by Kali Akuno
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Manning Marable’s, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”, must be seen for what it is, an ideological polemic. The general focus of this polemic is Black Nationalism, and Black revolutionary nationalism in particular. Manning’s critical focus and fixation on Malcolm X as the quintessential point of reference for Black Nationalists since his cold blooded assassination in 1965, is a means to socially advance a line of reasoning against this broad political philosophy and social movement by turning its iconic figurehead on his head. The objective of this inversion is to prove, in 594 pages no less, that those who adhere to and seek to advance some variant of a Black nationalist program not only have it all wrong, but in fact are distorting what Malcolm himself stood for at the end of his days.
As Manning would have it, at the time of his assassination, Malcolm X had all but abandoned Black nationalism, and had instead become a pragmatic, liberal humanist, with social democratic political leanings. As several critics have already pointed out, this character bears a striking resemblance to Manning himself. Paraphrasing Patrick Moyniham, although Manning is unquestionably entitled to his own opinion, he is not entitled to his own facts. And the fact stands that the document that most clearly reflects Malcolm’s political philosophy and programmatic orientation at the time of his death was the Program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. This program is without question a revolutionary nationalist program. The OAAU’s program is modeled on the anti-imperialist program of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) advanced by the Casablanca block of the Union in the early 1960’s. Continue reading