This paper seeks to explore the legacy of The Black Panther Party amidst the contemporary, neo-liberal context in which we find ourselves, here in the UK. In particular, the paper will focus on the Panthers’ Free Breakfast for Children Program, and the response in 1969 by the then former FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, responding to it as ‘the greatest threat to the internal security of the USA’. The reasons for this response will be examined through a critical theorist lens; namely, Herbert Marcuse. The legacy of this program will be explored, before a group work task to attempt a synthesis with what the Panthers accomplished, and the challenges facing those disenfranchised here in Lincolnshire. It is hoped that the paper rekindles interest in the Panthers, and how they serve as an example of the power of community organisation and activism in the face of state and corporate injustice.
Here is a recording of our second seminar on Social Cybernetics, with Professor Raul Espejo. The reading for this week was Raul’s ‘What is Systemic Thinking’. Also note that his paper on the ‘Viable System Model’ is expected reading across the course. All articles for the course can be found here.
This week we discussed, among other things, the integration of the informational and operational domains, recursive organisations, voluntarism vs. determinism, the ‘law of requisite variety’ and the significance of constraints to any organisational system. As before, we tried to get to grips with the different levels of abstraction that the model assumes. Raul’s slides can be downloaded from here and will be especially useful this week because much of our discussion referred to the ‘black box’ model of organisation that Raul introduces.
It’s hard to grasp at times if you are not familiar with organisational theory, but is proving to be an enjoyable and thought-provoking series of seminars and a useful way into understanding this influential area of social science. It’s also great to meet new people who are attending from London and Leicester.
Our next seminar will be on February 18th, 7-9pm, and the reading for that is ‘Good Cybernetics is a Must in Policy Processes’. Anyone is welcome to attend.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below in the comments box.