This article relates to selected poetry from the 1975 volume ‘Insights and Poems’ by Dr. Huey Newton and Ericka Huggins and my applied “biopolitical/necropolitical” evaluation. “Biopolitics/Necropolitics” is defined, in essence, as the control over who lives and who dies. It involves victim-subjection to “death worlds.” This Newton-Huggins book is exclusively available as a rare 1st edition, which is valued at around three-hundred dollars. The Dr. Newton section, itself, is a socially antagonistic and existential excursion in emancipatory politics against “biopolitical/necropolitical” modes of control which, also, effected the “Prisoner rights movement in Ireland 1972-1976 (Wall).
From the state-organized killing of teenage Bobby Hutton to the savage slaying of Fred Hampton, the Black Panther Party were under perpetual siege. State terror, violence, surveillance, and coercion were instigated against them. Some homicides of Panther members have never been solved, like the murder of Betty Van Patter, and it is assumed that the FBI destroyed all evidence related to her death. COINTELPRO also used “Biopower/necropower” as an apparatus of control against the Black Panther Party (FBI-Docs).
“Biopower/Necropower” can constitute a nefarious system of coercion that can relate to extreme police violence and the prison industrial complex. Author CD Wright, who wrote the book-length poem ‘One Big Self’, based on her visits to numerous prisons around Louisiana, states, solitary-confinement in “biopolitical/necropolitical” institutions “can alter the ontological makeup of a stone” (Wright). Newton himself wrote much of his section for ‘Insights and Poems’ from prison and solitary confinement. “Solitary-confinement” is a violent “biopolitical/necropolitical” apparatus of control exerted on an inmate. Zizek believes that Systemic-violence, which is administered by a centralized colonial state, supersedes reactionary or “endogenous” modes of violence. Benjamin speaks of “mythic-violence” which also frames a response to tyrannical systems of “biopolitical-necropolitical” violence (Zizek).
In his cri-de-Coeur poem “Revolutionary-Suicide,” Huey, in the tradition of Fanon, insinuates, that martyrdom and “mythic-violence” could be used as resistance-tools against the destructive apparatus of the “biopolitical/necropolitical” agenda of the colonizer. “Revolutionary Suicide” empowers a population of the oppressed and provides macronarrative, reification, and valency amid colonial abjection. Newton passionately asserts that enslaved peoples should resist the colonial state’s “biopolitical/necropolitical” agenda. In the five poems “Ego”, “Himself”, “Prison” and “Health” and “I Diminish Myself”, Newton courageously tackles the theme of transcendence and Marxist reification amidst a system of repressive “biopolitics” and “necropolitics”. He provides a judico-medical explication of power in the line “The desire for health is slavery” (Newton, 21), but in typical Hegelian-stylization espouses that “the will to health is freedom” (Newton, 21). In his poems, Huey reconceives the virgin territory of black-body-space and identifies it as a “clinamen” or point of departure for “free-variation” or fresh creation (li). He does this, referring directly, to the brutal concept of “necropolitics”, e.g. “Life is going to kill the body, it does not say when” (Newton, 21).
Opposed to this “biopolitical/necropolitical” logos is Huey’s resilient belief in his gender-identity, performativity, resonance, and absolute manifestation in the real (Daesin). As Levinas states “The face is the source from which all meaning appears” (Critcheley). C.D. Wright has added to this conceptualization by stating that “the recollection of a face has a memory” (Wright). Huey’s projection of his own eclectic anti-biopolitical/necropolitical and “emancipatory mandala” is best conveyed in his image on the cover of the album anthology Listen Whitey! (2012) which is named after Huey’s, 1972 speech addressing the racial question in America (amazon.co.uk).
As we see on P. 28 of Insights and Poems, Dr. Newton was a vehement Marxist, “The sun rises in the east, we will make it set in the west. And it will also be red” (Newton, 28). “Red” is also the colour of primordial “violence,” which is something Huey believed in as a response to an apparatus of colonial “biopower/necropower.” The philosopher, Sylvere Lotringer, speaks of our age of “money-capital,” as one of “monsters that would be men” (Yanniflorance.net). Huey, in his “rhizomatic reterritorializationism,” fits this mutated description, as does his “anti-necropolitical-biopolitical” theory of “Revolutionary-suicide” developed in his 1973 magnum-opus of the same name (Newton). However, Newton emerges as the often neglected, misunderstood, “political revolutionary” and “intersectional-rights” paramilitary, who sought to occupy, ethereal “revolution-spaces” because of the “biopolitical/necropolitical” challenges and borderization’s of race, gender, and class, faced in this earthly reality (Youtube).
FBI Docs, 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20180330211353/http://fbidocs.com/betty-van-patter.
Wright, C. D. One Big Self. Copper Canyon Press, 2013.
Zizek, S, Violence, Profile Books, 2008.
Chritcheley, S, The Cambridge Companion to Levinas, Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Yanniflorence.Net, 2020, http://www.yanniflorence.net/pataphysicsmagazine/genetic_bomb.html.
Newton, Huey P. Revolutionary Suicide. Penguin Books, 2009.
Li, Promise. “Althusser’s Clinamen: Aleatory Materialism And Revolutionary Politics | Mediations | Journal Of The Marxist Literary Group”. Mediationsjournal.Org, 2020, https://www.mediationsjournal.org/articles/Aleatory_Materialism.
Newton, Huey,P. Insights and Poems, City Lights Books, 1975
Youtube.com. 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2020].
Wall, O., 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 November 2020].
Morrison, D., 2020. Paramilitarism: From Belfast To Colombia, A Fascinating Read On State Violence. [online] Irish Examiner. Available at: [Accessed 22 November 2020].