Malcolm X, the fearless truth-teller, would have turned 96 today! He’s well-known for being an outspoken firebrand against white supremacy, but his international analysis, political insight, and social critiques rank him among our greatest philosophers as well.
Whether it was about Israeli occupation or the ills of capitalism, here are 5 powerful Malcolm X quotes that could have easily been spoken today:
1. “America is just as much a colonial power as England ever was. America is just as much a colonial power as France ever was. In fact, America is more so a colonial power than they because she’s a hypocritical colonial power behind it.”
2. “[Y]ou and I here in America — who are looking for a job, who are looking for better housing, looking for a better education — before you start trying to be incorporated, or integrated, or disintegrated, into this capitalistic system, should look over [to socialist and communist] Asian countries and find out what are the people who have gotten their freedom adopting to provide themselves with better housing and better education and better food and better clothing. None of them are adopting the capitalistic system because they realize they can’t. You can’t operate a capitalistic system unless you are vulturistic; you have to have someone else’s blood to suck to be a capitalist. You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker”
- Malcolm X speech at the Audubon Ballroom, December 20,1964
3. “Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball through tricks of tokenism…[and] those white liberals have the willing cooperation of the Negro civil rights leaders. These ‘leaders’ sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains. These ‘leaders’ are satisfied with token victories and token progress because they themselves are nothing but token leaders.”
4. “Did the Zionists have the legal or moral right to invade Arab Palestine, uproot its Arab citizens from their homes and seize all Arab property for themselves just based on the “religious” claim that their forefathers lived there thousands of years ago? Only a thousand years ago the Moors lived in Spain. Would this give the Moors of today the legal and moral right to invade the Iberian Peninsula, drive out its Spanish citizens, and then set up a new Moroccan nation … where Spain used to be, as the European zionists have done to our Arab brothers and sisters in Palestine?…”
- Essay, “Zionist Logic,” in the Egyptian Gazette after Malcolm X visited Gaza, September 17, 1964.
5. “…you can see that the Negro vote is the key factor [in presidential elections]. And despite the fact that you are in a position to — to be the determining factor, what do you get out of it? The Democrats have been in Washington D.C. only because of the Negro vote. They’ve been down there four years, and they’re — all other legislation they wanted to bring up they brought it up and gotten it out of the way, and now they bring up you. And now, they bring up you. You put them first, and they put you last, ’cause you’re a chump, a political chump.”