Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Malcolm X quotes
i read the book By Any Means Necessary by Malcolm X a month or so ago and its one of the most insightful books i've ever read. it is a compilation book of his speeches, interviews, radio broadcasts, NOI meetings and rallies.
i think its necessary for everyone to read reread and take heed at Malcolm's words because he seems to be misunderstood by many people who haven't read his actual words. in a political forum i was on a while, there was a discussion about him, and there were accusations of him being pro-violence, angry, and anti-white. even now, i think many people find it easier to identify with Martin Luther King Jr's path and not Malcolm's mainly because of these accusations.
he wasn't ant-white, he was pro-black. he was not violent, he simply understood the need for self-defense and did not sugarcoat the need for it. and yes, actually, he may have been angry. anyone who knew/knows the reality of the situation for being black in America should have also been angry. i think that anger is quintessential for change. and specifically for the black struggle in America, i think anger was/is fundamental; a prerequisite. bell hooks talks about having a rage that is more than justified against the white supremacist capitalist patriarchal country we live in in Killing Rage...a book i highly recommend. although, i must say that the Buddha raises a good polemic against violence, in favor or pacifism....
anywho...here's excerpts i found most insightful and relevant to the cause:
Spellman: what is your attitude toward Christian Ghandian groups?
malcolm: Christian? Ghandian? i don't go for anything thats nonviolent and turn-the-other-cheekish. i don't see how any revolution-i've never heard of a nonviolent revolution or a revolution that was brought about by turning the other cheek, and so i believe that it is a crime for anyone to teach a person who is being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself. if this is what the christian-ghandian philosophy teached, then it is criminal-a criminal philosophy.
spellman: what is the program for acheiving your goals of separation?
malcolm: a better word to use that separation is independence. this word "separation" is misused. the thirteen colonies separated from England but they called it Declaration of Independence; they don't call it the Declaration of Separation, they call it the Declaration of Independence. when you're independent of someone you can separate from them. if you can't separate from them it means you're not independent of them. so what was your question?
spellman: what is your program for achieving your goals in independence?
malcolm: when the black man in this country awakens, becomes intellectually mature and able to think for himself, you will then see that the only way he will becomes independent and recongnized as a human being, he has to have what they have and he has to be doing for himself what others are doing for themselves. so the first step is to awaken him to this, and that is where the religion of Islam makes him morally more able to rise above the evils and the vices of an immoral society. and the political, economic, and social philosophy of black nationalism instills within him the racial dignity and the incentive and the confidence that he needs to stand on his own feet and take a stand for himself.
"Revolution is like a forest fire, it burns everything in its path. the people who are involved in a revolution don't become a part of the system-they destroy the system, they change the system. the genuine word for revolution is Umwaelzung which means a complete overturning and a complete change, and the negro revolution is no revolution. because it condemns the system and then asks the system that it has condemned to accept them into their system. that is not a revolution- a revolution changes the system, it destroys the system and replaces it with a better one."
"there can be no white-black solidarity until theres first some black solidarity. we have got to get our problems solved first..."
"it is we who have fought your battles for you, and have picked your cotton for you. we built this house that you're living in. it was our labor that built this house. you sat beneath the old cotton tree telling us how long to work or how hard to work, but it was our labor, our sweat and our blood that made this country what it is, and we're the only ones who haven't benefited from it. all we're saying today is, its payday-retroactive."
"no white person would go about fighting for freedom in the same manner that he has helped me and you to fight for our freedom.no, none of them would. when it comes to black freedom, then the white man freedom-rides and sits in, he's nonviolent, he sings "we shall overcome" and all that stuff. but when the property of the white man himself is threatened, he's not nonviolent. he's only nonviolent when he's on your side. but when he's on his side he loses all that patience and nonviolence...Our people aren't going to wait ten years. if this house is a house of freedom and justice and equality for all, if thats what it is, then lets have it. and if we can't all have it, then none of us will have it."
"i'm not bloodthirsty. i'm one of 22 million black people in this country who's tired of being the victim of hypocrisy by a country that supposedly practices democracy."
"prior to one hundred years ago, they didn't need tricks. they had chains. and they needed the chains because you and i hadn't yet been brainwashed thoroughly enough to submit to their brutal acts of violence submissively. prior to a hundred years ago, you has men like Nat Turner, that Brother Benjamin was talking about, and others, Toussaint L'Overture. none of them would submit to slavery. they'd fight back by any means necessary. and it was only after the spirit of the black man was completely broken and his desire to be a man was completely destroyed, then they has to use different tricks. they just took the physical chains from his ankles and put them on his mind."
"we don't organize any black man to be a democrat or a republican because both of them have sold us out."
"...the oppressed never uses the same yardstick as the oppressor."
"question 22: the first guy that was shot at the moment of the Independence War was a negro.
malcolm: he wasn't shot for negroes. he was shot for america. i don't want to take away from Crispus Attucks, but he was shot. he was a slave. his people were slaves.
question 23: he was a slave perhaps, but not on his knees-on his feet.
malcolm: sir, you can take a dog...and sic him on somebody else and he's fearless. i'd like to give you an example. no matter how fearless a dog is, you catch him out on the street, stamp your foot; he'll run because you're only threatening him. his master has never trained him how to defend himself; but that same dog, if you walk through the master's gate, will growl and bite. why will he growl and bite over there and not growl and bite over here? over here he's growling and biting for the defense of his master and the benefit of his master, but when his only interests are threatened, he has no growl. nto only Crispus Attucks, but many of us in America have died defending America. we defend our master. we're the most violent soldiers America has when she sends us to Korea or to the South Pacific or to Saigon, but when our mothers and our own property are being attacked we're nonviolent. Crispus Attucks laid down his life for America, but would he have laid down his life to stop the white man in America from enslaving black people?"