[Marxism] Encountering Malcolm X | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 21 08:15:54 MST 2020
Watching the six-part documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” on Netflix
stirred up powerful memories of how important he was to my political
evolution. While the documentary is focused on exploring the Nation of
Islam’s (NOI) role in his murder, it also sheds light on Malcolm’s
post-NOI political odyssey. By creating a rival movement to the
pseudo-Islamist sect, he risked a fatal encounter with four assassins on
this date fifty-five years ago at the Audubon Ballroom in New York.
Just six weeks before his death, I heard Malcolm X speak at the Palm
Gardens in New York. I went with my girlfriend Dian, who was on midterm
break from Bard College, just like me. I remember taking a seat about
ten rows from the podium and being perplexed by the five or so leaflets
on the chair that advertised rallies or meetings geared to radicals.
Although I was much more of an existentialist liberal a la Camus in
1965, I was eager to hear Malcolm speak. Little did I know at the time
that the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a sect I would join two years
later, organized the meeting. The Trotskyists placed leaflets on the
chairs to draw people closer to the party, an approach that the Internet
would supersede just as Facebook would supersede the mimeograph machine.
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