On this day in 1925 an extraordinary human being and revolutionary came into the world, we know him as Malcolm X. Some choose to remember him by reminding us of his powerful sayings but the best way to honor him is to emulate him.
Malcolm X never hesitated to defend those who were oppressed and he would not if he was still with us, just look on quietly as neo liberal capitalism ravages the world. He would be disappointed with many of us who merely “talk the talk” but refuse to “walk the walk.” He was disappointed when he was alive with our half measures and our comfort with oppression. Today he would likely chastise the personal identity ilk who only seek to solve the problem of racial or sexual equality or even religious tolerance, while being willing to compromise with this devil to keep the rest of his rotten system intact.
If he were alive he would have opposed US intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and its proxy wars. He would have called out the US government’s hypocrisy in Venezuela of calling for the overthrow of an elected government, while calling out Russia for supposedly interfering in its elections. Malcolm would have exposed the US for its trespasses against the Venezuelan people; he would have called this government evil for starving an entire country through its sanctions, in an effort to achieve a political and economic end.
He would not have sat still and watched human beings being put in cages or children snatched from their parents, because their skin is brown and they live on the wrong side of a line drawn on the earth, but would have raised his voice against this evil.
The internationalist Malcolm would not have sat quietly as the state of Israel continues its ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and Gaza and its slow genocide of the Palestinian people. He would have called for a real economic revolution in South Africa, whose compromise with the moneyed class has left many Blacks there worse off than during Apartheid.
He would have cried with the mothers of those who have lost children to police violence and castigated the government for its complete disregard of human life, especially Black life. He would have used police violence to prove the illegitimacy of a government that victimizes its own people.
He would have cried with the mothers who cry for daughters and sons lost to the current opioid driven drug scourge and denounced this country for failing now and in the past to treat drug addiction as a health problem and not a criminal injustice issue. He would have denounced the government for allowing its corporations to narcotize and addict its citizens for the sake of profit and called for the jailing of those responsible, including the pharmaceutical and the DEA
Malcolm would have laughed at the sheer absurdity of the state of Alabama talking about the “sanctity of life.” He would point out how the state and the country has spent most of its time destroying, degrading and denigrating life, especially Black and poor folks lives.
The revolutionary would have stood with the people being poisoned in Flint and in Louisiana. He would would have demanded aide for the abandoned of Puerto Rico.
Malcolm would have marched with the teachers seeking quality education for their children. He would have marched with his union brothers and sisters seeking better pay and working conditions at Shop Rite. He would have marched with his immigrant brothers and sisters on May Day. And yes that’s what he would call Latinx folks, brothers and sisters!
The Pan Africanist would have rallied with his Liberian brothers and sisters seeking to extend their Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), reminding the US that it was not in such a hurry for their departure when they were getting rich off the free labor of Africans. Malcolm would have marched with Haitians seeking to extend their Temporary Protective Status (TPS).
As a Pan Africanist Malcolm would be pained by efforts of African Americans in the US to separate Africans newly emigrated from the continent and those who have immigrated from the diaspora from the descendants of Africans who were enslaved in America. He would denounce any and every one who sought to divide or denigrate fellow Africans. He would declare that they are all Africans and share a common bond and would remind Black folks that they are all Black and don’t catch hell because they come from different regions, but because they are Black and would encourage them to dissolve artificial barriers and make common cause.
As he once said, “I am not an American and got sense enough to know it.”
And he would surely have opposed State sponsored harassment and discrimination against those who practice his beloved religion: Islam.
And yes he would have applauded and encouraged the #Metoo Movement and while recognizing the Democratic Party’s attempt to use the Women’s March to keep women on the plantation, would have insisted that the Movement make real demands on this sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic system
And of course he would have used his quick wit and acerbic tongue to denounce White Supremacy in all its forms. He would have called out the House Negroes and sell outs among Black folks. He would have continued to demand that Black folks educate themselves not just about their history but about the system we live under so we could figure out how to dismantle it.
He would have frowned on those who go around repeating his quotes about Field Negro and House Negro, but remain in the HOUSE themselves.
For Malcolm, the real Field Negro in our epoch would not be the person simply opposing racism, but rather those who oppose racism and the very structure that requires it to exist: capitalism.He would remind us that one cannot seek to be the captains of corporate capitalism and still consider themselves a Field Negro. He would point out that one cannot beg the Democrats and the White power structure to be something they are never going to be (just) and continue to call yourself a Field Negro.
The House according to Malcolm, is this social/political/economic system. This was Malcolm’s point in the story when he recounts the revolutionary would be runaway slave saying, “Let’s get up and go away from this place.” The Uncle Tom slave, the reformist slave, the liberal slave thinks to himself, ‘Where we gonna go that’s better than this?”’ It’s not so bad here, Massa don’t whip us that much, we wear better clothes than even those in the so called developing or Third World, we eat a little better than them, even though we have to sometime pay more for less, we gots jobs, well at least some of us, we gots the Democratic Party. We gets to sing, act and play ball and get some money for it (Massa keeps the lions share) And we get to go church on Sunday (even if we practice Massa’s theology)’
The system, like the slave plantation according to Malcolm is inherently unjust and is incapable of producing justice, equality and prosperity for all!
The revolutionary explained in a speech he gave in 1964 that, “it’s impossible for a chicken to produce a duck egg even though they both belong to the same family of fowl–a chicken just doesn’t have within its system to produce a duck egg. It can’t do it. It can only produce according to what that particular system was constructed to produce. The system in this country cannot produce freedom for an Afro-American. It is impossible for this system, this economic system, this political system, this social system, this system, period. …And if ever a chicken did produce a duck egg, I’m certain you would say it was certainly a revolutionary chicken!”
As we recognize this great revolutionary its safe to say he would hope that we take up the task that death would not allow him to finish and that is like him struggle to bring into a being “by any means necessary” a world in which we can be human beings!
justice then peace