I present an interesting article by David Horowitz. A taste:
I will never forget standing next to Elaine, as I did months later in growing horror, as she threatened KQED-TV host Bill Schechner over the telephone. “I will kill you motherfucker,” she promised him in her machete voice, if he went through with plans to interview the former Panther Chairman, Bobby Seale. Seale had gone into hiding after Huey expelled him from the Party in August. As I learned long afterwards, Seale had been whipped — literally — and then personally sodomized by Huey with such violence that he had to have his anus surgically repaired by a Pacific Heights doctor who was a political supporter of the Panthers. A Party member told me later, “You have to understand, it had nothing to do with sex. It was about power.” But in the Panther world, as I also came to learn, nothing was about anything except power.
My involvement with the Black Panther Party had begun in early 1973. I had gone to Los Angeles with Peter Collier to raise money for Ramparts, the flagship magazine of the New Left which he and I co-edited. One of our marks was Bert Schneider, the producer of Easy Rider, the breakthrough film of the Sixties which had brought the counter-cultural rebellion into the American mainstream. Schneider gave Ramparts $5,000, and then turned around and asked us to meet his friend Huey Newton.
At the time, Newton was engaged in a life and death feud with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver. Cleaver had fled to Algiers after a shoot-out with Bay Area police. (Eldridge has since admitted that he ambushed them). Schneider wanted us to take Eldridge’s name off the Ramparts masthead where he was still listed as “International Editor.”
Huey’s attraction to the Left had always been his persona as “Minister of Defense” of the Black Panther Party, his challenge to revolutionary wannabees to live up to their rhetoric and “pick up the gun.” Huey had done just that in his own celebrated confrontation with the law that had left Officer John Frey dead with a bullet wound in his back. Everybody in the Left seemed to believe that Huey had killed Frey, but we also wanted to believe that Huey — as a victim of racism — was also innocent. Peter’s and my engagement with the Panthers was more social than political, since Ramparts had helped the Party become a national franchise. Their military style had left me cold, but now, a change in the times prompted the two of us, and especially me, to be interested in the meeting.
Such lovely people. Heroes, almost. Hell, in the Seventies I was almost as seduced as Horowitz, I admit (with much shame).
My generation has a lot to answer for. You Millenials should not pick up that horribly stained banner.