In the late 1960s a group of black militants burst onto the scene to capture the hearts and minds of inner city youth with fiery rhetoric and words as slick as their black leather jackets. Through armed police brutality patrols and calls for "power to the people", the Black Panther Party embodied the radicalization of the Black Struggle and inspired a generation of young people to become politically active. The Party however, was not just a Self-Defense organization. Early on, founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, articulated their immediate demands and political positions into a ten point program. In the autobiography of Bobby Seale, Seize the Time, explains the importance of the ten point program.
Huey said, "We need a program. We have to have a program for the people. A program that relates to the people. A program that the people can understand. A program that the people can read and see, and which expresses their desires and needs at the same time. It's got to relate to the philosophical meaning of where in the world we are going, but the philosophical meaning will also have to relate to something specific."
Point 10 on the Panther's ten point program proclaimed, "We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace." However, as Marxists, the Panthers recognized that their interests conflicted with the interests of the bourgeoisie. Newton states, "The Black Panther Party is a revolutionary Nationalist group and we see a major contradiction between capitalism and our interests". So, just how would these demands be met? Newton goes on by saying, "We realize this country became very rich upon slavery and that capitalism is slavery in the extreme. We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism.We must destroy racism and capitalism." Their interests therefore, could only be realized through the destruction of capitalism through a socialist revolution.
In a post-revolutionary society the means of production are owned by everyone in equal share and not by one particular production group. The bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie will no longer have a monopoly on the decision making process. Each actor in society would influence decisions in proportion in which they are affected by them. Society will thus be participatory and egalitarian.
Participatory planning allows participants to exercise direct democracy and allows ordinary citizens to control their own lives. Citizens of a post-revolutionary society will be organized into federations of workers and consumer councils. Workers in worker councils need to articulate proposals on what and how much they want to produce, as well as the resources needed for production. Consumers, on the other hand, will need to express through proposals what and how much they intend to consume. Both production and consumption proposals will be sent to the facilitation board where through a system of proposals, amendments, and rejections, a social plan articulated to cover the entire economy is hashed out.
Personal Consumption Proposals
How can demands for "land, bread, housing, education, clothing,justice and peace" be achieved in a socialist society? The answer to this question lies in participatory planning.
For example, Omar, an African-American living with his girlfriend in a co-housing community in Detroit, Michigan, is working on his personal consumption proposal. His neighborhood already negotiated it's collective proposals, which have consequently, been summed up with county, state, regional and national collective consumption proposals.
Omar, like most able bodied individuals, works at a roughly average job complex and requests a roughly average consumption bundle. He knows that everyone has a finite share of the total social product. So all citizens can request things up to the limit of their budget allocated to them. Logging on to his computer, he begins to draft a consumption proposal based on combinations of different goods he desires and their indicative prices.
Omar is unfortunately a very picky eater, so his choice of foods are very limited. He bases his food consumption proposal on his old grocery store lists in pre-revolutionary and capitalist days. His computer program manipulates the input to articulate it for the whole year. Of course, he may change his mind, so fortunately for him, the iteration processes of participatory economics introduces "slack" in the social plan to allow for spontaneous "purchases". Omar is really a simple man and doesn't need a roomful of clothes, so he is modest when it comes to his clothing requests. A dozen or so new shirts and pants, a trench coat, boots for the winter, more socks( they continue to disappear in drying machine post-revolution too!), and other items will do him fine.
Even though, Omar enjoys living in the co-housing community, he and is girlfriend decided they wanted a bit more privacy and want to relocate into a household in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Housing Facilitation Board is a group of workers that assists people wishing to change their residence. Likewise, the Employment Facilitation Board is a group of workers whom assists people who wish to change their workplace. These two boards help Omar and his girlfriend relocate to an available household in Kalamazoo, as well, as get him quickly situated in a new workplace.
One of the other main reasons, why Omar wanted to move to Kalamazoo, was because it houses a brand new college specifically centered on African And African American Studies. Before the revolution, such places didn't exist and it was senseless to major in African studies at a college because that degree was useless on the job market . Now, part of his job complex is teaching Egyptian History in a local community Center, as well as smelter in a local steel plant.
In capitalism, Omar was subject to police brutality and racial profiling. Being born in a poor neighborhood in Detroit, he had little chance to pursue higher education or escape the vicious circle of poverty. His mother lived off of paycheck to paycheck and some nights all he had to eat was his hatred for being born black and poor.
However, after the socialist revolution, Omar has more opportunities and more freedoms than ever before. All basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc are easily met now. There is no more police brutality, black on black crime has gone down from the Crips and Gangster Disciples having been disbanded, he has enrolled in college which is provided free to all citizens and he goes to bed each night with his hunger satisfied.
In conclusion, post-revolutionary society will be participatory and egalitarian. The social plan for society will be reached upon by a series of proposals from workers' and consumers' (neighborhood) councils and meetings of regional delegates. This makes sure that every citizen's demand for "land, bread, housing, education, clothing,justice and peace" is met and that the Panther legacy continues to live on.