The Black Liberation Circle Is Here to Stay: Daniel Brooks of the Black Liberation Party

The following interview was conducted electronically by the Indianapolis Liberator with Daniel Brooks, the Minister of Culture for the Black Liberation Circle and Black Liberation Party.

Indianapolis Liberator: Daniel, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us and let the community know about your organization and the important work you’re doing and have in the works. To begin could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became involved in politics and specifically in your organization?

Daniel Brooks: Thank you for having me. I got into radical politics through poetry, writing and learning from those doing the work on the ground. My writing mentor is a union leader and member of the League of Revolutionaries for A New America (LRNA) leftist org based out of Chicago. I joined after much encouragement. I went through political education and served on the education & social media committee. I’ve also worked in collectives addressing issues like police terrorism and food insecurity. I am now the Minister of Culture for the Black Liberation Party and a member of the Black Liberation Circle. The Black Liberation Circle (BLC) is the mass base organization of the Black Liberation Party (BLP). It was founded by Chairman Kwame Shakur in January of 2024.The BLC is based on the 10-Point Program by the Original Black Panther Party. The Circle welcomes all people from the African diaspora regardless of nationality, gender, ideology, religion, identity or orientation. We aim to build programmatic unity and dual contending power. We advocate for the full liberation of all colonized and oppressed peoples. We know that this can only be achieved through the power of the people.

Liberator: So true! Our revolutionary power is derived from our ability to work with and unite the working class. Many of our readers may be familiar with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense’s 10-Point Program, but for those who may be less familiar and for readers that would be interested in learning about the BLC’s platform, can you provide a quick rundown of the Program with current and historic contextualization?

Brooks: Exactly! The power is in the people. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was founded by Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale in October of 1966 in Oakland California. The Panthers emerged during a time of world revolution and anti-colonial movements as dozens of nations throughout the Global South gained independence from European colonial powers. They decided to create an organization for self defense in response to not only police terrorism in their community in Oakland but also the overall material conditions of colonized and oppressed peoples worldwide.

The 10-Point Program created the basis for their countless survival programs (pending revolution) such as the free breakfast for children program, people’s health clinics and countless others. The Panthers were scientific socialists. We are now faced with similar objective conditions today. Police terrorism is rampant throughout the U.S. where well over a thousand people are killed by police annually. In a 7-week span here in Indianapolis in 2023, more people were killed by IMPD than the entire year of 2022.

For centuries now, African people have been domestically colonized here in the imperial core. But anti-colonial struggles here and throughout the Middle East, Africa, and other parts of the globe, are resisting Western imperialism at every turn. Revolution is happening all around us. The Black Liberation Circle believes in the self determination of all colonized and oppressed peoples. Our program is based on building a united front to meet the needs of the masses of our people. One of the first survival programs of the BLC’s Indiana chapter is the Snack Lunch Program for kids in school.

Liberator: What a great program! Food insecurity and state violence are unfortunately two common afflictions plaguing the working class both here in Indiana and across the globe. As the Minister of Culture, what is your role in organizing and promoting your Party’s platform, and what is the significance of Programs, like the Snack Lunch Program, either to you personally or in your role as Minister of Culture? Are there any Projects or Programs you are currently working on that you would like to share with our readers?

Brooks: My primary role as Minister of Culture is to foster a culture of struggle in both the Party and the Circle. We are tasked with using cultural work to promote and plant seeds for cultural revolution among the people. The significance of the Snack Lunch Program is that it was born out of the material needs of the youth I have taught and learned so much from over the years. I started the program in 2021. The school I was working at that time did not provide snacks to students there. The 5th graders I was working with had to wait until almost 1:00 pm to eat lunch. They were hungry and the surrounding neighborhood was a food desert. So, I began bringing extra granola bars and fruit from home. Then, I started buying them in bulk and bringing them with me to work. Eventually, we organized a food box outside the school with the Poor People’s Campaign.

Now, we are finally at the point where we receive donations from community members. The next step is expanding the program beyond school buildings and feeding children in the community. You can donate on CashApp ($SnackLunchProgram) and Venmo (@SnackLunchProgram). We would love to connect and collaborate with any collective or organization already doing this work. The youth are and have always been at the heart of the Black Liberation Movement. The transformation of society starts with them.

Liberator: The material conditions we are experiencing in this historic moment are very effectively radicalizing our youth—some of whom are starting to organize very early on in their lives. As capitalism continues to progress, how do you anticipate the social and political consciousness of the youth to shift? What is the responsibility of more experienced organizers to help our young revolutionaries develop?

Brooks: You’re absolutely right. The consciousness of the youth here and all parts of the Earth is exponentially rising. They are relentless in the art of struggle. A lot of the time, as adults we don’t listen to the youth enough. Capitalist-imperialism is and has been in constant crisis since its inception and is now in its final stages: neocolonialism and neofascism. Consequently, children are experiencing some of the worst forms of repression in the onslaught of these colonial, oppressive systems. But they are also rising, they are fighting, they are resisting, they are participating in and building organizations and movements for freedom and liberation. Just as they have historically. We can learn from their resistance and drive toward a world altogether new. We must instill in them what has been poured into us by the people, our comrades, and ancestors. We must emphasize, as many before us have, that only the masses can make history and the future is theirs to mold. We must allow ourselves to be led by them as much as we lead them. 

Liberator: As we learn, grow, and build with each other as revolutionaries, is there any parting message you would like to leave our readers with?

Brooks: Free the land and people of Palestine and all colonized peoples throughout the globe. Make no mistake about it, we will win comrades.

Featured photo: Part of the Black Liberation Party’s logo.