How The Black Panthers Changed My Life | ArtiFact 47: Eldridge Cleaver’s ”Soul on Ice”

ArtiFact: Books, Art, Culture

04-10-2023 • 1時間 55分

Two years after the creation of the Black Panther Party, Eldridge Cleaver’s prison writings were published as SOUL ON ICE. He became the party’s Minister of Information, but would soon have a falling out with Huey P. Newton over tactics and ideology. In ArtiFact #47, authors Alex Sheremet and Keith Jackewicz break down the text, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, as Alex explains why it was so critical for his own intellectual development in high school. You can also watch this conversation on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1DCNP2uYMo

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Timestamps:

0:00 – a white kid sits at the black table

1:30 – introducing Eldridge Cleaver’s classic Black Panther text, “Soul on Ice”; how the book totally changed Alex’s life in high school; Keith: Cleaver has more lyrical dexterity than most leftist writing; the homophobia

9:00 – Malcolm X’s autobiography vs. Eldridge Cleaver; thresholds of transformation; Ras Kass’s 1996 rap album, “Soul on Ice”; contrasts with Huey P. Newton’s “Revolutionary Suicide”; homophobia & social conservatism in the radical left; the RCP’s Bob Avakian; Aleksandr Dugin’s style of fascism

19:25 – why the Black Panthers presented as a black nationalist group despite being Marxist-Leninists; how Donald Trump’s election shattered Keith’s understanding of the world; why the United States government feared the Black Panthers; hecklers in the Nation of Islam; the New Black Panther Party; armed patrols in California; overreaction within geopolitical rivalry; liberalism & the erosion of rights; 2007’s Stop the Madrassa; America’s change of opinions on Islam, immigrants; Alex: why Richard Spencer, et al was a dying gasp in 2016-2017

38:50 – Eldridge Cleaver’s obsession with poseur whites; Norman Mailer & “The White Negro”; a terrible passage from Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”; masculine novelists & insecure violence; cultural appropriation discourse is now passe; how diversity & integration teaches everyone; Alex’s experiences in a majority-black high school; how Alex was transformed by Countee Cullen & Harlem Renaissance poetry; black America faces steeper consequences for *everything*

52:08 – respect vs. fetishization; collectivization & sociability in black America; Eldridge Cleaver’s attacks on James Baldwin; Eldridge Cleaver might have been a closeted bisexual; Cleaver fails to understand high art; assessing Giovanni’s Room; defending James Baldwin’s comments on Richard Wright; Cleaver’s upbringing & psychology damaged his chances of becoming a great author; the worst chapter in Soul on Ice

01:19:42 – Eldridge Cleaver’s love letters are surprisingly well-handled; Alex’s favorite chapter in Soul on Ice; Cleaver knew how to sketch and characterize; Cleaver’s writerly tricks in his Old Lazarus chapter; how sexual imbalances fuel resentment; black objectification; comparisons to Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse

01:42:05 – Patreon show preview; Eldridge Cleaver’s latter biography; his falling out with Beverly Axelrod; Soul on Fire was a terrible follow-up; Keith: how There Will Be Blood & Ratatouille changed my life

Tags: #politics #books #blackpanther

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