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“By Any Means Necessary...”
MALCOLM X SPEAKS
Revolutionary Black Liberation Leader in the U.S.
So all these little advances were made by oppressed people in other parts of the world during 1964. These were tangible gains, and the reason that they were able to make these gains was they realized that power was the magic word—power against power. Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from conviction which produces action, uncompromising action. It also produces insurrection against oppression. This is the only way you end oppression—with power.
Power never takes a back step—only in the face of more power. Power doesn't back up in the face of a smile, or in the face of a threat, or in the face of some kind of nonviolent loving action. It's not the nature of power to back up in the face of anything but some more power. And this is what the people have realized in Southeast Asia, in the Congo, in Cuba, in other parts of the world. Power recognizes only power, and all of them who realize this have made gains.
Now here in America it's different. When you compare our strides in 1964 with strides that have been made forward by people elsewhere all over the world, only then can you appreciate the great doublecross experienced by black people here in America in 1964. The power structure started out the new year the same way they started it out in Washington the other day. Only now they call it—what's that?—"The Great Society?" ....
But by the end of 1964, we had to agree that instead of the Year of Promise, instead of those promises materializing, they substituted devices to create the illusion of progress; 1964 was the Year of Illusion and Delusion. We received nothing but a promise.
Excerpt from the Prospects for Freedom Speech (Jan. 7, 1965)
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