"Hateful, Violent Marxist Rhetoric"
What You Need To Know:
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is well acted and absorbing. To its credit, the movie clearly shows the Marxist, Anti-American, anti-capitalist, and sometimes violent rhetoric that Hampton often used. It also makes valid points about the FBI’s overreach and about the police brutality in Hampton’s apartment. However, the movie also seems to support the Marxist, Anti-American, anti-capitalist worldview of the Black Panther Party and Fred Hampton. JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH also contains a constant barrage of strong foul language.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is a political drama about the political career of Fred Hampton, the iconoclastic, communist leader of the Chicago chapter of the violent Marxist group, the Black Panther Party, who allegedly was assassinated by Chicago police, in cahoots with the FBI. JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is well acted and makes some valid points about FBI overreach, but it minimizes one of Hampton’s most violent speeches and the violent, abhorrent, Anti-American, anti-capitalist revolutionary Marxism that fueled the hatred of Hampton and the other Black Panther leaders.
The story opens with a 17-year-old street criminal named William O’Neal getting arrested in Chicago in 1966 for impersonating an FBI agent. Roy Mitchell, the FBI agent arresting O’Neal, recruits him to infiltrate the local Black Panther Party, led by Fred Hampton, a powerful orator and political organizer.
The movie follows O’Neal and Hampton as they work for the party while O’Neal meets with Mitchell to give hm information about the Black Panthers. Hampton lectures and gives classes in Marxist, anti-capitalist training, sometimes using fiery, violent anti-police rhetoric. In one speech, Hampton tells an emotional crowd that killing one police officer will give them satisfaction, killing more than one will give them “more satisfaction,” and killing all police officers will give them “complete satisfaction.” To gain recruits to the Black Panther Party, Hampton and his comrades set up a school breakfast program for poor children and free health clinics. He also tried to unite black gangs to support the party’s political and social programs.
However, besides using O’Neal as an informant, the FBI engaged in an undercover campaign to sow discord within the party and within Hampton’s “Rainbow Coalition” of Panther members and Hispanic and white activists. At one point, taking a cue from Hampton’s speech about killing all policemen, O’Neal tries to trap Hampton into agreeing to use explosives against police headquarters in Chicago. However, Hampton’s not ready to back up his violent rhetoric with such a clear act of terrorism. He angrily orders O’Neal to drop the plan.
In the summer of 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declares that the Black Panther Party is the greatest threat among black extremist groups to the internal security of the United States. Later that year, Mitchell forces O’Neal to spike Hampton’s drink with a knockout drug and to give him a diagram of the layout of the large apartment where Hampton and his girlfriend are staying. While Hampton, his wife and their comrades are sleeping, a group of state and local police burst into the apartment and start shooting. Two men, including Hampton, are killed. The Black Panthers only fired one shot, and it may have been accidental. Despite this, the police weren’t charged with anything.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is well acted and absorbing. To its credit, the movie clearly shows the violent, Marxist, Anti-American, anti-capitalist rhetoric that Hampton and other Black Panthers often used. It also makes valid points about the FBI’s overreach in its campaign against the Black Panther Party. Finally, the movie’s depiction of the raid that resulted in Fred Hampton’s death on Dec. 4, 1969 seems fairly accurate.
However, the movie also clearly supports the Marxist, Anti-American, anti-capitalist worldview of the Black Panther Party and Fred Hampton. Worse, it tries to excuse their false, radical and immoral worldview by citing Hampton’s efforts to establish school breakfast programs and to end gang violence in the black community. Also, at other points in the movie, Hampton is heard quoting Chinese communist leader, Mao, who famously said that real political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Of course, Mao is the greatest mass murderer in human history, having deliberately killed upwards of 60 million people through executions, planned starvation, forced labor, torture, and other forms of coercion.
According to Peter Collier and David Horowitz in their book DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION, the Black Panthers “engaged widely in drug dealing, pimping, extortion, theft, assault, and homicide” (“Black Panther Party (BPP),” Discover the Networks, The David Horowitz Freedom Center, https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/black-panther-party-bpp/). In 1969 alone, 348 Black Panther members were arrested for murder, armed robbery, rape, and burglary (Peter Collier and David Horowitz, DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION (Summit Books, 1989), page 164).
Finally, the movie also doesn’t challenge the charge by Hampton and the Black Panther Party that the police often deliberately targeted urban blacks in the 1960s, even with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This is not necessarily true. Although the migration of many blacks into large cities after World War II caught white police departments unaccustomed to knowing how to deal with these large populations, comparisons of police brutality against white and black populations show no major difference between police treatment of white people versus black people. Also, the success of the Civil Rights Movement in 1964 resulted in a much higher awareness of the problem of police brutality. Sadly, however, the rise of television violence and other factors led to a violent crime wave among both the white and black population in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, it has been estimated that anywhere between 2,600 to 5,000 black people or more are killed each year by other black people, a crime rate that far exceeds the number of homicides between white people. Furthermore, several studies have shown that there is no difference today between how police officers treat white crime suspects and black crime suspects (Larry Elder, “Criminal Behavior, Not Racism, Explains ‘Racial Disparities’ in Crime Stats,” JD News, June 30, 2018, https://www.jdnews.com/opinion/20180630/larry-elder-criminal-behavior-not-racism-explains-racial-disparities-in-crime-stats, and Larry Elder, “10 Takeaways From the Anti-Police Brutality Protests,” OA Online, June 26, 2020, https://www.oaoa.com/editorial/columns/opinion_columnist/elder-10-takeaways-from-the-anti-police-brutality-protests/article_9c7d36f4-b703-11ea-ab25-b3656bc0a71e.html).
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH also contains a constant barrage of strong foul language and some intense violence. In addition, Hampton never marries his girlfriend, who becomes pregnant.