Leigh Claire La Berge is Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and author of
Black Panthers: After World War II, communist cats and capitalist cats entered both domestic and international politics. At the height of monopoly capital’s Cold War, the police raided the Black Cat gay bar in Los Angeles three years before the famous Stonewall Riots and the CIA launched Operation Acoustic Kitty in which it used microphone-equipped cats to spy on the Soviets. The FBI trained its own focus on the Black Panthers, whose feline message of armed revolt resounded across the United States and indeed the world. As the Panthers called for the replacing of capitalism with an economic system of material and racial equality, neoliberal economists including Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek used their own feline language to insist capitalism must be bolstered and protected.