By Eddie Griffin
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Today I had the pleasure of speaking to the UTA Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, a group of highly educated college students, interested in old and new school politics. They entitled the presentation: “Black Panther Rising: Power to the People… Then and Now.”
“Power to the People,” I opened. But the response was weak. “Power to the people”, I repeated. People cannot have power unless they desire power, I explained. “If you are in it, you may as well win it.” So, my opening was not a greeting but a challenge. “If you have no desire for power, then you are in the wrong room.”
Pi Sigma Alpha is a political science society, comprised of honor students across the field of different majors. Their invitation gave me a chance to flashback on memory lane, from my college days with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee through my adventures and misadventures with the Black Panther Party.
I wanted to tell the old story, fill in some of the blanks in history, inspire them to become active in a new world of politics, like we had done when we were young. Starry-eyed teenager, we were, the first truly integrated generation of the 1960s- kids, we were, who thought we could change the world, and, to some degree, we did.
Knowledge is power. But that is not the way I wanted to say it. Instead, I said, “You go to school to learn one of two things: Either what to think or how to think.” Then I lit onto the subject of “brainwashing” and my experience having once been a brainwash subject in prison.
Of course, no one feels susceptible to being brainwashed. But the object was to get students to do self-inventory- the bottom line being: Who is in control? Self-control is the beginning of power. Being able to think for one’s self and charting an independent course- that’s where this discourse with the students was headed.
(Continue: Part 2)