Talib Kweli: The next thing is um... when he was burning the flame he said, 'This is for the FBI.' And, he was, maybe, a fiery speaker and had... had passionate ideas, but he was a calm, cool, collected person. And so, he's singing about; 'this is for the FBI'; but it's just words. It's just song and words. A few years ago, I was listening to Stokley Carmichael speeches while I was preparing for a new record I was working on, and umm... it was shortly after 9/11 in America. I was making a reservation on JetBlue airlines to fly to California. Uhh... when I got to the airport, the FBI, the CIA, the TSA; they came and intercepted me. All these guys in black suits. And they took me in a back room and started questioning me about the Stokley Carmichael speech that I was listening to. They probably, you know, have some sort of bug, or some sort of tap or something... But, umm... they were very concerned with me listening to this Stokley Carmichael speech from 1967. You know? Forty years ago. So, words that he said forty... now, we have gangsta rappers - we have rappers who talk about shooting other people all the time; killing... but the FBI's not looking for them. They're looking at me because I'm listening to this speech from forty years ago. And it shows you the power of those words, is that they resonate even to now. The FBI is still scared of this man. He doesn't have nearly the same influence over our community as he did then, but yet, they still stopped me at the airport for listening to his speech.
Paris reporter: Are you going to return to the United States?
Stokely Carmichael: I certainly am. There are 50 million black people living in the United States, and those Africans have to be organized to fight for their liberation.
Paris reporter: Isn't there a possibility that you might end up in jail on your arrival?
Stokely Carmichael: I was born in jail.
Angela Davis: Well, it's very important to point out that Dr. Martin Luther King was the first prominent public figure to speak out against the war in Vietnam. Especially after Dr. King made his powerful speech at the riverside church, in which he talked about the connection between militarism and racism. There was no way to imagine justice and equality as long as racism was being used as a weapon to attack the people of Vietnam.
Harry Belafonte: The night that Dr. King was on, we spoke about death. I asked him the question, 'Did he fear for his life?' And he said, 'Not really.' He'd overcome his fear of death and now he was focused on, not, how long he would live; but what would be the quality of the time that he would live. Well, he said, this is no longer about race, it's now about the welfare and the wellbeing of human life. We must talk about economics. We must talk about where people are poor. We must galvanize our nation to begin to take care of the poor. America should not have no poor people. No one should ever go to bed hungry. There should be gainful employment. There should be a living wage. There should be access to health care, huh... with no charge. We should have education for free, like so many other nations successfully have applied. All these things put a huge bullseye on Dr. King; because he was now tampering with the playground of the wealthy. And uh... when he came to that moment about dismantling the economic construct... he had to go.
Malcolm X: As long as a white man does it, it's alright, a black man is supposed to have no feelings. But when a black man strikes back he's an extremist, he's supposed to sit passively and have no feelings, be nonviolent, and love his enemy no matter what kind of attack, verbal or otherwise, he's supposed to take it. But if he stands up in any way and tries to defend himself...
Malcolm X: then he's an extremist.
Abiodun Oyewole: I do agree with fighting fire with fire. I'm not gonna fight fire with water, necessarily. And if someone charges at me, I'm going to defend myself. Umm... Dr, King was not about that. But what he did do; exposing the demons that existed in America - that's priceless. I mean... it was a sacrifice. But he showed you - this is America. Look at this. I mean, we're non-violent, we're singing 'We Shall Overcome'; and they got the dogs on us. They put us in prison. They're beating the hell out of us. And, of course, when he was killed - I was shattered just by the fact that this man wasn't fighting with the guns and weapons that they're fighting with. So, I personally felt and insult to that. But I could have never marched. Malcolm's concepts and theories about how we should deal with ourselves, how we should really function in this society; that's what made sense to me. So, when you look at The Last Poets; you're really looking at the disciples of Malcolm X.
Stokely Carmichael: The birth of this nation was conceived in the genocide of the red man... of the red man... of the red man.
Sonia Sanchez: I was in San Francisco, hoping to begin Black Studies, when Stokley came with his cadre to merge with the Black Panthers. And I remember the gorgeous signs that they made. I remember the meeting. And what we began to see at that point was the fusion of the Southern movement with the Northern movement; to form quite a group of young people who were looking at the world in a way that did not necessarily say non-violence; but it didn't say violence. It merely said, at some point, let's take the movement a step further.
Erykah Badu: It's right to defend yourself against anything and anyone. No, we don't believe in violence. We don't believe in killing. We don't believe in harming or hurting. We weren't the ones who inflicted pain and harm on people. We weren't the ones who kidnapped a whole culture of people and brought them to do service for us. And because we stand, and fight back, and want peace; we want to work with pride, love, and live, and grow with pride. That's all we want. And to say that we're wrong - to defend ourselves is idiotic. Seriously twisted. Shame on America for that. Shame on anyone who judges someone for defending himself or his family. Shame.
Oerjan Oeberg: This is the Black Panthers Central Headquarters. From here, the party's forty-four divisions and embassy in Algiers is run. From here they arrange a series of social activities for the poor in the ghettos. The Black Panthers have existed for about four years. They are the most militant black organization in the USA. This is the office where the twenty-one Panthers who are now on trial worked. But despite the arrests, political education is still being carried out here today - regular classes in revolution. As most of the men are in jail, the teachers are predominantly female. That's how the revolution in America is being carried out. They're reading the Panthers paper, and having discussions.
Bobby Seale: I wanted some grass roots, up - power to the people - legislation and laws that gave the grass roots real empowerment. You know what I mean? What I believed in, was how we could get greater community control and community input into the political institutions that affect our lives. The very philosophy and slogans we're spouting - is all power to all the people. Whether you're white, black, blue, red, green, yellow or polka dot. In the final analysis, we want real people's community control empowerment.
Oerjan Oeberg: Not only do the Black Panthers offer free breakfast and lunch programs, help the poor to deal with the police, landlords and authorities; they also offer free clothes and legal defense to political prisoners. The Party members receive medical and weapons training.
John Forte: I mean, this is a period when America's empire really takes off. Besides the war in Vietnam, there are all these other kinds of interventions. Between 1964 and 1972, there are 300 urban rebellions in cities. 60,000 people arrested. Billions of dollars worth of property damage. 250 killed. Almost all these incidents were caused by some police violence, police brutality; and if you're looking from the outside in - I don't care if you're in Beijing, you're in New Delhi or you're in Malmo... you're gonna see America with this internal war. It looks like a racist war.
Kathleen Cleaver: Black Panther Party, started in Oakland, California. And so, you know, the party is known mostly for its confrontational stances; and that's a good thing - to be confrontational against evil and violence. The kind of problems that the black community suffer; unequal levels of imprisonment, unequal levels of access to resources, poor health. And so, the Black Panther Party tried to model for the community; some of the possible solutions that were not capitalist oriented, like; free clinic. You know, you could come here and get free medical care, or send your children to us - we will feed them for free. And this idea of free breakfasts, is one of the legacies that's been adopted. Now, the schools have free breakfasts, but they didn't before. I think the party... it's not only the organization that did it; but it's the only organization based in ghetto communities that did it.
Stokely Carmichael: Now, let us begin with the modern period of - I guess we could start with 1956. For our generation, this was the beginning of the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King decided that in Montgomery, Alabama; black people had to pay the same prices on the buses as did white people, but we had to sit in the back. And we could only sit in the back if every available seat was taken by a white person. If a white person was standing, a black person could not sit. So Dr. King and his associates got together and said, "This is inhuman. We will boycott your bus system." Now, understand what a boycott is. A boycott is a passive act. It is the most passive political act that anyone can commit, a boycott. Because what the boycott was doing was simply saying, "We will not ride your buses." No sort of antagonism. It was not even verbally violent. It was peaceful. Dr. King's policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That's very good. He only made one fallacious assumption: in order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none... has none.
Angela Davis: In my case, when I think about the fact that Ronald Reagan was the governor of California, Richard Nixon was the president of the U.S.; the whole apparatus of the state was set up against me. They had all their resources and the FBI, and the police, and they really meant to send me to the death chamber in order to make a point. It really didn't matter who I was or - it was that I was a very convenient figure to make a point that they would suppress any efforts at revolution and liberation.
Bo Holmström: Very few have met her. She's being detained in this building; a courthouse outside of San Francisco, in a small cell. This is the first time a TV camera has been brought to her cell. She seems silent and pale when we visit her... A year ago the Black Panthers were much more active, you heard much more about that type of struggle. Is the time of the Black Panthers past?
Angela Davis: The Black Panthers still exist and the Black Panthers are still extremely active in the Oakland community and communities all over the country. I'm not sure whether you are aware of what is now happening in the Black Panther Party and the kinds of things that members of that party are doing now.
Bo Holmström: No, but tell me.
Angela Davis: First of all, if you're gonna talk about a revolutionary situation, you have to have people who are physically able to wage revolution; who are physically able to organize, and physically able to do all that is done.
Bo Holmström: But the question is more; how do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation? Violence?
Angela Davis: Oh, is that the question you were asking?
Bo Holmström: Yeah.
Angela Davis: You see, that's another thing. When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence; without realizing that the real content of any kind of revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you're striving for - not in the way that you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society is organized; because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere - you'd have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions. If you are a black person and live in the black community all your life, and walk out on the street every day seeing white policemen surrounding you... When I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in L.A. ever occurred - I was constantly stopped. The police didn't know who I was, but I was a black woman and I had a natural, and they, I suppose; thought that I might be a quote, 'Militant'. And when you live under a situation like that constantly... and then you ask me whether I approve of violence... I mean, that just doesn't make any sense at all... whether I approve of guns. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs. Bombs that were planted by racists. I remember, from the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street; our house shaking. I remember our father having to have guns at his disposal at all times, because of the fact that at any moment we might expect to be attacked. The man who was at that time in complete control of the city government - his name was Bull Connor - would often get on the radio and make statements like, 'Niggers have moved into a white neighborhood, we better expect some bloodshed tonight'. And sure enough, there would be bloodshed. After the four young girls who lived... one of them lived next door to me; I was very good friends with the sister of another one, and my sister was very good friends with all three of them, my mother taught one of them in her class. My mother... In fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of the young girls called my mother and said, 'Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol? We heard about the bombing and I don't have my car.' And they went down, and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then after that, in my neighborhood, all of the men organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again. I mean, that's why when someone asks me about violence, huh... I just... I just find it incredible. Because, what it means is that the person who is asking that question has absolutely no idea what black people have gone through in this country, what black people have experienced in this country, since the time the first black person was kidnapped from the shores of Africa.
Abiodun Oyewole: I mean, America is a possibility for anything. America is a young, dumb country and it needs all kinds of help. America is a dumb puppy with big teeth that bite and hurt. And we-we... we take care of America. We hold America to our bosom. We feed America. We make love to America. There wouldn't be an America if it wasn't for black people. And so, you have some dedicated black Americans who will die a million deaths to save America. And this is home for us. We don't know, really, about Africa. We talk bout it in a romantic sense, but America is it. And so, America's always gonna be okay as long as black people don't totally lose their mind. Cause we'll pick up the pieces, and we'll turn it into a new dance.
Stokely Carmichael: I think Dr. King is a great man, full of compassion. He is full of mercy and he is, uh... very patient. He is a man who could accept the uncivilized behavior of white Americans, and their unceasing taunts; and still have in his heart forgiveness. Unfortunately, I am from a younger generation. I am not as patient as Dr. King, nor am I as merciful as Dr. King. And their unwillingness to deal with someone like Dr. King just means they have to deal with this younger generation.
Stokely Carmichael: [Stokley Carmichael sings "Burn Baby, Burn" by Jimmy Collier while burning some paper] This is for the FBI.
Stokely Carmichael: That's just like man, isn't it? Nothing is wasted. Everything just takes a different form. What form will you take when you die?
Talib Kweli: And then the other thing I noticed was... when you see images of Stokely, you only see the speeches. This is the first time I've seen something where he's with... just hanging out with white people. Hanging out with his mother. And he just seemed like a regular dude. And that's what you don't realize about these people, is that; none of these people are evil or bad or even extra violent... it's just; to them common sense meant that they had to speak and stand up for themselves. So, all you see is this image of them standing up for themselves. So, it makes you think that they're like that all the time, but he just was a regular dude. And that's what I got from that footage with his mom.
Ahmir-Khalib Thompson: You're really naive if you think that Martin Luther King just happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time, at the Lorainne Hotel. And this random guy just came and shot and killed him. Uh-uh. Martin Luther King sort of had a change of heart. Martin Luther King was starting to take a more militant, stronger position. And his new battle was; no war. The government said, 'Whoa, whoa. Wait, wait. He's about to come in our territory. Like, it's one thing to let you take a shit in the same toilet that I do. You know, I'll give you that; but you ain't about to stop my money flow. Uh-uh; you gotta go!'
Stokely Carmichael: When white America killed Dr. King last night, he declared war on us.
Abiodun Oyewole: There were many sacrifices. When they say, we stand on the shoulders of people - we are actually in the palm of the hands of a lot of folks, because we were moved and motivated and charged up by people who had already made a commitment in the '60s; to bring about change. And even though I was really on the periphery, I was on the outside looking in, I didn't know much. I knew I wanted to be a part of the Black Power movement, but I didn't know how to be a part of it. But I felt it was something necessary. No, what he did... I still could not have marched with Dr. King. I could never have been with him on any level. Umm... I did not agree with his philosophy, and I still don't agree with his philosophy.
Abiodun Oyewole: In 1968, Martin Luther King was killed, Bobby Kennedy was killed, Medgar Evers was killed, Mark Clark and Fred Hampton were killed. John Carlos and Tommy Smith did the Black Power salute in Mexico City. I mean... it is a litany of things that took place in '68. Like that was moving the stone from in front of the cave in '68. I mean, it really was a special beginning and opening. And unfortunately, any time you have anything that's opening - death accompanies those things.
Arnold Stahl: They called in the combined police forces of Berkley, Oakland and San Francisco. The California Highway Patrol and 3,000 national guardsmen. And they just went crazy. They began shooting everything that moved. They shot about 300 people, but they only killed one person.
Bertil Askelöf: The assassination of Robert Kennedy has shaken the USA. This is outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, where Robert Kennedy is lying in state. Many fear that the US was too late in introducing social reforms that could have provided over 30 million poor, in the slums, with a more humane existence. And too late to stem the rising tide of alarm in the Negro community, and avoid new conflicts and further political assassinations.
Eldridge Cleaver: I believe that a time has come, a point has been reached, where a line just has to be drawn. There is a favorite line... that I know about, that says there is a point where caution ends and cowardice begins. All three of these pigs that we have a choice of - Oink Nixon, Oink Humphrey and Oink Wallace - they're not for us. They do not represent... they do not represent the best interest of this country. They definitely don't represent the best thinking in this country. In fact, they represent... the very worst tradition which was ever to crawl from beneath the rocks in this-this...
- this bankrupt country.
Erykah Badu: Can I sing? 'I want a world where kids can play, and plenty of food to eat. I want a world where I can speak, and know that I'll be free. I want a world just like America, like the U.S.A. Cause even though, perfect it's not; it's the best thing this world's got.' You know, we learn those types of songs. So, we learn not to question our government and be grateful for everything we got, but we didn't know that it was at the expense of many other people in our own country and all over the world. Because you're taught to fear that you don't have enough; and want and want and want. So, it perpetuates greed. We are kept uneducated, sick and depressed. There's a happy ending, but with not happy mistakes, first. And one of the biggest mistakes is, umm... the greed.
Talib Kweli: Okay. The first thing that crossed my mind with Stokley is , um... y'know he has... he has so much power and passion and fire inside of him. And he understood what his job was very early. And he understood why, even though the things he was saying were in direct opposition to the philosophy of Dr. King; he understood that Dr. King was still important. He understood the compassion. Umm... what struck me though as interesting that... from his vantage point, non-violence and passive resistance was a non-option. It wasn't an option at all. Now, in 2010, you can see how King and all of them who were influenced by Ghandi; how it did work, you know? The passive resistance of the bus boycott... it did work. But it would have never worked without people like Stokley Carmichael on the other side of him. They studied the passive resistance. He studied power and what power meant. He was the first one to really talk about black power. But, I mean, that's exactly what was missing from the equation; the power. And he was powerful just from... the speaking, and he wasn't even like the Panthers. You know, the Panthers were very influenced by him. But, it's not like he was in the street with some guns, you know?
Stokely Carmichael: Mrs. Carmichael, when you came to the United States with your children, where did you live?
Mable Carmichael: We lived at Stebbins Avenue for a while.
Stokely Carmichael: What kind of neighborhood was it?
Mable Carmichael: It was kind of a mixed neighborhood, but a little on the rundown side.
Stokely Carmichael: What do you mean by 'the rundown side'?
Mable Carmichael: Streets were dirty, garbage pails all thrown around and not covered; and things like that.
Stokely Carmichael: How big was the place you lived in?
Mable Carmichael: We had a three room apartment there.
Stokely Carmichael: And how many people lived there?
Mable Carmichael: When my kids moved to the United States, we were still living there, my husband and I; so that made five children, because I had to there.The five that came with their aunt, my husband and I.
Stokely Carmichael: How many is that all together?
Mable Carmichael: Five and three. Eight.
Stokely Carmichael: How was life in general for you children? I mean, could they do other things most children in the United States could do? I mean, did they have enough money to do those things?
Mable Carmichael: No, we didn't.
Stokely Carmichael: Why didn't they?
Mable Carmichael: Because my husband didn't make enough money.
Stokely Carmichael: Why didn't he make enough money?
Mable Carmichael: He was a carpenter and he worked two weeks in, four weeks off. He drove a taxi cab part of the time...
Stokely Carmichael: But there were other carpenters who lived better than your husband.
Mable Carmichael: Of course.
Stokely Carmichael: Why didn't your husband?
Mable Carmichael: Because he was laid off. He was always the first to be laid off.
Stokely Carmichael: Why was he always the first to be laid off?
Mable Carmichael: Because he was negro. He always said, because he was a colored man. Because, naturally, in Trinidad, we used the word colored. We never used the word negro. So, he always said, because he was a colored man.
Stokely Carmichael: Thank you.
Mable Carmichael: Let's see, I think Stokley was a sophomore in college when he went down to Mississippi. I stuck by the phone and by the radio, all day trying to hear what happened. And... when I heard they picked up four of them, I knew one was Stokley. I think I died a thousand times.
Mable Carmichael: It was the first time he had been to jail. Every time he goes, I die a thousand times.
Bobby Seale: We look at this program as a very international program. It's huh... for any human beings who want to survive.
Herself (female Swedish reporter): It's a plain Socialist program?
Bobby Seale: Definitely. Socialism is the order of the day and not Nixon's black capitalism. That's out.
Herself (female Swedish reporter): Black Panther is an armed organization. What does that mean?
Bobby Seale: It means that if any racist dog policemen, or pigs, come up and attack us at any point- or whatever point - we will defend ourselves. We will shoot them. We will kill them, because we are bent on surviving.
Herself (female Swedish reporter): And you have arms to do this?
Bobby Seale: Oh, definitely. And we're trying to get as many arms as we can. And we're teaching the people themselves, in the community, to arm themselves.
Knut Ståhlberg: On the highest point in El Biar in Algiers, and among the finest villas, we find Eldridge Cleaver and the Black Panther Headquarters. The villa is put at their disposal by the Algerian government. Cleaver, his wife Kathleen, and maybe twenty other Panthers, including nannies; are in the care of the Algerian government. But Cleaver is in exile. The goal seems so remote, and you get the feeling that the spring within him is a bit broken.
Eldridge Cleaver: According to my observations, and depending on how the struggle develops, the next stage is to achieve what the South Vietnamese have achieved. That is, a provisional government, a government that's not in full control of it's territory. That does not enjoy it's full sovereignty but which is recognized on a full diplomatic level by sympathetic governments and people around the world. Of course, we realize we are a far stage away from that, but the status we have achieved enables us to function.
Oerjan Oeberg: This is Huey Newton, the founder and leader of the Black Panthers, on his way out of the trial in Oakland, California. This is the fourth time is trial has been postponed. Huey Newton has been bailed out for a sum of $50,000.
Huey P. Newton: So, we're gonna have to go now. Power to the people.
Oerjan Oeberg: A number of trials against radicals are being carried out across the country: the trial against Bobby Seale, the trial against the black intellectual Angela Davis, and the trial against 13 prominent Panthers in New York. The information Minister of the Panthers, Eldridge Cleaver, is in exile in Algeria. The only free leader of the Panthers is Huey P. Newton. The verdict of manslaughter against him was unjust. He was unconscious at the time of the murder.
Huey P. Newton: Ummm... my treatment was generally abusive and oppressive, and primarily because of the fact that I was a prisoner of war and a political prisoner.
Oerjan Oeberg: What do you think is going to happen with the Black Panthers now? You're losing your leaders, et cetera.
Huey P. Newton: Uhhh... it is true that many of our leaders have been confined in the concentration camps here in America. I know that the Black Panther Party will prevail - it's the vanguard of the people's struggle; and that while leaders are put into prison, new leaders are born, new leaders are made.
Lars Helander: The US is the country getting the most attention on Swedish TV at the moment, but is Swedish TV portraying a distorted image of America? Is Swedish TV anti-American? The USA's biggest magazine, TV Guide, claims this in a recent article. The editor, Merrill Pannitt, wrote the article after a visit to Europe. The criticism was mostly against Holland and Sweden. Apparently Sweden was the worst.
Merrill Panitt - Editor, TV Guide: The only thing I was interested in when I was there was the Swedish television's coverage of America; American News. And that I did criticize, because I felt that there was a general anti-American feeling.
Lars Helander: How would you define the concept of anti-Americanism?
Merrill Panitt - Editor, TV Guide: I would define it as emphasizing only negative aspects of America and none of the positive ones.
Lars Helander: The following are some of the quotes from the article in TV Guide: 'The most unrestrained anti-American television this side of the Iron Curtain comes from Sweden.'
Evening News Reporter (voice): During this weekend American B-52 bombers dropped a thousand tons of bombs...
Lars Helander: [still quoting] 'Swedish TV is portraying America as an evil country run by evil men. Already negative news from America is edited to an even more negative viewpoint. Swedish media has the most hostile viewpoint against America.'
Merrill Panitt - Editor, TV Guide: But you see that we are seeing the bad news about America on our own television in the context of living here; of seeing about us everyday the positive aspects so that we have a more realistic perspective of what's going on in America. Whereas the people in Sweden, the people living abroad, are not living in America, do not see any of the positive aspects of it and are getting just the bad news. And this is the thing that I objected to.
Lars Helander: I think that one very important factor in this change, because I think there's a change too; is the war, of course...
Merrill Panitt - Editor, TV Guide: There's no doubt about that.
Lars Helander: That has changed...
Merrill Panitt - Editor, TV Guide: I'm sure the war is as unpopular here as it is in Sweden, but we're stuck with it. I mean, this is an American problem.
Emile de Antonio: Well, TV Guide is an absolute nothing magazine. TV Guide is a special kind of magazine that panders to the lowest possible taste in American life. This is one of the reasons it has such a wide circulation. I found it very curious that TV Guide should suddenly attack Swedish and Dutch television - and meaningful. Deeply meaningful, but not in the sense that anybody would believe it. In that your average reader of TV Guide doesn't care about that kind of thing. But only when you consider who the publisher of TV Guide is - and that is Walter Annenberg, who is the United States ambassador to London and one of Mr. Nixon's closest advisors, as well as one of his closest financial supporters. What, I suppose, 'anti-American' really means by and large - at least the way I interpret it... I'm regarded as anti-American. I am not anti-American. I am simply against those institutions that rule America. I'm against those institutions which encourage racism, which have put us into the war and kept us in the war. The true picture of what goes on here can even be seen in American television, if you look at it long enough. The emptiness, the spiritual bleakness, the loss of meaning and the loss of purpose. The TV Guide article on Swedish television is simply a reflection of Mr. Nixon's paranoia.
Oerjan Oeberg: The prisoners in Attica revolted and barricaded themselves with 38 guards as hostages. The prisoners produced a list of 30 demands for better living conditions, in exchange for the hostages. The demands were predominantly for more humane treatment: an end to physical abuse, for basic necessities - like toothbrushes and showers every day, for professional training and access to newspapers and books. Also for transport out of the country to a non-Imperialistic nation. The riot lasted for 4 days until the police and National Guardsman stormed the prison. 40 people were shot dead: 31 prisoners and 9 of the guards that were held hostage. It was said immediately that the prisoners cut the guard's throats, but autopsy showed that all had been shot by the storming troops.
William Kunstler - Lawyer: It's murder under any doctrine of civilized standards that any country ever had.
Knut Ståhlberg: William Kunstler is a radical lawyer. He was in the prison during the revolt as a member of the observer committee and tried to negotiate between the prisoners and the authorities. He says now that the Governor is guilty of the murders.
William Kunstler - Lawyer: The prisoners had two nonnegotiable demands: the removal of the warden and general amnesty, and they had already given up on the removal of the warden. And on the general amnesty we had worked out several formulas that we were discussing with the commissioner hours before the attack; and if we had been allowed to continue everyone would be alive and the matter would be settled today.
Knut Ståhlberg: But you yourself said at one point that you feared for your life in there.
William Kunstler - Lawyer: Well, I guess I'm a white middle-class citizen of this country and I had all the stereotypes about prisoners that any person in my capacity has. I had to learn the hard way that they were decent, honorable men; much more decent and much more honorable than the people who went in there to shoot them.
John Forte: I can't look at the Attica uprising without imagining myself there, or without taking into account my own experience with prison. And I know that, from the inside out - I never lost my humanity, my decency, no matter how many times I felt encaged and felt like I was treated as an animal over the course of my own incarceration. So, I can't look at Attica and not sympathize with those prisoners and those inmates who wanted to be treated more decently; for whatever reason. It's a question of dignity and decency. If we look at it from a purely historical standpoint, leading up to the civil rights movement in... in Attica; there was nothing that ever happened up until that point where there was such a pivotal change in what was allowed to take place. The violence that erupted and demanded the world pay attention, because from a human rights perspective, the question comes down to something that's very fundamental: do prisoners have human rights?
Ahmir-Khalib Thompson: To me the worst crime that could ever be committed on mankind, is really... ignorance. You know? People that don't do anything... are perceived just as guilty as those who did something. Americans, especially privileged Americans, are really in denial about what has gone on for black people, for underprivileged people, period - but mainly for black people. You know, just because I'm allowed to drink out of the same water fountain or, you know, have a turkey dinner at Woolworth's lunch counter; doesn't necessarily equal progress. It doesn't mean that the wrongs of 400 years... is justified.
Bo Holmström: What is the new policy of the Black Panthers now, in 1972?
Elaine Brown: The policy isn't new. We like to say that we are returning to what we call our 'Original Vision'; which was to serve the people and to move the masses of our people - black and other oppressed people inside of this country - to the point of total liberation. What is new is that we have stopped becoming what we would call a 'Revolutionary Cultist Group'. We're not here to build heroic images that people can make posters out of, and that they can glorify. The point is for the struggle to be waged between the oppressed people and the oppressor - not between the Black Panther Party and the police.
Bo Holmström: What do you think about Angela Davis? She's not from the Black Panther's Party.
Elaine Brown: No, Angela, umm... Angela Davis is a very close friend of the Black Panther Party. She was a very good friend of mine, even prior to her being in the organization, the Communist Party - as she is now; and prior to my being in the Black Panther Party. She's always been very close and a very firm fighter, a very strong fighter for the people's liberation.
Bo Holmström: Angela Davis. Her name and face is recognized from hundreds and thousands of protests around the world. She's a symbol for the Black struggle against oppression; not only in America, but in the whole world. Protests have been arranged for her sake in Africa, South America, Europe and the Soviet Union. It was here that it all started: Marin County Courthouse in California. On August 7, 1970 James McClain was on trial for allegedly attempting to stab a guard in San Quentin prison. Two other black prisoners were witnesses at the trial. It had nothing to do with Angela Davis. It's not known if they even knew each other. Also in the courtroom sat 17-year old Jonathan Jackson, the younger brother of the Soledad Brother George Jackson, whom Angela Davis did know. Jonathan Jackson stood up and yelled, 'Everyone freeze,' and pulled out a gun. He handed weapons to the two black witnesses and attempted to take a hostage. They never got further than the parking lot, where a shoot out with the police took place. The judge, two black witnesses and Jonathan Jackson were killed. The police claimed that Angela Davis was the owner of the gun Jonathan Jackson had used. Angela Davis went into hiding. Much later the police found her at a New York hotel. She stands accused as an accomplice to murder, as she was the owner of the gun - a crime punishable by death under California law.
Dennis Roberts - Lawyer: This trial, I think will be historic in it's unfairness. There is no evidence at all to involve Miss Davis in the charges; none whatsoever. And I think that they seized upon this opportunity to try and put her to death. Governor Reagan originally fired her from her teaching job at the University of California, and this is simply an extension of that, as far as I'm concerned. The evidence presented to the grand jury, shows that the guns that were used in the shootout in San Rafael were registered in her name. Now, assuming for the sake of argument, that that's true; that's all it shows - that she owned some guns. There's nothing illegal in the state of California about owning guns. They were registered and it's not a crime. But, because of the inflammatory press that built up around this incident, and because of the need that the government felt to put her in jail and to hopefully, form their point of view, to kill her - they could put enough pressure in that grand jury room to get an indictment.
Bo Holmström: No one believes she was behind the murders. Her thousands of supporters will be sure to politicize her trial. She has received one of the best educations a black person in America can get. Her professors said she was the most gifted student they'd ever had. In Germany she met Herbert Marcuse. It was through him that her interest in philosophy and Marxism grew. Her doctoral thesis was on Kant's analysis of violence in the French revolution. She's more intelligent and knowledgeable than most people. She has not let the prison stay break her down. She's on a hunger strike as a protest against the conditions. She's black, she's a woman and she stands accused of murder. Despite all that, she seems to be not only an icon for women, but for most blacks.
Bo Holmström: Political trials are getting more common in the USA. In Chicago, we have been able to follow the trials of seven leaders of radical parties. They are accused of trying to start riots at the Democratic National Convention. It's a trial that is less about a crime, and more about the political views of the society of the accused.
Gerald Lefcourt - Lawyer: Yes, it's a political trial. We told the judge that when you take militant Black Panthers that have been created by a system of oppression and you bring them into a courtroom, you are creating a political trial. Added to it of course, is the severe punishment that they've already suffered - waiting almost one year for trial in jail conditions that are certainly from the Middle Ages.