The Black Panther: 1969 "Fascism in America" Issue

A special issue of the Black Panther Party newspaper on police/state repression, highlighting the struggle for People’s Park.

Newspaper page with photos of tear gas and guardsmen in Berkeley

Berkeley… Ronald Reagan Creates the Fascist State

BERKELEY— Over two hundred people and seventy police were injured Thursday, May 15, in the heaviest battle in Berkeley yet. For the first time, cops used shotguns and rifles against the people. Over a hundred people were hit with birdshot, rock salt, lead pellets from shotguns, and even with large-caliber rifle bullets. […]

The four hour street battle was fought over a small, vacant piece of land owned by the University of California. The People decided to beautify it and make it into a “People’s Park”.

A year ago, the almost one square block of land was the site of some of the most beautiful homes in the campus area. The university bought the land for 1.3 million dollars and demolished the homes. For nine months the land was vacant, used only as a parking lot by persons willing to risk having their cars stuck in the mud.

Then the people in the community, sick of the ugly deserted lot, got together and started working on the land. The first Sunday, a hundred showed up - students, women, children, hippies, businessmen. Everyone was so eager to work that there weren’t enough tools to go around; as soon as someone stopped working someone else asked for the pick, shovel, or rake. […]

During the week the park provided a place for people to rap, lie in the sun, play music and cook. Every weekend thousands of people worked in the park, and at the end of the day a “People’s Stew” was cooked, and the weary but satisfied workers would sit around and eat together.

The People had a tremendous pride in the park they were building; they saw the park as an example of “socialism in practice…”