INTERVIEW WITH STOKELEY CARMICHAEL:
COMMON STRUGGLE OF THE PALESTINIAN AND AFRICAN PEOPLE
"Palestine" Bulletin interviewed comrade Stokeley Carmichael during his recent visit to Lebanon. Carmichael, one of the prominent leaders of the Black Power Movement in the United States, now calls himself Kwame Ture, and has lived in Guinea since 1968. He is the leader of the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party, founded by the late President Nkrumah of Ghana in the 1960s.
Q: What is the situation of Black Americans fourteen years after the emergence of the Black Power Movement in the U. S. ?
A: The history of the Africans taken to America clearly demonstrates that since their first encounter with imperialism, they have been struggling relentlessly against the system. If you take just a cursory glance at the slave trade, you will see that throughout the Carribbean and North and South America, there were innumerable slave revolts.
Since the 1960s, all of these concessions have been taken back and the masses of people have been unable to resist because they are unorganized. Therefore, the central task of the 1970s has been to organize our masses of people.
Q: What is the situation of other minorities in the U.S., such as the Indians, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans?
A: They too have been following the same trend. If we take the Puerto Ricans, for example, in the 1960s, they had an organization called the MPI, the Movement for Puerto Rican Independence. Now, they have transformed themselves into the PSP, the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. They have seen the necessity for clear, scientific organization.
The Native Americans are another example. The American Indian Movement (AIM) is trying to organize the Indians into following a strategy that will advance their struggle in America.
So you can see that the national minorities are becoming increasingly aware of the need for clear, scientific organization. There can be no revolution without organization. You can have mass movements to gain reforms, but if you want revolution, you must have organization.
Q: How do you view the common interests of liberation movements around the world and the national minorities in the U.S.?
A: It's a dialectical world. Everything affects everything else. Dr. Martin Luther King used to say frequently that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Conscious men and women must fight injustice everywhere. Therefore, as human beings, we have a responsibility, whether we are directly affected by injustice, to struggle for peace and justice. Because national liberation movements, including the Palestinian movement, are fighting a just struggle, it is our responsibility to support these struggles. As Africans in America, we are oppressed by the world imperialist system, led by America. These national liberation movements, whether they are fighting against Portuguese colonialism, as in Mozambique and Angola, or Zionism, as in the Middle East, are ultimately fighting American imperialism.
Q: How do you view the so-called "human rights" policy of the U. S.?
A: There is no human rights policy of the U.S. government and there can never be because in the U.S. you have a capitalist system and government. Look at the position of the national minorities in America and the vicious exploitation they suffer. Talk of human rights under capitalism is nothing but nonsense.
Q: How do you analyze U.S. Middle East policy, especially since the conclusion of the separate U.S.-Sadat-Begin "peace"?
U.S. Middle East policy is clear. The Zionists want 1) the liquidation of the Palestinian movement 2) Once the Palestinian movement is liquidated, they can seek to make arrangements with the reactionary Arab regimes and neutralize the others.
Recently, the American Congress voted not to give visas to any more members of the PLO. This is another step to isolate the PLO.
Q: Do you detect any change in the American public's attitude towards Zionist domination of U.S. Government policy?
A: There is no question that a rupture will come, from the pressure of the masses. I don't think that the pressure can come from within the American imperialist system or Zionism.
Q: What was the purpose of your visit to the PLO and what have the results been?
A: I came to have better mutual contact and to establish a working relation with the PLO. Since the 1960s, the Black Power movement has been singular and unique in its support of the Palestinian movement. Unfortunately, there has not been much direct contact between the PLO and these groups. Direct contact is necessary so that we can better support the struggle of the PLO. I came for this and to let the PLO know that we support them uncompromisingly - 100 percent. We will never retreat from our position of supporting the PLO in its quest to establish a democratic Palestinian state.
In Lebanon, we went to the South and saw how the Zionists are stepping up their vicious attacks in their attempt to liquidate the PLO. But it is clear that the Zionists will never succeed. What impressed us was that, despite Israeli bullets, bombs, shells and airplanes, the Palestinian people are alive. They are the most alive in the Arab nation and they confirm our thesis that the Palestinian Revolution is the spark for the entire Arab revolutionary movement.
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Originally published by The Palestine Liberation Organisation Unified Information as a bi-monthly information bulletin with copy permission granted via the notice "Partial or total reproduction is freely permitted by 'Palestine Bulletin'"
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