to Michael McGee, a former member of the original Panthers, who was elected to the Milwaukee City Council in Wisconsin in 1984. In 1987, in response to what he viewed as a crisis in the city's black community, McGee threatened to disrupt "Summerfest" events "and other white people's fun" throughout the city unless more jobs were created for black people. He eventually backed off, instead leading demonstrations to call attention to black unemployment.
In 1990, at a "state of the inner city" press conference at city hall, McGee - then a Milwaukee alderman - announced his intention to create the Black Panther Militia unless the problems of the inner-city improved. He sought to enlist street gangs in the militia and provide them with weapons training. "They can fight and they already know how to shoot," he said. "I'm going to give them a cause to die for." By 1995, McGee threatened, the militia would carry out violent attacks in the city against "the government, the big private interests, the multi-millionaires."
Two months later, McGee organized a public meeting to recruit members to the Black Panther Militia at a local public school. Although dressed in black fatigues reminiscent of the original Panthers, McGee told the crowd of 300 that he was "not advocating what the Black Panthers were advocating. Our militia will be about violence. I'm talking actual fighting, bloodshed and urban guerilla warfare."
McGee told the crowd of 300 that he was "not advocating what the Black Panthers were advocating. Our militia will be about violence. I'm talking actual fighting, bloodshed and urban guerilla warfare."
In 1992 he again threatened to launch violent attacks on the city, this time if he was not re-elected as alderman. But as the election neared, he recanted, saying that he "proved [his] point" and that he was "getting back into the system." He eventually lost his seat to a police sergeant.
By that time, McGee had already helped organize a chapter of the Black Panther Militia in Indianapolis that was led by Mmoja Ajabu, a black Muslim. McGee also inspired the establishment of a similar group in Dallas, which, under the leadership of Aaron Michaels, would become the founding chapter of the NBPP.Aaron Michaels
Michaels (at right), born Aaron McCarthy in Dallas, had worked at various Christian radio stations in the city before he started producing Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price's nightly radio show "Talkback" in 1990. He credits Price, who made a name for himself organizing a series of confrontational protests in the Dallas area, with introducing him to black nationalist ideology. When Michael McGee appeared on "Talkback" in 1990, Price urged his listeners to give money to the Black Panther Militia.
Inspired by McGee's appearance, in 1990 Michaels organized a group of like-minded followers, which he named after the original Panthers; he registered the New Black Panther Party name in 1991. Like McGee's Black Panther Militia, Michaels' NBPP borrowed the militant style and confrontational tactics from the original Panthers while ignoring some of its core principles and community service programs. "Survival programs are good, but they don't make us free," Michaels said.
The group apparently established a nationwide base during the next few years. On May 29, 1993, the Dallas chapter hosted a "National Black Power Summit and Youth Rally," which drew about 200 people. Speaking at the rally, McGee claimed that chapters had formed in 20 cities. In an effort to make common cause in favor of racial separatism, white supremacist Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance was also invited to speak. He told the audience that he believed in achieving goals "by whatever means necessary."
McGee's involvement with the NBPP eventually faded, but under Michaels' leadership the New Black Panthers expanded their activity and membership, and more fully embraced racist leaders, most notably Khallid Abdul Muhammad.Khallid Abdul Muhammad
Muhammad (at left), who was born Harold Moore Vann in Houston, joined the Nation of Islam after hearing Louis Farrakhan - then Elijah Muhammad's "National Representative" - at New Orleans' Dillard University in 1967. After Muhammad died in 1975, and his son Warith Deen Mohammed began to steer the group toward a non-racist, more traditional form of Islam, Farrakhan elected to perpetuate the father's separatist teachings by forming his own organization (in 1978). Many members followed him, including Khallid Muhammad, who was appointed West Coast Regional Minister and Minister of NOI Mosque No. 27 in Los Angeles
Muhammad was transferred to Atlanta in the mid-1980s and became minister of the city's NOI mosque. In February 1988, he was sentenced to three years in prison for trying to obtain a home mortgage by using a false social security number; he was released after serving nine months. Despite these difficulties, he had become one of Farrakhan's most trusted advisors and in 1990 was appointed Minister of Mosque No. 7 in New York, one of the most prestigious appointments in the NOI. A year later, Muhammad was named Farrakhan's national spokesman.
Muhammad's rise through the group's hierarchy was abruptly halted in November 1993, after he delivered a notoriously anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, homophobic and racist speech at New Jersey's Kean College. In his remarks, Muhammad referred to Jews as "bloodsuckers," called for genocide against whites, vulgarly ridiculed Pope John Paul II and demeaned homosexuals. The speech attracted significant media attention, and Muhammad was condemned by a wide range of religious and political leaders - including the U.S. Congress, which issued a condemnation in 1994 that decried the speech as "outrageous hatemongering of the most vicious and vile kind." Farrakhan responded to the controversy by removing Muhammad from the group's leadership, although the NOI leader noted that he faulted only the form, not "the truth," of Muhammad's remarks.
I called them [Jews] bloodsuckers. I'm not going to change that. Our lessons talk about the bloodsuckers of the poor in the supreme wisdom of the Nation of Islam. It's that old no-good Jew, that old imposter Jew, that old hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, Johnny-come-lately perpetrating a fraud, just crawled out of the caves and hills of Europe, so-called damn Jew. . . and I feel everything I'm saying up here is kosher.
Even without NOI backing, Muhammad remained a popular (if divisive) and publicity-generating speaker at colleges and universities and at public events across the country. In long unscripted addresses, Muhammad typically, often wildly, attacked Jews, for instance, thusly: "I called them [Jews] bloodsuckers. I'm not going to change that. Our lessons talk about the bloodsuckers of the poor in the supreme wisdom of the Nation of Islam. It's that old no-good Jew, that old imposter Jew, that old hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, Johnny-come-lately perpetrating a fraud, just crawled out of the caves and hills of Europe, so-called damn Jew. . . and I feel everything I'm saying up here is kosher." He also denied the reality of the Holocaust, rehashed old slanders about secret Jewish control and, more broadly, referred to the "white man" as "the devil," claiming that "there is a little bit of Hitler in all white people."
Muhammad occasionally vented his anti-Jewish mania to his old followers in the NOI as well. In February 1994, in Baltimore, he told a local NOI women's group: "I say you [the Jews] are called Goldstein, Silverstein and Rubenstein because you've been stealing all the gold and silver and rubies all over the world, and it's true . . . because of your stealing and roguing and lying all over the face of the earth," he said.
On May 29, 1994, after Muhammad finished a speech at the University of California, Riverside, a former NOI member attempted to assassinate him, shooting him in the leg and wounding four bodyguards and a bystander before being subdued and beaten by the crowd, which chanted, "He works for the Jews." The gunman, James Bess, who was sentenced to life in prison plus 22 years, said he shot Muhammad because of his extreme views and influence on young people. Muhammad speculated that Jewish groups and the U.S. government had worked with Bess to assassinate him.
A year later, Farrakhan announced that he was reassigning Muhammad to the Chicago mosque. The reassignment was largely symbolic, however, and Muhammad never truly regained a place in the NOI leadership. He would later say that although he still considered himself a member of NOI, he was essentially banned from all NOI mosques.
Muhammad had recuperated from his gunshot in Dallas, and had begun working with Aaron Michaels, whom he referred to as "the new Huey Newton." With his connection to NOI waning, Muhammad focused on raising the visibility of the NBPP and consolidating his leadership over it.
He gained publicity in 1996, for instance, by joining with the NBPP in its battles with the Dallas school board. For several years, the group had disrupted board meetings demanding greater black representation; with Muhammad on board, Michaels went further, insisting on the resignation of the school board president, whom he described as "Nazi Germany all over. He is a dictator." When three members of the NBPP, including Michaels, were arrested on misdemeanor charges for preventing the board from meeting, Michaels and Muhammad issued a joint news release calling for "Black men with GUNS" to protect them at the next meeting. In response, school board officials canceled the meeting.
A few days later, Michaels again called on Muhammad, enlisting his help in leading a group of armed NBPP members to Greenville, Texas, after two black churches were burned down in the area. Muhammad announced that "we will set up patrols all across the country" to protect black churches. He added, "You catch a cracker lighting a torch to any black church, or any property of black people, we are to send them to the cemetery." In the same vein, Michaels stated, "The only thing that these racists understand is gunpowder, black gunpowder." (A black teen-ager was later indicted in connection with both fires.)Expansion
By the summer of 1998, Muhammad had eclipsed Michaels and became de facto leader of the party. He took on high-profile, racially charged causes and sought to recruit young men attracted to his racist message and militant tone. Michaels, while still active in Dallas, accepted the less significant role of "Minister of Defense." 1
|Quannel X restrained by police at rally in Jasper, Texas.|
In June 1998, Muhammad led a group of fifty NBPP followers to Jasper, Texas - including a dozen carrying shotguns and rifles - to "protect" the streets in the wake of the racial murder of James Byrd Jr. Byrd, a forty-nine-year-old African American, who was beaten and fatally dragged behind a pickup truck down a rural road by three white supremacists. In response to a rally organized by Klansmen in the small town two weeks later, Muhammad and his followers, many wearing black berets like the original Panthers, showed up to counter demonstrate. When members of the NBPP tried and failed to get past police separating them from the Klan, Muhammad told his cadre, "Black people, we can take these bastards…We can run over the damn police and take their ass. Who's with me?" There were several minor scuffles between supporters on both sides and two arrests were made.
After the Jasper protest, Muhammad concentrated on organizing his most ambitious event to date, which he called the "Million Youth March." The purpose of the march was to promote unity among young African Americans by bringing black teenagers from around the nation to Harlem to celebrate "Black Power in the Year 2000." The march would also provide a forum to showcase the emergent NBPP as an alternative to other groups interested in guiding black youth, specifically the NOI. In fact, the march was scheduled to coincide with the NOI-backed Million Youth Movement, an event that similarly tried to gather black youth in Atlanta, where they would hear from a coalition of mainstream national black leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The idea for Muhammad's youth march was loosely based on a previous NOI event, the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of people gathered in 1995 to hear Farrakhan address the problems plaguing the black community. However, unlike the Million Man March, where Farrakhan toned down his historically bigoted message in an attempt to receive mainstream support, Muhammad's Million Youth March would be remembered for reaffirming black separatism and anti-Jewish prejudice.
With the help of the December 12 Movement, a Brooklyn-based anti-racism advocacy group, Muhammad toured the country promoting the march. He received the endorsement of several local black leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who also spoke at the event. Sharpton and Muhammad had become friendly after Sharpton was stabbed in Bensonhurst, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, in 1991 - Muhammad sent a letter of support to Sharpton, who would later organize a series of speaking engagements for Muhammad with street gangs.
Prior to the march, Rudolph Giuliani, then Mayor of New York City, labeled the event a "hate march" and the police department initially denied the NBPP a permit to hold the event in Harlem, citing safety concerns. Muhammad responded by threatening to march in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, saying it would be "a direct confrontation with the Jews of that area who have misused and abused our people in Brooklyn and Crown Heights for so long."
A federal judge eventually overruled the city's decision to deny the permit and Muhammad convened the rally in Harlem on September 5, 1998. Instead of hearing a message of unity, young and old in attendance listened to several speeches threaded with the inflammatory anti-Semitism and racism that Muhammad and the NBPP had come to be known for. "Stop asking me about the Jews being the bloodsuckers of the Black nation," Muhammad told a cheering crowd. "They are the bloodsuckers of the Black community. How many say they are the bloodsuckers of the Black community?"
The day ended with a melee between New York City police officers and demonstrators when police attempted to shut down the rally at the 4 p.m. deadline. Police Commissioner Howard Safir blamed Muhammad (at right) for inciting the confrontation by exhorting the crowd to beat the police with rails and to shoot them with their own guns in "self-defense." Muhammad said:
Look these bastards [the police] in the eyes and if anyone attacks you, already decide who will be the one to disconnect the railing where you are and beat the hell out of them with the railing where you are. No-good bastards. And if you don't have a gun…in self defense, if they attack you, take their goddamn gun from them and use their guns….If anyone of those bastards riots here today, you take their nightstick, the way they did brother Abner Louima, and ram it up their behinds and jam it down their damn throats.
Twenty-eight people suffered minor injuries, including 16 police officers, who were struck by chairs and bottles.
Despite the melee (or perhaps because of it), Muhammad's influence as leader of the NBPP had reached its highest point. Approximately 6000 people attended the rally - easily the largest gathering ever organized by the group - and Muhammad was shortly afterward elected NBPP National Chairman. The Panthers would organize a second and third Million Youth March in Harlem in 1999 and 2000, but neither event would come close to attracting the number of the participants at the first march.
In addition to organizing high-profile demonstrations, Muhammad's accomplishments with the NBPP include instituting an organizational hierarchy, much of which is filled with figures from the Nation of Islam and other black Muslim groups. Malik Zulu Shabazz, an attorney from Washington, D.C., and Muhammad's long-time right hand man, was named National Spokesman. Quannel X, a former NOI minister from Houston, was named Minister of Information. Minister Hashim Nzinga was recruited to serve as Muhammad's National Chief of Staff, and Minister Michael Muhammad of Norfolk, Virginia, became Muhammad's National Youth Minister.
Some members appointed to national leadership positions continued to work in their local NBPP chapters - which, according to the group, numbered 35 nationally. These included National Assistant Amir Muhammad in Washington, D.C., National Minister of Culture Zayid Muhammad in Newark, New Jersey, National Minister of Commerce Morris Powell in New York, and Deputy National Youth Minister Divine Allah in Trenton, New Jersey. (While it is unclear how many people joined the party under Muhammad's leadership, Malik Zulu Shabazz, claimed - unverifiably - in 2002 that NBPP supporters numbered "in the low thousands.")
On February 17, 2001, at the age of 53, Muhammad died suddenly in Atlanta from the effects of a brain aneurysm. Control of the NBPP, which under Muhammad became the largest and most vocal anti-Semitic black group in America, was left to Malik Zulu Shabazz.Malik Zulu Shabazz
Shabazz (left), born Paris Lewis in Los Angeles, was Muhammad's obvious successor. He was Muhammad's closest advisor and, as an attorney, had helped Muhammad organize and lead the group. Like Muhammad, his long record of extremist speech could be traced to the NOI, though Shabazz's rise as an activist took place while he attended Howard University. In 1988 he founded Unity Nation, a Howard group of NOI supporters. As leader, Shabazz lashed out at Jews and whites in an ostensible effort to promote black pride and consciousness.
Early in 1994, three months after Muhammad lost his title as National Spokesperson of the NOI, Shabazz, by then a second-year Howard law student, invited him to lecture at Unity Nation. "We want to show love for a man who has been vilified and attacked by the media, Jewish community, Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus," Shabazz said. At the event, he warmed-up for Muhammad by leading the audience in an anti-Semitic call-and-response. He asked, "Who is it that caught and killed Nat Turner?" The audience responded, "Jews!" He then asked, "Who is that controls the Federal Reserve? Again the audience responded with, "Jews!" Shabazz: "Who is it that controls the media and Hollywood?" Audience: "Jews! Jews!"
Afterward, Shabazz refused to apologize for his remarks, and later told an interviewer, "I sympathize with the suffering of all people, but stop pushing your Holocaust down my throat when the Black Holocaust is the worst holocaust black humanity has ever seen."
On October 14-15, 1995, as a prelude to NOI's Million Man March the next day, Unity Nation held the "African Black Holocaust and Nationhood Conference." The event, keynoted by several pro-Farrakhan speakers, was geared toward a young audience and held at two Washington, D.C. high schools. Approximately 600 people attended the first day's session at McKinley Tech High School in Northeast Washington, and between 1,200 and 2,000 were present the next day at Coolidge High School in the Northwest part of the city.
Many of the participants at the event who had expressed support for Farrakhan had a history of anti-Semitic remarks, including Professor Leonard Jeffries of New York's City College and Steve Cokely, a former Chicago mayoral aide who was best known for accusing Jewish doctors of injecting black children with the AIDS virus. Shabazz introduced Khallid Muhammad by saying:
"We want to bring on the former national spokesman for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan…We want to bring on a man who gives the white man nightmares. We want to bring on a man who makes the Jews pee in their pants at night… My big brother, Dr. Khallid Muhammad!"
Although Million Man March co-organizer Benjamin Chavis disavowed any connection between the march and the Black Holocaust Conference, Shabazz insisted that his gathering was "right in line and in tune with the Million Man March leadership." Still, the bigotry of the conference contrasted sharply with the broad-based Million Man March, which was intended to expand Farrakhan's influence beyond his traditional constituency.
Over the next few years, Shabazz continued to work closely with Muhammad, arranging many of his speaking engagements. By 1998, when Muhammad had assumed NBPP leadership, Shabazz's role was to take the group's - and Muhammad's - militant message to the mainstream media. On September 2, 1998, as legal counsel and National Youth Director of the Million Youth March, Shabazz appeared on New York One, a local news station in New York. When asked what he had against Jews, Shabazz answered, "What we have against Jews and others is [sic] simple facts of history: that the Jews have been involved in the African holocaust and that the Zionists are causing problems, you know, for people of color around the world." His evidence? "The State of Israel. The Zionist entity there. It's a problem, it's a problem for our brothers and sisters in that particular area. And it's causing problems all over the earth."
Shabazz also championed the discredited notion that Jews were "significantly and substantially involved" in the African slave trade. He claimed that Jews owned ships, financed "slave endeavors" and held plantations in South America. As his source he cited the NOI's The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, which argues that the history of slavery in the New World was dominated by Jewish ship owners and merchants. He also called the Talmud racist, citing alleged passages demeaning to Blacks, and saying, "your own holy book is a racist book."
Prior to the Million Youth March, Shabazz charged that then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was "doing the bidding of the Jewish community" in refusing to initially grant a permit for the march. During the march, Shabazz acted as the emcee, telling the crowd, "I don't care what the Jews say. You [crowd] are the only people that have been in bondage for over 400 years. You are the true chosen people of God, and it is not the so-called Jew."
In 2000, Shabazz, now both the Panthers' National Spokesman and National Minister of Justice, opened a chapter in Washington, D.C., that would become the group's headquarters. Soon after, he introduced his chapter to the D.C. community by organizing a boycott of a local Korean-American owned store after a dispute between the store owner and a black teenage girl led to a fight, which was caught on video tape. The NBPP organized a week of protests on the sidewalk in front of the store, and protestors, borrowing the language of anti-Semitic slander, chanted "death to the Bloodsucker." On November 30, 2000, a pipe bomb was thrown into the store, causing severe damage. Painted across the outside wall were racial epithets and the words, "Burn them down, Shut them down, Black Power." Shabazz said his group had nothing to do with the attack.
Muhammad died the following year; Shabazz, who could not match his mentor's oratorical intensity, compensated by quickly organizing protests across the country to capitalize on media attention. Like Muhammad, he focused on black communities dealing with high-profile racial issues. In April 2001, after days of rioting in Cincinnati in response to the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by police, NBPP members traveled to the city to eulogize him. Shabazz, flanked by several associates, urged the crowd to "continue to resist by any divine means necessary." Later in the month, Shabazz led a NBPP rally outside of former President Bill Clinton's Harlem office. "We will not allow some cracker named Bill Clinton to set the stage and the pace to drive black people out of Harlem," shouted Shabazz. "We are here to deal with a serious problem called gentrification. Gentrification to us means genocide."
Shabazz and his followers' brand of activism seemed to consist of nothing more than creating enough tension to generate media attention. Members would show up in a community to protest, leading locals to believe the group had a serious social agenda, only to disappear. Many demonstrations lacked a practical agenda altogether. On September 1, 2001, for instance, approximately twenty members of the NBPP demonstrated in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum entrance and handed out leaflets stating, "There will be no peace at the Jewish Holocaust Museum and the Department of the Treasury until blacks in America receive full and complete reparations!"
In addition to planning demonstrations, Shabazz helped develop internal guidelines for organizing the group's internal structure. Shabazz published the "Official National NBPP Black Power Manual," which outlines expectations for chapters and members. The manual includes a 10-point program and platform, which, among other things, advocates for full employment, decent housing, education and tax exemption. According to the manual, the "wicked racist" U.S. government has "robbed" black people and they should be exempt from all taxation "as long as we are deprived of equal justice under the laws of the land."
The platform also calls for all black men and women to be exempt from military service and for an end to police brutality, and it promotes the notion that black people and people of color "should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trail." It also describes membership requirements like dress codes and encourages members to "purchase a weapon" and learn how to operate it. In addition to calls for better conditions for the nation's black population, the manual states that members should not allow themselves to be "questioned by the police about party business or any 'crime.'"Targeting Israel
The September 11 terrorist attacks provided Shabazz and the NBPP with an opportunity to exploit the fear and anger that the attacks caused in the United States and to further spread anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. On October 31, 2001, Shabazz co-sponsored a three-hour meeting with "Muslims for Truth and Justice" (an apparent ad hoc coalition of several American Muslim organizations) at the National Press Club. During the meeting, which was broadcast on C-SPAN, Shabazz blamed Jews for the attacks and called the United States and Israel, "The number one and two terrorists right now on the planet." Shabazz then added, "Zionism is racism, Zionism is terrorism, Zionism is colonialism, Zionism is Imperialism, and support for Zionism is the root of why so many were killed on September 11."
"We have to make it plain," Shabazz continued, "that Zionists control America, lock, stock and barrel. The European Jews have America under control, lock, stock, and barrel, the media, foreign policy." Amir Muhammad, an officer with the NBPP, reiterated Shabazz's remarks: "There are reports that as many as 3,000 to 5,000 so-called Jews did not go to work [at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon] that day, and we need to take a serious look at that."
Imam Mohammed al-Asi, a member of "Muslims for Truth and Justice" who claims association with the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., echoed Shabazz's statements at the meeting: "The twin evils in this world are the decision makers in Washington and the decision makers in Tel Aviv." Al-Asi also accused Israel of carrying out the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. He said Israeli officials decided to launch the attack after the United States refused their request to put down the Intifada.
The NBPP also launched a Web site that primarily focused on Israel. It included a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush superimposed on a swastika. The text above the picture read: "Israel and AmeriKKKa = The Fourth Reich." The caption stated: "Down with the illegal, Bastard, Oppressive, Zionist, Racist, Cracker, Nazi state of Israel. FREE PALESTINE - FREE THE LAND - FREEDOM AND SELF DETERMINATION!" Much of the site remained under construction and was eventually abandoned.
In an on-line interview in January 2002, Shabazz was asked if he thought America should stop supporting Israel. "There is no moral reason why America should support the colonial and imperial state of Israel," Shabazz answered. "They have stolen land from the Palestinians, killing and murdering the Palestinians on that land….In truth, the land belongs to the African, who was pushed out of Palestine, Egypt and Northern Africa."
Shabazz led chants of "death to Israel," "the white man is the devil," and "Jihad." He also said, "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!"
Shabazz spoke more boldly during an April 20, 2002, NBPP demonstration in front of the B'nai B'rith building in Washington, D.C. Protestors held large posters that read: "The American Israeli White Man is the Devil" and "The State of Israel Has No Right to Exist." Shabazz led chants of "death to Israel," "the white man is the devil," and "Jihad." He also said, "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!"
Shabazz's entirely race-driven concept of social justice led him, on July 18, 2002, to the courthouse for the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia. Following the pre-trial hearing of Zacarias Moussaoui, a French Moroccan indicted for conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the September 11 attacks, Shabazz convened a press conference to announce his interest in aiding Moussaoui's defense. A message on the NBPP Web site stated:
Original Panthers Respond
The New Black Panther Party has determined that Zacarias Moussaoui is a Black Man, an African. Thereby drawing the interest of the New Black Panther Party who's [sic] Ten Point Platform insists on a fair trial for Black defendants. The New Black Panther Party will certainly conduct trial advocacy and monitoring to ensure that Zacarias is not being railroded [sic] for the failings of others to prevent the catastrophic events of September 11,th"
Several members of the original Panthers have condemned the NBPP's racism and anti-Semitism. Bobby Seale, co-founder of the original Panthers, believes that the New Panthers have "hijacked our name and are hijacking our history." David Hilliard, a former original Panther and executive director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, said that the New Panthers "totally abandoned our survival programs." He also said that the racism that the group "espouse(s) flies directly in the face of the Black Panthers' multicultural ideology and purpose."
Still, Malik Shabazz claims that "our position is the Panther exclusively belongs to no one. It belongs to the people." According to Shabazz, the original Panthers "are really working with the Zionists. I think their lawyer is one. I think they are being used by outside forces to keep alive the counterintelligence program of the F.B.I. and the U.S. government, creating divisions and factions among black organizations."The Million Youth March Returns
On July 1, 2003, Shabazz announced plans for the fourth Million Youth March - and the first under his leadership - scheduled to take place on September 6 in Brooklyn, New York. As with the initial march, the city at first refused to grant a permit, but changed course after NBPP officials threatened a lawsuit and public protests. In part to market and publicize the event, the group held a news conference on the town hall steps in Morristown, New Jersey, on July 3, 2003, demanding $20,000 for the march from the Morristown mayor and town council. Predicting that the party "will become a greater force in town," Shabazz said, "We're calling on this community for support and calling on the mayor for support for the Million Youth March. We want resources, money to get buses for underprivileged youth to get to the march."
Shabazz may have come to Morristown in order to draw attention to new Panther activity there. A month before, the NBPP's William Riley said members from chapters in Newark, Paterson, Harlem and Brooklyn planned to find space in Morristown to host social gatherings and other group programs. Riley made the announcement during a Morristown Council meeting, where he also told council members that police misconduct toward young people would be met with "maximum physical retaliation." Riley reportedly grew up in Morristown.
Shabazz also came to Morristown to voice support for Amiri Baraka, New Jersey's poet laureate. Baraka was sharply criticized for his poem "Somebody Blew Up America," which repeated the myth that 4,000 "Israelis" stayed home from work at the World Trade Center on September 11 - thereby suggesting that Jews and Israel had foreknowledge of the attacks. During the news conference, Shabazz said the Panthers supported Baraka "100 percent" and welcomed proof that Jews and Israel did not know about the attacks before they happened. "If 3,000 people perished in the World Trade Center attacks and the Jewish population is 10 percent, you show me records of 300 Jewish people dying in the World Trade Center," Shabazz said. "We're daring anyone to dispute its truth. They got their people out."Conclusion
By feeding off of the nostalgia for, and presenting itself in the image of, the original Panthers, the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense has been
able to survive the death of its most controversial leader and maintain its influence in the black community. While the NBPP still attracts some followers
under the guise of championing the causes of black empowerment and civil rights, its record of racism and anti-Semitism has overshadowed any of its efforts to
promote black pride and consciousness.