AN: Yes, that’s absolutely right. The Party appreciated that clothing could be both a basic need and a form of self-expression. Also, the Black Panthers’ had a broad and politicized understanding of well-being that I describe as “social health.” Social health was their vision of the good society. The Party drew a connection between the physical health of individuals and social conditions in the U.S. They believed that achieving healthy bodies and communities required a just and equitable society. The Black Panthers took a similarly holistic approach with their health activities. They provided basic health care services at their People’s Free Medical Clinics, for example. At these clinics one could also get free groceries or clothing, or advice on how to deal with a difficult landlord or help finding a job. For the Panthers, all of these issues were interconnected.
this whole interview. read it. it’s amazing.
also this is what I keep thinking about with OWS. it’s not the marches, it’s the services. it’s the infrastructure. this is what we forgot to do, somehow, for years and years. we forgot to build movements that gave people what they needed. and that gave them things that made them happy. bread and roses. clothes that keep you warm but also make you feel good.
Filed under “Things society needs to relearn”.