Dead Men Left

Sunday, September 12, 2004

"If..." revisted: Malcolm X and Diane Abbott

Trevor Philips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, showing his contempt for the Man:

Phillips and [Garth] Crooks both defended [Diane] Abbott's decision to take her son out of the state system and send him to the exclusive City of London boys' school.

Phillips invoked the words of black civil rights leader Malcolm X by saying black parents had to fight for the survival of their children 'by any means necessary'.

Diane Abbott's decision was amongst the most noxious examples, in the last few years, of shameless, self-serving hypocrisy served up with the greatest possible dollops of sickly, self-righteous histrionics. (Here she is defending her decision in more bearable fashion, responding to Mike Rosen.)

Malcolm X was not a man to mince his words, even if unscrupulous epigones like Phillips mince them for him. In a 1964 speech at the Audubon Ballroom, Malcom said this:

I read a story once where someone asked some group of people how many of them wanted freedom. They all put up their hand. Think there were about 300 of them. Then the person says, "Well how many of you are prepared to kill anybody who gets in your way for freedom?" About fifty put up their hand. And he told those fifty, "You stand over there." That left 250 who wanted freedom, but weren't prepared to kill for it. So he told this fifty, "Now you said you wanted freedom and you'd kill anybody who'd get in your way. You see those 250? You get them first. Some of them are your own brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers. But they're the ones who stand in the way of your freedom. They're afraid to do whatever is necessary to get it and they'll stop you from doing it. Get rid of them and freedom will come naturally." ("I Don't Mean Bananas", reprinted in Carl Oglevsky, ed., The New Left Reader, 1969: pp.221-222)