We are gathered here today to honor our martyred hero, El Hajj Malik el Shabazz, Malcolm X, who would be 90 years old had he survived another 51 years. Born on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X was assassinated Feb. 21, 1965 in NYC’s Audubon Ballroom. It’s notable that he and Martin Luther King were assassinated when both were 39 years of age.
I want to share with you some quotes you rarely hear expressing Malcolm’s changed ideas. More often his anti-white notions are propagated, virtually ignoring his transformation once he returned from the Hajj in Mecca and visits to Northern Africa. Only about a month before he was murdered, he clarified his positions on race, segregation, and capitalism. E.g., In Jan. 1965, on New York’s WBAI, he said:
"We don’t judge a manby the color of his skin. We don’t judge you because you are white; we don’t judge you because you’re black….We judge you because of what you do and what you practice.”
In another interview for the Pierre Berton Show in Toronto, also in January 1965, he said:
"I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color."
"In the past I permitted myself to be used...to make sweeping indictments of all white people, the entire white race,-- and these generalizations have caused injuries to some whites who perhaps did not deserve to be hurt. Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as a result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to live the life of a true...Muslim. I must repeat that I am not a racist nor do I subscribe to the tenants of racism. I can state in all sincerity that I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”
Unfortunately, too many folks continue to cling to the racist ideology that Malcolm X espoused while he was a member of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad.
In addition to becoming anti-racist, Malcolm was also anti-capitalist. “You can’t operate a capitalistic system unless you are vulturistic... You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”
He also stated:
“We are living in an era of revolution, and the revolt of the American Negro is part of the rebellion against oppression and colonialism which has characterized this era....It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of Black against white, or as a purely American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.”
"It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That's the only thing that can save this country."
Of course, his reference to “brotherhood” would not fly today because our women’s equal rights movement achieved real change that curtailed the exclusive use of male nouns and pronouns in referring to people in general. I’m quite sure Malcolm would have embraced the change, esp. with four daughters ☺.
Perhaps Malcolm had his differences with Dr. King in mind when he said,
"Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society."
Malcolm spent much of his time exposing the “uncle toms” of the day, noting that the White power structure selected so-called Negro leaders to put the brakes on our Movement and advocate for the middles class or Negro bourgeoisie in exchange for economic and political crumbs.
“What will they give us in 1965? I just read where they planned to make a black cabinet member. Yes, they have a new gimmick every year. They’re going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet, so he can walk around Washington with a cigar – fire on one end and fool on the other.”
Well, Malcolm, their latest gimmick is a Black president. Please note that Obama nearly always talks about improving conditions for “the middle class.” And he walks around with a cigarette, fire on one end, fool on the other.
From a 1965 speech titled “Prospects for Freedom,” Malcolm said:
“Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression because power real power, comes from conviction which produces action, uncompromising action. It also produces insurrection against oppression. This is the only way you will end oppression – with power.”
Had he lived 51 more years, I think Malcolm X would have continued to grow and develop as he had during his brief, revolutionary life.
So I urge you all, esp. young people, to carefully study the last year of Malcolm’s life, 1964-1965, and follow his example of uncompromising struggle, learning, growing and changing with the times as we continue to fight for freedom and liberation of the entire world.
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
ABOLISH THE PRISON SYSTEM
ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY!
RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
FREE THE PEOPLE!