You talked before about how this was the first Black organization that you felt some sense of camaraderie with because of the ideology. Could you just talk about that again?
Well, I think a lot of us, you know, grew up in this area, and the Panthers grew up with us. I mean, I was at Merritt, my brother was at Merritt, it's like, you know, through the Ramparts connection I knew Eldridge, and so like, we had had since the early '60s, struggles in Oakland. The first struggle, in fact, which you know triggered the free, the Free Speech movement at Berkeley, UC Berkeley, was the struggle over whether or not we could collect money for SNCC, and whether we could collect money for tutorials in Oakland. And Scheer actually ran on a program to end the poverty in Oakland, to end the war and end the poverty in Oakland. And so there's all these sort of local connections. So these are homeboys, right? And we were home. And this was like, this was our group and these were the people, and at Merritt and a lot of the Civil Rights Movement in the Bay Area, there was a kind of, there weren't a lot of the racial tensions, I think, that have been true of Chicago and New York, and a lot of the big cities in the East, or even, um, the contradictions that later developed in SNCC. This Bay Area movement wasn't, uh, didn't feel that in the same way. There were the nationalists, but they were pretty much off by themselves, so the people that were active in the civil rights struggle in '64, '65, '66, basically we worked pretty well together. And I think because we were sort of all the same age, and there was sort of a mutual respect, even though we weren't Black, we had a record of fighting for civil rights, you know, for going to jail, for, um, you know, risking, you know, a lot in a sense for Whites to be part of their struggle. And I think then because we were, we were becoming revolutionaries and we were sort of sharing a lot of this political theory and, uh, ideas that we had in common, and I think, as I said before, I mean, they had developed a liberation, basically an anti-imperialist analysis of the world. They had unity with all these liberation struggles in the world, in particular the Cubans and the Vietnamese, and then, you know, later Che Guevara, and some of the, the third world revolutionaries in Africa. And that's where they learned, Frantz Fanon, and a lot of these, um, these African and, uh, and intellectuals from the third world are the ones that trained them how to sort of think politically. And those were our heroes as well. So we had these, this common bond, these common heroes and heroines that brought us together as well as the practical day-to-day free food, you know, medical support. I mean, we believed in a revolution together. We believed in an American Revolution along the same lines.
And too bad it was all over. Too bad it didn't happen, right?