ELDRIDGE CLEAVER by Robert--Ed. Scheer


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Cleaver is the Black Panther Party's Minister of Information. His first book was very different from this collection of short writings and talks, many of which appeared in Ramparts. Soul on Ice was product, a distillation of intellectual biography and personal experience. This book is process. Quite apart from its ad lib style and ad hoc subject matter, Cleaver seems to be in the beginning of the middle of working political things out and thinking them through. This book's retrospective facets (such as Cleaver's accounts of his introduction to the Panther) are part of his manifest effort to identify the means and ends of black liberation. The introduction by Robert Scheer outlines the events which forced Cleaver's ""choice of flight or death in prison"" this winter. Cleaver discusses them in relation to black urban guerrilla war against the Oakland police, ""the occupying army,"" ""the Gestapo force."" This vision progresses in an irregular dialectic with his views about the coalition with whites which is always hoped for. Many of his concepts--""the pigs"" and Fanonesque violence--remain problematic. But it is the tensions between his ideas that are important. . . between a view of black people as an eternal colony and America as a Babylon built on the backs of both races. . . between the pain and impatience which makes him denounce words as irrelevant and his hyperverbal appraisals of California politics, the military-industrial complex, the death of King, the new generation of black youth. Wherever Cleaver is now, we have here an expression of his reckless energy and intelligence which will sustain the impact of Soul on Ice.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1969
Publisher: Random House