An Interview with Eldridge Cleaver

Eldridge Cleaver was interviewed at his Berkeley apartment by REASON editors Bill Kauffman and Lynn Scarlett.

(Page 6 of 6)

REASON: Any success yet?

Cleaver: I'm waiting. I got a winner, but I haven't sold it yet. I'm looking for a good agent who can help me.

REASON: Do you see any of the other Black Panthers or contact any of them?

Cleaver: I see Huey Newton. He used to walk down this street every day at 3:45 when he was in the hospital here in one of those dry-out programs. But if you sit around up on College Avenue you can see Huey Newton every once on a while.

REASON: But you don't really. . .

Cleaver: He won't talk to me.

REASON: How about Bobby Seale?

Cleaver: I talk to Bobby Seale over the phone. And a lot of the other people who were in the Black Panther Party are all over the place, and I talk to them. We had a split in the party. People on my side of the split, I'm on good terms with. People on the other side, I'm not on good terms with, and they've gone on to other things. The Black Panther Party doesn't exist anymore—there's nobody running around talking about the Black Panther Party. But they're in other political activities. In the governments in Oakland, Los Angeles, and here in Berkeley there are a lot of ex-Black Panthers.

REASON: Have they generally pursued a socialist or leftist. . . ?

Cleaver: Anti-American kind of leftist, I call it. Really a hodgepodge ideology, because a lot of people haven't rethought it. Like Tom Hayden—when he comes up here and talks on the campus, you'd think he was still back in the '60s, yet he's on the public payroll. I did what a lot of people didn't want to do, and that is to back away from the whole mix and let the chips fall where they fall. When I first came back to America, Huey Newton was in Cuba, Bernardine Dohrn and those people were still fugitives, and they all denounced my coming back. Then, when they saw me working out my own legal problems,- Huey Newton came back. The other people like Bernardine Dohrn and many others came back, but they still made the same kind of statements. Bernardine Dohrn is waiting to be admitted to the New York Bar, but you ask her what she thinks about America and she'll say nya, nya, nya. I think that's an unfortunate attitude.

REASON: In exile, you rued the fact that your son didn't play football. Does he play now?

Cleaver: He's a hell of a football player! I brainwashed him from the time he was a baby. I had a pair of football shoes that I always kept hanging in my den. These football shoes were mine at Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles. I never had a chance to use them, because I got busted. But I always kept them. My son has them now, and from the time that he was first born I always talked to him about football. I think it worked. He loves football.

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  • ||

    In which it is demonstrated that politics is in the service of personality, and this man is a a__hole who should've been disposed of in the basement of the Lubyanka or whatever its Cuban or Vietnamese counterpart is.

  • ||

    I knew him, briefly. I doubt you ever did. He had more class, and more clues about reality, in his little finger than you'll ever have in your entire life.

  • Marshal||


    That's an interesting word for someone whose radical politics were driven by the desire to justify multiple rapes.

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    Hey sohbet! We were just talking about you. Very very blogosod.

  • rts||

    He spent the next seven years wandering through the communist world, with sojourns in Algeria, North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union before finally settling in France.

    That got a chuckle out of me.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Seriously... Algeria wasn't Communist.

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    Damn, the bots attacked this thread hard.

  • Gladstone||

    The article was originally posted 3 years ago. That's why.

  • ||

    1986 wasn't three, years ago.

  • Gladstone||

    I said "posted" as in on this website not "written" or "published."

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  • hotsy totsy||

    Always hilarious when the Left finds out one of their celebrated icons has a mind of his own.

  • Almanian!||

    DA NOYV!


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