Speech by U.S. Negro Leader Robert Williams

[This speech was given at a demonstration in Peking on Aug. 8, 1966 condemning discrimination in the U.S. against Afro-Americans, and in support of their right to use revolutionary violence in response to the counter-revolutionary violence of the U.S. and local governments and other racist reactionaries against them. The rally was held on the third anniversary of Mao’s “Statement Supporting the American Negroes in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism”.
      This speech is reprinted from
Peking Review, Vol. 9, #33, Aug. 12, 1966, pp. 24-27. Thanks are due to the WWW.WENGEWANG.ORG web site for some of the work done for this posting.]

Brothers, Sisters, Patriots, Revolutionaries:

      Once again, I want to thank Chairman Mao Tse-tung and our brothers, the great Chinese people for their support of our struggle. Commemorating the third anniversary of Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s statement calling upon the people of the world to unite against racial discrimination by U.S. imperialism and support the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimination, the greatest tribute that can be paid to the correctness of his immortal words lie in a current analysis and assessment of the present development of struggle being waged by the Afro-American people.

      Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s statement of August 8, 1963 gave inspiration to a people long and brutally oppressed and dehumanized, then laboring under the masochist-like philosophy of neo-Gandhism. His words gave impetus to a floundering and feeble movement of armed self-defence. And today all of the reactionary world is shocked and terrified by the turbulent winds of ever increasing armed resistance now sweeping the mighty fortress of savage imperialism and beastly racism. In racist America’s mighty northern cities, in the small towns, in the countryside, in the dark and deep jungle wilderness of the southland, from coast to coast, oppressed and dehumanized black people are meeting oppressive racist terrorist’s violence with revolutionary violence. The thunder of BLACK POWER echoes throughout the land. A mighty firestorm sweeps through the ghettoes rife with rebellion. In their paradise of stolen wealth, ringed by massive arsenals of horrible death weapons, the tyrannical kings of imperialism tremble from the terrifying shock of a confrontation with wretched and angry slaves, armed with a common household match and a bottle of gasoline.

      What is the meaning of this cry BLACK POWER in a land dominated by the unmerciful power of white intruders who murdered and all but exterminated the rightful owners, the American Indians? Black Power means that black men want to have some control over their own lives, to have a respected voice in public affairs that affect them. We resent being a colonial people, treated as third class citizens in our native land. We resent being forbidden to speak for ourselves, even in black belts where we constitute as much as 85 percent of the population. We resent being deformed by a white man’s mold in a degenerate white supremacy society that derides and belittles our African heritage and make us ashamed of our ethnic characteristics. Black Power is the vehicle by which we hope to reach a stage wherein we can be proud black people without the necessity of an apology for our non-Anglo-Saxon features. The dominant society in racist America is reactionary, imperialist, racist, and decadent and we wish to disassociate ourselves from it. Black Power is a dissident force challenging the racist white power structure that is so heinously exterminating the people of Vietnam and threatening the world with nuclear destruction.

      We have been victims of white racism for 400 years in the new world. We have been victims of racist barbarism for almost 200 years under the present form of government. Our people are slaughtered like swine on the main streets of racist America. Our churches and homes have been bombed. Our women raped with impunity. Our men have been emasculated. We are hated and murdered for no other reason than being born black and because we refuse to commend and love our savage oppressors, we are called racists.

      We are oppressed people. Our objective is to destroy the hurtful stranglehold of our enemy oppressors. An opponent without the courage to designate his enemy by his true characteristics cannot expect to confront and defeat him. We propose to call our enemies what they are. We propose to rally our people and fight on this basis. We do not propose to mince our words for the sake of peaceful coexistence. It is a natural law that a humble lamb cannot peacefully coexist with a rabid wolf in close proximity.

      Yes, we have some white Americans with us in our struggle. They are our true brothers. These revolutionaries understand and share our anger. They know it is justified. Their spirit is an extension of the glorious spirit of the great and noble antislavery fighter, John Brown. Yes, they too are a hated and persecuted minority people in Johnson’s majority mob rule Hitlerite jungle society. Yes, and like all other peoples we have enemies in our ranks. We have black traitors who practice treason for 30 pieces of silver. We have black Judases, insensate running dogs for the Johnson administration and its racist white power structure. Like their white puppet masters, these black puppets too have days that are numbered.

      Our wrath is as intense against the black lackeys of our white oppressors as it is against the white supremacy oppressors themselves. These mercenary Uncle Toms are the most vocal nonviolent peace peddlers in the storm centers of racist America today. The ghettoes are ablaze but they advocate peaceful submission to continued tyranny and oppression.

      Johnson, the great civil rights advocate, the former senator from the racist state of Texas, who as senator voted against every civil rights bill that came before the U.S. Senate, claimed to be a modern day Moses to black Americans so long as they passively allowed themselves to be mauled and maimed by white supremacy brutes and thugs. But now, with brutal white supremacy Federal Power, he threatens those who defend themselves, their homes, and their women and children. Mr. Johnson, the big daddy white supremacist, would remind our people that we are a minority and the brutal racist white savages are a majority. Like his fellow-traveling Ku Klux Klansmen, he endeavors to frighten and intimidate us by the mere numbers of our eternal oppressors. In the same fashion that Mr. Johnson would like to intimidate the Chinese people with a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons, he is endeavoring to intimidate the black American by alluding to great hordes of white supremacists who are ready and willing to exterminate our people. We say to Mr. Johnson that intimidation, violence, and brutality will not stop the raging fires in the people’s liberation struggle. The only force on earth powerful enough to halt the flames engulfing ghettoes and main streets of racist America consists of fair play, brotherhood, equality, and justice.

      We serve notice on big daddy Texas Lyndon B. Johnson that he can no more intimidate the Afro-American people with his threat of unleashing his great hordes of mad-dog racists than he can intimidate the Chinese people with the threat of unleashing a nuclear attack. The day when brutal white racist oppressors and imperialists can frighten colored peoples into submission by threats of savage violence are gone forever!

      We revolutionary Afro-Americans respond to Mr. Johnson and his Ku Klux Klan fraternity of white supremacy with the cry of BLACK POWER, FREEDOM NOW! JUSTICE! We proclaim our inalienable right to live as human beings and we shall implement our demand with blood and fire. Yes, Mr. Johnson, we are a minority but more than that we are an oppressed minority determined at all costs to be free, and we are resolved to pay any price, to perform any task, and to go to any length for our freedom.

      Yes, we are a minority but we are a minority with the power of a righteous cause and justice on our side. We are a minority marching in the endless files of the great multiracial masses of the invincible anti-imperialist and antiracist forces of the world. For the benefit of Mr. Johnson, who puts so much stock in numbers, we remind him once again, in the words a great people’s leader a liberator whose words, thought, and teachings stand as impeccable in the turbulent winds of time as the mighty Rock of Gibraltar, yes, we remind him once again that our great leader and teacher, Chairman Mao Tse-tung has said:

      “... We are in the majority and they are in the minority. At most, they make up less than ten percent of the three thousand million population of the world. I am firmly convinced that, with the support of more than ninety percent of the people of the world, the American Negroes will be victorious in their just struggle. The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people.”

      Today, in the social jungle of racist America the rights of colored people are less respected than those of common street dogs. The law and the kangaroo courts of the so-called free world of “Christian” democracy protect the rights of common street dogs and other dumb animals but there is not a single court of law that dispenses even-handed justice and unbiased constitutional and human rights to colored Americans. The long, brutal, and miserable plight of our people throughout the history of barbaric America encompasses one of the most shameful and savage chapters in the history of slavery and man’s injustice to man.

      The dominant class in racist America is one of the most hypocritical the world has ever seen. It captured the African in Africa, enslaved him, ripped his culture from him, raped him, reproduced from him, completely dehumanized him, and reduced him to the level of beast of burden and stamped him with the name Negro as a tribute to the white man’s creation and invention of a new implement of agriculture and an instrument of labour. And all the while, he promoted this brutal slavery, he proclaimed himself architect of democracy and a Christian society. All the while, he brutally and savagely exterminated the American Indian and piously proclaimed Thanksgiving to his white god for being so generous in blessing him with the bounty of the Indian’s rich land and paradise. He built a brutal imperialist prison wall around the peoples of Latin America and piously named it the protective Monroe Doctrine. He stretched his bloody hand to Asia and arrogantly called it an “Open Door Policy.”

      The Open Door Policy was the policy of an armed bandit at the door of a peaceful man. Today, the same bandit rapes and plunders the land the Vietnam, murders defenseless women and children and exterminates the people in the name of “free world Christian democracy”.

      The same bandit who exterminated and starved the American Indian on his own native soil now piously proclaims to practice charity to the nation of India in a hypocritical effort to use them in his campaign to subdue and enslave the peoples of Asia. What is the nature of his democracy? What does such a beastly, imperialist, racist savage know about democracy? Should not democracy, like charity, start first at home, and then spread abroad? What is the democracy of the Black American captives in the miserable ghettoes, in the cotton fields of Mississippi, battered by the savage policeman’s club in Washington, D.C.? What is the democracy of the Puerto Ricans, of the Mexicans, and of the American Indians in racist America? Only the most naive can believe the empty words and promise of such a morally bankrupt charlatan.

      Deceptive American white supremacy is personified by hypocrites like Bobby Kennedy, a sophisticated huckster and charlatan of the first magnitude who struts and sways into the hotbed of African white supremacy and colonialism, hugging and kissing black babies and masquerading as a great white father and savior of the black Africans. Mr. Kennedy’s actions in racist America are quite a contrast to his deceitful conduct in Africa. When Mr. Kennedy served as the attorney general of the U.S.A. he was sworn to uphold the right of equal protection under law, yet he collaborated with the most barbaric racists in the nation. He entered into a “white gentleman’s agreement” with the notorious racist governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett. Defenseless and helpless black women and children were bombed, gassed, clubbed, raped, and murdered on the main streets of racist America and Mr. Kennedy is yet to punish a single white supremacist heathen transgressor. As attorney general he did nothing about the fact that Africans were being beaten in the United States, even the diplomats assigned to the United Nations.

      It is strange indeed how Mr. Kennedy can perform in the racist chorus of those who chant slogans of hatred, vilification, and dehumanization for black people in America while proclaiming his pretended great love for black humanity in Africa. Such is the nature of a deceptive and barbaric Yankee.

      In America, Mr. Kennedy publicly proclaims himself to be opposed to black nationalism. In his white supremacy logic, he calls it racism in reverse. Black nationalism is a survival reaction to white nationalism. White nationalism transcends religious, class, social, and political lines. The reason that no massive black-white unity on a national scale exists today is that the white supremacy ruling class has poisoned the minds of white workers. Most white workers identify with their white imperialist rulers. White liberals insist on paternalism. Even bourgeois minded so-called socialists are more and more identifying and grouping on a racial basis rather than on a class basis. We Afro-American revolutionaries have discovered that some so-called socialists, we thought to be our comrades and class brothers have joined the international Ku Klux Klan fraternity for white supremacy and world domination. To our consternation, we have discovered that the bourgeois orientated power structure of some socialist states, even one with a black and white population, would prefer to preserve the white reactionary anti-communist power structure in racist America, their natural national enemy, than to see a just, democratic, fraternal socialist state brought about by the revolutionary action of oppressed blacks that would serve the best interests of all peoples and races. Like their Yankee counterparts that they love to ape so well, even to the point of emulating their racism, they are moving might and main to frustrate and defeat the revolutionary movements of the oppressed peoples throughout the world.

      We of the Afro-American liberation movement resolutely condemn and oppose all counterrevolutionaries and purveyors of white supremacy whether they cloak their treachery in the garb of Marxist-Leninist phraseology or the hideous bed sheets of the Ku Klux Klan and its phoney Christian doctrine.

      We who are engaged in the struggle for liberation and survival vehemently condemn the use of black dehumanized troops as cannon fodder in a white man’s war of imperialism in Vietnam. We oppose Johnson’s vicious crusade to dehumanize, emasculate, and enslave the great Vietnamese people.

      Black boys — from the slum housing of black ghettoes, ill-educated in segregated schools, emasculated and dehumanized by police brutality and a savage white power structure — yes, black, boys who cannot find employment, black boys who are victims of white racists who hate them because of the color of their skin — black boys who mothers, sisters, and loved ones are being savagely clubbed, gassed, raped, maimed, lynched, and railroaded to prison in racist kangaroo courts simply for begging and praying for elementary justice are forced to share foxholes and and shed their blood alongside racist Negro haters in Vietnam, who like in racist America refuse to fraternize with them in places of amusement in Tokyo and Saigon. Even out of proportion to the self-styled master race, vast numbers of black soldiers are forced to suffer and die in that vain effort to prolong and extend the brutal racist white man’s imperialism. They are forced to suffer and die in the cause of a racist power structure that is as much the enemy of black people in America as it is the people of peace and freedom loving Vietnam.

      And why do we call the massive Ku Klux Klan type action in Vietnam a racist white man’s war of imperialism while many black men are fighting there? It is because in racist America no black man is part of Johnson’s policy-making clique. The United State is governed by white power. The Pentagon is a white-dominated repressive arm of a ruthless elite white power structure. Wall Street is an exclusive club of the great white chiefs of business and industry. Black Americans are resisting the racist and imperialist lily-white power structure. How can a people who are fighting and dying simply to wrest the most basic of human rights from an intransigent and tyrannical power structure be said to be partners of that power structure and willing participants in its racist and imperialist ventures and crimes against humanity?

      The United States today is a fascist society more brutal than any the world has ever known. It has all but exterminated a whole people. It has robbed and raped an entire continent with impunity. It has divided the peoples of the world into national factions and set them against themselves and their brothers. With no more authority than the wave of its bloody imperialist hand it has abrogated the right of self-determination of small nations. It has appointed and crowned itself both king and armoured knight of the whole universe. It threatens the globe with annihilation. It is a super colonial power that is colonializing the colonials.

      The world famed and brilliant philosopher, Lord Bertrand Russell has justifiably stated that racist America has exterminated more black people than Hitler exterminated Jews in Nazi Germany. Lord Russell and many other fair-minded humanists throughout the world have justifiably stated that the U.S. military aggression in Vietnam is executed in a more cruel and barbarous manner than even the horrible campaigns of aggression, genocide, and conquest carried out by Hitler’s fascist Germany.

      Yet, there is a mighty tendency, promoted by the sinister American devil himself, to engender more sympathy and fraternalism for the so-called “good reasonable Americans” than for the wretched victims of vicious and brutal U.S. imperialism. The U.S. constitutes one of the greatest fascist threats ever to cast its ugly shadow across the face of the earth. When the butchers of Nazi Germany were on the plunder, the world cry was “Crush Nazism!” “Crush the Fascist Power Structure!” “Crush Germany!” Total war was unleashed without deference to any who may been considered “good Germans” inside Nazi Germany. No sane person opposed to fascism pleaded for a soft policy toward Nazi Germany or pleaded for victims to wait for deliverance through the benevolence of “good German workers and liberals.” Racist America didn’t give a damn about sparing the good Japanese people when they dropped their horrible and devastating atom bombs.

      What is the motive of those who plead for the exemption of liberal Americans, whose feigned liberalism merely serves as a cloak and shield around the naked power of savage and racist U.S. imperialism? The time is fast approaching when the so-called good reasonable American must make a decision either to overtly side with American chauvinism and jingoism or to take a resolute anti-imperialist and anti-racist stand that will be a firm basis for a just and lasting world peace.

      We who are brutally oppressed and victimized cannot forever afford to spare the fortress of social reaction and tyranny because there are allegedly silent dissenters within its gates. Those who are without righteous cause of the oppressed must be prepared to suffer the consequences of the gathering storm of the violent and turbulent winds of retribution. A good man who is silent and inactive in times of great injustice and oppression is no good man at all. He is no ally to freedom and justice but is a silent partner to tyranny and condemnation. He does not deserve exemption from the condemnation and the vengeance of those whom his silence allows to be victimized. The myth of the good reasonable American who is yet to be heard is a ruse perpetrated by the psychological arm of the imperialist forces of tyranny. It is one minute to zero in racist America. Four hundred bloody and gruesome years have passed. For 400 years, our good silent partners have remained silent and inactive. Time is running out and they stand at the dividing line still beseeching patience, still beseeching the slave to leave his fate to his silent friends ever infected with inertia. They plead for deference on behalf of the good people who yet stand at one camp. We call to them to separate themselves from the devil’s legions. We inform them that they have not 400 more years to make a decision but one minute before the hour of zero, before the Armageddon between the slavemaster and the slave.

      Once again, in closing, let me thank our great leader and teacher, the architect of people’s warfare, Chairman Mao Tse-tung, for his great and inspiring statement in support of our struggle. And to our great Chinese brothers and true revolutionaries throughout the world, we revolutionary Afro-Americans vow that we shall take the torch of freedom and justice into the streets of racist America and we shall set the last great stronghold of Yankee imperialism ablaze with our battle cry of Black Power! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! NOW OR DEATH! For our people, for our country, and for our compatriots throughout the world, we shall reclaim the nobility of the American Revolution. We shall raise our flag in honor, true peace, and brotherhood to all the world!

      Long live the People’s Republic of China!

      Long live Chairman Mao Tse-tung!

      Long live the people’s resistance to imperialism, racism, and tyranny!

      Long live the militant friendship between the Chinese and revolutionary American people!

Contents page for this Peking Review issue.

Peking Review article list (in date order).

Peking Review article list (by subject).