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Survival pending revolution: Self-determination in the age of proto-neo-liberal globalization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-203
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Published27 Jan 2020


King's Authors


In 1971, the Black Panther Party (BPP) seemingly went through an ideological transformation. Between 1968 and 1970 the Party had forged strong national and international solidarity and support through a politics of revolutionary armed self-defence and a commitment to anti-imperialism. Yet, in late 1970 as the sands of both national and geo-politics shifted, and as allies, both at home and abroad, became less supportive, the Panthers found themselves on less solid ground. Black Panther leader Huey P Newton, realizing this shift in the political landscape, and the futility of attempting an armed insurgency against the state without widespread support, now steered the BPP towards the idea of ‘Survival Pending Revolution’. This saw the Panthers abandon the idea of immediate armed insurrection against the state and reorient towards a focus on their community engagement ‘survival programs’. This article argues that Newton’s orientation of the BPP away from armed insurrection and towards survival pending revolution was not simply a pragmatic choice of strategy, but rather based on a theorization of what he dubbed reactionary intercommunalism. Moreover, the article suggests that the history of neo-liberal globalization can be complicated and expanded by viewing Newton as one of the first theorists of neo-liberal globalization, and BPP survival programs as one of the first responses to the on-coming era of neo-liberalism in the US.

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