The Pacifica Radio/UC Berkeley
Social Activism Sound Recording Project
The Black Panther Party
Bobby Seale: Chicago 8 Trial Testimony


     







MR. KUNSTLER: Would you state your full name?

THE WITNESS:  Bobby G. Seale.

MR. KUNSTLER: And, Mr. Seale, what is your occupation?

THE WITNESS: Presently, I am the Chairman of the Black Panther Party.

MR. KUNSTLER: Would you state what is the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense?

THE WITNESS: The Black Panther Party--

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, every single witness on the stand called by the defense has been entitled to tell what is the organization in which his occupation pertained.

MR. SCHULTZ: We are not litigating the Black Panther Party, your Honor, in this case.

THE COURT: I will let my ruling stand, sir.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Seale, would you state for the Court and jury what your duties are as Chairman of the Black Panther Party?

THE WITNESS: As the Chairman of the Black Panther Party, I am a member of the central committee who have to make speaking engagements, representing the Party's program, the Party's ideology, the social programs that we are setting forth in communities to deal with political, economic, and social evils and injustices that exist in this American society.
    I go on a number of speaking engagements.  I do quite a bit of coordinating work and direct community organizing in the black community and relate to other organizations whom we have coalitions with.  We form alliances and direct these alliances in the same manner that brother Fred Hampton used to do before he was murdered, and we form these alliances with the Young Lords, Puerto Ricans, and also Latino people who are oppressed in America.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Seale, you mentioned the name of Fred Hampton.  Who was Fred Hampton?

THE WITNESS: Deputy Chairman--

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. SCHULTZ: Your Honor, if you will instruct Mr. Seale that when an objection is pending, he should wait before he answers the question--

THE COURT: Mr. Seale, when an objection is made by the opposing lawyers sitting at that table, wait until the Court decides the objection before you answer, please.

THE WITNESS: Well, should I just give a few seconds to see if there is going to be an objection?

THE COURT: Yes.  Wait.  It is a good idea.

THE WITNESS: Just to see if there is going to be an objection.

MR. SCHULTZ: I will try to be prompt, your Honor.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Seale, I call your attention to August 27, 1968.  Did there come a time when you went to the San Francisco International Airport?

THE WITNESS: Tuesday.  That Tuesday in August.  It was a Tuesday, I think.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did you then board an airplane?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

MR. KUNSTLER: Do you know the destination of that airplane?

THE WITNESS: Chicago, Illinois.

MR. KUNSTLER: I will ask you now to look at the defense table and I want to ask you this question whether, prior to boarding that airplane, you had ever known Jerry Rubin.

THE WITNESS: No, I had not.

MR. KUNSTLER: David Dellinger?

THE WITNESS: I never seen him before in my life.

MR. KUNSTLER: Abbie Hoffman?

THE WITNESS: I never seen him before in my life before that.

MR. KUNSTLER: Lee Weiner?

THE WITNESS: I never seen him before in my life.

MR. KUNSTLER: Rennie Davis?

THE WITNESS: I never seen him before in my life.

MR. KUNSTLER: Tom Hayden?

THE WITNESS: I had heard of his name but I had never met him or seen him before in my life.

MR. KUNSTLER: John Froines?

THE WITNESS: I never seen him or heard of him before in my life.

MR. KUNSTLER: Can you state to the Court the purpose of your trip to Chicago?

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection, your Honor.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now after you arrived in Chicago on the twenty-seventh of August, did you have occasion at any time later that day to go to Lincoln Park?

THE WITNESS: Yes, it was late in the afternoon.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now when you arrived at Lincoln Park, can you recollect what was going on in the area you went to?

THE WITNESS: The area in the park that I observed was completely occupied by policemen.
 The park was generally surrounded by policemen, cops everywhere, and many of those who I looked at and observed to be what I would call or define as pigs.  This is what I observed, this is the impression, the facts that existed and what I saw.  It was just the cops, and I myself defined it as pigs, were piggyback.  This is the general way we talk in the ghetto in expressing a lot of these things.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now did there come a time, Mr. Seale, when you spoke in Lincoln Park that afternoon?

THE WITNESS: Yes, there did come a time when I did speak.

MR. KUNSTLER: I show you D-350 for identification, do you think that you could identify for us what it is?

THE WITNESS: This is a transcript from a tape recording of the speech I made there.

MR. KUNSTLER: I will show you 350-B.  Is that the tape from which 350 was made?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I can recognize it.

MR. KUNSTLER: Is that tape a fair and accurate reproduction of your speech as you gave it on
the afternoon of August 27 in Lincoln Park.

THE WITNESS: Yes, it is, except for the fact that the very first line, about half of the sentence on that tape, the very first line of the first sentence that I pronounced in that speech is not on that tape.

MR. KUNSTLER: With the exception of those first three or four words, it is a fair and accurate representation of the speech?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

MR. KUNSTLER: Then I would offer it into evidence.

MR. SCHULTZ: No objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, before this is played we will furnish to the court reporter, to save her hands, a copy of the speech.

MR. SCHULTZ: No objection.

 (tape played)

    We've come out to speak to some people who're involved, maybe emotionally and maybe in many respects, in a drastic situation of a developing revolution.  The revolution in this country at the time is in fact the people coming forth to demand freedom.  The revolution at this time is directly connected with organized guns and force.
    We must understand that as we go forth to try and move the scurvy, reprobative pigs: the lynching Lyndon Baines Johnsons, the fat pig Humphreys, the jive double-lip-talkin' Nixons, the slick talkin' McCarthys--these murdering and brutalizing and oppressing people all over the world--when we go forth to deal with them--that they're gonna always send out their racist, scurvy rotten pigs to occupy the people, to occupy the community, just the way they have this park here occupied.
    You know the Minister of Information, Eldridge Cleaver, who's been nominated as the Presidential candidate, Black Panther candidate, running on the Peace and Freedom ticket.  As you know, the brother always says, "All power to the People."
Now just a second here.  You must understand what power is.  The Minister of Defense, Huey P. Newton, explains and teaches that power is the ability to defend phenomena and make it act in a desired manner.
    What phenomena are we talking about?  We're talking about the racist, brutal murders that pigs have committed upon black people.  We're talking about lynchings that's been going down for four hundred years on black people's heads.  We're talking about the occupation troops, right here in Chicago, occupying the black community and even occupying this park where the people have come forth.  The phenomenal situation is this: it's that we have too many hogs in every facet of government that exists in this country.  We can define that.
    But we said the ability to define this social phenomena and also the ability to make it act in a desired manner.  How do you make the social phenomena act in a desired manner?   I am saying this here, I'm pretty sure you're quite well aware of how you make it act in a desired manner.  If a pig comes up to you and you sit down and start talking about slidin' in, rollin' in, jumpin' in, bugalooin' in, dancin' in, swimmin' in, prayin' in and singing "We Shall Overcome," like a lot of these Toms want us to do--we're jivin'.  But if a pig comes up to us and starts swinging a billy club. and you check around and you got your piece--you gotta down that pig in defense of yourself.  You gonna take that club, whip him over his head, lay him out on the ground and then this pig is acting in a desired manner.  All right.
    At the same time, many individuals. many groups will run into situations where the pigs are going to attack.  Always.  Because the pigs have been sent here by the top hog who gave him orders from the power structure to attack the people.
    Now listen here.  If you gonna get down to nitty-gritty, brothers and people, and you don't intend to miss no nits and no grits, you got to have some functional organization to not only make one individual pig or a number of pigs act in the desired manner but to make this whole racist, decadent power structure act in a desired manner.
    The Black Panther Party went forth when brother Huey P. Newton was busted October the 28.  He was charged with making a couple of pigs act in a desired manner.  And from there, a coalition between the Peace and Freedom Party, a predominately white group, and the Black Panther Party, a black organization, a revolutionary organization, formed this coalition based on the fact that the white people said they were concerned by the fact that their racist power structure in Oakland in California was going to try to railroad Huey P. Newton to the gas chamber and kill him.
    Now this coalition developed into a more functional thing: the Peace and Freedom Party in the white community trying to end the decadent racism, the Black Panthers in the black community trying to convince us we've got to defend ourselves, liberate ourselves from the oppressed conditions that are caused by racism.  This coalition has gone forth.  We think it's a very functional coalition.
    So it's very important that we understand the need for organization, cause that's what we deal with.  We're not here to be sitting around a jive table vacillating and jiving ourselves.  Too many times in the past, the people sit down around tables.  When they sit down around these tables they get to arguing about whether or not this white racist wall that black people are chained against is real or not.  They want to come talking about some molecular structure of the wall.  And the molecular structure of the wall shows that wall is really ninety percent space.  So is the white racist wall that we're talking about real or not?   We're saying that it's here.           You're damned right it's real.  Because we're chained against this wall.
    And we say this here: don't be out there jiving, wondering whether the wall is real or not.  Make sure if you want to coalesce, work, functionally organize, that you pick up a crowbar.  Pick up a piece.  Pick up a gun.  And pull that spike out from the wall.  Because if you pull it on out and if you shoot well, all I'm gonna do is pat you on the back and say "Keep shooting." You dig?  We won't be jiving.
    Now, there are many kinds of guns.  Many, many kinds of guns.  But the strongest weapon that we have, the strongest weapon that we all each individually have, is all of us. United in opposition.  United with revolutionary principles.
    So it's very necessary for us to understand the need for functional organization.  It's very necessary for us, especially black brothers--listen close--that we have revolutionary principles to guide ourselves by.  Because if we just go out in a jive gang, running around in big groups, with rocks and bottles, we're not going to do nothing against 500 pigs with shotguns and .357 Magnums.
    What we got to do is functionally put ourselves in organizations.  Get every black man in the black community with a shotgun in his home, and a .357 Magnum, and a .45 if he can get it, and an M-1 if he can get it and anything else if he can get it, brothers.  Get it and start doing this.
    Then, I want to say this here.  On the streets, stop running in large groups.  That ain't no right tactic.  We should run in groups of fours and fives--all around.  We cannot continue using these tactics where we lose 3000 arrested or we lose 1 or 200 dead.  We gotta stop.  So we want to start running in threes, fours, and fives.
    Small groups using proper revolutionary tactics.  So we can dissemble those pigs who occupy our community, who occupy our community like foreign troops.
Black people, we're saying we're lost.  We seem to be lost in a world of white racist, decadent America.  I'm saying that we have a right to defend ourselves as human beings. And if some pig comes up to us unjustly treating us injustly, then we have to bring our pieces out and start barbecuing some of that pork.
    Brother Huey P. Newton was on the stand yesterday. And they said the brother was so beautiful in cross-examination for a whole day-and-a-half that the jury got mad at the D.A.  We hope that brother Huey P. Newton be set free.  We go further in our hopes, in our work in in our organization to demand that he be set free.
    And we say that if anything happens to Huey P. Newton, the sky is the limit.
    Now here are some buckets around and we are here, Huey needs funds, and we hope that you will donate to the Party and other local organizations.
    We hope, we sure that you can begin to set up a few things organizationally to deal with the situation in a very revolutionary manner.
So, Power to the People.  Power to All the People.  Black Power to Black People. Panther Power.  Even some Peace and Freedom Power.  Power and Free Huey.  Thank you.

(end of tape)

MR. KUNSTLER: Now, Mr. Seale, when you used the term "Pig" in that speech, can you define what is meant by the word "pig"?

THE WITNESS: A pig is a person or a policeman who is generally found violating the constitutional rights and the human rights of people, a vile traducer, and he is usually found masquerading as a victim of unprovoked attack.

MR. KUNSTLER: And you also used the term in discussing Huey P. Newton "the sky is the limit." Would you explain what you meant by that?

THE WITNESS: I meant by that that we would exhaust all political and legal means through the courts all the way to the top of the Supreme Court.  We would have demonstrations.  We will organize the people in together and we will go to the limit to try and get our Minister of Defense free if he is not set free.

MR. KUNSTLER: I have no further question.

THE COURT: Is there any cross-examination?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, sir, your Honor, I have some.
    Now you said in your speech that was just played before the jury that Huey P. Newton was busted and charged with making a couple of pigs act in a desired manner, did you not, Sir?

THE WITNESS: He was charged with shooting a policeman.  He was charged with shooting in defense of himself.

MR. SCHULTZ: So when you said that "individuals should mike pigs act in a desired manner," you were referring to shooting policemen in defense if necessary, isn't that right?

THE WITNESS: Organizationally and functionally, if you look at the whole context of the sentence, what I mean is not what you are inferring.
    What I mean is this here--

MR. SCHULTZ: I am asking you what you said, sir.  I am asking you, did you not state that?

THE WITNESS: But you also asked me what I mean, Mr. Schultz.

MR. KUNSTLER: I thought he asked him what he meant, too, Your Honor.

MR. SCHULTZ: Let me rephrase the question if I did.
    When you stated to the people in Lincoln Park that " they've got to make one individual pig or a number of individual pigs act in the desired manner," you weren't referring to that same desired manner for which Huey Newton was charged, were you?

THE WITNESS: What was that?  Rephrase your question again.  I am trying to make sure you don't trip me.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was a little complicated, Mr. Seale.  It wasn't very well stated.

THE WITNESS: All right.

MR. SCHULTZ: I will ask it to you again.
    You said to the people, "They should make one pig or a number of pigs act in the desired manner." You were not then referring to the same desired manner with which Mr. Newton was charged, that is, shooting a policeman?  Were you or were you not?

THE WITNESS: No. I can state it in another way in answering the question.

MR. SCHULTZ: No.

THE WITNESS: If you will let me answer the question.

MR. SCHULTZ: You said you were not.

THE WITNESS: Can I answer the question?

THE COURT: You have answered the question.  Ask him another question.

MR. SCHULTZ: Were you referring to shooting policemen in the desired manner when you said this: "But if a pig comes up to us and starts swinging a billy club, you're gonna take that club and whip him over the head, and lay him on the ground, and then the pig is acting in a desired manner."

THE WITNESS: I was referring to defending myself.

MR. SCHULTZ: Now you said to the people, did you not, that they should pull the spike from the wall, because "if you pull it out and if you shoot well, all I am going to do is pat you on the back and say 'Keep on shooting'?" Was that for the purpose of making the pig act in the desired manner?

THE WITNESS: That's for the purpose of telling people they have to defend themselves.  In that broad sense of that statement, without taking it out of context, that generally means that, and if any individual is unjustly attacked by any policeman, unjustly, at that point he has a human right--

MR. SCHULTZ: To kill the policeman.

THE WITNESS: To defend himself.

MR. SCHULTZ: And that means if necessary to kill that policeman, does it not?

THE WITNESS: If that policeman is attacking me, if he is violating the law, if he is violating the law unjustly, attacking me, --I am not talking about a policeman down the street stopping somebody--

MR. SCHULTZ: That means killing, if necessary, doesn't it?

THE WITNESS: No.

MR. SCHULTZ: You will not kill a policeman, is that right?

THE WITNESS: It is not the desire to kill, and that's what you are trying to put in the tone of it, and it's not that--

MR. SCHULTZ: Will you answer my question?

THE WITNESS: I won't answer that question with a yes or no, your Honor.  I have to answer the question my own way.

MR. SCHULTZ: I can rephrase it.
    Were you referring to shooting pigs?

THE WITNESS: I was referring to shooting any racist, bigoted pig who unjustly attacks us or brutalizes us in the process of us doing any kind of organizational and functional work to try to change the power structure and remove the oppression.

MR. SCHULTZ: And you said in that context "unjustly attacking you?"

THE WITNESS: In the context of the whole speech, that's what I am talking about.

MR. SCHULTZ: So when you told the people that what we have to do is get every black man in the black community with a shotgun in his home and a .357 Magnum and a .45, if he can get it, and an M-1, if he can get it--you were referring to getting guns for defense, isn't that right'

THE WITNESS: Getting a gun, put a gun in your home, a shotgun.

MR. SCHULTZ: In defense?

THE WITNESS: --or M-1 --you have a right by the Second Amendment of the Constitution to have it.

MR. SCHULTZ: Were you referring to it in self-defense, that is my question, sir?

THE WITNESS: I was referring to it in self-defense against unjust brutal attack by any policeman or pigs or bigots in this society who will attack people.

MR. SCHULTZ: And you said to the people in Lincoln Park "I am referring to unjust brutal attack," didn't you?

THE WITNESS: No. You know what I mean, Mr. Schultz.  I am telling you what I am referring to.

MR. SCHULTZ: Now, when you told the people to stop running around in big groups and with rocks and bottles because you can't do anything against 500 pigs
with shotguns, and .357 Magnums, was that part of your revolutionary tactics?

THE WITNESS: Definitely.  It is a change.
    Revolution means change, change away from this old erroneous method of running out in the streets in big numbers and rioting, and throwing rocks and bottles.  How are you going to stop a .357 Magnum or shotgun full of some shotgun shells that are being shot at you with rocks and bottles.  Stop that.  Stop it.  Stop the rioting.  That is in essence what I am talking about.
    Stop those kind of tactics.  Use revolutionary tactics.  Defend yourself from unjust attacks, et cetera.

MR. SCHULTZ: When you told the people in Lincoln Park, "Pick up a gun, pull the spike from the wall, because if you pull it out and you shoot well, all I'm gonna do is pat you on the back and say, 'Keep on shooting,' " That was part of your revolutionary tactics too, was it not, sir?

THE WITNESS: Yes, sir, and if you look generally--

MR. SCHULTZ: Please, that is all.

THE COURT: You have answered the question.

THE WITNESS: I strike that answer on the grounds that that particular question is wrong because it ain't clear.

THE COURT: I have some news for you, sir.

 (there is applause in the courtroom)
THE COURT: I do the striking here, and will the marshals exclude from the courtroom anyone who applauded.  This isn't a theater, Anyone who applauded the witness may go out and is directed to leave.

MR. SCHULTZ: Mr. Seale, are you the Bobby G. Seale who was convicted on April 11, 1968, of being in possession of a shotgun in the vicinity of a jail?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I am the same person who was convicted later of being in possession of a shotgun as they charged me of being adjacent to a jail, but as I know by the law, you could have a shotgun as long as it wasn't concealed and as long as you are in a public place, and I was actually in fact on a public sidewalk.
    Yes, I was convicted, and the thing was appealed.

MR. SCHULTZ: You had five shotgun shells in that gun, did you not?

THE WITNESS: Yes, in a magazine.

MR. SCHULTZ: Now, Mr. Seale, on Wednesday morning, you gave the second speech, right?

THE WITNESS: I guess that was Wednesday morning, in the middle of the week somewhere.

MR. SCHULTZ: And you said to the people, Mr. Seale, "If the pigs get in the way of our march, then tangle with the blue-helmeted motherfuckers.  Kill them and send them to the morgue slab," and you were pointing to policemen at that time, isn't that a fact?

MR. KUNSTLER: This is completely out of the scope of the direct examination, your Honor.  It is improper and it is wrong,

THE COURT: No, the witness was brought here to testify about his activities during that period.
    I think the Government has the right to inquire.  Treating your remarks as objection which you have not made, I overrule the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Is your Honor ruling that every witness that takes the stand can be cross-examined on anything?

THE COURT: I said it is my ruling, sir, that that question is a proper one on this record.

MR. SCHULTZ: How many people were you speaking to?

THE WITNESS: Let's see now--

MR. GARRY: Just a minute, Mr. Seale.
    I am rising to the part that your Honor has heretofore allowed me to.
    Unless we can be given a full transcription of the speech that he gave on that day, I am going to instruct the witness not to answer the question upon the grounds of the Fifth Amendment.

THE COURT: If you so advise him and the witness wants to do it in a proper manner, I will respect his refusal to answer.

MR. GARRY: Mr. Seale, you are entitled and I advise you not to answer this question upon the ground it would tend to incriminate you under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
    I so advise you to take that advice.

THE COURT: Mr. Seale, you have heard Mr. Garry.  If you wish to take advantage of the Fifth Amendment and say to the Court that to answer that question might tend to incriminate you, you may do it, but it must come from you, not from your lawyer.

THE WITNESS: I would like to take the Fifth Amendment on the question, yes, sir.

THE COURT: All right.  You needn't answer the question.

MR. SCHULTZ: That is all, your Honor.

THE COURT: Is there any redirect examination?

MR. KUNSTLER: Yes, your Honor.
    Mr. Seale, with reference to Mr. Schultz' question regarding the conviction for carrying a shotgun, did you ever go to jail for that?

THE WITNESS: No.

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection, your Honor.  That is not proper.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.  The test is the conviction, not the punishment.

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Seale, do you recall Mr. Schultz asked you about certain guns?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now I ask you this question.  When you were referring to those guns, did you not use the phrase "in his home"?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection to the form of question.  Mr. Kunstler is doing the testifying and using the witness as a sounding board.

THE COURT: Yes, the form is bad.  I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: All right.  What did you say in that speech, Mr. Seale, with reference to where those guns were to be?

THE WITNESS: I said "Put the guns in your home, .357 Magnum, M-1, .45s." I referred to these kind of guns or anything else.  You have a right to do it, and that ,
s part of our program in the Party, a constitutional right to arm yourself.

THE COURT: All right.  You've answered the question.

MR. KUNSTLER: Now, Mr. Seale, as to the speech that you gave in Lincoln Park on August 27, 1968, what type of person was this speech addressed to?

MR. SCHULTZ: Objection.  I asked him nothing about the audience.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection to the question.

MR. KUNSTLER: In the light of that ruling, Your Honor, I have no further questions.

THE COURT: I have sustained the objection.

MR. SCHULTZ: I have no questions.

THE COURT: You may go.  Call your next witness, please.

         (witness excused)

VOICES: Power to the people!  Power to the people!

This transcript is mirrored from the University of Missouri, Kansas City



Back to Black Panther Chronology


This website copyright (C) 1996 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.
All recordings (C) by Pacifica Radio All rights reserved.
Document maintained on server: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ by
Gary Handman, Head, Media Resources Center.
Last update 8/31/00 (gh)

MRC web graphics by Mary Scott, Graphics Office, The Teaching Library