Fw: [WW] Two Great Contributions of Malcom X

red-rebel red-rebel at SPAMsupanet.com
Thu May 25 04:55:59 MDT 2000


I don't agree with some of what is said in this. I particularly don't like
the idea of letting Farrakhan and co off the hook regarding Malcolm X's
murder (although it is of course true that the US State was ultimately the
culprit). Also on the 10 point-program of the Black Panther Party, I was
always under the impression that it was based on Mao's "Proclamation Of The
Chinese Peoples Liberation Army" of 1949, but Workers World believe
otherwise. Anyway, I thought this might be of interst regarding the recent
contributions on the BPP.

James Tait.

(P.S does anybody know what the "Ten-Point Program of the Organization Of
Afro-American Unity" the article refers to, contained?)


> -------------------------
> Via Workers World News Service
> Reprinted from the June 1, 2000
> issue of Workers World newspaper
> -------------------------
>
> TWO GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS OF MALCOM X
>
> By Monica Moorehead
>
> [Adapted from a talk given at a May 19 Workers World Party
> forum.]
>
>
>
> Malcolm X was the subject of a "60 Minutes" report May 14.
> The segment showed the current leader of the Nation of
> Islam, Louis Farrakhan, apologizing face to face to
> Malcolm's oldest daughter for the role his public attacks
> against Malcolm may have played in the assassination of her
> father.
>
> Farrakhan made a very interesting comment. He said that no
> matter who pulled the trigger that ended the short life of
> this great revolutionary, the bottom line is that the U.S.
> government is ultimately responsible for his death. And we
> agree with that position.
>
> This U.S. government murdered Malcolm X just as it
> murdered Martin Luther King, George Jackson, Medgar Evers,
> many key leaders of the Black Panthers, and so many
> dedicated and influential activists who were seeking social
> change and the total liberation of Black people. The U.S.
> government and all of its capitalist institutions,
> including the media, created the repressive atmosphere for
> these assassinations, incarcerations, and all of the
> misinformation which led to the isolation of the Black
> liberation movement from the working class as a whole
> during that period of relative capitalist stability.
>
> Many of the hundreds of political prisoners today are the
> heroic survivors of COINTELPRO. The government's tactics
> may have changed, but the end results are the same: locking
> away left-wing political dissenters and throwing away the
> key. We only have to mention a few like Mumia, Sundiata
> Acoli, Assata Shakur who was forced into exile, Leonard
> Peltier, and now Brother Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly
> known as H. Rap Brown, who could be facing the death
> penalty in Georgia.
>
> It's so important to continue the struggle to free all
> these political prisoners, including the remaining Puerto
> Rican prisoners of war, from the dungeons. Many of these
> heroic sisters and brothers have been in jail since the
> late 1960s and early 1970s.
>
> But because today would have marked Malcolm's 75th
> birthday, we want to pay special tribute to his
> contributions to the anti-racist struggle. There is so much
> to say about Malcolm and how he inspired so many of us into
> struggle back in the 1960s. Even in death, he helped to
> ignite our political consciousness and continues to inspire
> new generations of revolutionaries and activists. I want to
> highlight two important contributions that distinguished
> him.
>
> `THE BALLOT OR THE BULLET'
>
> The first contribution was his advocacy of the right to
> self-defense. The Black Panthers gave an organizational
> expression to the right of Black and other oppressed
> peoples to defend themselves, especially against the state-
> sanctioned violence of the police and other racist,
> repressive institutions at home and abroad. But it was
> Malcolm who first popularized it. His phrase "freedom by
> any means necessary" alluded to this right along with so
> many of his speeches. One that stood out in my mind was
> entitled "The Ballot or the Bullet."
>
> In this speech, which was aimed mainly towards a Black
> audience, he asked how Black soldiers could turn their guns
> on the Korean people fighting against U.S. military
> aggression and not turn their guns against the KKK who were
> free to lynch and terrorize Black people in the South.
>
> In other words, shouldn't Black people have the right to
> defend themselves when being confronted by racist violence
> in their home and in their community? Why should Black
> people have to be the ones to turn the other cheek when
> this was not expected of white racists?
>
> Malcolm was one of the first to pose the question: Can you
> put an equal sign between the violence of the oppressor and
> the violence of the oppressed?
>
> As Marxists, we say that under class society, where a
> minority class of the super-rich oppresses a majority class
> of the poor and workers, there is no equality when it comes
> down to the issue of class violence.
>
> Malcolm agitated for the right to self-defense in his
> talks in Harlem and elsewhere, which made common sense to
> the oppressed. At the same time this posed a threat to the
> stability of the capitalist system.
>
> A year after Malcolm was assassinated in 1965, Huey P.
> Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for
> Self-Defense in Oakland, Calif. They helped to carry on
> Malcolm's legacy--and not just when it came to advocating
> the right to self-defense for the most oppressed.
>
> This brings me to the other contribution Malcolm made.
>
> 10-POINT PROGRAM
>
> The 10-point program of the Black Panther Party was based
> on the 10-point program of the Organization for Afro-
> American Unity that Malcolm X created in 1964 following his
> break with the Nation of Islam. Malcolm was inspired to
> start this organization based on his trip to Africa, where
> he observed the role of the Organization for African Unity,
> a coalition of leaders from all of the African countries.
>
> The Organization for Afro-American Unity called for the
> right to self-defense, and for Black people controlling
> their own destiny--the right to self-determination. It
> pledged to fight for unity, promote justice, and "transcend
> compromise."
>
> The OAAU was a vehicle to challenge the demands being made
> by the moderate program, but at the same time, the mass
> appeal of the civil-rights movement led by Dr. Martin
> Luther King Jr. It was also an attempt on Malcolm's part to
> bring together all political spectrums of the Black
> struggle, North, South, and in-between, into a united front
> based on the 10-point program.
>
> Malcolm's own class-consciousness was broadening based on
> understanding that there exists a common oppression shared
> by Black people in the U.S. and African people who were
> struggling against colonial and neocolonial oppression on
> the African continent. The struggles in Africa were taking
> center stage in the 1950s and 1960s in southern Africa,
> Congo, Ghana, and elsewhere. Malcolm came to view these two
> struggles as one and the same.
>
> He began to travel not only to what was referred to during
> this epoch as the Third World--which included Africa and
> the Middle East--but he also traveled to the imperialist
> countries to bring the message of the plight of Black
> people in the U.S. in order to build anti-imperialist
> solidarity. He once stated, "You can't understand what is
> going on in Mississippi if you don't know what is going on
> in the Congo. They're both the same. The same interests are
> at stake. The same sides are drawn up, the same schemes are
> at work in the Congo that are at work in Mississippi."
>
> And as Malcolm was developing this worldwide class view,
> the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. government
> began to scrutinize him even more intensely.
>
> Malcolm X met with the leaders of the Pan-African movement
> and other anti-imper ialist, pro-socialist leaders like
> Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, and
> Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. In 1960, he met with Fidel
> Castro at the Hotel Teresa in Harlem following the triumph
> of the Cuban Revolution.
>
> His audiences inside the U.S. were broadening as well and
> included a growing number of anti-racist white students. In
> one of his last speeches, Malcolm told an audience at
> Columbia University, "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."
>
> Malcolm's view towards the role of women in the struggle
> was moving in a more progressive direction, in
> contradiction to the Nation of Islam's patriarchal
> preaching which he once embraced. He learned a lot from his
> travels abroad and along the way observed the roles that
> women play in society. These experiences seemed to make him
> appreciate even more the roles that Black women played in
> the struggle inside the U.S. and the potential for further
> political development. He encouraged activists like Fannie
> Lou Hamer and poet Maya Angelou to play leadership roles in
> the OAAU.
>
> Malcolm X, under the auspices of the OAAU, was planning to
> take the plight of African Americans to the United Nations
> in order to charge the U.S. with economic and political
> genocide against Black people.
>
> The role of the United Nations during the 1960s was much
> different than its pro-imperialist role today. First of
> all, the Soviet Union and the socialist camp allied
> themselves in a revolutionary bloc with the anti-colonial
> struggles in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and
> Asia against U.S. and Western imperialism.
>
> As a build-up to bringing the plight of African Americans
> to the UN, Malcolm X stated at a number of meetings, "When
> Black Americans see that our problem is the same as the
> problem of the people who are being oppressed in South
> Vietnam and the Congo and Latin America, that the oppressed
> people of this earth make up a majority, not a minority--
> then we approach our problem as a majority that can demand,
> not as a minority that has to beg."
>
> Malcolm was killed before he was able to realize his dream
> of addressing the United Nations. The OAAU soon began to
> unravel. This was no accident but part and parcel of the
> U.S. government's plan to set back the anti-racist
> struggle. Malcolm may not have been the leader of a mass
> movement, but he was the leader of the most revolutionary
> wing of the Black movement, which was gaining significance
> and prominence worldwide by leaps and bounds.
>
> The U.S. ruling class could not allow a person of
> Malcolm's political stature to go before the United Nations
> to have him expose the U.S. government for its racist
> crimes against humanity. This would have electrified not
> only the Black movement--including the civil-rights
> movement--but the worldwide struggle of the most oppressed.
>
> BASIS FOR UNITY
>
> Had Malcolm been on the platform, his powerful message
> could have laid the basis for broader unity between the
> civil-rights movement and the entire Black liberation
> movement, meaning that Malcolm and King could have forged a
> united front against all forms of racist and class
> oppression.
>
> I think that this is more than just speculation on our
> part, when you consider that King was moving in a somewhat
> similar political direction when he came out against the
> U.S. war in Vietnam and made the connections between the
> growing poverty in the U.S. and the expansion of war in
> Southeast Asia. Those connections sparked his assassination
> three years later in 1968.
>
> How should socialists view the legacy of a Malcolm X?
> Malcolm wasn't a Marxist or socialist when he died. But he
> was certainly against imperialism and racism and, from what
> we could assess, he was moving towards a more anti-
> capitalist position.
>
> As a party, during this tremendous period of struggle, we
> defended the leaders of the Black struggle regardless of
> their program. But we had close political affinity to
> Malcolm X, the Panthers, and others because they were
> clearly against the system, especially when they became the
> targets of unspeakable racist repression. We were excited
> with what Malcolm was trying to do in terms of attempting
> to advance the class struggle and the strategic struggle
> against racism and national oppression.
>
> Malcolm was not a reformist--he was not for reforming this
> terrible system--but was for the complete transformation of
> society based on the right of self-determination for Black
> people here and in Africa and all of the most oppressed.
> That was uppermost in his mind at the time of his death.
>
> Malcolm X should be forever remembered as a revolutionary
> Black nationalist who was open to a class and anti-
> imperialist outlook, who was for the liberation of all
> humanity from the grip of capitalist oppression.
>
>                          - END -
>
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