Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Malcolm X liked whites who were socialists, plus thoughts on class and race

Capitalists who say Malcolm X/El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz's rejection of racism was due to his embrace of Sunni Islam ignore this quote:
“Most of the countries that were colonial powers were capitalist countries, and the last bulwark of capitalism today is America. It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism. And if you find one and you happen to get that person into conversation and they have a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have this racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.” —Malcolm X / El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
Anyone reasonably familiar with Malcolm X knows he had harsh words for capitalism:
“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

For those who say I "don't believe in racism": I've never denied that racism exists. I've never denied that institutional racism exists. I've bled from the blows of racists; it would be hard for me to deny racism.

My attempt to see what's due to class and what's due to race does not set issues of race apart. It sets racial issues within issues of class. As Thandeka says in The Whiting of Euro-Americans: A Divide and Conquer Strategy: "...we must not forget that white racism was from the start a vehicle for classism; its primary goal was not to elevate a race but to denigrate a class. White racism was thus a means to an end, and the end was the defense of Virginia’s class structure and the further subjugation of the poor of all "racial" colors."

It's true that I can't agree with anti-racists that racism lies everywhere. Thandeka is right when she says that anti-racists "make an erroneous assumption about the nature and structure of power in America." Indeed, my greatest complaint with anti-racists is their inability to answer this question about power that I've asked several:
For years, I wrestled with whether Malcolm X was right when he said you can't have capitalism without racism. Clearly, liberals and conservatives are working desperately to create capitalism without racism. But I've finally come to see that Malcolm X was right: if you don't redistribute wealth, the distribution of wealth will be racially disproportionate. If you do redistribute wealth, capitalism ends. It's a Catch-22 that anti-racists ignore. Do you have an answer?

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