Being that today is Malcolm X’s birthday, I thought it was incumbent upon me to share these reflections. First and foremost, I think it’s necessary that I explain why I, as a “white man,” a euro-amerikan, feel such a profound reverence for Malcolm, someone who said to be a “black militant” and accused of being anti-white. To put it simply, I think that Malcolm X was a great man and a great human being, someone who didn’t have a single stain on his conduct or blemish on his character (I’m talking about the post-prison Malcolm of course). He was passionate in his convictions and unshakable in his commitment to justice and freedom (and therefore to humanity). He was proud and humble at the same time; proud enough to defend his dignity as a human being by any means, and humble enough to remain teachable. His thinking did not stagnate, but constantly evolved as he grew as a human being. He had a thoroughly internationalist perspective and was dedicated to the cause of oppressed peoples all over the globe. Thus, he was not anti-white, but anti-oppression. At the same time, he was aware of the fact that collectively, so-called “whites,” were the builders and consolidators of a global system that was fundamentally based on the oppression and exploitation of non-whites, even as some whites were relatively oppressed and exploited as well. But he came to understand that it was the system itself that was the principal problem, not necessarily the people who lived under that system (although we must all bare responsibility). Malcolm was a family man who was loyal to his wife and children, even as he gave himself to humanity. These are some of the reasons why I look up to Malcolm X as a man and a human being..
I also identify with Malcolm’s political views. Throughout the course of his political career, Malcolm went from a reactionary nationalist to a revolutionary internationalist. That is not to say that black nationalism is reactionary in itself, but insofar at the N.O.I. had a black capitalist platform, its nationalism was necessarily reactionary. Gradually, he came to have an anti-capitalist perspective, if not a fully socialist viewpoint. Malcolm came to see that imperialism was the problem and that the struggle against white supremacy was inextricably linked to the struggle against capitalist-imperialism (and he was equally critical of social imperialism). And likewise, the struggle against imperialism is necessarily a struggle against white supremacy. All revolutionaries must have this dialectical understanding. We must all overstand, as Malcolm did, that humanity cannot possibly evolve to a higher stage if the problem of white supremacy is not eradicated.
On a final note, I want to point out that just as important as Malcolm’s personal example was and is, the influence that he has had on the world is just as crucial. Malcolm inspired the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (the most advanced political party in Amerikan history so far) and had an impact in Latin America and Africa. He is known by the wretched of the earth in every corner of the globe. He is recognized, even by his enemies, as a man of great power and influence. What we need now, at this crucial juncture in human histroy, is a little less Martin (read Obama) and a little more Malcolm.
Rest In Power!