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Wendi Muse @MuseWendi
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So excited to hear @BarbaraRansby and several activists and scholars speak at this panel tomorrow:

"Chairman Fred Lives": The Life and Legacies of Fred Hampton, Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman"

#AHA2019 #Chicago
#LeftPOC #FredHampton
more info on this session here:…
I'm also excited to hear Beatrice Wayne (whom I interviewed for the 10th episode of the @LeftPOC podcast, which you can hear via… ) speak later today on the meaning of fashion during the Ethiopian student protests of the 1960s)
speaking today:
@BarbaraRansby,Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
Page May,@AssataDaughters
Toussaint Losier,Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst
Simon Balto,Univ. of Iowa
Michael Klonsky,Hitting Left
Aislinn Pulley,@BLMChi
Jakobi Williams,Indiana Univ.
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhampton
Prof. Simon Balto, who is working on a book abt policing in Chicago, notes that this december will mark the 50th yr we've been without Fred Hampton, who was murdered by the Chicago Police w/ the help fo the FBI
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
The Chicago Panthers would "work with anyone so long as they have revolution on the mind" Fred Hampton
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhampton
Prof Balto posits the question on what could have happened if Hampton had not been murdered. What future would he have helped create had he been allowed to organize beyond Chicago?
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhampton
Prof Balto notes it's important to understand Hampton's influence and not to see his death as a "punctuation" of his legacy, particular considering how much his work has inspired activists who continue to work in Chicago and beyond.
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
This particular panel is different for AHA bc it unites both academics and activists, some of whom worked directly w/ Hampton while he was alive.
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
speaking first is Michael Klonsky of Hitting Left, activist
he encourages us to be "academics who blur the lines of academia and activism; who [address] history not just by writing about it"
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
Klonsky was a leader w/in SDS, and he was working on the south side of chicago,trying to build a multi-racial movement of the poor. he had been organizing in poor communities.
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
he and fellow SDS members had taken what SNCC had said about the need for whites to organize in their own communities seriously
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
he and his colleagues, as white ppl living in a poor chicago neighborhood, were often assumed by police to be drug dealers. they were profiled, their pictures up at the chicago police dept w/ literal reward posters (Klonsky, $500)
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
they had the doors barred up in fear of what the police could do.
one day fred hampton and bobby rush of the black panthers came by to ask if they had office supplies they could lend, and thus began their relationship
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
klonsky discusses the rainbow coalition, noting that integration was a failed project insofar as black orgs were gutted; but the black power movement emerged from it as a powerful force
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
he mentions the work done w/ the young lords and the young patriots. his relationship with hampton was close, and he was impressed by his wisdom at such a young age. he made hampton his daughter's middle name.
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
klonsky remains in contact w/black panthers and its allies from the community, and notes that historians who study the black liberation movement must keep chicago on their minds as a source
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
next speaker: Toussaint Losier, who notes it's important to note that in addtn to assassinating fred hampton, clark, and several of their comrades, in addtn to the violence of the state, the state attempted to jail a revolution
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
he mentions that fred hampton's quote regarding the inability of the state to jail a revolution is apt here as carceration continues to grow in the US, notably in places like chicago
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
alongisde hampton et al's organizing was an increase of armed conflict btwn the panthers and the chicago police, incl murder by activists who were organizing in their individual communities to implement basic necessities like stopsigns
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
winters and lance were other activists attacked, and several police officers died, which he argues laid the groundwork for hampton's assassination as the police were now out for blood
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
these battles continued even after hamton's assassination,"setting the tone" for what would happen to the black panther chapters throughoutChicago/ the surrounding area, the members of which were often incarcerated and who had to organize from prison
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
in the 1970s, IL prisons saw 9 different rebellions, with IL officials responding w/. more severe sentencing reform, notably a 1977 law called the Class X bill, which moved IL from a rehabilitation model to a more draconian one
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
these moves laid the groundwork for mass incarceration that we saw expand to other states and later to federal legislation.
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
these laws were less focused on crime as they were "repressing/suppressing radical movements that were concerned with how working class, poor, black and brown, and radical white folks" could connect and change chicago
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
next up, Page May, of @AssataDaughters, who notes that she was most inspired by hampton's involvement in the NAACP youth council as a high schools student, bc it highlights the roots of his later work
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
(FYI, May can be found here: @may20p)
she notes that at the org, they encourage the young ppl involved and the community to have fred hampton's philosophies woven into their every day organizing. they also educate around surveillance & the history of COINTELPRO
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
in addition to these lessons, they also provide #KnowYourRights training and help students understand their current situation and ground it in a history that goes beyond what students are taught in school
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
they are also currently working on the #NoCopAcademy which is fighting against the continued growth of the CPD
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
she notes that fred hampton's childhood home in the Maywood community is being foreclosed. they are trying to raise money (see #savethehamptonhouse for more info) as part of continuing hampton's legacy…
Next speaker is Aislinn Pulley of @BLMChi whose parents were activists and connected to local radical struggles, but she said it wasn't until she was in 6th grade that she became interested in the life of fred hampton
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
pulley notes that she never wanted to romanticize the past and instead thought about how to keep this history going. she became involved w/ the #FreeMumia movement (for more on this, see:
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
she notes that she was "disgusted" by what she saw during Occupy in Chicago. it was predominately middle class, white suburban kids focused on navel gazing. and her father encouraged her to take advtg of this moment to organize
#AHA2019 @AHAhistorians #fredhamptonlives
she notes that at the time, "it was so white, they were thanking the police"
and she forced the local occupy group to allow a black young man, whom she notes could be the "next fred hampton," speak. chicago is still segregated, and there is a "disconnect" btwn progressive wht ppl who are sympathetic w/what happens to black ppl in the current system
"part of fred's legacy is accurately encapsulated in the struggle of survivors and their families who did not stop fighting after being denied hearing after hearing and reception to what they said had happened to them" (re: john birch torture)
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives+
pulley continues, arguing that under the current neoliberal system, this violence continues. "there are still panthers who need to be released"
"our work as organizers must include 'going inside' evolve"+
"BLM is NOT the black panthers... there isn't a cohesive anti-capitalist message that exists among chapters of BLM...but, what BLM does offer is a step toward carrying that banner of that work that can become much more terms of black freedom work"
next speaker Jakobi Williams, who notes how influential hampton was on his life. he grew up in Chicago himself, and notes that the two martyrs for him were hampton and emmett till (who, he notes, interestingly enough, was babysat by hampton's mother!)
his early work was on the 1800s, specifically Nat Turner and slave revolts, but he began to work on 20th century figures, esp the Black Panthers who spoke frequently of Turner. he noticed an absence of history on the Chicago branches thereof
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
he began to study the archives of Huey Newton and began to think critically abt the differences btwn oakland and chicago as settings for the panthers
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
he was particularly interested in daily use of surveillance in Chicago, where the police had created its own form of cointelpro. he notes that these police saw hampton as more dangerous than mlk bc of the extent of his coalition building
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
but that hampton himself studied king and was heavily influenced by him and malcolm x. his rainbow coalition was inspired by king's poor ppl's campaign, for example
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
obama, axelrod, and others, he argues, have "appropriated" the language of people like hampton, but they don't live its politics
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
he also reminds the audience of the "Black Identity Extremist" move by the federal govt, and how it operates as an extension of COINTELPRO
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
he notes that in movements, we should be critical, but not to "take over"...that we must "let the youth lead"
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
(fyi you can find Jakobi here: @jakobiwill)
next up is @BarbaraRansby, who notes that there is a false dichotomy btwn ppl who work w/in the confines of the academy for pay and those who engage in this praxis in the street
she says she became a historian bc she was an activist, but that reading a lot of books would never be the end of her understanding. she said she refused to make a "choice" between being an activist and a historian
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
there is a type of "artificial professionalism" that pushes academics to do work they don't care about. she says that this a type of chilling pressure on academics that is unrealistic for ppl who refuse to buy into this false dichotomy btwn activist and scholar
she argues that the political context fred hampton existed in was more critical than hampton as an individual
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
she remembers the free breakfast program of the panthers, and notes it was the first time she saw men in aprons, serving food to ppl, and that it's important to remember this element of care, compassion, love, & support, not just the militant image.this too was a part of struggle
the panthers were socialists and "militant anti-racists" who had an idea that men and women angry abt what was happening in their community had the right to be angry, but they needed to direct that anger toward colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy
she mentions the revolutionary black workers (which was similar to the panthers) and that they, as well as the panthers, had important internal dispute and debate
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
the panthers had an internationalist approach, that understood not just struggles w/in the african diaspora, but around the world. this ideology was embodied by ppl like hampton
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
Ransby works to contextualize the current political moment within a larger international one - mentions the significance of work by black feminists, landless workers movement (MST) and degrees of overlap in the fight against bolsonaro in brazil+
ransby worked with and has written about #BlackLivesMatter and its related organizations for the past 5 years that have formed the movement for black lives +
in this moment, this coalition has rejected respectability politics & worked to center marginalized groups w/in the black community, incl queer & trans ppl and poor ppl.
the m4bl knows that racial capitalism has "deemed a whole sector of folks 'disposable'"+
and that these groups are subject to "extermination" in the instanced that "they cannot be controlled"
it's those who are economically vulnerable AND racially targeted
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
she notes the significance of racist violence police have committed, regardless of their race, throughout the country and *during* the obama administration
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
she further notes the M4BL commitment to a larger international context, connecting w/activists from palestine, brazil, south africa.
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
she also notes the intergeneration nature of the group, and that we cannot fetishize just "youth" (as there are youth, she notes, who engaged in the racist violence in charlottesville), but we must emphasize politics+
she would like to see more "of [her] colleagues in the academy" in activism, and for them to see themselves as part of the fight for those they write about
#AHA2019 #fredhamptonlives
q&a - how do we apply fred hampton's legacy and tactics to develop a base that unites multiple groups in a coalition (i.e. feminists, blm, etc) on college campuses?
notably one w/ leftist roots
ransby notes the promise of such multiracial coalitions, but argues that white leftists must understand the significance of poc organizing histories and work better to incorporate, if not center and learn from them (#leftpoc)
question re: updates to mumia's case (which you can find more info on here):…
Losier also comments on an experience regarding a group of asian activists who were part of multiracial coalition that emphasized wanting to work with black-led orgs on thinking about issues occurring within their own communities
connecting my thread from another panel
click below for more on this:
"unrolled" version of the Fred Hampton Lives panel thread:…
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