1964: Malcolm X on “The Ballot or the Bullet”

[In the last year of his life, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (popularly known as Malcolm X), left the Nation of Islam and organized the Organization of Afro-American Unity.  He launched a series of internationalist initiatives, including taking the denial of human rights of Blacks in the United States to international arenas (including the UN).  His life was a series of extraordinary pathbreaking steps for Blacks and for people in the Americas, Africa, and worldwide.  He spoke constantly, determined to open new initiatives and thinking for all who seek justice and freedom.  One April 12, 1964, he delivered the following speech, (The Ballot or the Bullet) detailing the contrary pathways toward justice and debating the prevailing views at that time. While sections promote a black capitalist solution, more compelling are his comments on the nature of the state and the illusory prospects of change within the system, or the necessity of struggling against it.  These comments continue to resound today, amid largely unchanged conditions.  Malcolm X was assassinated (less than a year after this speech was given) on February 21, 1965, at the age of 39. —  Frontlines ed.].

A 38-year-old man in a suit and tie smiles broadly. He wears glasses and has a microphone around his neckThe Ballot or the Bullet (April 12, 1964)

Mr. Moderator, Reverend Cleage, Brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends…and I see some enemies. In fact, I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we had an audience this large and didn’t realize that there were some enemies present.This afternoon we want to talk about the ballot or the bullet. The ballot or the bullet explains itself. But before we get into it, since this is the year of the ballot or the bullet, I would like to clarify some things that refer to me personally concerning my own personal position.

I’m still a Muslim. That is, my religion is still Islam. My religion is still Islam. I still credit Mr. Muhammad for what I know and what I am. He’s the one who opened my eyes. At present, I’m the Minister of the newly founded Muslim Mosque, Incorporated, which has its offices in the Theresa Hotel, right in the heart of Harlem that’s the black belt in New York city. And when we realize that Adam Clayton Powell is a Christian minister, he’s the…he heads Abyssinian Baptist Church, but at the same time, he’s more famous for his political struggle. And Dr. King is a Christian Minister, in Atlanta, Georgia, but he’s become more famous for being involved in the civil rights struggle. There’s another in New York, Reverend Galamison I don’t know if you’ve heard of him out here, he’s a Christian Minister from Brooklyn, but has become famous for his fight against a segregated school system in Brooklyn. Reverend Cleage, right here, is a Christian Minister, here in Detroit. He’s the head of the “Freedom Now Party”. All of these are Christian Ministers, but they don’t come to us as Christian Ministers. They come to us as fighters in some other category. I’m a Muslim minister the same as they are Christian Ministers, I’m a Muslim minister. And I don’t believe in fighting today in any one front, but on all fronts. In fact, I’m a Black Nationalist Freedom Fighter.

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In Nepal, Jimmy Carter urges arrest of opponents of elections

[Ex-US President Jimmy Carter, who has provided the stamps-of-approval on many “nation-building” elections and electoral stability–(conditions for foreign investors and for diplomatic “aid” in many countries)–is now playing an even more open role in constructing a “post-People’s War” orthodoxy in Nepal, walling off non-compliant revolutionary people from the new power arrangements.  Frontlines ed.]

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Constituent Assembly polls likely in November, says Carter

KATHMANDU, APR 01 – Former US president Jimmy Carter on Monday said there is general political consensus that Constituent Assembly (CA) elections are not possible in June.
Carter, who is here on a four-day visit, made the statement after holding talks with President Ram Baran Yadav, Chairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi, top leaders of the major parties and Election Commission officials. With election-related preparations yet to be complete, Carter said the polling date is likely to be set for November.
“I think there is general consensus, which I share, that June election will not be possible at this point,” Carter told a press conference here. “My guess, as a foreigner who is here for three-four days, is that elections will be scheduled for after the monsoon season. The third week of November would be a possible time.”
The 88-year old leader pledged that his organisation, the Carter Center, would monitor the elections, while he vowed to visit Nepal to observe the polls. Carter visited Kathmandu in April 2008 to observe the first CA elections and was recently criticised by leaders from the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML for endorsing the election as “free and fair” on the very day of polling, without making a critical assessment. Responding to the criticism, Carter said that Carter Center staff are stationed in countries months before elections to conduct ‘real’ observations. “There was certainly some intimidation by the Maoists and others, which we acknowledged in our report,” he said. “But, in general, my view was that the election adequately represented the will of the Nepali people. It was not perfect but in my judgment it was honest and fair enough to say that it was a successful election.” Continue reading

Nepal: Will opposition to a fraudulent election sow the seeds of a new armed-revolutionary struggle?

[Three articles on the opposition to fraudulent elections follow. — Frontlines ed.]

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CPN-M threatens to disrupt polls

The Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, MAR 31 – An alliance of 33 parties led by CPN-Maoist on Sunday said they would only hold talks with President Ram Baran Yadav if the head of state assured that the ‘unconstitutional’ decision to form a chief justice-led government would be scrapped.
The alliance’s decision came two days after the four major forces and the interim election government decided to hold talks with agitating parties. The alliance, led by the breakaway Maoists, is disrupting the update of voter roll in districts and has warned to disrupt the proposed elections.
The meeting of the protesting parties held at CPN-M headquarters Buddhanagar concluded that it is meaningless to sit for talks with the current government formed by the “syndicate” of four major political forces.
“The current unconstitutional government has no status to hold dialogue with us,” CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung said. “We will only hold talks with the President.”
The agitating parties are preparing to handover a memorandum, requesting the Election Commission to halt the voter roll update on Monday. They have stressed that all the election-related activities should be halted until the constitutional process is brought into track by making an agreement between all parties over the new roadmap. A statement issued by CPN-M on the behalf of 33 parties urges the government and the Election Commission to stop all the election-related activities until there is a new cross-party agreement. The parties have also expressed reservations over the government’s preparation to introduce an ordinance against organised crime, which recommends stringent action for any activities aiming to obstruct elections.
“The plan to bring the ordinance is intended at suppressing the agitation. It shows that the government is just staging a drama in the name of holding talks,” adds the statement. The stance from the agitating parties came a day after President Ram Baran Yadav urged four major forces to hold dialogue with smaller parties to create a ‘favorable atmosphere for elections.’ Continue reading