Malcolm X, during his last months, stressed the importance of taking an international view of what’s going on in the world. He said that once you look into the international arena, you will see that the problem of black people in America is inseparable from the problem of oppressed people all over the world. If we only look into what is happening in America, we are severely limiting our scope.
He said that the struggle has elevated from a black and white problem, to one of the exploited against the exploiter, the oppressed against the oppressor. What they are revolting against is the power structure, which he described as the combined powers of American and European Imperialism. It is this structure, or house, that formerly enslaved the dark world, and is now trying to revert back to its old order. And what is stopping it is the uncompromising struggle the oppressed are waging against it.
He predicted that Capitalism would create such terrible conditions that it would eventually cause its own destruction. His prediction is that the west would eventually boil down to a huge showdown against the oppressed peoples of the world. Today we are seeing this global rebellion.
Stokely told his audiences that one of the most important aspects of the struggle for Black Power was the right to define. Black people have been the victims of white America’s definitions. White people defined black people as inferior, as Negroes and niggers, as second-class citizens. By reacting to white America’s definitions, the blacks allowed themselves to be put in a bag which white America controlled. But now black people must demand the right to define themselves. White America has defined black as evil, Carmichael explains. “I have a little syllogism for that. According to America, everything black is evil; I am black, therefore, I am evil.”
“There is something wrong with that,” he goes on to explain, “because I am black and I am good.” He never fails to score heavily with his audience when he says that.
His favorite example of this always elicited a hysterical response, from both black and white audiences. “Here’s a perfect example of the power to define in action. During the civil rights movement, black leaders would say: ‘We want to integrate.’ And then white people would come along and define what integration means. They’d say: ‘You want to integrate? That means that you want to marry my daughter.’ What the Negro leaders had actually meant was that they wanted more jobs, better schools, housing, and an end to police brutality, and things like that. What we must do is define our own terms. We must not react to white definitions.” —
Eldridge Cleaver on Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
Taken from the book “Eldridge Cleaver: Target Zero” (pages 99-100)