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The Ballot or the Bullet': Wait Until You Read the New Black Panthers' Latest Paper


"we can pool our resources, focus our attack and see real results"

It has articles such as "The Ballot or the Bullet." It devotes an entire page to freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop-killer. The $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman is referenced. And there's even a history of "confrontational politics" and "above ground self-defense."

"It" is the latest spring edition of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) newspaper.

The 36-page paper, available in PDF form, jumps from talking about black children and autism, to an eating guide, to even an article on home births. But the focus of the issue is on a Malcolm X speech from the 60s, "The Ballot or the Bullet," and a reinterpretation given by black nationalist Dr. Khallid Abdul Muhammed 30 years later.

"I say to you tonight 30 years later, it is a case of the chickens coming home to roast," Muhammed's reprinted speech says. "Malcolm’s subject 30 years ago on the threshold of a National election was The Ballot or The Bullet and my subject 30 years later on the threshold of a National election is The Bullet or the Bullet. You don’t have another choice."

He concludes: "What I am saying here tonight? I am taking the unpopular stance, which is not new for me. I’m saying that separation is the best and only solution! I’m saying as a reminder to you, that we must have a nation of our own because every time we have worked together in a solid block...I know what Malcolm said to you 30 years ago. And all the great that Malcolm did, Malcolm was feeling, Malcolm was studying and searching, digging and researching and finding himself, and so Malcolm said in such matters, vote in a solid block."

In a separate piece ("The Ballot or the Bullet: Which Way for Black People?") meant to advance those ideas, NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz recalls glowingly how "the Black Masses rejected the Ballot as the only option":

History recalls that after Malcolm’s prophetic words, Black Power and Black Nationalism replaced civil rights as the primary vision and ideology of the people and they placed non-violence and all strategies designed to make the white people more comfortable on the sidelines.

Insurrections occurred in a domino effect; 1965 Watts blew up and later Newark and Detroit blew up and over 120 American cities became major battlegrounds for Black Resistance. Some battlegrounds were violent, some non violent, but nevertheless, we battled with a fighting spirit.

Every gain and concession that the Civil Rights Movement extracted; every job, and appointment, legislation was obtained via the duress, pressure and threat of an explod- ing radical Black Movement, foretold by Malcolm X [...] . [Emphasis added]

He goes on to lament that "In present-day, most of the authentic prescient voices have transitioned" and been "assassinated, sabotaged, imprisoned [or] intimidated to the point of fear." And just guess who he says is the only consistent, strong voice: Louis Farrakhan.

Shabazz then launches into nan odd rant claiming to be a disciple of Malcolm X, Khallid Abdul Muhammed, and Farrakhan before calling on young people "to unite here in America and across the globe" so that "we can pool our resources, focus our attack and see real results." He concluded by encouraging followers to "Vote For Black Power. Vote For Black Nationalism and Pan Afri- canism. Vote for Self Determination and a Nation of Our own. Vote for A United Front. Let us reverse course and put our enemies to flight"

So what does "the ballot or the bullet" mean exactly? Is it that his followers have two perfectly good options? Or is it that his followers should take to using bullets instead of the ballot box? And when he says "vote," does he mean actual or figurative votes?

It looks like Shabazz's revolutionaries are taking it to be the latter. In a Facebook post from Sunday, New Black Panther Chawn Sadaam Kweli posted a picture of a group of young people holding the paper and gave an angry explanation:

You can read the entire issue of the New Black Panther Party newspaper below, which also includes a list of demands from the "people's party":

New Black Panther Party Spring Newspaper

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