(1941 - 1998)
Whittier College, Whittier, California - March 22, 1971
Stokely Carmichael was the controversial and charismatic young civil rights leader who, in 1966, popularized the phrase "black power." Carmichael was a leading force in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), working in the Deep South to organize African American voters. In the process he was beaten by white racists and frequently jailed. In time, Carmichael grew disillusioned about the prospects for social change through nonviolent protest, interracial alliances and civil rights legislation. He wasn't the first civil rights figure to proclaim the need for black power, but Carmichael became one of the most prominent exponents of the term.
Carmichael was born in Trinidad in 1941. His family moved to New York when he was a boy, settling in a relatively prosperous section of the Bronx. Carmichael was a bright student, attending a selective public high school. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and got involved in civil rights activities his freshman year. Carmichael signed on to the Freedom Rides, where black and white activists travelled together on bus trips through the South to challenge segregated public transportation. Carmichael was repeatedly arrested in the Freedom Rides. He marked his 20th birthday in Mississippi's notorious Parchman Penitentiary.
After graduating from Howard in 1964, Carmichael became a full-time organizer for SNCC in Mississippi. Historian Clayborne Carson says Carmichael quickly demonstrated his skill as a civil rights organizer, combining "an astute political awareness with an ability to communicate with less-educated people on their own terms."1 Carmichael was named chairman of SNCC in 1966.
Over time, Carmichael became impatient with the willingness of older civil rights leaders to compromise with President Lyndon Johnson and other white authorities. Following his arrest during a protest march in Mississippi, Carmichael angrily demanded a change in the rhetoric and strategy of the civil rights movement. "This is the twenty-seventh time I've been arrested," Carmichael told a crowd of marchers in Greenwood, Mississippi. "I ain't going to jail no more. The only way we gonna stop them white men from whupping us is to take over. We've been saying 'Freedom' for six years and we ain't got nothin'. What we gonna start saying now is Black Power."2
Carmichael was speaking about more than the white oppression in the Mississippi Delta. Black discontent was growing in urban neighborhoods in the North, where poverty and discrimination were also commonplace. Black power "seemed perfectly attuned to the mood of the ghettos," writes historian Adam Fairclough, where "a cult of the gun" injected a sense of impending black-on-white violence.3 Carmichael's stance on the use of violence was at once provocative and complicated. Parting ways with SNCC, he proclaimed the need and the right for African Americans to take up arms for self-defense. He denied that his speeches were anti-white or encouraged anti-white violence. Yet Clayborne Carson says such implications were "an unmistakable part of the appeal of the black power rhetoric for many discontented blacks."4 By 1967, Carmichael endorsed revolutionary violence as a righteous tool for the world's oppressed peoples.5
Most whites condemned black power as a motto for a new form of racism, or as a call for outright race warfare. Mainstream civil rights leaders also rejected the phrase.6 NAACP leader Roy Wilkins denounced the slogan as "the father of hate and the mother of violence," predicting that black power would mean "black death."7 Martin Luther King Jr. said the term was "unfortunate" and urged Carmichael to drop the phrase. Carmichael refused.
In 1966 and 1967, Carmichael toured college campuses giving increasingly belligerent speeches. He coauthored a radical manifesto, Black Power, in which he argued that civil rights groups had lost their appeal among more militant young blacks. The movement's voice, he wrote, had been hopelessly softened for "an audience of middle class whites."8
After leaving SNCC in 1967, Carmichael became honorary prime minister of the militant Black Panthers in California but soon left that group over disagreements on seeking support from whites. Although Carmichael had once worked with whites in the civil rights movement, he now urged black power activists to work on their own, arguing that whites no longer had a role to play in the struggle for black freedom. In 1969, Carmichael moved to the West African nation of Guinea, where he became affiliated with the All-African People's Revolutionary Party, a socialist Pan-African group founded by Ghanaian independence leader Kwame Nkrumah.
Carmichael gave this speech at Whittier College as part of a speaking tour of American college campuses in 1971. On the tour, Carmichael frequently appeared in a white African shirt and slacks with embroidered detailing at the collar and cuffs. He warned his audiences that those who came to hear him shout slogans like, "Off the pigs and kill the honkies," would be disappointed. Instead, he had a Pan-African revolutionary philosophy to impart.9
Carmichael argued that the discrimination endured by African Americans was simply one manifestation of the global misery caused by European colonization. His speech described black power as part of a world-wide revolutionary freedom movement, with Africa's tradition of communalistic societies as the model for liberation in a post-capitalist future.
In his autobiography, Carmichael explained that the way he talked to audiences owed much to the "stepladder speakers" of 1950s Harlem, black orators who stood on ladders to hold forth on the history and the oppression of African Americans. "Important elements of my adult speaking style — the techniques of public speaking in the dramatic African tradition of the spoken word, can be traced to these street corner orators of Harlem. To them and the Baptist preachers of the rural South," Carmichael wrote.10
Carmichael lived in Guinea-Conakry for three decades, returning to the United States regularly to appeal for Pan-African unity. He changed his name to Kwame Toure in recognition of his two primary political mentors, exiled Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah and Guinean president Ahmed Sékou Touré. In 1998, Carmichael lost a battle with cancer, dying at his home in Africa.
In reviewing Carmichael's autobiography, Ready for the Revolution (published posthumously in 2003), author and journalist Norman Kelley says that the young SNCC activist's "brilliant" political organizing work in the Deep South "laid the foundation for developing an independent black political base." Carmichae, he wrote, tossed aside the gains he had made "for the rhetoric of revolution."11
Historian Peniel Joseph argues that Carmichael's legacy is more significant than is generally recognized in the literature on the civil rights movement. Joseph says the story of Carmichael's agitation for black power overshadows his accomplishments as a SNCC organizer. Joseph writes that Carmichael played a "pivotal role" in challenging and transforming America's democratic traditions, and understood -- better than many others in the movement -- that black sharecroppers in the South "held the power to alter the course of American history through an individual act of self-determination -- the vote."12
Good evening. I've been invited to speak at the Black Culture Week. I have prepared a speech dealing with the black world and I'm not going to change that speech.
I've been in California before. I used to come to California several times. My last visit to California was 1968. This is 1971. If I were to say the same things in 1971 that I said in 1968, it would present the fact that I've not been growing. If I use the same attitude in 1966 that I use in 1971, it would reflect the fact that the political movement of black people has not been growing.
Thus, not only must our attitude change but what we say must change because our movement must continue to progress. It must go forward. To repeat the same things over and over again is to show stagnancy. We cannot be stagnant because our movement is a liberation movement. We seek to liberate the Africans all over the world.
Thus, if you came tonight to hear a speech -- a ra ra ri -- how black and beautiful we are, which we are, black and proud we are, which we are, and how we should [xx] and all of that, you've wasted your time. You've wasted your time.
Simply because we must deal today with hard concepts. We must analyze our situation and we must pose correct solutions within a scientific framework. Within a scientific framework.
Thus, tonight, we will be dealing with concepts... I'm sorry, does anyone have a "Malcolm X Speaks" with them? "Malcolm X Speaks"? Nobody? None of the students in the Black Culture Week, you don't have a "Malcolm X Speaks"?
"Malcolm X Speaks" book? No-one has it? I'm sorry.
The black world--from Nova Scotia to South Africa--finds itself in political chaos. We find ourselves in political chaos purely because we do not have a clear ideology which represents the common interests of Africans all over the world.
Now, black people in America are Africans, that's all we are. We may not want to admit that we're Africans but we cannot deny that we came from Africa. And, if you're ashamed of your home, you have problems. If you're ashamed of your background, you have problems. We are Africans. And we will discuss that more later.
Inside our community -- the African communities of the world -- and when I speak of black people, I speak of Africans because the black man is the African and the African is the black man, thus they are one and the same. The black communities of this world, which stretch from South Africa to Nova Scotia, finds itself in a great deal of problems because we haven't analyzed our situation.
I'm sorry I don't have the book "Malcolm X Speaks" with me because I would have been able to use some direct quotes from brother Malcolm's book showing that we who have an ideology today use Malcolm X as our framework. Our basic framework. Our point of reference. Unfortunately, I don't have the book with me. [xx] I need that. OK, we'll just continue. You take my word for the quotes I give you from brother Malcolm and you'll read them yourself later.
We need an ideology. An ideology that represents our communal interest. We need an ideology. In order for an ideology to be valid it must be, number one, scientific, number two, be consistent, number three, it must be based on the correct interpretation of history and, number four, if it is to be a revolutionary ideology, it must be based on the philosophy of dialectics. The philosophy of dialectics.
That's four points the idea of ideology must be able to apply itself to. It must be scientific, it must be consistent. If the ideology isn't consistent, it's invalid. It must be based on thorough and complete analysis of history, interpretation of history. And it must be based--if it's revolutionary--on the philosophy of dialectics. The philosophy of dialectics is very important. Philosophy of dialectics is really the philosophy of opposites. Opposites.
Brother Malcolm X in his message to the grass roots says to us that there can be no compromise in revolution. Revolution knows no compromise. He's correct. Brother Malcolm can say this because he recognizes that our revolutionary ideologies must be based on the philosophy of dialectics. Philosophy of opposites. And they follow a very scientific practical law which simply says that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
That, since you have a philosophy of opposites, you will have two philosophies vying for the same space at the same time. And this philosophy, since they're based on the philosophy of dialectics, are diametrically opposed. They are diametrically opposed. Thus, they must clash. They must clash violently. And only one will win. Only one will win. The other must be crushed.
The Vietnamese are revolutionary. That's why they say, "either we will win or we will die." Because they're fighting for a system which is diametrically opposed to the system that they now find themselves under and their philosophy must win. The same is also true for all Africans all over the world. We must find a system [ah, thank you]... We must find a system... I feel comfortable now.
I feel very comfortable now.
We must find a system which is diametrically opposed to the system under which we live. We have to do that. We must find that system because the major preoccupation of a revolutionary--you must understand--is building and creating. The major preoccupation of a revolutionary is building and creating. He must destroy in order to build and create because the system that the revolutionary opposes must be diametrically opposed--diametrically opposed--to the system that the masses of people are living under. But his major preoccupation is with building and creating. Building and creating that new system. Not destruction. Destruction is an inevitable consequence of his building. Destruction is an inevitable consequence of his building. It is not the other way round. The building and creating is not an inevitable consequence of his destroying.
We live in a capitalist society. The capitalist society must be destroyed if we are to oppose a system that is diametrically opposed to capitalism. But our major preoccupation is not destroying capitalism. Our major preoccupation is with creating the type of system that will be diametrically opposed to capitalism. In order to do that we must destroy capitalism.
When you see people call themselves revolutionary always talking about destroying, destroying, destroying, but never talking about building or creating, they're not revolutionary. They do not understand the first thing about revolution. It's creating.
A revolutionary must present a viable alternative to the masses. He must do that. And he must explain his concepts and explain his system to the masses. Explain and educate them why he thinks it is viable and why it can succeed and why they must be not only willing to die but be willing to kill to bring about the system that the revolutionary is advocating.
I am an Nkrumist. I am an Nkrumist. That is my political ideology. We cannot talk about Nkrumism because, unfortunately, many people have not spent time reading the ideas of Dr Nkrumah. But the basis of my ideology starts in Pan-Africanism. Starts in Pan-Africanism. Thus, we can talk about Pan-Africanism. I feel we can talk about Pan-Africanism because across this country--black student unions, African-American societies, student associations, etc--have been talking about Malcolm X. Everyone talks about him. They wear his sweatshirts, they quote him. Unfortunately, very few people read him. And less study him. Very few read him and less study him. But they quote him. They [xx], "yeah,man, brother Malcolm said blah, blah, blah, blah." Unfortunately, they don't study him. You can't wrap your way through television through revolution, you can wrap your way through television but you can't wrap your way through revolution. You have to study. So, thus, it's incumbent upon us to study. We must study.
I'm looking... I'm sorry I didn't get the quotes... I'm not prepared on Malcolm X, I'll just have to continue...
Brother Malcolm recognized that we were all one people. In the book, he says that if you do not know what is happening in Mississippi, you cannot know what is happening in the Congo. And if you're not interested in what is happening in Mississippi, you cannot be interested in what is happening in the Congo. The same states, the same interests, they're all the same. The same schemes. The same man who's trying to stop us from living in Mississippi is the same man who's trying to stop us from living in the Congo. Brother Malcolm X, brother Malcolm X. Unfortunately, I don't have time to find the quote.
My ideology is Pan-Africanism. My ideology is Pan-Africanism. In order for me to pose a correct ideology, the ideology must study the problems, the problems of the African. After studying the problems of the African, I must pose correct solutions to those problems. Black people all over the world face three major problems. Africans all over the world face three major problems.
We are landless. That means we are people who have no land. We do not own any land. We do not control any land. Individually, we may have land. We may be house owners, home owners. We may even have little stores. In the south, we may even have some farms. But collectively as a people we are landless. We own no land. And that's not only Africans in America. It is Africans in South America, Africans in the Caribbean, even our brothers and sisters on our mother continent. We are landless.
On the question of land, white man divided the African into two groups. One group he took from the land. That's us. Slavery. The second group he took the land from them. That's our brothers and sisters on the continent. Colonialism. Colonialism. That's why any African today, he is a landless man.
Even on our own continent the resources of our continent are built for the benefit of Europeans, not for the benefit of Africans. Landless, victims of capitalism, the victims of racism.
Any ideology, any ideology which seeks to speak to the needs of the black man must cover the needs of these three areas: land, race and class. It must be covered. If they're not covered, the ideology has not analyzed correctly the problems of Africans in the world today. We must get some land. We must get some land because revolution is about land. That's what revolution is. Revolution is getting land. Brother Malcolm X.
The Chinese revolution. They wanted land. The Algerians were revolutionists. They wanted land. France offered to let them be integrated into France. They told France, "to hell with France!" They wanted some land. Land is the basis of revolution. Land, said Malcolm X, is the basis of all independence. Land is what revolution is about. Seizing, taking and controlling land.
Thus, if black students are talking about revolution today, they must be crystal clear in their minds that they're talking about taking some land. L-A-N-D. Land.
We have to take land because it's from the land that we get everything. The clothes that we wear comes from the land in the form of cotton. What we eat comes from the land in the form of agricultural food stuff.
All of the elements and materials necessary to build this building, and to build big machinery in an industrialized society, comes from the land in the form of raw resources: peroxide, copper, zinc, etc, etc.
Thus, it is he who controls the land that will control the people who live on the land. And because we do not control any land, we are dependent upon the white man who controls the land. Land, then, is what we're talking about. So if we're talking about revolution, we're talking about taking some land because that's the only way you're going to get it. You got to take it. Or nobody give up some for nothing. You got to take it. Land. Land.
[applause] Land. Land.
Land is what we've got to get. Now, the African, you see, was scattered all over the western hemisphere and this scattering was as a result of European imperialism. We were scattered all over the western hemisphere.
We must ask ourselves, "where must we get this land or at least if not where must we get this land?" "What will be our priority geographically in seizing this land?" That's the question we must ask ourselves.
But before we go into that, we must discuss a political development in the question of land. A political state that has come to be. It's usually referred to as a settler colony. More particularly it would be known as a European settler colony. We must discuss European settler colony because it will be of great interest and great importance to our particular ideology on the question of where is the African going to get some land? Where is the African going to get some land?
A European settler colony is a land base where the European leaves Europe, goes to the land, takes over the land and subjugates the original owners of the land to the type of system the European imposes upon the original owners of the land. The Europeans do this by sheer barbaric force. Sheer barbaric force.
A European colony. A white boy leaves Europe, goes to somebody's land, takes it over, subjugates the people to his way of life: politically, economically, socially, culturally. That's a settler colony.
My wife is from South Africa. South Africa is a settler colony. Europeans leave Europe, come to Africa, our continent and rip off the most wealthy part of the continent and take it. And subjugate our brothers and sisters to a vicious way of life.
Mozambique is a settler colony. Angola is a European settler colony. Rhodesia. Rhodesia is a European settler colony. But we can use Rhodesia to understand one of the major characteristics of a European settler colony. The real name of Rhodesia is Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is the real name.
One of the characteristics of the European settler colony is that, when the European arrives, they change the name. They change the name. They change the name for two purposes. They want to obliviate the history of the past, number one, and, number two, they want to legitimize their existence as the true owners of the land. That's very important. Very, very important.
And we must be very careful. We cannot allow them to do that to us because our ideology must be based on a correct interpretation of history. And if we must understand that we cannot allow the Europeans to define when we begin to study an area according to their definition, we will only begin to study areas when they arrive. Before they arrived nothing happened.
Zimbabwe is the real name of Rhodesia. If you understood history, and you were studying history, you would see that we would study Zimbabwe. From the growth way back when our ancestors began to build a civilization. And we would understand Rhodesia as a barbaric interference to our way of life.
Thus, when we study Zimbabwe, we would study Zimbabwe seeing it as a straight line and understanding that Europeans imposed themselves by force upon our civilization. But if we talk about Rhodesia, we start with Rhodesia. We start with some stupid man by the name of Cecil Rhodes who was a murderer and a thief. And that's where our history begins. Which is absolutely absurd.
Australia is a European settler colony. Israel is a European settler colony.
[applause] Israel is a European settler colony.
Some people have been studying.
Israel is a European settler colony because European Jews leave Europe, go to Palestine, take over the country, change the name to Israel, impose their culture, impose their political system, their economic system, their language, by sheer barbaric force, and oppress the original owners of the land. The Palestinian arabs. Israel is a European settler colony.
You must understand that. Because if you understand that, then you understand where we have to go. America and Canada are European settler colonies. America and Canada are European settler colonies. America and Canada are European settler colonies but they are harder to distinguish than the others. They're harder to distinguish simply because America and Canada come closest to being successful settler colonies. They come closest to being successful settler colonies.
In order to be a successful settler colony, one must commit genocide against the original owners of the land. America did this. America did this. In order to be a successful settler colony, one must commit genocide against the original owners of the land. They did this and then they changed the name, and it sounds as if they belong here.
They wiped out an entire nation to take the land. Changed the name and call themselves Americans. When you call them an American, you obliviate the correct history. They are not Americans. They are European settlers, that's all that they are. If they're not European settlers, they're certainly the sons and daughters of European settlers. They're not Americans. You should not call them Americans. To do that, you misrepresent the red man who owns this land. They are Europeans. They are Europeans.
Thus, if they are Europeans, we are Africans. Yes.
There cannot be a black American. A black American is someone who participated and derised the profit from the genocide of the red man. You had nothing to do with that. You were brought here as a slave. I know that.
We're Africans. We're all the same people. There is no difference between us. I was born in Trinidad in the Caribbean. There is no difference between me and you. The only difference is when the slave ship got to Trinidad, they kicked me off Trinidad and brought you here. That's the only difference, we are the same people.
Thus, if you understand that we are the same people, you will understand that we have brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, brothers and sisters on the whole north eastern coast of South America where they had slavery. Brothers and sisters here. And millions and millions and millions of our brothers and sisters in Africa. In order for us to understand where we're going, we must become part of the worldwide African nation. Where our nation is stretched from Africa to Nova Scotia. We're Africans.
Many people when they try to analyze the problems of the African in America calls it a problem peculiar to America. They take the history back to the Africans when they came to America. That's absurd. The problem didn't start in America. The problem started in Africa when the first white man came to rape us of our continent and of our people. That's where the problem started. That's the roots of the problem. The first white boy that came there and tried to get us had to fight. That's where the problem started. America is only an extension of the war. A tangent, if you will. But the problem didn't start in America. It started in Africa. We fought in Africa, we fought in the slave ships, we fought in America, we fought during slavery, we fought after slavery, we've been fighting, we continue to fight because it's only an extended war. That is all. We are fighting today.
Wherever our people are, we're fighting. We're fighting against a worldwide vicious system that hooks us in. We must break this system.
[applause] We must break this system.
The land belongs to the red man. You must know something about revolution. You must understand revolution very carefully. It may sound romantic but it's very true. Revolution is based on Truth, with a capital 'T'. And it's based on Justice, with a capital 'J'. Thus, if you talk about advocating a revolutionary theory, your revolutionary theory must be just and truthful.
The Vietnamese say all the time, "we will win our struggle because ours is a just struggle." And they're correct. They will win because theirs is a just struggle.
The Palestinian arabs say all the time, "we will win because ours is a just struggle." And they are right. They will win because theirs is a just struggle.
And we, the Africans, we are bound to win because our struggle is the most just. But it must be... it must be [xx]cated on just theories. This land belongs to the red man. Where must be the base for the African? The only land base for the African, the only land base for the African must be his base. Africa. Africa, my brothers and sisters, is the richest continent in the world. Can you dig that? Africa, is the richest continent in the world. You got gold, diamonds, zinc, copper, aluminum, oxide, everything, copper, you got everything. And plus it's beautiful. Africa is the richest continent in the world. You can fit America 16 times into Africa. 16 times. America is chump change compared to Africa.
[applause and cheering]
Africa is ours. It belongs to us. Mother Africa produced us. Africa is the richest continent in the world. If Africa were properly organized, she would be the most powerful continent in the world. Can you dig that? And if Africa were the most powerful continent in the world, whether we lived in South Africa, whether we lived in Egypt, whether we lived in Guinea, whether we lived in Barbados, whether we lived in Jamaica, whether we lived in Antigua, whether we lived in Trinidad, whether we lived in Brazil, whether we lived in Santa Domingo, whether we lived in Haiti, whether we lived in Cuba, whether we lived in Venezuela, whether we lived in Ghana, wherever we live, be it in Harlem or in California, we would be the most powerful people on the face of this earth.
[applause and cheering]
And if we were the most powerful people, would nobody mess with one [xx] grain of hair on our [xx].
[applause and laughter]
It is power. It is power, that's what it's all about. Power. Power. P-O-W-E-R. Power.
When you see a white boy, you are not afraid of that white boy individually. You are afraid of the power that that white boy represents. That's what you're afraid of. And the power may start from the local police, go all the way to the state militia, run through the army and the navy, and reach NATO, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Because that's white power incorporated. That's all it is.
When you see an African, there is no power behind him. When you see a black man, there is no power behind him. Thus, there's no reason to respect him. We need a power behind us. We need a power that will speak and protect us. We must develop mother Africa. We must make mother Africa our major and our primary objective, because as mother Africa becomes strong, we will become strong. We will become strong and as we become strong we will lessen the gap between the powerful and the powerless.
Thus, our primary objective must be mother Africa. Many people say we should fight to take the land in America. If you're fighting to take the land, you have to take it. You have to take it. Because he killed for it. If I kill for something and you came and asked me for it, I shoot you for being so stupid as to ask.
The European killed for this land. He killed a whole nation. And if you think that after killing a while nation he's going to give you this land, you're making a mistake. Once you kill for something, you've got to keep on killing to keep it. Do you understand that? Because if we're talking about taking this land, we must be prepared to kill for the land. We have to kill for land. We have to kill for land because our evolution is based on diametrically opposed philosophies. And the philosophy that now controls Africa must be diametrically opposed to the one we have to fight for. Thus, we have to fight.
Since we have to fight for land, it makes sense to fight for the richest land, which you'll be able to develop much quicker, thus, build your strength much faster.
In order to take land, you must follow a revolutionary formula. You must seize the land, hold the land, develop the land and then expand. You have to seize, hold, develop, and expand. You seize, you hold it, you develop, and you expand. I don't think we could seize much land in America but, even if we could, I know we couldn't hold it. And even if we could hold it, it's certainly true that we could not develop land in America as rapidly as we could in Africa, which is the richest continent in the world.
Thus, the Pan-Africanist says that the land base for the African revolution must be Africa. Must be Africa. That's the land base. It is our land. It belongs to us. We must fight, develop it, and make it what it has to be. The most powerful continent on the face of this earth. Africa must be the land base.
We must deal with the question of capitalism. But before we deal with it, it's necessary to do some defining. Simply because there are too many people using too many terms confusing the minds of our people. I see people all the time. "We're going to kill all the black capitalists." "Nixon's inventing black capitalism." They don't understand what they're talking about. They really don't.
We say that the African is the victim of capitalism. In order to do that, we must explain how we are the victims of capitalism and we must explain what is capitalism. What are capitalists? Because we hear the word thrown around so many times. But I now, as black students, you have been following the various ideologies within the black community. You know there are black Marxist-Leninist groups. You know there are some Pan-Africanist groups. And I know that as black students, you study these, because that's what you're here for, to study. And that you wouldn't be hearing words used about you that you wouldn't take time out to study. I know that.
So I know that you understand Marxism-Leninism. I know you understand capitalism. I know you understand capitalist. So we're just going to review very quickly some of the things that I know that you've been studying.
I know you wouldn't be wasting your time jiving and rapping your way through revolution. I know you're studying.
A capitalist, according to Marx, is someone who owns and controls the means of production. A capitalist, according to Karl Marx, is someone who owns and controls the means of production. If you understand this definition, which is the correct definition of a capitalist, then you would know there are no black capitalists in America. You would know that because there's no black man who owns and controls the means of anything. So that when people talk about black capitalists, you would know that they don't know what they are talking about. No, there's no black capitalist.
Below the capitalist comes a class called the bourgeoisie. They serve the interests of the capitalists. They serve the interests of the capitalists. They do the capitalist's work for him. They are what Mr Lenin calls, "the lackeys of capitalism." They're what Mao Tse-tung calls, "the running dog lackeys of capitalism." And that's what they are.
There are some members who happen to be black inside that class. The bourgeoisie are aspiring capitalists. They want to be capitalists but they will never be capitalists because the class of the capitalist never expands. Never. Because the primary motivating reason for capitalist is private profits. Private profits. Make more. Make more. Thus, if that's his primary motivating force, he cannot expand and include more people because his profits will be cut down. He cannot do that. Thus, when you hear them talking about, "we will establish black capitalism," they're talking nonsense. Because inside the capitalist class there are always contradictions. Each one trying to eliminate the other to make more profits.
Thus, you cannot develop black capitalism. Nonsense. You must understand these things because they deal with our people. They are the problems that we face. Below the bourgeoisie, you have the petty bourgeoisie and then below that you have the masses: the workers, the peasants, the proletariat. These are the masses that will fight. They will fight against the capitalists. The capitalists there's no hope for. The bourgeoisie, there may be hope for them on an individual basis. Not as a class. Not as a class. On an individual basis. I know you know these things but, if you don't, you should have. You should be because they've been mentioned.
The Black Panther party talks about capitalism and Marxism-Leninism all the time. I know you've been reading or listening to the party. But since you've been doing that, I know you've been studying the terms. You wouldn't just let the party say something about you and you not know what they're talking about. So I know you've been studying. If you have not, then you've made a mistake as black students. You've made a grave mistake because you should be keeping up with the struggle of your people. You've made a grave mistake.
Confucius says, "if you make a mistake, and you see it's a mistake, and you don't correct your mistake, you've made your second mistake."
I hope you will not make a second mistake. Your people's lives may depend upon it. And thus your own lives.
We say we're the victims of capitalism. We are the victims of capitalism because we are forced to sell our labor to the capitalist. We are forced to sell our labor to the capitalist. Thus, we are wage earners. We are wage earners. As we sell our work, the capitalists pay us a wage. A daily wage. A weekly wage. A monthly wage. But the wage is never enough for us to accumulate wealth. Off of our profits--that is our labor--our labor, the capitalists [cuts off]
There's a white capitalist, who owns and controls the means of production in order to produce the match. He owns and controls it. He does no work. He never steps into a ring. He never trains. No labor. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, they are the labor.
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier get $800,000. The white capitalists get $30 million. That's capitalism. That's capitalism.
Off of the labor of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, this white boy makes $30 million. They make $800,000. Not enough money to do any development with. Next year, they will be back on the streets trying to fight again. Trying to sell their labor to the capitalists. That's why capitalism is vicious. That's why we must destroy it. That's why we must smash it into nothing-ness. All of us.
All of us are the victims of capitalism. Even if you own two cars and a house and a television, you are constantly working, working, working. Paying insurance bills, paying that bill, paying that bill, your wife is working with you, everybody is working, working, working. Selling your labor and someone reaps the profit of your labor. That's why we've got to destroy capitalism. That's why we must destroy it. We are the victims of capitalism.
We must pose a system which is diametrically opposed to capitalism. It must be so diametrically opposed that none of the characteristics of a decadent capitalist system will be found in our system. They must be diametrically opposed and they must be fighting to occupy the same space at the same time. Thus, one will win, one will die.
We must deal with Marxism-Leninism. We must deal with Marxism-Leninism simply because it's been cropping up in the community and many people who have been using the terms and the phrases really don't know what they're talking about. They confuse Marx and Lenin. They think that Marx and Lenin invented, they really do... They think that Marx and Lenin invented the science known as Marxism-Leninism. Marx and Lenin did not invent. They merely observed and recorded. That's all they did. They're no different to Newton. We call the laws of gravity Newton's Laws. But Newton did not invent the laws of gravity. He merely observed and recorded.
For example, Newton says that an object at rest stands to stay at rest unless pushed by an outside force. Newton didn't invent that. He just observed it and wrote it down. And since he was literate, he put his name next to it. That's all he did.
Newton did not invent that when a body drops it drops at a rate of 32 feet per second squared. He observed it and recorded it. And put his name to it. We call it Newton's Laws but he didn't invent them.
Any astute student of practical science can recognize that an object will fall at a rate of 32 feet per second squared. Without prior knowledge of Newton. We thank Newton for classifying knowledge, thus making our research easier. Yes, we must thank him for that.
The same is true of Monsieurs Marx and Lenin. They did not invent the science known as Marxism and Leninism. They observed certain phenomena in the economic arena in relationship to capital and labor. And having observed certain observations, they recorded. Any astute student of political science, which I am, can come to the same conclusions without prior knowledge of Mr Marx and Mr Lenin.
We thank these two western philosophers for classifying knowledge, thus making our research easier. But they didn't invent. They did not invent. They only recorded.
And if one really understands the science of Marxism and Leninism, one would know that the roots of Marxism and Leninism are to be found in the communalistic society of the traditional African society. That's where the roots are. The roots of Marxism and Leninism are to be found--must be found--in a communalistic society, which is the traditional society of the Africans.
Thus, if you are an African, it makes little sense for you to stop at Marxism and Leninism. You should come home to the roots. You must come to Africa. Marxism and Leninism is a science. It is an instrument, a tool, a weapon, for dissecting one's history, that's all it is.
If one takes Marxism and Leninism and doesn't have a knowledge of one's history, one is dogmatic. You're slashing everywhere. You're like a quack who's picked up some instruments and calls himself a doctor. Without knowledge of medicine he just cuts his patient. And when he misses, he becomes more dogmatic. And the more he can't find a cure, the more vicious he becomes. The more vicious he becomes.
Thus, any black man who says he's a Marxist-Leninist must come to Pan-Africanism. Must come to Pan-Africanism. We must analyze our traditional society. It was a communalistic society. It was a communalistic society. Our ancestors were very intelligent. The capitalist society is not an intelligent society. It's a stupid society. The cornerstone of capitalism is private property. Private property. Private property is the cornerstone of capitalism. You've got to get hold of some land in order to control it. That's the cornerstone of the capitalist society.
Our ancestors, being very intelligent people, knew that there could never be such a thing as private property. Nobody came with land, nobody was going to take any when they left, so how could they own the land. It was there for everybody. Thus, the land belonged to the community. The land belonged to the community. The community worked the land and the profits from the land was divided equally amongst the community. A communalistic society.
Today, we must take the guidelines of communalistic society and bring them up to our modern day society. We must take the guidelines of communalistic society and bring them up to our modern day society. Our communalistic society was an agricultural society. Today, we have industrialization. Thus, we must bring forth all of these guidelines and introduce industrialization into our community.
That would be known as scientific socialism. Because the basic guidelines of the communalistic society is in fact what is referred to as scientific socialism. Scientific socialism is diametrically opposed to capitalism. Diametrically opposed. Simply because in a capitalist society a few people own and control the means of production and use the profit for their own selves. In a socialist society, the means of production is owned and controlled by the masses of people and the profits are divided equally among the masses.
Thus, our system must be a system based on our communalistic past brought up to our modern history with industrialization. Scientific socialism. That's the ideology of Pan-Africanism. Deals with the problem of capitalism. Deals with the problem of land.
The problem of race is now left. Pan-Africanism is what we're talking about. Pan means "all". Pan-Africanism means "all Africans." Thus, when you talk about all Africans, there's no problem of race when you talk about all Africans. There's no racism amongst us. Racism only comes when we have contact or relation with people who are racist. We are not racist. The African is not racist. The African is not racist because the African has never propagated a theory of pure race. The theory of pure race has always been propagated by the European, not the African. Examples of that are very clear. If an African and a European have a child, the offspring is considered a molatu [sp].
The white race never accepts the offspring because the white race has a pure theory. The African always accepts the child. There is never a question. In our race, we have all mixtures. They are all Africans. We're not concerned, we're not bothered. Perhaps it's because we're strong and we know it will all come back home sooner or later. Thus, the African is not racist. He accepts anyone. It is the white man. He has a pure race theory. If you are not pure white, you're not white.
You must understand this because they try to make it look as though we are racist. But we must always scientifically analyze and understand and use clear examples to point out our case.
Thus, then the Pan-Africanist's ideology is clearly the problems of land, race and class. Land, race and class. Of course, you probably ask, "what does that mean? Does that mean we all have to go back to Africa?" People who ask this question really love America because they don't want to leave America. That's why that ask, "do we have to go back to Africa?" Because if you knew where your home was, you'd try your best to get back there.
They love America, they love America very much. America's going to die and they will die with America. America's going to die.
America is going to die you know. She's rushing to her death. You see her in Vietnam. They're whooping her. They're putting a hurting on her and [xx] and Cambodia, they're beating her to death. And look she's not satisfied. She's running right into China and Mao Tse-tung is just tapping his foot waiting for her.
America must be destroyed. The systems that are being posed in the world today are systems which are diametrically opposed to imperialism. We Africans in America must not die with America.
Brother Malcolm X give you the answer. I know you quote him. I know you read him. Thus, when I read the paragraph here, you will know it. And you will say, yes, that's what brother Malcolm has always been saying.
"Just as the American Jew is in harmony (politically, economically and culturally) with world Jewry, it is time,it is time, it is time (he was saying that a long tine ago), it is time for all African-Americans to become an integral part of the world's Pan-Africanists, and even though we might remain in America physically while fighting for the benefits the Constitution guarantees us, we must 'return', we must return, to Africa philosophically and culturally and develop a working unity in the framework of Pan-Africanism."
Malcolm X. Don't let people interpret him for you. He was speaking for you, to you, and about you. Read him. Study him. And interpret him yourself. He was saying Pan-Africanism. He said it's time.
We must return to Africa, psychologically, even if we remain in America. Even if we remain in America. What our primary objective must be the development of mother Africa because it is our only salvation. If we stay here in America we would never be able to amass the strength necessary to defeat America. We could not. We wouldn't have the resources or the time. We'd be so busy fighting, we would never have the time to develop. But in Africa, we could develop.
Guinea, which is a very small country has one third of the world's [xx]. We can develop every type of aeroplane we need and just keep on developing. We don't have to let anybody else have any because it belongs to us.
Africa is rich. Africa is rich. Of all the rape that has been committed against our mother, not even one hundredth of her natural resources has been tapped. Africa is rich. We can develop Africa quick, fast, in a hurry. If the Chinese did it in 20, we can do it in 10.
[applause] We can do it in 10.
But in order to do that we must have one mind. We must see ourselves as one people working for the same objectives, working for the same system, willing to kill. Willing to kill. To bring about our system. We must understand the necessity to kill. We must understand the necessity to kill. And the only thing that can give you the necessity to kill is a clear, political ideology. A clear, political ideology.
Sorry if I avoid you but you just can't rap and we can't ride off on our way through revolution. Ride on, brother, ride on! Scientific. It must be scientific.
There's emotion, there must be emotion. We are emotionally committed to Mother Africa. It's ours. But it must be scientific. It must be scientific and it must be geared that once the wheels are put in motion, nothing can turn it back. Revolution, says brother Malcolm, overturns and destroys everything that gets in its path. It must be scientific.
If you accept Black Power, you must accept Pan-Africanism because it is the logical and consistent development. The highest political expression of Black Power is Pan-Africanism. It is the logical and consistent development. We said Black Power. Black Power meant power to black people. Black Power did not mean power to the people. The people have power. Black people don't have power. You have to give power to the powerless in order to balance power. You don't give power to other people because the relationship will remain the same. You have to give power to the powerless. Black Power is for black people. Power to black people. They have no power. And in order to balance out the injustices they must have power. Black Power simply means that black people should get together and organize a base. By any means necessary, begin to move to get some power.
Unfortunately, my brothers and sisters here in the States though that they were the only black people in the world. Or at least they thought Black Power was just for them. My brothers and sisters, there are black people are the entire north-eastern coast of South America.
My mother was born in Panama. My grandfather was taken from the West Indies to build the Panama Canal. He died there. Many of our people died there. We have a long history. We have a long debt to pay. There are many black people in the West Indies. Many black people in the West Indies. All over the West Indies, there are black people. And there are millions and millions and millions and millions of black people in Africa. Black Power means all of these people wherever they are organizing themselves. That's real Black Power on an international basis. Black Power means all of these people. All of us coming together.
[applause] All of us coming together.
Land is power. Power is land. Land is power. Power is land. Black Power is the black man in control of black land. Black Power is the black man in control of black land. The black man in control of black land is Pan-Africanism. Is Pan-Africanism. Because the logical and consistent development of Black Power leads only to Pan-Africanism. There is no other way to go. There is no other out.
If you accept the ideology, you may say, "well, now, what does that mean? I have to go back to Africa? How is that supposed to work?" [?]
The precedent has been set. The precedent has been set. It has been set by Jews. Jews, whether they live in Miami, California, Chicago, London, Brussels, France, Italy, their major preoccupation is building a strong Israel. That's all they talk about. Israel. Israel. Israel. They're Jewish settlers in this country. Every time they get up, they talk about Israel, Israel, Israel. Israel was created in 1948. I am older than Israel. I am older than the state of Israel. Yet, in 1967, when Israel committed a war of aggression against Egypt, millions of dollars all over this world flowed to Israel to help protect Israel. Jewish boys and Jewish girls aged 17 and 18 left America going to fight for Israel. Israel was fighting against Egypt. Egypt is thousands and thousands and thousands of years old. Egypt is an Africa. Africa is ours. We never did a thing. As a matter of fact, some of us sided with the Jews.
Lack of scientific analysis, lack of history, lack of everything, complete confusion. We are being brainwashed by television. You watch it too much. You watch it too much.
[laughter and applause]
You do not recognize how the mass media works its propaganda against our movement. Why they talk so much about revolution on television. They try to project so much revolution that we actually have people in our community who are trying to dress like the revolutionary. [laughter] Can you dig that?
There are people who actually try to dress like the revolutionary. I don't know what a revolutionary looks like... [laughter] ...but they try to dress like one.
They don't work like one, they don't think like one, they don't study like one, but they try to dress and rap like one.
[laughter and applause]
What's television doing to you? You're not even recognizing it. The way to put a people to sleep is not let them know what's being done. A revolutionary is not by the way he's dressed and he's not dirty. Why is it that all these revolutionaries in the black community must be dirty? From whence does it come?
Poverty does not equal dirt. All of us who grew up poor grew up clean. Our mothers would iron our pants every day even if it shine [?]. [xx] poor and dirt does not equal the same.
I have met many revolutionaries the world over and none of them have been dirty.
I have met real, live revolutionaries and none of them have been dirty; they have all been clean. I don't know where this idea comes from; I can only assume it comes from association with the white left who suffers from proletariat chauvinism.
[laughter, cheering and applause]
Trying to look revolutionary.
Now, before I sit down, I just want to spend a few minutes on guerilla warfare. Mmm. Now, I'll tell you something. There are all sorts of laws here about advocating guerilla warfare. I'm not advocating guerilla warfare.
[laughter and undefinable heckle from the audience]
You ought to have some proof when you open your mouth.
[noise from audience--possibly same heckler]
I'm not advocating guerilla warfare. But what I'm telling you is that I am a political activist. I'm a student of politics. I'm a student of politics. I studied political philosophy at Harvard University and I was an Honors' student. I have to some degree--maybe not as much as some revolutionaries--worked in black political struggles, not only here in America, not only in South America, not only in the West Indies, but also in Africa. Thus I'm a little bit... at least I have credentials that could be acceptable. So I'm not advocating guerilla warfare but I'd like to discuss it academically. And I'd like to say to you that I'm not advocating it but if America continues the way she continues, which she will, there's going to be a guerilla warfare in America.
Thus, I'm just making a political hypothesis. And since I think there's going to be guerilla warfare in America, it behooves us it seems to me to discuss it again on an academic level.
Now, don't go tomorrow and say to the man, Carmichael's advocating guerilla warfare. Say, Carmichael said that if the country continues the way it is there's going to be guerilla warfare. Yes.
Now one thing you must learn about guerilla warfare which some of us so-called revolutionaries did not learn, although in a revolution the political and military leadership are combined in one, the political dominants the military. The political ideology guides the use of the gun. It is not the gun that dominants the political ideology. So in other words, you don't give somebody a gun who doesn't have a political ideology.
[applause] Never do that.
If you give somebody a gun who doesn't have a political ideology they end up shooting themselves and if not shooting you, that's because of their sheer stupidity. It's a political ideology that dominants the use of gun. Mao Tse-tung says that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun and it does. But there's a man who controls that gun. And the man controlling the gun must have a political ideology. He must have it. Must have it. Must have it. So you just don't give a gun to some stupid young child without a political ideology. Because then the gun becomes his political ideology. "I'm bad, I gotta a gun, I'm going off to cop!" Boom boom boom! And the cop is often him. Where's his political ideology? He doesn't know when to use the gun. He doesn't know who is enemy is. You never give the gun to someone unless you give them a clear political ideology.
In guerilla warfare, now see some people, because of television, they misunderstood guerilla warfare with gorilla warfare.
[laughter and clapping]
Yeah, they made a mistake. They didn't hear the word correctly. The man said 'guerilla'; they said 'gorilla'.
They didn't hear the word correctly.
In guerilla warfare, first of all, you work in small groups. You never work in large groups. And the basis is always test of time. Any time somebody wants to join, you test them over a period of time. Like if somebody comes in and rap bad [?], "Yeah, we ought to go blow up some pigs, brother!" Yeah, you're a revolutionary. Boom! Conspiracy. Time. Tested.
A guerilla never hides all of his guns in an office so that when the pig kicks down the door he gets the guns and the guerilla cries foul. That's nonsense.
Weapons are vital to the guerilla, thus, the guerilla separates into little stashes his weapons, hiding them in different places, so at least if the conventional force finds, he only finds a little bit, not all of it.
The guerilla studies. The guerilla studies. The guerilla studies. The guerilla analyzes. The guerilla doesn't run his mouth saying, "I'm a guerilla", he is the fish in the sea. How can he be conspicuous? The guerilla is inside the masses. If the masses are in church, the guerilla is in church. If the masses are in the bars, the guerilla is in the bars.
The guerillas we have today wear buttons all over their shirts saying, "I'm a guerilla." That's a guerilla, not a gorilla.
[laughter and applause] Guerilla, not a gorilla.
The guerilla should not be detected by the policeman. Those people in our community today who are trying to look revolutionary are only giving themselves away. Look like the people. Look like the people. The job of the guerilla is to organize the masses. His strength comes from the masses. His strength comes from the masses. The guerilla is humble. He doesn't try to Bogart his way every where he goes. He's humble. The guerilla is supposed to be the servant of his people. Nobody asked him to be the vanguard. He calls himself the vanguard, thus, he has to be humble and accept what the black community gives him. If he doesn't like it, let him jump out and get himself another job. Thus the guerilla is humble. Very humble. Because he is serving his people.
And he's serving his people because he has an undying love. For his people. Not for America, for his people. The guerilla cannot have an undying love for America. If he has an undying love for his people, he must hate America for what America has done and continues to do to his people.
The guerilla studies. The guerilla studies. The guerilla studies. My brothers and sisters, before I sit down, I beg you, I plead with you, I have sent... I have thrown out some concepts. You may not have to accept them but I only ask one thing. I beg you to study. I beg you to analyze the problems of our people. You are students. In any revolutionary movement, students played the role of the revolutionary intelligentsia. Your job is to analyze the problems that face our people, criticize the proposed solutions, argue and debate and discuss them, and then give them back to the masses. That is your job.
You cannot do that if you're not reading. You cannot do that if you're rapping. And you cannot do that if you're listening and being directed by misguided people who do not even understand the words they use. But you are students. You are here in school to study. Thus, while you are studying, if someone is using a word that they don't know, you should be able to tell them. There are no such thing as black capitalists. You should be able to tell them when you curse out the black bourgeoisie and you make an alliance with the white bourgeoisie you are racist. You should tell them that. You should tell them that if they call themselves Marxist-Leninist and they make alliances with the white bourgeoisie they are unorthodox. They are unholy alliances because the masses and the [xx] proletariat can never make an alliance with the bourgeoisie to destroy the system.
The bourgeoisie will fight to uphold the system. His interests are at stake. The interests of the bourgeoisie are diametrically opposed to the interests of the [xx] proletariat. Diametrically opposed. Thus it's impossible for them to make an alliance.
You are students, you must know these things. You are students, you must be studying these things. Your people need you. Your people need you. They need your analytical mind. I beg you, I plead with you, please, for your people, study and work for us.
None: I like the fact everyone's present and I hope that you do attend more activities that we have, that are scheduled, in the coming week. Thank you.