Seventy-seven year-old Elbert “Big Man” Howard, one of the founding members of the original Black Panthers, wrote a blistering critique of the New Black Panther Party for the San Francisco Bay View. Big Man’s statement was answered with a video by Hashim Nzinga released Aug. 26. Nzinga is the National Chair of the New Black Panther Party which hosted a recent conference where COINTELPRO foe Dhoruba bin Wahad was severely beaten.
Operation COINTELPRO, a clandestine counterintelligence program of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Director J. Edgar Hoover, had targeted “Black Nationalist—Hate” organizations. The Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army were primary targets and Dhoruba bin Wahad, former Richard Moore, ended up doing nineteen years in prison before obtaining his release when it was revealed the FBI withheld exculpatory evidence under COINTELPRO directives.
Dhoruba bin Wahad believes the New Black Panther Party is a hate group, infiltrated by the FBI, and functions as a modern-day COINTELPRO attempting to divide the Black Power movement. Dhoruba and a half-dozen others crashed a NBPP conference on Aug. 8 and confronted Malik Zulu Shabazz, a former NBPP National Chair, while he was speaking. Shabazz ordered Dhoruba and his group expelled and two dozen NBPP members rushed at Dhoruba who was left unconscious with a broken jaw after being beaten with a chair.
Atlanta law enforcement has sidestepped the assault as though it was some private affair. Dhoruba was also beaten by a deputy in May on his home porch. A neighbor caught that beating on a cell phone camera and the deupty was fired and now faces battery charges. So far no one has been arrested for the more serious August beating that almost claimed Dhoruba’s life and left him facing steep medical bills and a slow recovery.
Big Man was direct and to the point, “If this group is anything, it is a collective of racist, reactionary thugs and tools of the still-very-much-alive Cointelpro government agency….Since coming to public notice, this group has shown itself to be little more than opportunistic, treading on the work, dedication and sacrifices of others.”
This unprovoked attack has nothing to do with the Black Liberation Movement – this is an attempt to assassinate a former BPP leader and political prisoner and his comrades, a 71-year-old respected elder, who is still an activist in the struggle for human rights for all people,” wrote Big Man.
“The so-called New Black Panther Party has proven itself to be one which consists of agents for the corrupt system designed to undermine the legacy of the Black Panther Party.” Big Man continued, “By the actions of these thug, reactionary, so-called New Black Panther Party members, they have exposed themselves for what they are – agents – would-be killers of freedom fighters and the legacy of the Black Panther Party.”
Hashim Nzinga was handpicked by Malik Zulu Shabazz to replace him as National Chair in October 2013. Nzinga was defeated at a “National Summit” in Decemer 2013, by Krystal Muhammad of the Texas “formation” but she was unable to wrest power away from Nzinga who says in his video, “I answered the call.” Both Nzinga and Muhammad claim the “National Chair” title and both use the party logo. Nzinga, who controls the bank account and the party website, dismisses Muhammad’s claims as being from a “splinter faction.”
Nzinga’s half-hour video is a rambling account of his personal history, Shabazz’s personal history, the Nation of Islam, and the “twenty-year scorecard” of the New Black Panther Party. Nzinga waves a couple of brochures in the air and holds up an old newspaper to show accomplishment. About halfway through the video the tone changes and by the time Nzinga gets to Dhoruba’s beating there is anger in his voice. Nzinga expressed no regret, remorse, or even compassion for Dhoruba’s suffering. Instead, Nzinga claimed Dhoruba “attacked” the stage and was a possible assassin. The chair-wielding party members that responded to Shabazz’s command were only trying to protect “women and children” in the audience.
Nzinga closes the video with a condemnation of the Black Panthers for “terrorizing” America and bringing COINTELPRO down on black people. Meanwhile, the failure of law enforcement to investigate the crime, with or without the cooperation of participants in the melee, heightens suspicions about the true nature of the New Black Panther Party.