BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: NOV 22, 2016 – 4:32:03 PM
[Editor’s note: The following article is based on excerpts from the keynote address delivered by Minister Farrakhan to the Mass Assembly of the Millions More Movement held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 2005 in Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
The most important thing that has happened today—which has never happened in our history—is that we have seen an unprecedented number of Black leaders of organizations coming together to speak to America and the world with one voice. Our whole spectrum of Black thought was represented here on the stage in front of the Capitol of the United States of America. This tells us that a new day is dawning in America and the world, starting with the unity of “the dry bones in the valley.”
This is more than a moment in time, for no matter how many people who came, if there is a million or less or more, the meaning of this day is not today; the meaning of this day will be determined by what we do tomorrow to create a real movement among our people. The time has never been more ripe for a strategic relationship between the Black, Brown, Native American and the poor of this nation and the world.
Hurricane Katrina showed us the neglect of the United States of America, the failure of state government, federal government and local government to answer the critical needs of our people. I put more attention on the federal government, because there were four hurricanes last year that hit Florida and there was no neglect, or very little that we read of; certainly there was no great loss of life. What happened to the federal government’s response to the suffering victims of Hurricane Katrina and what lessons are we to learn from this?
I believe that we can charge the government with criminal neglect of the people of Louisiana and Mississippi, and New Orleans in particular. While we cannot sue the federal government, we can sue Homeland Security and FEMA for criminal neglect. We need to consider a class action lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of New Orleans who have lost everything because the government is not acting responsibly to give them back what they have lost and return them to their homes.
If a mother leaves her child in her car on a hot day to run into a supermarket, locks the door and windows, and stays a little longer than she had planned, and comes out to find her child is dead, certainly it was not her intention to kill her child. But the law says it was criminal neglect.
For five days, the government did not act after Hurricane Katrina hit, and lives were lost. I cannot say what the intention was of the government; I will leave it to others to make that determination. But I firmly believe that, if the people on those rooftops had blond hair, blue eyes and pale skin, something would have been done in a more timely manner. We charge America with criminal neglect. I hope that the lawyers will look into that, because a class action lawsuit on behalf of those who have suffered is absolutely necessary. We need to call witnesses to the witness stand under the oath of being able to be charged with perjury. We want to know what happened to the levy. We do not want to guess about it or be guilty of following rumors. We want to know what happened to that levy that caused the suffering of thousands of people. Now, they are saying that they do not even want to rebuild the 9th Ward. So where will those residents live? The government will not do what they should do if we do not do what we must do.
I understand that there are nearly 2,500 of our children missing. Nobody seems to know where they are. That is a crime of great proportions in a country where, I recently learned, 70,000 children from poor nations around the globe are here in sex slavery. Where are our children? Can we stand by and allow it to be said that 2,500 of our babies are missing and we will not rise up, as a people, to demand to know where our children are? That is an ugly picture, Brothers and Sisters, and those kinds of pictures will continue until and unless we see the need to organize and mobilize.
On the 1st of September in Atlanta, Ga., a meeting of the elders took place that was inspired by a 5-year-old girl who was having a bad day in Florida and we saw police put that little girl in handcuffs, shackle her feet and put her in the back of a police car. The police authority would not release that child to her mother. They are being sued today. Our grandparents, our parents, our youth, we have seen them all in chains. But now a new picture has evolved. We are seeing our babies in chains. Our people are being herded into the criminal justice system.
During the council of elders in Atlanta, Harry Belafonte, who is not only a great folk singer but also a marvelous and wonderful humanitarian, shared that one of his heroes is Eleanor Roosevelt. He said that Eleanor Roosevelt invited him to the White House along with Black leaders such as the distinguished A. Phillip Randolph. At the dinner table with President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, A. Phillip Randolph stood to list a litany of abuses of Black people and a litany of things that President Roosevelt could do to ease those abuses. Mr. Belafonte said when A. Phillip Randolph finished, the president did not speak immediately. He opened a box of cigars, passed cigars around to everyone at the table, and then said to A. Phillip Randolph, “Everything that you said about the abuses of your people I agree with and everything that you said I could do to end those abuses, I agree with. But Phillip, there’s something that I want you to do.” Mr. Randolph asked, “what is that, Mr. President?” and President Roosevelt said to A. Phillip Randolph, “Go and make me do it.”
We should reflect on those words, as we stand on the Capitol steps and on this great Washington Mall. President Roosevelt may have been willing to do it, but he knew that if we did not organize enough force to make him do it, those around him would have stopped him from doing it.
As it was during the time of President Roosevelt, it has been throughout the presidencies, up to President George Bush today. The government will never do for the poor of this nation until and unless we organize effectively to make the government respond to the needs of the poor. The burden is not on the White House; the burden is on us. Our 43 members of Congress, as brilliant and committed as they are, are impotent without the organization of those of us who need to see change. You would make a mistake and waste valuable time thinking that there is moral correctness in the government to serve the needs of the poor. That we must dispel. We must go back home and organize as never before. Hurricane Katrina grew to a Number 12 tropical storm and then she grew to become a Category 1 hurricane. What was the difference between Katrina as a Number 12 tropical storm and a Category 1 hurricane? It was the degree of organization within that storm. The more organized it became, it went up in category, and then you saw people fleeing by the hundreds of thousands, fearing the consequence of the onslaught of a number 4 or number 5 hurricane. What is the lesson?
The more we are organized, the more we can generate power to change reality. The more we unify, the more power we can generate to change reality. I thank Allah (God) for the leaders who spoke today and I pray that we all are sincere, but I think that all of us in leadership need to be made accountable. There are those who are lip professors, who will come among us and say, “Surely, we are with you,” as the Holy Qur’an says, “but when they are alone with their devils, they say, ‘We are only mocking.’” But Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an, “In their hearts is a disease and Allah increases that disease because they lie.”
All leaders must understand that this is a very dangerous time to play with the destiny of the people. If you love life, then do not play games with the destiny of a people who are crying to breathe free. Organizing is serious and there are those who do not want to see us unify. This is written of in scripture, in the parable of a great image made of a head of gold, a breastplate of silver, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with miry clay. Gold is the heaviest metal; that is the head, so it is top heavy. That is the rich. The breastplate of silver represents the next richest. But the legs that support the head of gold have feet that have iron mixed with miry clay. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that those feet represented the weakness of the world that we are living in. We are living in a world where the rich are a few and the poor are many, but it is the poor who are supporting the rich. That is why the rich hate anyone who can stimulate the consciousness of the poor.
Those of you who are Christian, it was the poor who heard the message of Jesus gladly. The Roman rulers were frightened of Jesus and they had to come against him, because stirring the poor is like troubling those feet of iron mixed with miry clay, since it was a weak foundation for such a heavy head. If you disturb the poor, the rich come down. So, a movement is dangerous to the few who have power over many.
Are you sure that you want a movement? Are you sure that you want to organize effectively to change your reality? If you are sure, then you should be ready for severe opposition. There is no idea worth anything that is not tested by opposition. Opposition is as necessary as the wind that blows and the sun that shines. In order to test the strength of the idea and the commitment of those who support the idea, we must be tested by opposition. So when we go back home, we should know that our work has just begun. What should we do when we go back home? Since the government has shown us that they really do not care, we cannot let another catastrophe come and we are not prepared.
The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God,” but the Word did not stay a Word. The Word became flesh and dwelled among men. It makes no difference what we say, because a lot of us are good talkers. It will make a difference what we do. What we say can only become flesh if we go from this place and mobilize and organize, street by street, block by block, house by house so that we can accomplish that which we desire for the good of ourselves and our people.
We should form a Ministry of Health and Human Service. Jesus said, “Those who would be chief among you, let him be your servant.” We, in leadership, and our organizations are not here to master the people, but to serve the people. So, if such a disaster comes again, we need a Ministry of Health and Human Service to look after the health needs of the Black, Brown, Native American and the poor. President Fidel Castro, in Cuba, offered America over 1,500 doctors that spoke English to help with the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Our government, out of pride, did not accept those doctors. I think we should find a way to accept those doctors, because our people need medical attention. If the government will not permit us to do that, we have a just cause to make them show why we—who have hospitals closing in Washington and in cities across the country—do not need doctors.
President Castro has offered Blacks in America 500 scholarships to go to Cuba to study medicine with only one stipulation—that we must practice medicine in our own communities. Let us accept Fidel Castro’s offer, and when our doctors return home, let us form a Ministry of Health and Human Service that we can use to serve the needs of the Black, Brown, Red and the poor of this nation.
We need a Ministry of Agriculture. The Black farmers are suffering. We need to unite our Black farmers, make their land productive and tie that land to the needs of the city. The Native Americans have the largest tracts of land and, according to what I learned from Brother Bob Brown of the All African Peoples’ Revolutionary Party, they are willing to lease millions of acres if we are ready to go to work. As long as we keep our mouths in the kitchen of our enemy, we will never have good health. We must provide food for ourselves because the merchants of death are feeding the American people and they are tied to the pharmaceutical companies. They create disease, on one hand, through the improper raising of food and livestock and then they make pills, on the other hand, to correct what they have created.
We need a Ministry of Agriculture, because farming is the engine of every nation and we need to provide for ourselves the things that we consume. This will cause us to want to build supermarkets in every city, canning factories and frozen food factories so we can take our products from the ground, can it or freeze it, and put it into our own supermarkets.
We need a Ministry of Education. Let us unite all of our educators because the western system of education has run its course and is no longer worthy to hold our children or America’s children. We are calling on our educators to provide a new educational paradigm. If our educators form themselves into a ministry, a service, then we will be able to educate our children and others and make a productive people.
We need a Ministry of Defense. Our young men are born soldiers, but they are in the wrong war. They are fighting a war in the streets of America against each other, or they are fighting an unjust war overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to bring our boys home and put them into the Ministry of Defense, so we can defend our communities, rather than destroy our communities.
We need a Ministry of Art and Culture. We applaud the hip hop community, the leaders of young people all over the world, but I want the young generation of artists to know there is a bigger purpose for art and culture than popping our fingers and shaking our backsides. Mao Tse Tung, throughout his long march to conquer China, had a billion people whose lives he had to transform. Many of them were victims of opium, drugs and prostitution, like we are. But Mao Tse Tung went to the cultural community and they accepted his idea. Then, through song, dance, poetry, drama, documentaries, movies and books, the idea of Mao Tse Tung became the idea of a billion people. China became a world power on the base of culture and the artistic community. If we had a Ministry of Art and Culture in every city, as we create this movement, we could say to our young people, “What is the idea of the Time and are you reflecting that idea in your songs, dance and music?
We need a Ministry of Trade and Commerce. Do you think that a Millions More Movement should not be involved in the development of Africa, the Caribbean and Central America? If we started feeding ourselves, the billions that we spend on food could be spent elsewhere. We need clothing and shelter. Our clothes and shoes are made in another country. If we pooled some of the money that we spend foolishly, we could set up factories in Africa and the Caribbean, where the labor market is a little cheaper than the labor here. If they made our clothes, then we could open up clothing stores all over America, sell them cheaper than the market and then capture the market of the people. Africa can be a source of shoes and clothing and lots of other things that we may not be able to successfully make in America. So we need a Ministry of Trade and Commerce that can link the struggle here with Africa and the Caribbean, Central and South America. We have a market of nearly 90 million Black and Brown people. That is a huge market. We should tap that market so we will not have to beg others; we will be able to do it ourselves.
We need a Ministry of Justice. We need to look at the conflicts in our own community. We do not need to go to our slave-masters to solve our problems. We need to have a Ministry of Justice in every city that can solve the conflicts among us.
We need a Ministry of Information. We need to gather all the Black newspapers and magazines, Black radio and television stations into a Ministry of Information. If we have enough money in our ministry, we can send our reporters wherever we want to investigate the truth. We do not wish to be subjected to the Associated Press, Reuters, UPI or to the managed news of America and the world. We need to be where the action is so that our people will get correct information.
We need a Ministry of Science and Technology, and lastly, we need a ministry that deals with the head and spirit of our people. We need to collect our spiritual leaders of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other religions and develop a spiritual teaching that will transform our lives by renewing our minds, that we may destroy the Willie Lynch syndrome in Black people in America and throughout the world forever.
This assembly today is about the repair of ourselves and our people in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Allah (God) has given us the medicine to heal our condition. The government cannot heal us, because they do not have any power to heal themselves. The medicine is with us to transform our lives. There is money in our community. We get a quarter of a trillion dollars into our hands. The education is among us. All we need is the will and the unity and we can repair what has been broken.
Dr. Conrad Worrill read a word from Brother Malcolm on reparations. That demand must be made, but it must be backed by the power of an organized people. Native Americans have demands to make of this government for lands and wealth that is due them, promises that were made, treaties that were broken, but they, of themselves, are weak to get what the government owes them. But together, we, as a united people, can make a demand on behalf of the Native Americans, ourselves, as well as the Latinos whose families are being broken up. United, we can solve these problems, but divided we keep injustice in power.
What are you fighting for in America’s wars? You do not need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to be cleaning up the neighborhood where we live and stop the bloodletting where we live and we can stop the White police from shooting us down. We demand that America do justice by the children of slaves.
We have not given up our place in Africa or our rights to Africa. Africa is ours and we should claim it and help rebuild it and make it the great power that Africa is destined to become. Brothers and Sisters of the Caribbean, Africa is trying to unite to form the United States of Africa. The Caribbean cannot continue to exist as little island nations. There must be a union of all the islands into a Caribbean Union with Venezuela and Cuba.
If those islands would unite, examine the value of their land to produce what they consume and then export their surplus, their unity will make the islands less marginalized in the future. The sugar cane industry and banana industry are gone. Why are we sending our children to colleges in the Caribbean? So that they can serve rich Black, White and Brown people who come to lay up in the sun on vacation? We do not want to be the servants of others if we are not going to be the servants of ourselves. Unite Caribbean, unite. The pace of the development of the United States of Africa is moving too slow. We want to help give you a little push because you are holding up the future of Africa’s children by your slowness. Whatever we can do to help, we are your Brothers. We stand by you.
We are told in the Preamble of the Constitution that, if the government fails to give the people life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to change the government. We have the right to reform it or abolish it. You have to decide, America, what you want to do. If you want to reform it, regime change is necessary, but you have to get out of power the neo-conservative idea of an imperialist America. We should take America back from the rich and give it to the people, if it really is for the people.
To the union leaders who spoke today, you need to think over your pride because this government is destroying unions. It is destroying workers and the wages that workers and unions have fought to give the worker. So what should the worker do? Look at the billions that you have in pension funds? We should sit down together to examine the money and resources that we have collectively, and then start buying America. America is for sale. We can buy tens of thousands of acres of land and begin food production, preparing warehouses and begin agribusiness. Labor leaders should get involved in producing a new food base and the billions that we spend on food will give jobs to the jobless and put money in the hands of the labor unions—but if the labor unions will not do it, let our unity do it. Let us put our finance together and build the Millions More Movement.