YOUNG SOCIALIST: What is your opinion of the Democratic Party?
MALCOLM X: The Democratic Party is responsible for the racism that exists in this country, along with the Republican Party. The leading racists in this country are Democrats. Goldwater isnt the leading racisthes a racist but not the leading racist.1 The racists who have influence in Washington, D.C., are Democrats. If you check, whenever any kind of legislation is suggested to mitigate the injustices that Negroes suffer in this country, you will find that the people who line up against it are members of Lyndon B. Johnsons party. The Dixiecrats are Democrats. The Dixiecrats are only a subdivision of the Democratic Party, and the same man over the Democrats is over the Dixiecrats.2
YOUNG SOCIALIST: What contribution can youth, especially students, who are disgusted with racism in this society, make to the Black struggle for freedom?
MALCOLM X: Whites who are sincere dont accomplish anything by joining Negro organizations and making them integrated. Whites who are sincere should organize among themselves and figure out some strategy to break down the prejudice that exists in white communities. This is where they can function more intelligently and more effectively, in the white community itself, and this has never been done.
YOUNG SOCIALIST: What part in the world revolution are youth playing, and what lessons may this have for American youth?
MALCOLM X: If youve studied the captives being caught by the American soldiers in South Vietnam, youll find that these guerrillas are young people. Some of them are just children and some havent yet reached their teens. Most are teenagers. It is the teenagers abroad, all over the world, who are actually involving themselves in the struggle to eliminate oppression and exploitation. In the Congo, the refugees point out that many of the Congolese revolutionaries are children. In fact, when they shoot captive revolutionaries, they shoot all the way down to seven years oldthats been reported in the press. Because the revolutionaries are children, young people. In these countries the young people are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate the evil conditions that exist. And here in this country, it has been my own observation that when you get into a conversation on racism and discrimination and segregation, you will find young people are more incensed over itthey feel more filled with an urge to eliminate it.
I think young people here can find a powerful example in the young simbas [lions] in the Congo and the young fighters in South Vietnam.
Another point: as the dark-skinned nations of this earth become independent, as they develop and become stronger, that means that time is on the side of the American Negro. At this point the American Negro is still hospitable and friendly and forgiving. But if he is continually tricked and deceived and so on, and if there is still no solution to his problems, he will become completely disillusioned, disenchanted, and disassociate himself from the interest of America and its society. Many have done that already.
YOUNG SOCIALIST: What is your opinion of the worldwide struggle now going on between capitalism and socialism?
MALCOLM X: 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 its more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybodys 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, then capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. Its only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.
YOUNG SOCIALIST: What is the outlook for the Negro struggle in 1965?
MALCOLM X: Bloody. It was bloody in 1963, it was bloody in 1964, and all of the causes that created this bloodshed still remain. The March on Washington was designed to serve as a vent or valve for the frustration that produced this explosive atmosphere.3 In 1964 they used the civil rights bill as a valve.4 What can they use in 1965? There is no trick that the politicians can use to contain the explosiveness that exists right here in Harlem.
And look at New York Police Commissioner Murphy. Hes coming out in headlines trying to make it a crime now to even predict that theres going to be trouble.5 This shows the caliber of American thinking. Theres going to be an explosion, but dont talk about it. All the ingredients that produce explosions exist, but dont talk about it, he says. Thats like saying 700 million Chinese dont exist. This is the same approach. The American has become so guilt-ridden and filled with fear that instead of facing the reality of any situation, he pretends the situation doesnt exist. You know, in this country its almost a crime to say theres a place called Chinaunless you mean that little island called Formosa.6 By the same token, its almost a crime to say that people in Harlem are going to explode because the social dynamite that existed last year is still here.7
So I think 1965 will be most explosivemore explosive than it was in 64 and 63. Theres nothing they can do to contain it. The Negro leaders have lost their control over the people. So that when the people begin to explodeand their explosion is justified, not unjustifiedthe Negro leaders cant contain it.
2. The Dixiecrats were the openly segregationist wing of the Democratic Party dominant at the time in most of the U.S. South.
3. The August 28, 1963, March on Washington drew more than 250,000 people for a rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The march called for passage of civil rights legislation then pending in Congress. Malcolm X opposed the political perspectives of the leadership of the march, but he participated in the action. That evening, speaking with a Militant reporter covering the demonstration in D.C., Malcolm, at the time still the leading spokesman for the Nation of Islam, said that while march leaders were talking about a civil rights revolution, the truth is that revolution is not a halfway process. You are either free or not free. (The Militant, September 16, 1963.)
4. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by President Johnson, barred discrimination in voting, public facilities, schools, and employment.
5. On January 10, 1965, New York Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy sharply condemned Black leaders such as Malcolm X who had pointed to growing frustration among Blacks and predicted outbreaks of resistance. Such statements, Murphy implied, were causing the trouble.
6. Until the early 1970s, the U.S. government refused diplomatic recognition to the Peoples Republic of China, maintaining that the capitalist government of Taiwan (Formosa) represented China.
7. In what the government and big business press called a riot, the anger of Blacks in Harlem and the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant had exploded into the streets for five days in July 1964 in the aftermath of the cop killing of a fifteen-year-old Black youth, James Powell. The uprising was sparked by the actions of New York police. The cops had broken up a demonstration demanding the arrest of the officer who had killed Powell. They arrested protest organizers and then staged a cop riot, beating and arresting Harlem residents and killing one.