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Anniversary of Malcolm X's assassination

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It was noted in my American History lecture yesterday that Malcolm X had been murdered on that day. I had forgotten to post on the forum acknowledging the fact, so I shall do so now.

In todays lecture we debated whether Martin Luther King's non-violent protesting was better than Malcolm X and the black panthers advocation of violent means of resistance.

We seperated into groups to discuss the matters. I was in a group that was designated to advocate the stance of the Black Panthers. A quick show of hands showed that all but four of my 28 person class believed that non-violent means were the most viable. I think that I was one of the only students that made the case for use of force in gaining civil rights or a black nation.

I think the reason that such a majority of the group sided with peaceful means is because they were all white, and do not know what it is to be oppressed because of their race.

Whether you advocate Malcolm X's means or motives, you must acknowledge the fact that his was a growing movement. Before anyone condemns some of the things that Malcolm said or did, they should take the time to assess what they would do had they been in the same position. Would you advocate love for your neighbour, though he did not for you, or would you feel anger towards your oppressors. As Malcolm X said, "Don't sit in, stand up".


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John, (my understanding: ) there were in fact a series of Malcolm X's (I don't mean different people, but personas) shaped by his experiences. His vehemently staunch (correctly so) eminently coherent assertions of his rights which typified the 'new negro', like Cassius X (Muhammed Ali) and others, were not the Black Panthers. That in itself is not a statement against the Panthers, they were a powerful force that showed the white supremacists that they could no longer assume the power they once had. The Panthers were heavily attacked by COINTELPRO ops, including assassinations and infiltrations.

The new Malcolm that came back from Mecca with a new message of reconciliation and unity, while not lessening his independent spirit, is the Malcolm that was assassinated. This is also the Malcolm that could begin to work closer with MLK and form a greater black consciousness unity movement. JEH described MLK as the most dangerous negro alive. Just Imagine all of them marching with a common purpose. COINTELPRO was into creating disunity and discord in order to destroy what it saw as enemies of the status quo.

(I've a hope that the otherwise empty 'Black History' Forum can become a largely Malcolm X forum where it might not compete with other topics. With sufficient participation a separate Malcolm X forum heading an be set up. Andy has kindly enabled image attachments there.)


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I would agree with your sentiments re: Malcolm following his return from Mecca. Spike Lee's film 'Malcolm X' portrayed this excellently. I would reccommend the film.

I will be reading and writing a review of 'The autobiography of Malcolm X' in the next few weeks for my American History course.

COPA are planning on holding a conference to commemorate Malcolm X's death in New York.

One of my principal arguments (though I don't necessarily fully agree with it) during our in-class discussion was that MLK was shot by the establishment while using peaceful means, as was Gandhi. I used these examples to show that although MLK's tactics were stronger as long as he was alive, Malcolm X's idea of black nationalism had a greater chance of living on. Calling brothers to arms could best be achieved by creating a martyr for the cause. Malcolm and the black nationalists would have the means to retaliate against assassinations and attempts, whereas the civil rights movement would have no immediate recourse.

John Geraghty

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I recommend the film as well. Though it necessarily was a summary with many significant periods brightly highlighted and therefore films being what they are, gloss over some of the more subtle yet important interfaces between the periods. The 'Autobiography' is well worth reading. I gave my copy to a member of the US Navy I got into a debate over this when his ship visited OZ.

I don't know if you are aware of the 'behind the scene' events leading up to RFK's canditature. AFAIK He was forging alliances with people like MLK who was becoming more focused on the essence of racism including the disproportionate number of dead black Viet vets, IOW he was shifting his well established authority wider and wider as the struggles continued. One of RFK's close friends was the brother (Charles) of the assassinated Medgar Evers, (mid 1963, the night of JFK's famous civil rights speech 'the time of waiting is over') and he was in attendance with RFK on the day of his assassination. Add a maturer militant like Malcolm to the mix and you're set for a very radical presidency.

The Civil Rights movement was broadening its scope. By remaining as much as possible a moral force, while of course signifying it will defend its own when needed, but only to severely discourage force of arms against them, IOW a disciplined militant arm not a vengeful one, it allows a larger proportion of less militant sectors of the population to participate. That then becomes a very powerful force where retaliation against anything becomes less necessary.

I guess I am trying to differentiate between 'retaliation' and 'defense'. Ultimately I personally am a believer in MLK's and Ghandis concepts of non-violence which really did accomplish an enormous amount. The deaths of courageous people like that is, I think something they accept as a possibility.


(a plug from another land where we can't vote for him: for the future: From the little I know of him : turn your eyes and thoughts on the security and support of AG, NY, RFKjr)

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