Eldridge Cleaver: An American Story of Redemption

Recently, the Black Panther Party, New Black Panthers, Black-Liberation Theology, Malcom X, Jeremiah Wright, and other Marxist advocates and worldviews have been in the news. We have become aware that leaders from national to local offices hold to these views and are incessantly working to see Marxism implemented in the United States.

It is an understatement to say it is sad to see some citizens accepting the lie of Marxism. Day after day we are bombarded with news about the latest plan or legislation from leaders who are bent on fulfilling Carl Marx’s progression of society.

However, these Marxist leaders and intellectuals are always in power, exempt from the negative consequences of their ideology.  They do not live in reality. They equalize everyone else into mediocrity while empowering themselves with the brute force of government.

It is time for an account of a Marxist who experienced the horrors of Communism and finally saw the hope and opportunity that America provides to its citizens under the Constitution.

Meet Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998), a former Marxist and Black Panther leader. Cleaver was born on August 31, 1935, in Wabbaseka, Arkansas, but grew up in Los Angeles where the teen-aged Cleaver got into trouble with the law, with arrests for theft and selling marijuana.

In 1957 Cleaver was sent to a California prison on conviction of attempted murder which is where he was trained in Marxist theology.

While is prison Cleaver wrote a series of essays that were later published in his book “Soul on Ice” in 1968. This book was a powerful catalyst in the Black Power movement.  In one essay, Cleaver described his rape of white women as “an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law … defiling his women.”  “I wanted to send waves of consternation through the white race,” he said.  In 1966, after his release from prison, Cleaver and other Marxists started the Black Panthers, a militant, leftist, black nationalist group based in Oakland, California. Eldridge Cleaver became the Minister of Information and espoused the agenda of the Black Panthers. This agenda was to annihilate the entire economic system and social structure and create an American Communist regime.

Cleaver's fellow Black Panther founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale

The Black Panthers advocated violence and in 1968 cities were burning all over the United States. However, the burning was always in black ghettos and black people saw that they were being used.

In a shootout between police and the Black Panthers Eldridge Cleaver was wounded, and faced with criminal charges he then evaded bail and fled the United States for a life of exile in Algeria, Cuba and France.  After 8 years in exile in these Communist and Socialist countries Eldridge Cleaver requested to return to the United States because he believed he would receive a fair trial under the American judicial system. He and his wife were no longer atheists nor Communists. They had seen what Communism actually creates, the chaotic political law, as well as the rampant corruption and poverty. Cleaver’s time in Communism had debunked his propaganda of “equality” and “justice” in such a society.

He would tell the Reader’s Digest: “I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else.”

His remorse continued, “I was wrong and the Black Panthers were wrong…. We are inside the system and I feel that the number one objective for Black America is to recognize that they have the same equal rights under the Constitution as Ford or Rockefeller, even if we have no blue-chip stocks. But our membership in the United States in the supreme blue-chip stock and the one we have to exercise.” (Laile Bartlett, “The Education of Eldridge Cleaver” Reader’s Digest, September 1976, pp. 65-72.)

After returning to America, Cleaver spent time on parole and his judge decided he must fulfill several hundred hours of public service at a California college. He then spoke to many students, churches, communities, and prisons about his love for America. He talked about the dismay he felt when he realized how Communism betrayed human dignity and rights. This challenged his previous worldview and he was forced to rethink the fallacies he had accepted as truth. Many students he talked with were struggling with the same philosophical problems, but he taught them that they must earnestly seek truth, and that would lead them to reality, which is when they would see the crucial role the Creator has in the foundations of this world.

Through the Eldridge Cleaver story we see what effect the experience of reality can have on a person. He had previously accepted the ideology of Marxism, but then saw that the pillars of wealth and societal equality were a complete fallacy. This pursuit of utopia only resulted in a centralization of power, minimization of individuals, and mass corruption.

Communist Cuba

As Americans we must be ever so thankful for the liberty that our Founders gave us and seek to teach others about this extraordinary phenomenon. The only foundation for liberty is God, a Creator, a Supreme Being which gives us our individual rights. If law is merely derived from a leader or a government there is no basis for such rights and common law. Without Higher Law which recognizes these individual rights a stable prosperous economy cannot exist. This is why Communist countries end up in poverty and in disarray, there is no basis for law because God is not allowed, and because there is no law the economy has no structure.

Share this story with other proponents of liberty, as well as with people who may believe the lies of Marxism. Encourage them to look at what this ideology has done to whole nations. Urge them to consider Eldridge Cleaver’s account of redemption. It is your duty.

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