Sunday, February 21, 2010

Divide and Conquer Politrix: Malcolm X explains Liberals v. Conservatives

Last month I wrote two notes that are good reads for Black History Month.

Title #1: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don't cede OUR Power...
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Title #2: In Honor of A King: Keep on Keeping On
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The second note was posted in honor of Dr. King on his holiday last month. In it I wrote about the efforts to pit Dr. King and Malcolm X against each other.

As we remember the assassination of Malcolm X 45 years ago today, i wanted to re-share a part of one note that highlighted the speech Malcolm X gave on liberals v. conservatives. While it is not one of his most popular speeches, I think it is one of the most relevant given today's political climate where the media continues to suck most into the traps of politrix.

Miseducation and the Divide and Conquer Strategy

Malcolm X and Dr. King Jr. were often (purposely) pitted against each other, forcing community members to pick a "leader" and "strategy". But the masses of our people loved both men because they recognized that both men loved them and wanted the same thing...our freedom.

When successful, this strategy of divide and conquer leads to a lack of focus where it becomes easy to be manipulated by political rancor.

This is no different than the tactics used to cause friction between Washington & DuBois and DuBois and Garvey...It is ironic that most who followed Garvey's philosophy believed BTW to be a sell out, when it was Washington's strategy that most influenced Garvey.

A friend of mine teaches in Black LA and most of her students know only the caricature of MLK Jr. the mainstream has created...They know "I have a Dream" MLK, but not "Stop the Vietnam War" MLK. And as incredible as it may seem, many don’t even know who Malcolm X is! One asked if he was an extreme sports star! We still do not know who our enemy really is...It reminds me of a quotation attributed to Black Panther Bunchy Carter where he explains that there should never be any hostilities between Black organizations because they are not our (BPP) enemy.

From Miseducation to Re-Education

Some may not have realized how similar MLK Jr. and Malcolm X were in their visions for our people.

I found this series and hope all will take a look:

1. Martin Luther King & Malcolm X: Striking Similarities Part 1 of 3
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2. Martin Luther King & Malcolm X: Striking Similarities Part 2 of 3
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3. Martin Luther King & Malcolm X: Striking Similarities Part 3 of 3
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It is very significant that Malcolm X reached out to MLK Jr. in his later years, going from calling MLK Jr. a pawn of white power structure to publicly recognizing that "Dr. King wants the same thing I want -- freedom!"

The Transformation:
Early Malcolm X = The "white man pays Reverend Martin Luther King, subsidizes Reverend Martin Luther King, so that Reverend Martin Luther King can continue to teach the Negroes to be defenseless."

but in one of his last speeches Malcolm X goes to Selma to speak in front of SNCC and says this:

MALCOLM X: And I think that the people in this part of the world would do well to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King and give him what he's asking for and give to him fast before some other factions come along and try to do it another way. (February 4, 1965)

Given the context of their shared vision, I am reminded of Malcolm X's description of liberals, and their need to control black leaders in order to control the black community. From a 1963 speech Malcolm said:

"The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor; and by winning the friendship, allegiance, and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political “football game” that is constantly raging between the white liberals and white conservatives.

The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox.

The job of the Negro civil rights leader is to make the Negro forget that the wolf and the fox both belong to the (same) family. Both are canines; and no matter which one of them the Negro places his trust in, he never ends up in the White House, but always in the dog house. (peep that

The white liberals control the Negro and the Negro vote by controlling the Negro civil rights leaders. As long as they control the Negro civil rights leaders, they can also control and contain the Negro’s struggle, and they can control the Negro’s so-called revolt."

Are white liberals controlling US and undermining OUR revolt? Are we serving OUR communities and uniting OUR people or are we falling into the same old traps?
By the look of things...i would say Politrix is alive and well.

Malcolm X Fought the Real War

The truth is we live now in a corporatist/fascist state where our "democratic elected representatives" are bought and sold, and without an active citizenry, this will remain the case. We also have to deal with the reality that even if we lived in a TRUE democracy where our representatives actually represented us and our interests, we live among a nation of millions that want to hold us back (PE).

Malcolm X's speech highlights the ongoing racial struggle in this country...the RACE WAR that has been at the center of this country from its founding to today.

With progress made, there is always backlash...

TO secure our freedom:
1. David Walker's Appeal (calling for enslaved Africans to secure freedom by any means)
2. Bacon's Rebellion (class based revolt)

1. racialization of slavery (from indentured servitude to slave for life)
2. black codes for non-enlaved AA

1. Abolition movement to end slavery (from reform tactics like pressure though press and courts to radical revolts to moral religious tactics)..led to whole free state/slave state - congressional politics of representation 3/5 clause etc.


THEN to secure freedom we:
1. Federal FREEDMAN'S Bureau
2. gains in education, land, and political representation

1. Domestic Terrorism, birth of KKK
2. Legalization of Jim Crow

1. Booker T. - building institutions but not fighting racism,
2. DuBois - NAACP, tried reforming system, holding to its ideals,
3. Garvey - actually inspired by Booker T., self determination, building black institutions and economic empowerment with black money not white donors like Booker T. had

1. J Edgar Hoover hired first black agent to infiltrate UNIA.
2. Black leaders pitted against each other as tactic (Washington v. DuBOis, Garvey v. DuBois)
3. Internal strife (movements brought down from within/tactic used in revolts earlier too)

1. CRM - Emmitt Till, montgomery bus boycott - masses organizing, SNCC, BPP, etc

2. MLK v. MALCOLM,take sides (tactic divide and conquer which Malcolm X later rejected)

hip hop - voice for youth coming of post-CR era

commodified - frame one dimensional and sell for profit while reinforcing stereotypes..see BAMBOOZLED

OBAMA is elected in this

1. tea party
2. "liberal" squabbling on politics instead of organizing actions (which i argue is very purposeful and again refer to Malcolm X speech on foxes and wolves..liberals and conservatives)

I write all this to basically point out...we have to make sure we know not only WHAT we are fighting for...but WHO we are fighting FOR, and who we are fighting AGAINST...because there have been many times in history we have been pitted against each other as a tactic when we could have united and been a powerful force for our own freedom...we can either learn lessons of history, or continue to repeat them...Malcolm X understood this and it is why Black Nationalism remained his strategy to achieve human rights for all. He understood self determination was not just a was the ONLY path to freedom.