Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2016

Reader's comment

Malcolm X: hero of black liberation

Malcolm X

"You can't have capitalism without racism" - Malcolm X's politics evolved from black separatism to socialism   (Click to enlarge)

Julian Moore-Cook, Socialist Party black and Asian group

After reading 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' I am left in awe.

I'm upset that I have only read it now at 25 years of age, and have sent a copy to my younger brother. This book is essential reading for the black activist and any socialist. Never have I read words more radicalising, or that have changed my perception of the world around me so much.

Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925. He articulates very well key moments of racism in his life - from his house being burned down as a child, to the little comments and judgements black people face every day. He talks of straightening his hair, and how many black people did this because of the deep-seated idea that anything black was bad.

This is what this book has helped me with the most: seeing oppression. Things I had never noticed before I notice all the time. Comments I would have never thought of as racist before stick out and jar against my ear. The book has helped give me the courage to respond.


To say the book is radicalising is not an exaggeration. The main fulcrum for Malcolm going from petty criminal to activist is an epiphany he has while in prison. The sum of the epiphany is "all white people are devils". These are extreme words, but they express the profound anger and alienation black people and oppressed racial groups can feel in racist capitalist society.

Malcolm retracts this later in life. He has a religious experience praying in Mecca with Muslims of all different races. Most importantly, he comes to recognise that in order to defeat racism, you need to defeat the capitalist system which created it and keeps it going. That means workers of all races and nationalities coming together against our common enemy: the capitalist class.

For me, as a socialist, I realise that racist ideas and behaviours start at the top. They are the result of a capitalist system that needs racism to stay alive, to justify slavery and the exploitation of poorer nations, and to foster false divisions between workers.

But Malcolm's political thought evolved throughout his life, and at the start he favoured black separatism over working class unity.

He writes, for example, of white people going to black bars - and, when drunk, saying clumsy things like: "I want you to know I'm not better than you, we're the same." He speaks of the arrogance of believing black people need to be told by white people we are equal.

It's true that in the current system, even some well-meaning people are sometimes going to exhibit racist behaviour. But capitalism exploits white workers too. Only by patient explanation - and most importantly, fighting side by side against capitalism and racism - can we can overcome these mistakes, and tackle their real cause.

I cannot recommend this book enough. As a black person fighting racism it has left me with a sense of pride and dignity I never had before.

Martin Luther King Jr said being silent is sometimes the worst thing you can do. Malcolm X's autobiography can give you some of the understanding to start breaking that silence. To speak up, and rail against the bosses, those responsible for oppression and injustice in every form. You can apply that teaching to race, gender, sexuality - and definitely the class struggle.

£9.99 plus postage from (or call 020 8988 8789)

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 12 October 2016:

Housing crisis

Butterfields victory: housing crisis can be beaten

Toriesí £5bn for housing not enough

What we think

Tories whip up division over Brexit...fight for a socialist, internationalist exit

Where next for the BMA junior doctors' dispute

Socialist Party news and analysis

Say no to fracking!

Support the Rotherham 12

Suicidal phone calls: fight to reverse tax credit cuts

Black History Month

Malcolm X: hero of black liberation

Socialist Party workplace news

Union library campaign strikes blow against Bromley Tories

Bin workers' strike - "about more than just pay"

AMEY = A Massive Empty Yard

Ritzy strikers walk-out and rally

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Poland: Mass movement stops total ban on abortion

South Africa: The battle for free education

Shimon Peres - a wolf in sheep's clothing

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lambeth working class demo against cuts and gentrification

Appeal: Don't let the banks wreck our finances!

Momentum should show Blairites the door, not Socialist Party members!

Lobby to keep vital day centre funding

Bradford day centre campaigners meet to fight closure

Fight to save care homes in Carlisle

Cable Street 80th anniversary demo

Health and social care attacks

Attack on young people's health and social care: urgent fightback needed

The Socialist inbox

The Socialist inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 12 October 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Malcolm X:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: International & British Perspectives

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Socialism - Utopian & Scientific

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: What are we facing after Brexit?

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: What is the Alt Right?

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Report from the Socialism 2018 event


triangleBlack and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

triangleBuilding a working-class movement for Tamil rights

triangleNHS in critical condition

triangleObituary - Bob Lee: 1954 - 2019


triangleTV: Noughts and Crosses

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: How was Thatcherís poll tax beaten?

triangleGermany: Right-wing terror attacks - fight racism, fight capitalism!


triangle'Victory in Europe' 75th anniversary: A resurgent workers' movement and the fight for socialism


triangleProtest against Modi's racist law

Capitalist system:

triangleCoronavirus - a workers charter 2020


triangleThe Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions


triangleInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Working class:

triangleLenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas for today


triangleBlack Liberation... Only possible through socialist struggle

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments



Obituary: Rob Crabb



Going viral: letters to the editors


Upton Sinclair

The Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions



Going Viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis



Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis



TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?



Going viral: Socialist comments and letters



Going viral: Socialist comments and letters



Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis


Socialist Party

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on



Going viral



Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis



Going viral: Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis



TV: Noughts and Crosses



Going viral: socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020