Keynote address by Michael Tabor on the history of the United States and the political objectives of the Black Panthers. Another speech from the same convention by Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton is available here.
Recorded by radio station KPFA in 1970, the speech was editied somewhat for length. The full version can be heard here.
Recorded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4-6 Sept. 1970. Made available through Pacifica Radio Archives.
Speaker 3: We’re going to have our introductory speaker, who will open things up, Michael Tabor.
Michael Tabor: I think it would be appropriate at this time to say, all power to the people, all power to the people. One of the problems in our society today, is that there are far too many people… there are far too many people who still labor under the delusion that America is a free and democratic society. I don’t know, it’s a mind-blower. It’s a mind-blower when you have tens of millions of people in this society die from starvation. It’s a mind-blower when you have the government and the army of this country dropping napalm bombs all over the world. It’s a mind-blower when people can be starving and dying every day, and there’s still people running around talking about, “America is free.” That’s a mind-blower, and we got to straighten that out. We got to straighten that out.
Michael Tabor: And when we check that phenomena out, we find that the primary reason why so many people feel that way, why so many people think that America is free, is because while we were in school, while we were in school, we were fed a steady and heavy diet of bullshit consisting of praise and glory or glorification. We were fed a diet that said that America is right on. That America is the most equitable society. That America is the most humane and just society on the planet. When we were in school they told us… when you dig it, when you think about it. When you think about it they told us how the government is supposed to work.
Michael Tabor: They told us about the anatomy of the government, but they didn’t tell us how it really works. They didn’t tell us about the physiology of the government. They didn’t tell us that this government, from its very inception was never a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, that from jump street, from the get go, it was a government of the pigs, by the pigs and for the pigs, and that the people have never had no power in this society.
Michael Tabor: When we objectively check out the facts in the history of this country, we find that about 200 years ago, a racist by the name of Thomas Jefferson, way back in 1776, sat down and wrote a document that has gone down in history as being one of the most eloquent, and one of the most glorious documents every formulated, ever drawn up. And in the document it asserts that all men have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It goes on to say… and that was a hell of a wolf ticket at that time. That was a hell of a wolf ticket.
Michael Tabor: It was a hell of wolf ticket because the individuals who said it at that time constituted nothing but a two-bit and a chump-ass colony. And they were being dominated, they were being oppressed, by the so-called British Empire headed by King George. So not only did they sell a wolf ticket to the effect that every man has a right to determine the course of his own destiny, but they went on to say that whenever any form of government comes down foul, when they begin misusing, when they begin exploiting, when they begin oppressing the people, and when they show beyond a doubt or a contradiction that they have no intention of righting those wrongs, then the people have a right to off them, to off them. That’s what it says.
Michael Tabor: But when we check out that document further, and we weigh that document against the reality of the situation at that time, we find that back in 1775 when it was hooked up, they said all men were created equal. All men were created equal. Now, a lot of people never gave that no thought. But the fact of the matter is, Black people at that time weren’t considered people at all. We were property. We were property. Women weren’t considered people at all. It didn’t say nothing about all men and all women are created equal, it just said all men. It just said all men.
Michael Tabor: But even in that document there, as quiet as it’s kept, one portion was left out. In the original draft there was a part that went to the effect of, King George was guilty of transporting and enslaving a people who had never done him any harm. And that was a crime against humanity. But the strangest thing happened. When that document, the Declaration of Independence was finally published, that part wasn’t in it. That part wasn’t in it. And for a very good reason. Because that indictment against King George, made by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the rest of those pigs, not only was that a valid indictment against King George, but it was also a valid indictment against the very individuals who wrote it, because they were slave masters themselves. So we see the contradiction right there.
Michael Tabor: And so they hooked up their document. So they said they had to be free. They said it was wrong to be taxed without having adequate representation. They petitioned, they boycotted. They even had a Tea Party. They were so cowardly in their Tea Party that they didn’t even take credit for it. They were so racist that they blamed it on the Indians. Finally, as so often is the case in history, push came to shove. Push came to shove, and there was no denying any longer that in order for them to be free, they would have to go to war. They would have to fight. So they picked up the gun as a last resort, and they told the British Empire to come on with it.
Michael Tabor: And they ran down to us that they fought nobly, that they fought valiantly, that they were courageous, but that was bullshit. They was punks, because George Washington fought that whole war in retreat. And the only reason that the suckers was able to win, was because Holland, France, and Spain declared war on England at the same time, and that’s a hell of a historical lesson, because any time… you see this time and time again in history. We saw it with Hitler. We saw it with Napoleon. And we saw it back there during the so-called American Revolutionary War.
Michael Tabor: No nation in the world can fight wars on several fronts. And that’s why they blew, because they was trying to take care of business all over the world. They were trying to enslave and oppress people all over the world, and they got jammed. So okay, they say that George and them chumps won. And then they went on back and they came up to 1787, and they sat down here in this so-called City of Brotherly Love, Brotherly Love, can you dig that? Brotherly Love.
Michael Tabor: How can there be any love in a city where this fascist dog gives orders to his police to raid the homes of not only Black Panthers, but brothers and sisters off the street, who are helping in the registration for the people here to come. When he have the order to raid their homes, to shoot them down in cold blood, to drag them out of their homes and stand them up against the wall, and have them to strip buck naked… that reminds us of slavery. That reminds us of slavery. He told them to strip.
Michael Tabor: How can there be any love in a city where such inhuman and barbaric acts are allowed to go unpunished? If there’s any love here in this city at all, it is manifested right here in the gymnasium at Temple University. This is where the love is at. This is where it’s at.
Michael Tabor: And so the founding fathers sat down, back in 1787. And they said they were going to make a government. They said they were going to draw up a Constitution. They said they were going to make laws for people to live by. But when we check out that document that they hooked up, and when we check out the personalities who were down with the formulation and the drafting of the Constitution, we find that in actuality they were not so freedom-loving. They were not so righteous. They were not so humane after all.
Michael Tabor: We find that the founding fathers consisted of individuals such as Alexander Hamilton, who referred to the masses of the people as being the beast. We find that it consisted of individuals who were so democratic and so freedom-loving, that they felt that the Senators and the President should hold their office forever. We find that it consisted of individuals like George Washington, who’s documented as having sold a slave for a keg of molasses. We find that if consisted of individuals such as Thomas Jefferson, who was supposed to be the most freedom-loving out of that whole bunch. He was the most freedom-loving, and he was a slave master.
Michael Tabor: So that’s the type of individuals who hooked up the government. That’s the type of individuals who created the society and who drafted the Constitution. And what were the positions of these individuals? What class did they come from? They weren’t slaves. They couldn’t have been slaves, because they owned slaves. They owned property too. They controlled the shipping. They controlled the industry. They controlled every aspect in every sector of the economy at that time. They were quite simply, the ruling class, the ruling class.
Michael Tabor: And when they sat down to draft that document, they had one thing in mind. And that was creating a society that would enable them to protect their property rights, creating a society that would legalize their enslavement of Black people, creating a society that would enable them to create a army to guarantee that the masses of the people did not rip their stolen wealth off. They were all about creating a society not based on freedom, justice, and equality for the people, but rather creating a society that would enable the pigs to perpetrate their madness throughout all of this country.
Michael Tabor: When that document was hooked up at that time, in 1787 there were approximately 600,000 Black people in this country. There were approximately 300,000 Indians. 300,000, because they had offed over half of them by that time. There were approximately 240,000 indentured servants, and there were I don’t know how many women. And none of those people, none of them, were included in that document. As a matter of fact, in the Constitution when it was originally drawn up, in three separate sections the issue of slavery was dealt with.
Michael Tabor: In one section, the first one, it stated that Black people would constitute not a human being, not a 100% human being, but rather three-fifths of a man. How can you be three-fifths of a man? They said we were three-fifths of a human being. And they figured they was giving us a play at that, because before they sat down and did that, we wasn’t considered no part of a human being. Those Indians, those Indians had no rights whatsoever. The indentured servants and the women had no rights whatsoever. That whole document was about doing nothing other than just being able to create a society where they could rob, steal, plunder, and just go crazy, and this is exactly what they did.
Michael Tabor: It’s interesting to note that it was not until the year 1791 that the pigs were forced to sit down and include the so-called Bill of Rights. That section of the Constitution which supposedly… we got to emphasize that supposedly. Supposedly guarantees certain liberties to every man, woman and child who is a citizen of this country. And guarantees that they have a right to assemble. And guarantees that they have freedom of speech, freedom of the press. It guarantees them the right to bear arms, and to defend their homes against attackers. It goes on to point out that they cannot be arrested and thrown into jail and have an excessively high bail thrown on them. It guarantees them so many things. When we look at it, it seems some kind of beautiful, but when we check out the reality of it, we find that nowhere in America do any of these things exist. And it was not until the non-propertied Whites, the poor Whites of this society got together and threatened to start another war, threatened to start another Revolution if George Washington and them creeps didn’t get down and hook up that Bill of Rights.
Michael Tabor: And so the years passed by and Black people remained in a state of total bondage, of total enslavement. 1850 rolled around, and they said, the Supreme Court… now the Supreme Court plays a very key role in this society, because they are the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution. There is a misconception that exists in the minds of many people that the Supreme Court operates and functions independently of any outside pressures. They’re supposed to be above and beyond politics. Now I don’t know how anybody could come up with a idea like that, but a lot of people think that.
Michael Tabor: A lot of people think that Supreme Court decisions come from the hand of God. They were written by the Almighty up above. And in 1850 that Supreme Court sat down and said that any slave who escapes from one state or from one section of the country and who goes to another must be returned. That’s what they thought about us. In 1857, Chief Justice Taney of the Supreme Court of this country handed down a historic decision that said that Black people, a Black man has no rights which a White man is bound to respect. That was back in 1857 and nothing has changed. That situation has remained the same.
Michael Tabor: Now we come up to this creep by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln said something that was very hip and we should all take heed of it. He said you could fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. And Lincoln should have known, because he did a damn good job of fooling four million Black people in this country at the time that when he sat down and wrote that Emancipation Proclamation, that that freed us. Four million of us went for that bullshit. Four million of us. That’s what they read to us in school.
Michael Tabor: But when we check out history, when we check it out we find that Abraham Lincoln did not sign the Emancipation Proclamation because he sincerely and honestly felt that Black people should be free. Oh no, that’s not the reason why that chump signed that document. He signed it out of political and economic necessity. That’s how it came down. Because when we check out the history of this country we find that the South at that time, on January the 1st, 1863, when he issued that document, the South was putting fire to the North’s ass. They was giving them a righteous ass-whipping. Abraham Lincoln and the Northern Generals had to come up with a scheme that would infect or diminish the power of the South. That would undermine their military strength. So what Lincoln did, he sat down and said that all of those states that have broken away from the Union, and who refuse to come back, that the slaves in those states are free.
Michael Tabor: Now all we have to do is look at that and we see that that’s absolute madness. That’s ridiculous, because first of all, that states had broken away from the Union. The Confederate states. Now, Abraham Lincoln had no power over those states, so how in the hell could he free slaves that he had no power over? He didn’t free them. Then it goes on, the contradiction becomes even greater when we check it out, because he said that in those states, those states who had broken away from the Union, but who were coming back, and who would be loyal to the Union, they could keep those slaves. They could keep their slaves. So in effect what he did was, he freed those slaves which he didn’t have no power to free, and he kept in slavery those that he did have the power to free.
Michael Tabor: And it was in fact because of the heroic effort, because of the fighting spirit, and the spirit of sacrifice manifested by those 186,000 Black men who fought in the Civil War, laboring under the delusion that by fighting and laying their blood down for this country to preserve the Union, that they’d get some freedom. The only reason why the North won was because of those Black soldiers. That’s the only reason.
Michael Tabor: And then they came together in Congress. Congress at that time was dominated by the Republican Party. By the Republican Party. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. At that time the Republicans had a reputation of being the liberals. They had the reputation of being the radicals. Thaddeus Stevens and all them other old funny-time chumps. They were supposed to be the revolutionaries at that time, but when we check it out a little further, we find that all of the laws, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment that were enacted by Congress, and that supposedly gave Black people our freedom, that supposedly gave Black people the right to citizenship, and that supposedly gave Black people the right to vote.
Michael Tabor: We find that none of those laws are passed as a result of a sincere desire on the part of the government of this country to repay the Black people what they had stolen from them. No. None of those reasons accounted for what they did. The main reason why we got the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment was because at that time the Republicans were representing the interests of the Northern capitalists, of the financiers, of the industrialists, and of the bankers. They wanted to control the entire country. They wanted to expand their power. They wanted to move into the West and set up railroads. They wanted to build industries.
Michael Tabor: But they realized in order to do that, they would have to have absolute control of the government. They would have to have absolute control of the government. And as long as the Southern Democrats were in power, that control was impossible. So what did they do? They said, “Well, we’ll give Black people the right to vote. We made Black people citizens.” And behind Abraham Lincoln freeing them, and behind Abraham Lincoln being a Republican, they knew goddamn well that Black people would pledge their allegiance to the Republican Party, and that’s what we did. That’s what we did.
Michael Tabor: They had what they call Reconstruction. Reconstruction. Anyone here today that is under the delusion that the problems, the economic, political, and social problems that afflict Black people can be solved by way of having Black representatives functioning in the traditional political arena, anyone who believes that, all you have to do is look back at Reconstruction. Black people had what was called political representation at that time and it didn’t get us a goddamn place.
Michael Tabor: As a matter of fact, during the Reconstruction era, Black people sent two Senators, two Senators to the Senate. And from all places, they came from Mississippi. During Reconstruction there were 20 Black Representatives to Congress. During Reconstruction, there were Blacks who served as associate judges on the state court. There were Blacks who served as mayors. There were Blacks who served as DAs. There were Blacks who served as police commissioners. There were Blacks who functioned on damn near every level of the local, state, and federal government.
Michael Tabor: But when, but when the ruling class in this society decided that Black people had outlived their usefulness, all they did was they just squashed it all. And despite all of that so-called political representation, despite all of the so-called gains that we made during Reconstruction, despite all of that, when the year 1876 rolled around and it was necessary for Rutherford B. Hayes, who was the Republican candidate for the Presidency at that time, when it was necessary for him to capture the necessary votes to win that election, all he did was he formed a deal. He made a deal with the Southerners, and that ended Reconstruction. That squashed that. And the next day we found ourselves in a worse trick bag than we were in during slavery.
Michael Tabor: Slavery had been ushered back upon the stage of American history, and it has remained until this very day. Every dealing, every formal relationship that we have had to this society, that applies to Black people, that applies to Puerto Rican Americans, that applies to Mexican Americans, that applies to Indians, that applies to Eskimos, that applies to poor Whites, that applies to women. Every dealing that every one of those groups has had with this government has resulted in nothing more than a lot of meaningless promises made, and nothing came of those promises, and the end result was a flim-flam and more persecution and more oppression. Every promise that they made has only served to put us asleep.
Michael Tabor: In the year 1896, that prestigious and august body, the most powerful judiciary body in the world, the Supreme Court of the United States sat down, handed down a ruling. It was called the Plessy versus Ferguson decision. A brother by the name of Plessy from down in Louisiana hopped on a train. And he sat in the section that was reserved for Whites. And the conductor came along and told him he had to move, because Black people could not sit in that section. So Plessy took it to court, and when it reached the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal accommodations were Constitutional, and were fair.
Michael Tabor: That is known as Jim Crow. It’s Jim Crow. In 1954, the Supreme Court supposedly squashed the Jim Crow law by outlawing segregated schooling. Here we are 16 years later, and over 90% of the Black children in the South still attend inferior and segregated schooling. So that’s how much rhythm we get out of the Supreme Court. That’s how much rhythm we get out of the Constitution. That’s where that’s at.
Michael Tabor: We’ve just been a fool too goddamn much and too goddamn long, and their eyes are opening up. Veil after veil of illusion, veil after veil has been lifted from their eyes and now they’re standing and they’re taking a cold hard objective look at what America is all about. They’re looking at that flag up there, that they once thought of as being the symbol of freedom, justice and equality. They’re looking at that flag now, now they don’t think of it in those terms. When they look at that flag now, they don’t think about freedom, justice and equality, they think about slavery, racism, oppression and imperialism. They look at that flag now…
Michael Tabor: And on the other end of the social scale, other end of the spectrum, you have those whose mentalities are so perverted and so depraved that they say, “You can do anything, but just don’t spit at my flag. Because if you spit at my flag I will kill you.” That’s insanity, that’s insanity. A lot of us are hung up because we can only visualize, we can only see fascism in terms of Nazi Germany, or fascist Italy. We can only see fascism, we can only think of fascism when we see herds of Stormtroopers rolling down the street, goose-stepping and screaming thunderous Sieg Heils. We can only see fascism when we look up and see a Adolf Hitler. We can only see fascism when we look up and see a Benito Mussolini.
Michael Tabor: And until they see that, a lot of people are going to refuse to believe that America is fascist. Well all I have to say about that is, you can wait for the Sieg Heils, you can wait for the goosesteps, you can wait for your Adolf Hitler, and by the time they arrive it will be too goddamn late because your ass will have been run into a concentration camp. They don’t need no Hitler in this country. They’ve gone quite a few better than Hitler. While we talking about Hitler, that brings to mind a statement that Hitler once made. And I suspect that he got the idea from America, because he stood up and said that if a lie is told long enough and strong enough, people in time will begin to believe it. And I’m sure he learned that from America, because America has in fact ran down the longest and the strongest lie ever perpetrated in history. The lie that says America is a free and democratic society. That’s the biggest lie ever told, the biggest lie ever told.
Michael Tabor: A lot of people are still talking about the six million Jews that the Nazis exterminated, and they have forgotten about the 50 million Black people, I don’t know how many million Indians, I don’t know how many million Mexicans. They’re still talking about those six million Jews, but they done just shot over the fact that during the era of slavery, America participated in the callous and cold-blooded extermination of 50 million Black people. 50 million. And that was just in the era of so-called overt slavery.
Michael Tabor: No I don’t know how many more have been massacred. I don’t know how many more have been lynched, burned, castrated and murdered since that time up until now. I don’t think there’s enough numbers to account for it. So we got to stop talking about what America might do, what America might not do, because the fact of the matter is, the issue ain’t whether America would commit genocide, the reality of the situation is that America has been perpetrating genocide since the year 1607, when them racist bandits first landed on that rock. When they first set foot in Jamestown. They’ve been doing it since then.
Michael Tabor: We cannot look upon the United States of America as simply being a nation. The United States of America is far more than a nation. It is in fact the most ruthless, the most bloodthirsty, the most oppressive, and the most exploitative empire that has ever existed in the annals of history. The United States of America is in fact the number one, the number one threat to the continued existence of the human race.
Michael Tabor: We have to understand that the forces that are presently in control of this government… and a lot of people think that Richard Nixon is in control of the government. Richard Nixon ain’t in control of the government. Richard Nixon is merely a glorified functionary and flunky.
Michael Tabor: When we check out America economically, we find that the wealth of America exceeds that that was had by the Pharaohs of Egypt. The wealth of America is greater than the wealth of the Sultans of Baghdad. It’s greater than the wealth of the Pope in the Vatican, and he got 12 billion. He got 12 billion. That they know about. That they know about. You take the wealth of the Rockefellers, which is estimated at being at $7.5 billion. You take the wealth of the DuPonts, their wealth is estimated at being in excess of $7 billion. You take the wealth of the Ford family, their wealth is in the billions. You take the wealth of the Pews who own US Steel, you take the wealth of the Mellons who own Chrysler, Bethlehem Steel, Westinghouse Electric, you name it they own it. You take their combined wealth and put it together and the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Sultans of Baghdad, and the Pope of the Vatican look like welfare recipients. That’s what they look like.
Michael Tabor: A so-called great military leader by the name of Dwight Eisenhower, quite a few years ago said that we have to watch out for the military-industrial complex. He was down with starting it. And then he came back and said, you got to watch out for it, because it’s getting out of hand. That was quite a few years ago. I think just when he left office back in 1960, here it is 1970 now and we don’t have to watch out for it no more, we got to deal with it, because it is in fact the force that controls this country. The power in this country now firmly rests in the hands of the Pentagon.
Michael Tabor: It is in the Pentagon where all of the attacks that are being perpetrated against the Black Panther Party and other progressive and revolutionary forces in this society, and the American people in general, it is in the Pentagon where all of those activities are being centrally coordinated, and it is there in the Pentagon that the orders emanate from. It’s going down in the Pentagon, so we don’t have to worry about them coming to power, because they control the society. Between the guns of the Pentagon and the wealth of the ruling families in this society, there exists a plan that is in fact the most barbaric and the most hideous scheme ever thought up in human history.
Michael Tabor: At the end of World War II, they sat down and they dug. They dug that the most wealth, the greatest cash, could be made during times of war. During times of war. So what did they do? They dedicated themselves to the proposition that they would keep a war going on somewhere on the planet at all times. And what would they do? They would supply the military needs of those who were fighting. They signed military pacts with 42 different countries around the world. They have a million armed forces stationed in over 30 countries around the world. They are waging war all over the world, and at the same time, they’re going to stand up and tell people that they are all over the planet enslaving, exploiting, oppressing and dehumanizing people because they want to make the world safe for democracy and freedom.
Michael Tabor: Anybody who can believe that that’s really why the United States has in the last five years dropped more bombs on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, than all of the bombs dropped during World War II, and they can really think that that is being done to make the world safe for freedom and democracy, all we can say is that they are extremely ignorant, extremely ignorant, because all we have to do is look at the world situation to date, and we find that from the islands of the Philippines to the swamps of Southeast Asia, to the tropical jungles of Africa, to the arid deserts of the Middle East, to the Bolivian tin mines, to the cities of South America, on up into the colonized ghettos of Babylon. We find that all over the world people have risen and they’re moving like a mighty tidal wave, and they are saying that it is our duty, it is our obligation to humanity to destroy that very force which is responsible for the enslavement of the planet. This is what they’re saying.
Michael Tabor: They are saying that whatever must be done to destroy US imperialism and capitalism and racism must be done. They are saying that no longer shall the struggle be waged by way of conducting it according to the rules and regulations laid down by the oppressor. They’re saying no longer will they attempt to secure their human right to self-determination by doing it according to the way that the oppressor says it must be done. They are saying now that they will do it by any means necessary. If it means picking up a gun, they pick up the gun. This is what they’re saying.
Michael Tabor: And the people of Asia, the people of South America, the people of Africa, the people all over the world, their eyes are focused on the United States of America at this time, because they know far better than a lot of us here in Babylon know, that the only force, the only power, the only group of people that are capable of dealing a death blow to the monster known as America are those who live right here within the belly of the beast. They know that until the righteous people right here in Babylon begin to move in a unified and revolutionary fashion to destroy this society and create a new society that will not be based upon the depraved and mad-dog barbaric ethic of dog-eat-dog, cat-eat-cat, you beat me today, I’ll steal from you tomorrow and the day after, we’ll get together and sock it to Blow Joe.
Michael Tabor: Uh-unh (negative), they know that to create a society wherein people can live in harmonious and cooperative fashion, were people if they want to lay up and smoke some pot in peace they can do that. If they want to lay up and make love, they can do that. If they just want to groove and be cool, they can do that. If they want to have the right to determine the course of their own destiny, they got to do that. They got to do that. They know that in order for any of those conditions to exist, that Black people here in America, that Puerto Ricans here in America, that Mexicans here in America, that Chinese here in America, that Japanese here, that Eskimos, that poor Whites, that women, that all oppressed groups here in America must unite, must move in a revolutionary fashion, must assume a uncompromising stand, must never turn back, and must deliver a death blow to US imperialism. They know that. They know it. They know it.
Michael Tabor: Right on, right on. Right on, power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people.
Audience: Power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people.
Michael Tabor: Right on. America is crumbling and falling, and those who are in control of this society realize it. They realize that their empire is on the verge of becoming extinct. We see this happening. We see it happening in Vietnam, in a small Southeast Asian nation, where they people there have been fighting for over 40 years to gain their liberation. And we see even in the most optimistic statements made by the administrators of this society, and by the Pentagon. Even in their most optimistic statements it’s obvious that America has lost that war. That war is over. It’s over. It’s over.
Michael Tabor: But if they have won, why is there still fighting going on? They are taking care of business in their area. They’re taking care of business. But there’s still fighting going on, but the war has been won. Why? Why? Because here in America, here in America we have not done our jobs yet, you see? That’s where that’s at. And we have to understand that. What confronts us today in America is this. A choice has been given to us, an ultimatum which in effect says, “You will submit to, you will endorse, and you will not whisper one utterance of displeasure or disapproval at what is happening in this society. You will endorse murder on an international level. You will endorse racism, capitalism here in America.”
Michael Tabor: They’re saying that you will either endorse those things or you will have to pick up a gun and get what’s yours. America has said to Black people, America has said to all those in this country today who are determined, who are determined to be free. They say that if you want anything more than what America has historically given you, you’re going to have to take it. You’re going to have to take it.
Michael Tabor: We say that whenever a people, any people, have been enslaved, exploited, oppressed, dehumanized, burned, lynched, castrated, and subjected to every other form of mistreatment conceivable to the human mind, we say that when all of that has been done to a people, anything that those people do to gain their freedom and to get that beast up off their back is justified. It’s justified. And make no mistake about it. Anything, anything.
Michael Tabor: Not only is it justified, but it is self-defense. It is self-defense. A lot of people are confused about the whole issue of self-defense. It means if a pig moves on you today and he got a gun and you ain’t got a gun, quite simply you ain’t in no position to be dealing with him. But it means if he does that at high noon, you’re not in a position to deal with him. But come sundown, come sundown, and the streets are dark and deserted, and you go up on that roof, and you take your action out, and you fix up your sights, and you put your index on that trigger, and you see him and you pull that trigger, that’s self-defense. That’s self-defense, that’s all it is. It’s self-defense.
Michael Tabor: It’s self-defense quite simply because if you don’t get him, he’s going to get you the next day. That’s why it’s self-defense. That’s why it’s self-defense. We find that we are in a situation where we are confronted by enemies who have dedicated themselves to extinguishing us. To killing us, to offing us. Now it boils down to a simple question of what are you going to do about that? If you are a masochist, then the answer is quite simple. You will just allow your life to be snuffed out. You will allow them to kill you. And if you made that choice, then history cannot look upon you and we’ll not look upon you as being a martyr, but they will look upon you as being a goddamn fool, a goddamn fool.
Michael Tabor: However on the other hand, if you look at your situation and you say that I am confronted by a enemy who is trying to kill me and I want to live, the next thing you have to do is, you have to get yourself some equipment. You have to get yourself some tools to ensure your continued survival. Now if your enemy has a 357, words are not going to get him up off your back. The only thing that can deal with that is another 357 or another gun. It’s as simple as that. It’s as simple as that.
Michael Tabor: The whole issue ain’t about whether we should be non-violent or violent, the issue goes much deeper than that. The issue goes to whether we want to live or we want to die. And we are all here today because we want to live. We want to live. That’s where that’s at.
Michael Tabor: The logic that dictates the actions of the pigs is so perverted and so depraved that they think that they can intimidate people. They think that they can frighten people off by simply shooting at them, shooting them down and locking them up. The pigs think that they can use violence to crush and destroy the determination of a people to be free. The pigs got to be crazy, because in fact all that they do is, when they shoot down brothers and sisters in cold blood, when they concoct false conspiracy indictments and throw righteous brothers and sisters in jail, when they do that, in fact all they do is awaken more people as to the reality of what’s happening in America.
Michael Tabor: With each bullet that they plunge into the body of a revolutionary, 10 more revolutionaries are born. Every time. This is a very unique situation that we are in. A very unique situation. Nowhere in the pages of any history book can you find a parallel situation, because not only in America do we have a class struggle against those who have and those who have not, the gots and don’t-have, but we also have a struggle that is manifesting itself along ethnic lines. We also have a struggle that is manifesting itself along the lines of sex. We also have a struggle that is manifesting itself along the lines of age. We have a hell of a struggle going on here. A hell of a struggle.
Michael Tabor: A lot of us have what you might call a fog perspective, or tunnel perspective. We see ourselves as being Black, so we think that we’re oppressed and exploited exclusively for that reason. Only because we’re Black. Others are homosexuals and they think that they’re exploited and oppressed only because they are homosexuals. Women think that they are exploited and oppressed only because they’re women. And so on down the line. And they also think that their freedom can only be gotten by waging it within their own specific area. But when we check out the situation, we find that the same beasts who are exploiting women, the same beasts who are exploiting Black people, the same beasts who are exploiting everybody else in this country, is the same beast.
Michael Tabor: Now, so we got to answer this question. Now if is the same forces, the same beast who’s perpetrating all of these inhuman crimes, how can we best overcome that? What can we do about that? Right on, right on. I think everybody agrees on that. But we’ve got to do it collectively. We got to do it together. We got to do it together. One of the tools, one of the psychological tricks that America has used in order to keep people divided, and to keep them from uniting and forming a common front against a common enemy, is the concept of individualism. Of individualism.
Michael Tabor: They’ve got us thinking that whatever we want, whatever we are lacking can be gained by pursuing it along individual lines. But when we check it out we find that anyone in this society who is exploited, oppressed and persecuted, when the attempt to correct that situation by moving along a individual line, all that happens is they get shot down individually. That’s all that happens.
Michael Tabor: But on the other hand, if we begin moving in a unified and collective fashion, we will find that the results will be quite different. Quite simply because there are more people than there are pigs, and everybody knows except the pigs, and the pigs know it but they don’t want to realize it. We know goddamn well that the spirit of the people is greater than the pigs’ technology. We know that. We know that. We know that.
Michael Tabor: And those of us who don’t know that the only way we can get our freedom is by moving collectively, they better sit down and think about it. They better sit down and think about it. And they better check out a little history, too. In fact, they can start by checking out what happened back in Nazi Germany, because there was a situation wherein you had 63% of the population are opposed to Nazi beast Adolf Hitler. You had 63% of the population, but he got in there. Why? Why? Because the various groups that were opposed to him were not opposing him in a unified fashion. They had various political parties, and various trade union parties who were fighting each other. The so-called communists over there were fighting the social democrats. And the social democrats were fighting the labor unions. Everybody was fighting everybody else, and when they looked up, it was January the 30th, 1933, and Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany, and it was too late, too late, too goddamn late. That’s what happened. That’s what happened.
Michael Tabor: We have too many historical examples to reflect back upon that clearly tell us what happens when a people wait too long, and when they refuse to bury their individual petty differences and unite around the fact that they are being exploited and oppressed by a common oppressor. It was some old reactionary Spanish philosopher who said something very hip, to the effect of those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. And we can’t afford to do that. We can’t afford to do that. Because we have to understand, fascism is a reality in this country now, but we also have to understand that what we’re witnessing now is nothing but a preliminary bout. The main event hasn’t even started yet. This is nothing but a dress rehearsal. We ain’t seen nothing yet.
Michael Tabor: And every day that we wait, every day that we vacillate, every day that we shuck and jive, and argue over petty differences amongst ourselves, only enables our oppressors to tighten up their hand and to be able to more effectively exterminate us. We don’t have no time to be wasting. We don’t have no time to be wasting. When we say seize the time, we mean in fact seize the time. Seize the time. This is what we mean.
Michael Tabor: When we say seize the time, we also mean if you don’t seize the time, the time will seize you. That’s what will happen. That’s what will happen. The time seized those people in Germany, who said they were against Hitler. Not only did the time seize them, but the time put them in concentration camps and in gas chambers. The time also seized 400,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, because there we have a very valid historical example. There we have a situation where on one hand Adolf Hitler came out point blank, make no mistake about it. He didn’t pull no punches. Way back in 1925 in Mein Kampf he told everybody what he was going to do. He told everybody what he was going to do, and he put 400,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. And he told them that, “We are going to exterminate you. We are going to exterminate you.”
Michael Tabor: And to prove that he was going to exterminate them, he was shipping them out at the rate of 10,000 a day. 10,000 a day, he’s sending them to extermination camps such as Auschwitz. And that population of 400,000 decimated all the way down to 50,000 until that remaining 50,000 looked around at each other, and said, “Goddamn, you know what? I think Hitler is serious. He’s going to kill us.” They waited too goddamn long. That was the problem. They fought heroically. The fight that they put up was a monument, was a testimony to the will of a people to survive, but it still doesn’t obviate the fact that they waited too long.
Michael Tabor: Now what we find happening in America today is that too many people are waiting too long. Too many people are waiting for the concentration camps to be open. The concentration camps are open. What you think Allenwood is? That’s a concentration camp. They got people in Allenwood. El Rio down in Oklahoma. That’s a concentration camp. Avon Park down in Florida. It’s a concentration camp. Tull Lake in California. Wickensburg in Florence, down there in Arizona. That’s a concentration camp. America even has its own Siberia up in Alaska, they call it Almendro, that’s a concentration camp. And people are in those places already, and there’s still people walking around here, talking about, “Well I don’t think we’ve got fascism in this country, because I don’t see no concentration camps.” “Because I don’t see no concentration camps.” All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at the Black colony of Harlem. Look at the Black colony of Watts. Look at the Black colony of North Philadelphia, in which Temple University sits in the middle of.
Michael Tabor: There are too many people running around here thinking that the only place you have political prisoners are in the so-called sure enough penitentiaries. That’s bull. So every man, woman and child in this country who is exploited or oppressed or has been dehumanized is in fact a political prisoner. That is what they are. That is what they are.
Michael Tabor: Brother Huey P. Newton, the Minister of Defense and Supreme Commander of the Black Panther Party put it very eloquently, jack, and very down to earth when he pointed out that the only different between San Quentin and Fillmore in San Francisco, the only different between Harlem and Sing Sing State Penitentiary is that one is a maximum security penitentiary, and the other one is a minimum security penitentiary. That’s the only difference. That’s the only difference. When you look at the guards who drive up and down the streets of our community in blue uniforms or in gray uniforms, or in whatever color uniform they may wear in their particular city. When you look at them, you have to be some kind of brainwashed, some kind of spaced-out insane to believe they are actually there to protect you, because we know they’re not. We know they’re not.
Michael Tabor: When we look at the police who ride through our communities, we know that they are there for one reason and one reason only, and that is to guarantee that we don’t get out of our places. And if we do get out of our places, they shoot us down in cold blood. That’s the only reason they’re there. And to make sure we stay there. There’s no difference between a guard in San Quentin, a pig in San Quentin, and a pig who rides in a police car in Fillmore. There’s no difference. Both of them are doing the same job, for the same people. So there’s no difference.
Michael Tabor: We have a situation where all the military and the economic power of this society rests in the hands of approximately 500,000 people. 500,000 people. Now, there’s something like 206 million people in this country. I think 500,000 is about one-fourth of 1%. That one-fourth of 1% controls about 95% of all of the wealth in this country. I would have to say that that would be a clear-cut illustration of inequality and unequal distribution. That’s unequal distribution. Whenever you have all the power over here resting in the hands of a small minority, and all of the masses of the people over here, dead broke and wallowing in the muck and mire of impoverishment and destitution, that is a messed-up situation that has to be changed.
Michael Tabor: And that’s what we’re down here for today. That’s what we’ve come together for today. Because we have said to ourselves and to each other that too long, too goddamn long has this madness been going down. And we have to understand that nobody’s going to stop it but us. And if we’re not going to take the initiative, if we’re not going to move in the direction, if we’re not going to move to end right now, bring to a grinding halt the diesel train of fascism that is roaring across the land, if we don’t derail that train right now, look here. Come the end of the 20th century, jack, we ain’t going to be around. We ain’t going to be around. We all going to be dead, and if you think it can’t happen, all you got to do is look back through the pages of history, because it has happened time and time again. Time and time again. And we can’t afford to let that happen now.
Michael Tabor: So we’re down here today to put our heads together. To put our minds together. And to begin the process of drafting a new document. A new constitution. That will in fact, that will in reality serve as the legal basis for this society. A document that will transform radically and revolutionarily this entire society. A document that in the end will result in the power being placed in the hands of the people where it should have been from jump street, but where it has never been. We are all about creating a document that will enable our brothers and sisters, everybody in this society, to have gainful employment. To have enough to eat.
Michael Tabor: When we check out the various economic systems existing today, we find that the only one that is capable of guaranteeing gainful employment, the only one that is capable of guaranteeing that people will be able to live in homes that are fit for the shelter of human beings, the only economic system that is capable of guaranteeing people the right to determine the course of their own destiny, and that is capable of guaranteeing the people the right of determining what is made, how it is made, and how it is distributed, is the socialistic form of government. The socialistic system. That’s the only kind. That’s the only kind.
Michael Tabor: And so we see today that the present system of government is the exact opposite of what we want. The exact opposite. We’re going to take this Constitution that is presently in existence, and we’re going to render it null and void. It ain’t no good, it ain’t never been no good. We don’t need it. We got to get rid of it. That’s what that boils down to. We’re going to sit down, and we’re going to draw up a document that says if you constitute 40% of the population, or 30% of the population, then you deserve 30% of the wealth. If you constitute 10%, then you deserve 10%. That’s what proportional representation is all about. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about a small handful of depraved and demented pigs owning everything at the expense of the people. And if the population’s 30% Black people, then they should own 30% of Standard Oil. They should own 30% of General Motors. They should control 30% of the seats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. We’re saying that if we’re 30% of the population, we want 30% of all the action.
Michael Tabor: America is very uptight today over the fact that so many people have guns. They don’t want people to have guns. Because they know that once the people are armed, they are then in a position, they are then in a position to move against those who are oppressing and exploiting them. Why can’t Mao Tse Tung get down wrong in China if he wanted to? Because there are 700 million Chinese over there, and they all got guns. They all got guns. What is a guarantee that the brothers and sisters in North Korea will be properly represented? What is the guarantee they have that Kim Sung and the other brothers over there will not oppress and exploit them? That guarantee is that the people are armed. They are armed.
Michael Tabor: The Second Amendment of the Constitution of this country gives everyone a right to bear arms. A right to bear arms. But at the same time the pigs are uptight now and they dig that the people are going to be using those guns to get their freedom, so what are they talking about? They’re saying you ain’t got no right to bear arms. You see that’s bullshit. We need more than arms that are just capable of holding little babies. We need more than those kind of arms. We need arms that are capable of emanating bullets, that are capable of plunging into the body of depraved and demented beasts. Arms that will kill those pigs. That’s the kind of arms we need. We need arms, arms, arms, arms and some more arms. We need as many arms as we can get, because without those arms, we’re going to find our asses in a flam.
Michael Tabor: They talk about Black people getting violent. White radicals are getting violent. And violence is wrong. This is what they say. They have confused and befalled that issue to such an extent that a lot of people are really going for that. But we say that violence manifests itself in a number of manners. We also say that there are when you basically and fundamentally get right down to it, two forms of violence. There is what we term reactionary violence. That is the violence that is used by the oppressor to keep the oppressed in a state of subjugation and enslavement.
Michael Tabor: And then there is revolutionary violence. That is violence that is used by those who are oppressed and exploited for the purpose of getting the oppressor off of their backs. We say that the latter form of violence, revolutionary violence, is justified and should be indulged. It should be indulged in by every man, woman and child who is concerned with freedom.
Michael Tabor: And we say that the former form of violence, reactionary violence, is a crime against humanity. We say that when heroin is flooded into the Black community, and when seven- and eight-year-old Black boys and girls are dying from ODs, we say that that is a form of violence. We say that forcing a people to live under barbaric and inhuman conditions, where the plaster is falling off the wall and where little boys and little girls eat that plaster and incur lead poisoning which leads to mental retardation and permanent brain damage, that that’s a form of violence. We say that when you go into the store and you are charged 10 times what the item is really worth, that is a form of violence. We say that, and beyond a doubt, when a pig rolls up on a Black person or any person in this society and shoots them down in cold blood, that that is a form of violence. And we say that anything we do to defend ourselves against that reactionary violence is justified and that’s what we should be off into, that’s what that boils down to.
Michael Tabor: We ain’t even going to get hung up over whether we are going to be violent or not, because the fact of the matter is, we don’t have no choice. So we’re going to get together today, and we’re going to put this thing into motion. And the end result of it is going to be a new society. Not only is it going to be a new society, but it’s going to be a new world. It’s going to be a new world and we have to see it in those terms, because the entire fate of mankind, the fate and the destiny of humanity is dependent upon, to a very, very large extent, how effectively we do our job here today and in the following days to come. The fate of humanity rests upon us.
Michael Tabor: All power to the people and right on.