Jose & Iraq/ Chickens come home to roost

Waistline2 at Waistline2 at
Wed Sep 3 09:10:33 MDT 2003

>"President Kennedy never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost
so soon. Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did
make me sad; they always made me glad."

>Putting aside, for the moment, the accusation of scabbing directed at me
because of a different estimate of the objective situation in Iraq, it's worth
examining the egregious lunacy involved in quoting Malcolm X in this context.
Malcolm X was a courageous revolutionary leader and was later murdered for his
courage. Nevertheless, that statement, which is so appealing to crazed ultra
lefts, was politically extremely unwise. It's worth noting that the Soviet
Union, Castro and the Cuban leadership and the American SWP all condemned the
Kennedy assassination. From the hindsight of history it seems pretty clear now that
Kennedy was assassinated from within the extreme right wing of American

Ultra leftism? According to whom?

I have followed the passion of this debate concerning the UN bombing in Iraq.
As an individual I have no public political opinion about the bombing and
generally steer clear of statements concerning the internal political settings of
other states. Advocating the removal of US troops in Iraq is enough for me.
It is recognized that individuals are free to discuss what ever they choose.

It seems to me to be mistaken logic to compare the statements given by
representatives of governments and states with those of individuals. Debating on the
basis of a theoretical exposition on Mortality that contains a declaration to
fight to the death an "ism" misses the point.

You will reap what you sow.

Kennedy's assassination took place forty years ago this November, during a
period of political stability and crisis in American. Malcolm X statement was
not ultra leftist by any stretch of the imagination and placing this assessment
in the context of statements by representatives of governments ignores the
internal political events of the time.

The year 1963 was a turning point in American political history in my
opinion. The Jackson Movement in Mississippi, church bombings in Alabama, the massive
demonstration in Detroit that was the prelude where Martin Luther king gave
his first version of "I Have A Dream" that later was delivered at the massive
demonstration in Washington, DC. Birmingham - the historic steel center of the
South went into rebellion and millions of people where in motion. We tend to
forget the logic of social movements.

Birmingham had been nicknamed "bombing-ham" and a careful observer could see
a new internal development within the social movement. A continuum existed
that would produce Watts 1965 and Detroit 1967.

Shortly before the assassination of Kennedy, Malcolm X had delivered perhaps
his most famous speech Nov. 10 at Detroit's King Solomon Church - Message To
The Grass Roots." The "Message To The Grass Roots" was delivered in Detroit for
a complex of reasons. "Message to the Grass Roots" remains the most profound
public chastisement of an entire sector of the black elite in American
history. Malcolm's insight into the political alignment of a sector of the black
elite - dubbed "the big six," with the Kennedy administration, exceeded all the
political pronouncement of the so-call left and socialist.

A download of this speech is available at brothermalcolm and is worth
listening to in order to understand the politics of the moment and how leaders embody
the moment. Five months later - April 1964 and an election year, Malcolm
would deliver in Detroit his second most celebrated speech - "Ballot or the
Bullet." That is to say, between his November 10 critique of the black elite and
later that month Kennedy's assassination through April 1964 down to Malcolm "last
Message" - again delivered in Detroit in early 1965, the social explosions
that would politically shape American society for the next period was forming.

What is the political basis to assess Malcolm's statement "chickens coming
home to roost never did make me sad; they always made me glad," as not
representing the new internal development within the social movement?

By January 1963 there were 120 Mosque in America. Many of them so new they
had not been numbered. The level of police violence directed at the Nation
rivaled what would later happen to the Black Panther party and served as the
blueprint of selective murder of activist. George Wallace famous or rather infamous
speech upholding segregation was delivered in 1963. Malcolm had corresponded
with Robert Kennedy and his brother concerning the murder of their members in
February 1963. Thousands of African Americans faced the greatest wave of
violence since the riots of the post World War 2 period.

The March on Washington was the brainchild of the right-wing socialist A.
Philip Randolph. Malcolm had dubbed the "March on Washington" the "Farc on
Washington" and described the historic connection of a sector of the black elite
that extends from the South and travels North to the citadels of state power.
This historical alignment is the byproduct of the completion of Reconstruction
and the overthrow of the democratic governments in the South. The "Message to
the Grass Roots" pinpoints the "Big Six" in their class connection.

It is not an exaggeration to state that the last six months of 1963 is and
remain one of the most traumatic time frames in our history, at least since the
Civil War. Why is Malcolm's statement "chickens coming home to roost never did
make me sad; they always made me glad," ultra leftism when his speech "Ballot
or the Bullet" is a militant and public call to arms? In a very weird way,
2004 is shaping up to be another year of the "Ballot or the Bullet."

A dramatic splitting within a social movement was taking place. Kennedy had
been dragging his feet and refused to halt the armed violence against a people
and instead labeled the Nation of Islam a threat to National Security and the
Nation do not even demonstrate or protest. Hell, the Nation has always been a
petty bourgeois cooperative movement with a distinct theology. Chickens come
home to roost means the violence Kennedy would not stop - right wing terror,
came back and struck him down. Some call this the boomerang affect. How of earth
is that an "ultra-leftist" statement?

Are you familiar with the speech before the crowd of 700 and the context of
this famous statement, made after the close of his speech? Malcolm X was one of
the first national Black figures - leaders, to raise the issue of the war in
Vietnam as crimes against humanity. Here is the meaning. The violence you
created and supported came back to get you. Why did the crowd in attendance laugh
and applaud loudly? What was the context?

Malcolm's statement "chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad;
they always made me glad," remains to this day the most publicly acknowledge
clever political metaphor in American history. To acknowledge the painful truth of
the swing of violence and the brutal logic of class rule is only ultra
leftism to those immune to violence in my opinion.

I have no public opinion concerning the UN bombing in Iraq and would rather
stick to the curve of our own history. To this very day, "chickens coming home
to roost never did make me sad; they always made me glad." Pardon, if I

Melvin P.

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