WVON Cliff Kelley Interview with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

[Editor’s note: The following article contains only excerpts from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s interview with Cliff Kelley of WVON 1690’s The Talk of Chicago radio program on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at WVON Studios in Chicago, Illinois.]

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

Cliff Kelley (CK): We are honored, Brother Minister, to have you here; the last time you were here (October 24, 2011), you mentioned that you would like to come back… Knowing what we were going to talk about today, beginning with “land” and an “economic program,” I have my Final Call newspapers from October 18th, “We Are At War: The Future of Our People is at Stake” and October 25th “Separate and Equal Inside of America: Farrakhan Presents Vision for Black Survival,” and those are the sort of things that we are going to talk about.


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Photo:

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (HMLF): This week we want to talk to our people about how can we survive in a time like this when we have more millionaires, and a few billionaires; and more members of the Black middle class, yet the masses of our people are slipping further and further behind and are deeper and deeper in the valley of poverty and want. So a few editions ago in The Final Call (Oct. 18), we mentioned on the headline “We Are At War”—but if we as a people are not mentally and emotionally and intellectually ready to fight the war for our survival, then our ignorance of the time will be the means of our own destruction.


So thanks to you, my dear brother Cliff, and thanks to WVON and thanks to Melody Spann-Cooper, and Pervis Spann, and all of those responsible for this great radio station. We are back again to alert our people and to hopefully educate our people that we are “At War,” and The War is for our survival and for the survival of our children and a future for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


CK: Where do we want to start off? With the situation of how the future of our people is at stake?

HMLF: I would like to start off with the cry of our people since the 1940s with the great organizer and labor leader A. Philip Randolph who wanted to organize a march on Washington. The cry at that time was “jobs and justice.” And in the 1960s, 1963 to be exact, the Civil Rights Movement with A. Philip Randolph present marched on Washington and the cry again was “jobs and justice.” And 20 years later in 1983 at the 20th Anniversary of that historic march on Washington, the cry, again, was “jobs and justice.”

On October 15, 2011, the day before the unveiling of the statute our brother Martin Luther King, Jr., our dear brother Al Sharpton had a march, and the cry was “jobs and justice.” But this time, brother was trying his best to encourage not only Black America, but White America as well, to get behind the Jobs Bill proposed by President Barack Obama.

As a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I would like to disabuse us of the thought that our president can create enough jobs for our millions of unemployed and White America’s unemployed. That is why I’m here: To call us back to remembrance of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad who said and wrote on the back page of Muhammad Speaks newspaper, as it is now on the back page of The Final Call, in “The Muslim Program”: “We do not believe that America will be able to furnish enough jobs for her millions of unemployed and ours too.”—that was in the 1960s. Now here we are, 50 years later, and factories are closed down…

I want our beloved brothers and sisters to pay attention to these statistics: There are 42,600 factories in America that have closed down since 2000. Although with a service-oriented economy and a globalized economy, there is a very shrinking manufacturing base in America; where once we could look at the shirt that we wore, the underwear we had, the socks that we were wearing, the shoes that we were walking in, the coats and dresses that we had, the pillowcases and towels that we used, the diapers that we diapered our babies with—we could see that all of it was “Made in America.” And now, hardly anything that we wear is made in America.

There are 49.6 million Americans that are considered “functional illiterates,” who can read only at a 5th grade level. Our young people, 50 percent in some cases, are dropping out of school, not having a high school education.

I would ask the government of the United States and President Obama, “What kind of future can you prepare for a country that houses nearly 50 million functional illiterates?” And when you have young people that are ready for work and ready for some kind of employment, and you have no means of employing these youth, then their energy, their aggressive tendencies, can turn into violence which is now plaguing the inner cities of America. And soon the country will be plagued because the young people all over America are feeling the pain of even having an education, but not having a job.

So what can the Armed Forces do? The Armed Forces used to be able to take the unemployed in. But the last I heard with the calamities that are striking America one after another, FEMA does not have any more money to pay out to those who have suffered calamities in this year’s unprecedented calamities. So if the Army can’t hire us because they don’t have money, and we don’t have the technical savvy to be in a technological age of warfare where somebody can sit in a room with a computer and push a button and destroy something hundreds and thousands of miles away—where do we fit if this is our condition, and there is no manufacturing base in the country for these people?

If there is no manufacturing base, how can these that are considered “functional illiterates” function? But they can function as they were functioning before this globalized economy. One city in Massachusetts, Taunton, Massachusetts was the “shoe capital of the world”; and anyone that used to like their good shoes, that America produced, most of them came out of Taunton, Massachusetts. With the agrarian economy of the South and the manufacturing base of the North, people without a lot of schooling could find jobs in factories producing the clothing that we would wear, the shoes that we would wear, things that we knew to do—but we were not college graduates. Some of us were not even high school graduates, but a job was there for us in a factory.

So when we’re talking about “jobs,” now—and “jobs” are what we need—here’s what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said… Please consider this great man that walked among us and gave us Guidance for this time. Unfortunately, we were not listening. I hope today in the short time that is left to the dying economy of America that we will listen now.

Elijah Muhammad, in his monumental book “Message To The Blackman In America” on pages 56 and 57, said: “As a people we must become producers and not remain consumers and employees. We must be able to extract raw materials from the earth and manufacture them into something useful for ourselves. This would create jobs in production. But we must remember that without land there is no production. The surplus of what we produce we would sell. This would develop a field of commerce and trade as other free and independent people whose population is less than that of the 20 million…” It was “20 million” at that time, but we’re between 40 and 50 million now; and so we now have to get up from where we are.

With right guidance and the will to work to produce the things that we are begging others to produce for us, we could then do that which would earn the respect of America and the respect of the entire world. But that is not going to come through President Obama no matter what bill is passed.

It’s going to come through the hard work and the unity and the pooling of our resources; that we should get up intellectually and financially and do something for self.


Now let me start with the first order of business. I talked a few weeks ago to our great brother who is the architect behind Black Entertainment Television (BET), Mr. Bob Johnson. We regret that he ever sold BET to Viacom; and maybe he regrets it, too. But nevertheless, that great brother of ours, we talked a few years ago when he was trying to buy US Airlines and there was a merger planned between United and US Air, but he was waiting on the Congress because he was going to set-up the first Black-owned shuttle airline going up and down the East coast. This is a man with tremendous vision. And when I talked to him last, he was very, very upset at the condition of our people.

A man like Bob Johnson, who is a Black billionaire, who once owned the Charlotte Bobcats—a man like that: If he called together all the basketball players with their millions, the football players with their millions, the entertainers with their millions, and proposed to them that instead of putting their money in the stock market where the wise can manipulate the stock market (where you could have money today, and if the stocks crash you lose lots of money in that); or stopping our basketball players from doing “little things” that put back into the Black community, but uniting them and pooling their resources, this would allow us to put big things back into the Black community by creating jobs.

Now as I read in 2010 and 2009 our top hip-hop artist made $300 million a year. But in 2008, 14 of our top hip-hop artists made $515 million. The thing that we have is money, but we don’t have unity, and we don’t have a program that could make multi-millionaires, the super rich billionaires of the future if they could pool their resources to do what?

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said this production has to start with the acquisition of land. As long as we don’t have land then somebody else will be the producer and we will be the consumer. Now I learned that there’s 8,000 or more acres of land available in the Mississippi Delta. Well, I feel like this: That we worked like hell in the Delta to make others rich with the cotton that we picked and produced. Why shouldn’t we own the Delta? It belongs to us! The government should give it to us as a part of Reparations, but they won’t do that. But we have enough money! If we pooled our resources we could buy land here in Illinois, in Wisconsin, in Iowa, in Indiana, in Tennessee, in Arkansas, in Mississippi, in Alabama, in Texas, and begin producing the jobs that we are begging White people to produce for us.

I am telling you brothers and sisters: Pharaoh has already dropped us. And if we’re not going to pick ourselves up and do something to help ourselves, then we have no future.

You may say, “Well Farrakhan, maybe we can’t get these big rich Negroes together to pool resources!” I know we can; but then if we got none of them together, there are still 45 million of us. Think about this: If 40 million of us could manage five cents a day, 25 cents a week, one dollar a month in a National Treasury, then after one year we won’t have “millions or hundreds of millions”—in one year we would have several billions of dollars in a National Treasury! And the first thing Elijah Muhammad said we have to do is buy us some land.

Now, the land is for sale. Allah is plaguing America: Right now in Texas it’s dry; the poor cattle are dying in the field. The farmers can’t make money like they used to because drought is there. “Well then, why you talking about land if there’s a drought?” Because we know The One Who makes rain, hail, snow and earthquakes. And we know that if we had the land, and were righteous on that land, God will give us the rain and we’ll feed ourselves and others too.

With those billions that we could amass in one year’s time; if all of us united on an Economic Program that makes sense, then the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said we could establish a National Black Bank. Our millions and millions of dollars are in White banks all over the country, and all we get is “interest”—and it’s a small interest at that. Well, why wouldn’t we take our money out of these banks and put it in our own banks?

But the problem is we don’t trust each other enough to do business with self. We are going to have to get out of that attitude, because that attitude has us where we are: In poverty and want, with no jobs.