First Published: Marxist-Leninist Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 1, no date [approximately January 1964]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Editor’s Note: The following exclusive interview was given by Robert F. Williams, exiled American Negro leader, to a number of the students who traveled to Cuba during the summer of 1963. The interview was held in Havana in mid-August. The following is an uncut verbatim transcription of the tape recording of Robert Williams’ remarks.
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Q. What is the present trend of the Black Movement in the South? Which organizations can lead to a solution of the racial situation in America?
A. The oppressed Black People are becoming more militant. The major organizations that now operate in the South claim to follow a pacifist non-violent line. The struggle in the South shows that this philosophy is not sufficient.
It is very difficult at this stage to say what organization will have the proper line to lead the Afro-American to freedom. New mass organizations may rise out of the ruins of the organizations we see today. The Afro-American masses will have the final say.
Q. What ultimate political program do you envisage for the U.S.?
A. I see in the future a militant organization able to rally many people, broad in scope, serving many purposes, above all working to improve the standard of living of all the people in the U.S. and in the South.
We must concern ourselves at this point with the struggle at hand: to abolish the oppression, the brutality, and the injustices which now exist, by means of the courts and the system. We know there must be drastic changes in the system. This will take place as a form of evolution as well as revolution. We should not go off on a political line at this stage of the struggle.
People rally to the cause of injustice. Most modern revolutions have been started by people resisting tyranny.
Political positions have frightened a good many of our people away from struggle in the South. We have had some bad deals with politicians in the past. Our people suffer and seek redress. They want relief. They know that political promises are no good, I don’t think that a political line will be adequate to motivate our people in this freedom fight.
Q. How does your program take into account sections of the white masses who might favor it?
A. If white workers feel that they should hate us, I feel that they should hate us on a basis of equality.
We know of exploitation. We know that racism sprang from exploitation itself. Racism is an out-growth of a need to justify racial exploitation.
We must concentrate on the people who suffer most. The Black People are the lowest strata, the lowest class, economically, politically.
A lot of people speak of a “working class movement” as if we were not workers, as though Black people were just Black people; as if our struggle were not a struggle of the working class; as if it were not a class struggle. Even while many of the white workers are oppressed they have certain petty privileges in comparison to the Black workers. It happens that most of the oppressed are white, while the most oppressed are Black. We did not create these conditions, but we must correct them. My program to try to eliminate these conditions is thus directed primarily at Black workers.
Many white people, the great majority, are not our allies. There are just a few in comparison with the mass. We should cooperate with these people as freedom fighters. We should be willing to accept help from any place we can get it. I don’t think we should exclude them. I don’t think they should be in a position to dominate our movement. This is not because they are white people, but because we have had certain experiences as Black people. We know what it is to be Black, to be discriminated against, to be turned away. A man can study medicine for seven or eight years and become an expert on medicine. A man can become an expert in education in six, seven, or eight years, but a Black man can be a Black man for seventy-five years and he’s still not considered an expert on being Black. White people come along with two to three years experience in a human relations organization, and, suddenly, they become experts and they think that they should have a dominant position in our organizations. This is what I oppose.
We are not opposed to them. We think that they should join the fight. But they shouldn’t join this fight to make some contribution to charity. They are responsible for this society in which they live. So this becomes their duty. When they perform this duty, we should accept them into our organization.
Q. What do you think of King’s statement that he cannot control the demonstrations and the masses in the South?
A. I think the statement is typical of a leader caught up in the web of circumstance. Time has moved beyond his narrow scope and beyond his philosophy, I think Martin Luther King is sincere. I think he has made a contribution but I think he has made vital mistakes. He says that self-defense, which he calls violence, is immoral. To call self-defense immoral is to oppose one of the strongest human traits. Self-defense means self preservation. When Rev. King says he cannot find any case of violence that he can justify, this means that Martin Luther King rejects the American Revolution and rejects the Civil War of the United States.
Rev. King says he is a religious man. He says his doctrine is based upon the Christian Religion. He is a minister himself, and ministers, especially Baptist ministers, like Rev, King, have a tendency to preach from the old Testament. There is a contradiction between what Dr. King is preaching and the teaching of the Old Testament. The old Testament says–some say that this is a myth, but that is beside the point. Christians are supposed to believe it and Martin Luther King says he is a Christian –that once the Devil was in Heaven and the Devil started making Heaven miserable. The Devil felt that he could subvert God. He didn’t see any reason why he should be a secondary figure when he could be God. So, he thought he could seize the power of Heaven. He started a conspiracy to take over Heaven. When God discovered that this man was making trouble, making life miserable for the angels, the Old Testament says that God ordered the angels to use force to remove the Devil from Heaven, The angels used such force until they threw the Devil out of Heaven so hard that he descended all the way into Hell. And what is more violent than that? What is more violent than throwing a man into Hell & If Martin Luther King tells us that we are not to resist violence with force, he is asking us to be better than his God. I don’t see how this can possibly come to be on this Earth.
The United States was born in violence. Many men have died to preserve the “American Way of Life”. I wonder what the world would be like today if men did not take up arms against Hitler in the Second World War. I wonder how Martin Luther King would have stopped Hitler. I wonder if he would tell us that Hitler could have been stopped with the power of non-violence and love.
If non-violence and love are so powerful, I am sure that the U.S. Government would use it in South Viet Nam, and in other countries, even against Cuba. If non-violence and love are so powerful, why don’t the racists use non-violence and love in the South?
I can’t understand why hundred of thousands of dollars are being contributed by “liberals”, and even by some people who consider themselves socialists, for propaganda among our people in the South. We are the victims; why should the victims be taught non-violence and love? The oppressors are responsible for the violence, but I don’t know of a single workshop that these liberals and Martin Luther King have held for the racists of the South: for the Minutemen, for the John Birchers, for the police, or for the KKK. This looks a little onesided. I’m sure that if non-violence had been so powerful somebody would have utilized this power in Birmingham against those vicious two-legged and four-legged dogs.
Q. Is or can armed resistance in America be of a political nature?
A. It can be of a political nature. This is one of the reasons that the nation’s officials and the local officials in Dixie are so afraid of the idea of armed resistance. When they are armed, people have a tendency to resist all evil. People may decide there are many things wrong with the system, not just from the racial point of view. They would be willing to resist any injustice that they encounter. Pretty soon this would move in the unions. This would go into all phases of American life.
The constitution of the United States guarantees American citizens the right to bear arms. Many people get excited and take the attitude that when you speak of arms you must be some kind of a thug. Yet, men are bearing arms every day; men are being drafted every day.
Look at the policeman on the beat. Look at his gun. Look at his club. This is a method of violent intimidation against citizens.
Men are being drafted into the Army. I don’t hear the liberals complaining about that.
The liberals are all worked up about the possibility of self-defense guards, of Americans fighting back; they say it is against principle, it will bring retaliation; they say we are outnumbered and we don’t have a chance. As revolutionaries we must resist from a basis of principle, but it is not the duty of freedom fighters- to consider arms. A revolutionary is successful when he overcomes great odds. There was never a time in the history of the world when the oppressed people had an advantage. If we had the advantage there’d be no need to resist, because we’d already be in a position to bring about the conditions we desire.
In civilized society, the law is supposed to be a deterrent to protect the weak from the strong. Our society is not civilized. There is a breakdown of law. It is a social jungle and there is no deterrent. We must create a deterrent so that the racists will know that they cannot attack us, they cannot attack our women and children, they cannot invade our homes with impunity. They are no longer going to have immunity.
This immunity that the racists have enjoyed has caused more violence than we would otherwise have had.
We know that the racist is basically a coward, because he depends upon the supremacy of his violence, the supremacy of his numbers. He depends on the supremacy of his law to back him up in the evil he does. The only way to counteract this effectively is by maintaining our power to resist, and by creating our own deterrent. This may lead to some political repercussions, but we are not now concerned with politics. We are concerned with survival and where this leads is not our fault. Our need for defense grows out of the failure of constitutional law to protect our rights. This failure is responsible for whatever consequences may follow upon it, especially armed resistance.
Q. What do you think of Kennedy’s position on the racial question in America?
A. Kennedy is caught between a crossfire. Kennedy must be loyal to the international capitalists, not the petty capitalists in the South who own a cotton mill or some small sweat shop. He must think in terms of the raw materials, the people to be exploited in the underdeveloped countries. It so happens that most of these people are colored. The U.S. is trying to create an image of the government as a government of justice and equality, to show that the racism, the brutal oppression against the Black people is not sponsored by the government. To convince the colored people of the world that the government of the United States is not a segregationist government, it is necessary for Kennedy to make moves such as sending troops into the South, dispatching troops to the University of Mississippi. But this is no contribution of the Kennedy administration to the race problem.
Kennedy is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Kennedy appointed his cabinet. There is police brutality in the South and in the North and in the West. M slims were gunned down in the streets of Los Angeles. Under the XIVth Amendment to the Constitution, Kennedy’s own brother, Attorney General of the United States, has the authority to move into any case where police brutality shows itself, to prosecute these brutal racist policemen. But, we don’t know of any case where they have punished the police. We don’t know of any case where the police have been indicted. We’ve just seen Birmingham. How many of the racist cops in Birmingham who beat Negroes were punished?
The U.S. government is one of the largest housing agencies in the U.S. The Federal Housing Administration, owned and operated by the Kennedy Administration, is segregating housing. Although Kennedy has made a proclamation declaring segregated housing illegal, these conditions still exist. Kennedy’s proclamation was hypocritical. He has not done what he could do. He has not used the power and the authority of his high office.
Kennedy says that we need a civil rights bill. We’ve long had a bill of rights in the U.S.; the XIVth Amendment gives all the authority that is needed. Why should Kennedy, instead of enforcing the XIVth Amendment, ask for new legislation? Because he wants to give the appearance to the world that he is waging a great battle for the Human Rights of the Black people.
But we know that this is not true. The U.S. government contributes a great portion of the funds of the welfare agencies of the South. Southern agencies are denying Black Americans the right to federal aid. Local agencies in the South are denying Black children the right of Aid to Dependent Children. The Kennedy administration is not doing anything about this. In Washington, Black Americans are not given the right of promotion on federal jobs.
People who look at the facts, people who carefully consider Kennedy proclamations will see right away that they’re not genuine, that he is not a believer in Afro-American rights, that he is not a believer in human rights.
In Monroe, when we had the frame-up cases, when we had the violent clash with the KKK, we asked, appealed to the Justice Department, appealed to the Kennedy administration for a month, to enforce the XIVth Amendment. We had many people across the nation write, wire and telephone the White House asking for an investigation of the Monroe Police Department. The Kennedy administration’s answer was always that this was a local matter to be taken up with the local officials.
Four attempts were made on my life. Two attempts were made in the presence of and were aided by the local police. Yet the Justice Department, under the administration of John F. Kennedy, said that this was not a matter for the FBI. But when the racist police said that there was a kidnapping in Monroe, the Kennedy administration entered the picture right away. They started looking and searching across the country for the people that had been framed.
Right now, one of Kennedy’s top aides is a racist from Monroe, North Carolina. This racist is Henry Hall Wilson, Jr. who is a White House Aide and an advisor to Kennedy. He has also been a legal advisor to the KKK of Union County, North Carolina.
With all of the brilliant men, qualified men, throughout the whole of the US, Kennedy went into a town of 12,000 people and found a man who had been active in defending the KKK as a lawyer, who had been active in the racist legal system of Union County. He took this man to the White House. Wilson was part of the Democratic Party and in the pay-off of the party. He was the man who interested Kennedy in the prosecution of the Monroe defendants. Now we must ask: If Kennedy is sincere about civil rights, why did he bring a racist from a small southern town into the White House to advise him?
The Kennedy administration is now appointing many southern judges with long records as racists, as avowed segregationists, as members of the White Citizens Councils. Yet Kennedy is appointing these men to mete out justice to the so-called Black Americans.
In the United Nations at this time one of the greatest supporters of South Africa and Portugal is the U.S., the Kennedy Administration. This administration is defending the right of South Africa and Portugal to sit in the council of civilized nations. Why? Because the U.S. is in sympathy with these racist nations. The U.S. is afraid of any precedent against racism which might someday boomerang against the U.S.
The U.S. has been the chief advocate of denying the people of China, the People’s Republic of China, the right to sit in the UN. But this same nation defends racist, savage South Africa and Portugal in the UN. How can we have confidence in the Kennedy administration when it says it is for human rights, for civil rights, for the Afro-American?
Q. What do you think the effects of Mao Tse-tung’s statement about the situation of the Black man in America will be on the American public? What about the rally to protest the situation of the Black man in America, that the Chinese have planned for the 12th of this month (August).
A. The effect depends on whether or not the American people are given information about the statement and the rally. One of the greatest news blackouts in the world is taking place in the US now. We hear people boasting of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Yes, freedom to print what is favorable to Washington! Freedom of speech means freedom to praise the present system in Washington. Freedom of speech means freedom to praise the present system in its evil undertaking.
Mao’s is a great statement that is sure to have a lot of effect, especially on the colored peoples of the world. I think it will serve to give some spirit of solidarity between the Chinese and the Afro-American people. This is one of the longest and clearest statements yet made by the head of a country condemning racial persecution in the US.
The rally that is to take place in support of our fight for liberty, in support of the march on Washington the 28th of this month (August), is a great act of solidarity. This is one of the first major acts of its type in the world.
We have had a rally here in Cuba. It was carried out by the North Americans who live here and by people from other countries. This was in solidarity with the freedom struggle and especially in protest against Birmingham.
But, this will be the first time that such a mass rally is held, the first time that the government of a country has taken such a stand, that the people are coming into the streets to back this up. This should boost the spirit and the courage of our oppressed Afro-Americans. Our people should know that this is a demonstration of sympathy, of the feeling of brotherhood of other peoples throughout the world who understand our problem.
It is significant that Mao also made an appeal to all of the peoples of the world to support the Afro-American in his struggle for freedom. He made it clear that the liberation of the Afro-American will also mean the end of world imperialism. It means that this is not just a national problem. US racism is an international problem, US racism is very closely tied in with US imperialism. We must start thinking; our people in the US must start thinking from an international point of view.
The world has changed. This is one reason why I consider it a great mistake for the liberals, the Uncle Toms, the pacifists, as well as the fighting Negroes, to take the position that any resistance to the racist oppressor will bring about the extermination of our race. This is not true. The US cannot exterminate 20 million people without committing suicide. Conditions are not the same now as they were when Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews in Germany. The African countries are coming into being; the Africans are coming into power; the African countries are participating in the UN: and we know that all these people are sympathetic to our cause.
The world is beginning to see that we are in the front line, in the vanguard, against the oppressive, racist, imperialist forces, against the brutal tyranny practiced by the US at home and around the world. The enemy that is the oppressor of the Black people in Birmingham; the enemy that would unleash vicious police dogs on little girls, 6 to 8 years old; the vicious officials and police who would beat a woman to the ground with a club; the police in Albany, Georgia, who would beat a pregnant woman to the ground and kick her in the stomach; is the same enemy that would gas women and babies in South Viet Nam. This is the same enemy that would destroy the people of Korea. This is the same enemy that would like to move into and dominate Africa, that would like to introduce racism into Africa.
A few weeks ago there was an editorial in the Toronto Globe and Mail about a US air force base in Newfoundland. These military people moved in and established racial segregation in the night clubs in Canada. The Canadian people are protesting this racial segregation introduced into Canada by the Americans, by the Yankees. Wherever the US flag flies in the world, racism moves in its wake. It is a bearer not of democracy, not of Christian brotherhood, but of ill will, racial discrimination, of race hatred, of racial oppression, of exploitation, of brutality, US racism is a menace to the security, to the peace, to the well-being of the entire world.
Now that other countries are beginning to demonstrate on our behalf, now that the leaders of other countries are beginning to speak out on our behalf, the race problem is making the US the laughing stock of the whole world. We can be sure that unless the US makes some changes it is going to be rejected as the “leader of the free world”.
Q. What effect does the anti-communistic attitude in the US have on the movement in the US?
A. I’ve had some experience in this area myself. The KKK reactionaries, the fascists, the John Birchers, the racists, and sometimes even officials have called me communist; have said that I was following the communist line, and being used by the communists. Now I find that the US Communist Party is saying that I’m a reactionary. They are opposed to my policy. They have attacked ms on a number of occasions. So, we can’t get involved in worrying about labels. On one side they are going to call us one thing and on the other side they are going to call us another. The fox is going to think we are a dog, and the dog is going to think we are a fox. We are not concerned with what they think. We had better be concerned with liberating ourselves.
It is very important that we not be used by these different groups, by these people who are fighting their own personal battles. But we shouldn’t be concerned with witchhunts. We should be looking for allies. Wherever we find allies we should be willing to work with them as long as they don’t dictate our policy or try to force certain political lines upon us. I don’t think we should get into debates about whether a person is a communist or not. We are not a detective agency, not an agency of intelligence, not police agents, and we shouldn’t get involved in that type of thing. We are not going to be able to satisfy all factions. We must decide what line we are going to follow, stick to that line, and come hell or high water, not allow ourselves to be diverted.
Q. If any organization is accused of being communistic, what action should it take?
A. It should work harder in its field, keeping its objective in view. Always concentrate on the objectives. To get into the name-calling struggle means to divert energy away from the main struggle. The racists have discovered that this is a tactic that can be used effectively to divide us, to slow us down. They are going to use this tactic. We are going to be called different names.
Personally, I would feel very inadequate if I didn’t arouse the anger of some faction. The mere fact that you can arouse some people to anger means that you are accomplishing something.
Q. Concerning the back-to-Africa...
A. If people want to go back to Africa, they are not going to be able to go back without a fight. Self-determination is not granted by imperialist countries, racist countries, just on the basis that the exploited would like to leave. Puerto Ricans would like to leave. Are they allowed to leave?
We are a colony in the US. How can we expect them to grant us self-determination and freedom just because we would like to leave? The back-to-Africa movement is part of our struggle. No matter what it is we would like to do, we will have to fight for the right to do it. Some people may want to go to Africa and some people may want a separate nation within the US, and some people may want integration, but none of these things will be given without a struggle. So, we are going to have to be united in battle, whether we are together after the battle or not.
Even though we are on the bottom scale of the economic ladder in the US, the purchasing power of Afro-Americans is bigger than that of the nation of Canada. The countries of the world are already engaged in a struggle for world markets and no country is willing to give away world markets.
We have the case of Cuba. Cuba has declared itself independent. But do you think that they will leave Cuba alone? Do you think that Cuba is left to live in peace? If 6 million people cannot have self-determination in peace how can 20 million people leave from the heart of the US, from the colony within the US, in peace?
I hope that the Nationalists will soon understand that there is more to going back to Africa than packing a suitcase. It’s more that just going to get a ticket. It may be necessary to shoot their way out. I’m certainly not against the back-to-Africa movement. I see it as a healthy sign. It means that these oppressed Black Americans are fed up with the system. They see the US as corrupt and they won’t have anything more to do with it. When people reach that stage they are preparing for action.
I believe that the time is coming when these groups will be united under the proper leadership and direction. They are going to make a great contribution to our freedom struggle.
Q. Concerning the Muslims.....
A. The Muslims are a fast growing group and a good group, because of their militancy. There’s a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation, some deliberate, about the Muslims. Many people get upset over the Muslim movement, especially the so-called liberals. Some people are more worked up over the Muslim movement than they are over the racists, and the brutal savage police of the South, Some people talk about the Muslims teaching hatred, but they’ve said the same thing about me. This criticism has also come from the U.S. Communist Party. They have said that I’m as bad as the Muslims and the same as Malcolm X. Whatever that means, I consider it a compliment.
I wonder what they mean by “teaching hate”. I can’t speak for the Muslims, but, yes, I teach and advocate hate. I teach and advocate hatred for all forms of oppression, tyranny, and exploitation. I teach and advocate hatred of the haters. Why should we be required to love our enemy? Are we the only people on earth who are going to be required to love our enemies? We don’t find the people who criticize the Muslims advocating that the racists of the South love their enemies. When the US is at war or preparing war, preparing the conquest of other peoples, we don’t find a love campaign in the US.
Our mission is liberation. Our mission is to fight, and I don’t think people can be psychologically prepared to fight unless they have some emotional feeling, some hatred, for what they are going to fight. Racial oppression is brutal, savage, barbaric. Why shouldn’t normal people hate savage things? I feel, personally, that hatred is an emotion as much as love. It is abnormal to expect people who are oppressed to love their enemies. If dogs are to be released on children, if babies are to be arrested and beaten by brutal policemen, and if it is teaching hatred for me to advocate contempt for people who would do this, for people who are not human beings, not even fit to belong to the human race, then I plead guilty of teaching hatred.
Q. I hear you’re trying to get back into the States. What program have you implemented to do so? What program can we as students inaugurate to help you do so?
A. There’s no formal program yet. This is just being discussed at this stage. I have received letters from many people who say that I should be on the scene in the US at this time. I feel that this is a very important time for our struggle for the liberation of our people.
The Cuban people are very good to me. If I want an easy life, this would be the place for me, but I feel committed, indebted to the struggle and to those who have supported me and fought together with me in the US, especially in the South. I feel that we have a duty to perform there.
I resent being driven from my homeland by racists. I resent being framed. I resent the law in a country that calls itself “leader of the Free World” that allows people who are fighting for freedom to be driven from their homeland. I won’t rest until I’m free to go back.
Now we are considering ways of bringing about pressure, ways of getting a lot of people together. It means, perhaps, starting a mass movement. The object would be to petition the government in such a way that the government will have to intervene in this case, and in such a way that one of the governors in the US will be as humane as the Cuban people and the Cuban government and will grant me asylum so that I will be able to be on the home-front.
The students can be very helpful because the students are from many different sections and communities. They will be able to work in their communities, arouse people, get people interested in the movement. They can pass petitions, distribute literature presenting our plan to the people on a mass scale. The students will be able to speak to student groups, campus groups. The only way my return will be possible is through the force of great numbers, through the desire of great numbers of people to see justice for those who have been fighting in the South.
I think that people should consider that I was a leader in the NAACP, a branch president. I think they should consider the fact that Medgar Evers was also a leader of the NAACP. Medgar Evers is dead and I’m in Cuba because the Cuban people rescued me from the same vicious people who killed Medgar Evers.
I’m exiled in Cuba; I still live in Cuba. I feel that I should be able to make a contribution to the struggle to make the US a fit nation to live in, to make the US a responsible nation that will be a land of people able to stand up before the world and say that it is a land of democracy. We will need many people to do this, to arouse the conscience of those in the US who still have a conscience. The students can play a very important role in this. We expect each student to form his own committee of one and think in terms of what he can do in his own community to serve the cause of justice.
The Muslims are very polite people. They are never arrogant. They are never over-bearing. They always think of their fellow men as brothers. The Muslims are gaining many members, many people who are not Muslims are sympathizers of the Muslims.
Some people say that they don’t have the proper direction. They say that the Muslims are not following a true revolutionary path. I don’t think we should be concerned with that. The Muslims are dissatisfied with the brutality visited upon our people; The Muslims are dissatisfied with the corruption of the system. This in itself is good.
Let’s look at the object of their hatred. It is hatred of oppression and the oppressor. I think the Muslims represent a normal life. I can forsee a day when the Muslims will evolve to a different stage. Recently, the Muslims have decided to enter the political field, to organize, run candidates and support candidates who fight for equality and justice. This is a step forward. The Muslims are beginning to evolve the same as our militant organization. Among the Muslims, our people are being inspired to have initiative and backbone. This is good training. It prepares our people for the battle that is sure to come.
The most significant thing that the phony progressives and former liberals don’t like is that the Muslims say the US government is doomed. If this is not revolutionary, I would like to know what is. This is more than a lot of so-called progressives have dared to publish in the States. The Muslims say that by 1970 there will be no more US government; they also say that the system is so corrupt that the oppressor is the devil himself. The Muslims take the position that they must come out from among such people, that they must not have anything to do with such people. I don’t see how anyone can argue against people who take this position.
It’s not the Muslims–the White man rejected the Black man before he ever became a Muslim and this is why he is becoming a Muslim. It is a matter of a scapegoat to blame for something that is brought on by the attitude of the White supremacist himself. I don’t know what the “liberals” and Uncle Tom Negroes expect from the Muslims. Do they want the Muslims to announce to the world that they love everybody, that they love the oppressor, that they love uncle Toms, that they love sell-out artists, they are going to be good little boys, that they are going to act like followers of Daddy Grace and Father Divine, that they are going to stick to their religion and not harm the good white folks?
The so-called progressives who constantly bemoan the mis-information about the progressive movement spread by the capitalist press, who ask the general public not to believe the lies of the capitalist press, turn to the same press that they ask us not to believe when it speaks against the progressive movements. They ask us to believe the slanders, the smears, the lies against the Muslims. They ask us to take the mis-information of the same capitalist press that they have accused of being habitually lying and corrupt.
Ask the liberals where they obtain their information about the Muslims–they will tell you: not from a Muslim; but from some magazine articles, or from some newspaper, or from some interview that they heard. I’m pretty sure that many of the so-called liberals and progressives are not even interested to really find out what the Muslims stand for. The Muslims are not for domination by the white supremacists, by those paternal big daddies who would like to direct the path of the Afro-American struggle. They resent the Muslims on this ground. They resent the Muslims because the Muslims have retaliated against their rejection of the Black man by rejecting them.
Many Afro-Americans who are not members of the Muslim temples are Muslims at heart. This is not the fault of the Black American who has been rejected by white society; it is the fault of the white society that has rejected the Black American and has left him no place to go. Today we find a reaction to this rejection. This reaction takes the form of the Muslim movement and the African nationalist movement, and all of the other nationalist movements. This is a healthy sign.
I don’t know what people who have rejected and abused people, denied people the right to live as human beings, expect our people to do. A master can kick a dog, and can drive a dog away from home, can leave a dog to sleep on the cold ground, but the dog comes back each time and laps at the very foot of the master that abused him. We are not dogs. We are not going to maintain dog’s loyalty. That is why you are going to find more and more people in sympathy with the Muslim movement. I’m not a Muslim, but I’m in sympathy with them because I see good in their organization; I see that they are preparing our people for a possible struggle in the future; and, most of all, because they see the end of the oppressive government of the US.
I have confidence in the masses of the people. With the conditions that we’re undergoing now, our people are not going to allow our leaders to become more conservative. Our leaders are being pushed along now, being forced to become more radical.
They may establish some businesses, but not of the calibre that can bring prosperity to our people. That would require many years. You must remember, the Muslims themselves admit that the present government will not last longer than 1970. They’re certainly not going to be able to raise the standard of living of our people to an extent that will allow them to become conservatives. If they do, they’ll lose their mass following, the sympathy of our people. I don’t think that is going to come about.