Remembering Malcolm X
February 24, 2015 § 1 Comment
Malcolm X was murdered 50 years ago. In remembrance, here’s an excerpt from a piece that captures his legacy well, while elaborating on Malcolm’s connection to Africa:
Soon after, Malcolm was to take the first of two trips to Africa. These trips had an important impact on his ideas. He met with several important African heads of state — including Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt — and was influenced by the ideas of “third worldism.” In general terms, this was the view that the world was dominated by two superpowers — the United States and the Soviet Union — and that the developing countries of the world represented an independent alternative.
When Malcolm X returned to New York, he announced the formation of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), modeled after the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which brought together the different African heads of state. The OAAU was a black nationalist organization that sought to build community organizations, schools, black enterprises, and voter registration campaigns to ensure community control of black politicians.
After his visit to Africa, Malcolm began to argue that the black struggle in the United States was part of an international struggle, one that he connected to the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.
He also began to argue in favor of socialism. Referring to the African states, he pointed out, “All of the countries that are emerging today from under the shackles of colonialism are turning towards socialism.”
He no longer defined the struggle for black liberation as a racial conflict. “We are living in an era of revolution, and the revolt of the American Negro is part of the rebellion against the oppression and colonialism which has characterized this era,” he said. “It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of black against white, or as purely an American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiters.”
Malcolm no longer believed all whites were the enemy, but he maintained the need for separate all-black organization: “Whites can help us, but they can’t join us. There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity. There can be no workers solidarity until there is first some racial solidarity. We cannot think of uniting with others, until we have first united ourselves.”
Read more on “The Legacy of Malcolm X” by Ahmed Shawki here.