Discussion – COINTELPRO & the FBI’s War on the Black Panther Party

Step 1

Read this brief history on COINTELPRO

http://www.monitor.net/monitor/9905a/jbcointelpro.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Step 2

See for yourself: visit the FBI’s website archives below, and get a first hand look at how FBI agents broke the law to destroy the black power movement, and other leftist organizations.

http://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Click on “Black Extremist” à then click on the first document. Read it. Note on the firs page of text: “The purpose of this new counterintelligence program…”.

Spend some time looking over these documents. Feel free to look around the archives for other groups targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO (American Indian Movement, Anti-War movement, etc.).

Step 3

Watch the 3-part Democracy Now! Special on the Assassination of Fred Hampton How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther. Be sure to take notes. Pay attention to the ways in which Fred Hampton, what kinds of things did he believe in, why was he labeled a threat to the government? Why do you think he was assassinated? Contextualize this historical example within a social control framework.

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KF9xycQITo (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DzzFEeHot8 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIuqYAEE3AI (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Step 4

Write a thoughtful, in-depth, post to the discussion forum in light of the questions below. Your post should be a minimum of 300 words (you can always write more). I suggest you write out your posts first in Word, so you can edit it for grammar, spelling, etc.

Did you know about COINTELPRO prior to this class? Does the COINTELPRO operations contradict “democratic” values? What is your reaction to all of this? What did you learn from reading the FBI documents? Why do you think Hampton was assassinated?