But back to Au’s practical application of the Black Panthers Ten Point Program. He highlighted several student’s Panther-inspired Ten Point Programs for their own lives. One student offered more general demands, such as “free housing for the homeless people in the United States” and “non-racist presidents.” Another student developed a list for the “Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered/and Questioning Community.”
Another student, “Marcus,” goes straight for the jugular and “challenges capitalism and corporate control of the United States.” Some that he offered:
1. We want the mask of capitalism lifted and economic classes disbanded.
2. We want an end to the solitary control of mass media by corporations.
5. We want an end to the health insurance system in America. It is time to end corporate control of Americans’ health.
6. We want fair treatment of all criminals. Rich money launderers and tax fraud offenders should receive the same punishment as armed robbers and drug dealers.
9. We want an end to all corporate funding of education. The public education system is being used by corporations as a training ground for future employees.
10. We demand an end to the growing separation of the economic classes of America. The enslavement of the middle and lower classes by the bourgeoisie must be put to a stop.
Au found this “piece notable for its relentless attack on corporate America; it demonstrates a growing consciousness among students about issues such as sweatshops, media bias, campaign financing, and the encroachment of private industry on public education.”
There are many more incredible comments in Au’s lesson plan, but perhaps the most revealing is when Au laments that more students didn’t strike a more radical pose:
“The Panthers were also struggling against cynicism, powerlessness, and resignation. My hope is that the lesson laid a groundwork, so that in the future the students will have some tools with which they can assess issues they see in their own communities and their lives and perhaps develop Ten Point Programs of their own. The Ten Point Program may be a place where students are able to find their voice and speak out about the problems they see in this world – and, more difficult, begin to organize to put their program into practice.” (emphasis added)
Incredible. A more fitting title for Au’s lesson plan would be “What Would the Black Panthers Do?” because apparently in Au’s eyes, they are to be held up as freedom fighters and not the violent thugs they were and continue to be.
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