This is a dialogue in our continuing discussion of the new thrust of the Black Panther Party, as we begin to carry out the original vision of the Party. When we coined the expression “All Power to the People,” we had in mind emphasizing the word “Power,” for we recognize that the will to power is the basic drive of man. But it is incorrect to seek power over people. We have been subjected to the dehumanizing power of exploitation and racism for hundreds of years; and the Black community has its own will to power also. What we seek, however, is not power over people, but the power to control our own destiny. For us the true definition of power is not in terms of how many people you can control. To us power is, first of all, the ability to define phenomena, and secondly the ability to make these phenomena act in a desired manner.
We see then that power has a dual character and that we cannot simply identify and define phenomena without acting, for to do so is to become an armchair philosopher. And when Bobby and I left Merritt College to organize brothers on the block we did so because the college students were too content to sit around and analyze without acting. On the other hand, power includes action, for it is making phenomena perform in the desired manner. But action without thinking and theory is also incorrect. If the social forces at work in the community have not been correctly analyzed and defined, how can you control them in such a way that they act in a desired manner? So the Black Panther Party has always merged theory and practice in such a way as to serve the true interests of the community.