Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition

Photo by joey zanotti | CC BY 2.0


Young Patriots*

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the social movements crossed over into revolutionary territory. The victories and the failures of the civil rights movement, the intensification of the Vietnam War and anti-war movement, the assassination of MLK, the emergence of a new feminism, the revolt of soldiers and veterans, the stunning militance of the Stonewall rebellion and gay liberation, and the emergence of a mass environmental movement meant that people were moving toward solutions outside of the existing order.

In the white hot heat of the time — as the movement simultaneously approached the revolutionary threshold and the deeply entrenched power of the established order — working-class whites joined with the Black Panthers and Young Lords in the original “Rainbow Coalition.”

Inspired by Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Bob Lee, a group of “dislocated hillbillies” with organizing experience in JOIN’s police brutality committee founded the Young Patriots.

Modeling themselves on the Black Panthers, the Young Patriots envisioned two parallel tracks: Serve the people with local programs designed to meet the need of the community and repurpose white nationalist sentiment to revolutionary goals.

While the ideology and iconography of the Young Patriots may seem jarring by today’s cultural standards, remember the immense influence of third world nationalism on virtually all sectors of the American left of the…

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