Successful Black Panther meeting in Belfast


Over 50 people packed the Gallery Room in the An Culturlann on the Falls Road last Tuesday evening to listen to a speech delivered by the Anarchist Panther Ashanti Alston.

Ashanti who is a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member was speaking as part of a tour across Ireland organised by the Workers Solidarity Movement.

Ashanti spoke about on the ideas and activities of the BPP, its successful community programmes and repression faced by the US State. Not to mention the top-down authoritarian structures, that also contributed to its own demise. He also spoke about the influences he drew from the civil rights campaign here and the republican movement, as well as the Zapatista movement in Mexico.

Finally, Ashanti referred to the need to develop anti-authoritarian and libertarian forms of organisation and struggle. The need for revolutionary change is relevant now more than ever especially in the midst of a global economic recession.

During his visit, Ashanti toured both the Falls and Shankill areas of Belfast. He along with members of the WSM met informally with representatives from Community Families aganist Drugs (CFAD) in Ardoyne. The group are actively campaigning against the growing drugs scourge in the area despite opposition from the police, local political parties and the mainstream media who are more concerned about working-class self-organisation and empowerment.

Michael McGovern, Belfast branch secretary said: “This is the most successful and well-attended meeting organised by anarchists in Belfast since the tour by ex-political prisoner and Black Panther Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin in 1997.

“We have a lot to learn from social movements such as the BPP in the importance in building a vibrant revolutionary workers movement which is rooted in our communities and relevant to the needs and aspirations of our class. The WSM is committed to this task.”

Related interview
Part 1 -
Part 2 -