Louis Farrakhan is leader of the Chicago based Nation of Islam.
At a rare public gathering, September 16, 193, a diverse group of African-American leaders pledged greater unity within their sometimes fractured ranks, including the announcement of a more formalized working relationship between the Congressional Black Caucus and the Nation of Islam.
In a declaration of unity that brought a standing ovation from the crowd that included factions that have been at odds in the past, caucus chairman Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) said, "No longer will we allow people to divide us."
The agreement between the caucus and the often controversial Nation of Islam means that the two groups will consult on legislative issues and develop common strategies, much like the caucus and the NAACP have done on major issues such as the Lani Guinier nomination and President Clinton's budget package, he said.
The occasion was a caucus-sponsored town hall meeting entitled "Race in America," in which Mfume, Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan, NAACP executive director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Jesse Jackson, a former presidential candidate, were brought together to discuss what all agreed was the sorry state of race relations and solutions to the problems facing African Americans.
In the process, some tensions in their ranks surfaced unexpectedly and further underscored what all had agreed was the need for greater unity.
But Mfume, in the spirit of unity, announced at the close of the program that, "We want the word to go forward today to friend and foe alike that the Congressional Black Caucus, after having entered into a sacred covenant with the NAACP to work for real and meaningful change, will enter into that same covenant with the Nation of Islam" and other organizations, such as fraternities, sororities and professional groups...
The announcement of the formal Congressional Black Caucus-Nation of Islam alliance capped the event. The caucus and individual members have had informal relations with the Farrakhan group for years. But the Nation of Islam has not been deeply involved in national legislative issues; thus what positions it would take on various public policy issues is unknown.
Millions More Movement
The Millions More Movement held an important all-day rally Oct. 15, 2005 on the National Mall that attracted an overwhelmingly African-American crowd numbering more than 1 million, according to organizers. The main demand put forth by the rally organizers and supported by the masses there was “Black power!”
Not one U.S. flag was prominent in the crowd, but the colors of the flag for U.S. Black liberation—red, black and green—could be seen everywhere.
This MMM rally was first announced in 2004 as a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March on Oct. 16, 1995, held at the same site. That event attracted at least 1 million, mainly Black men, and was initiated by the Nation of Islam.
This 2005 event, also initiated by the NOI, was more inclusive in terms of embracing women, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities, as well as Latin@s, the Indigenous and other nationalities, all of whom were reflected in the crowd and speakers. The crowd that filled the mall from the U.S. Capitol steps to the Washington Monument included young people, the elderly, organized and unorganized workers, and families.
The speeches were focused on a variety of issues: the prison system and the plight of political prisoners—especially Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown) and Leonard Peltier-police brutality, reparations, voter disenfranchisement, LGBT oppression, immigrant rights, economic and political empowerment, education and health, the role of art and culture in the struggle for social justice, and much more.
While the 1995 rally primarily pushed for atonement, especially among Black men, the theme of the Millions More Movement rally was qualitatively different in its political message, due to two main issues: Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. These two issues were common themes, interwoven in many of the talks and cultural presentations throughout the day, especially indignation over the government’s handling of the hurricane. Many of the talks took on a strong anti-U.S. government, anti-Bush theme.
The main presentation at this rally was given by the MMM’s national convener and NOI leader, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan. The crowd anxiously awaited what he, more than any other speaker, had to say. And he said plenty.
Farrakhan began his wide-ranging 80-minute speech with the hope that Black people, along with Latinos, the Indigenous and the poor, would unite to build a strong struggle. He stated, “I can’t guess how many of you are here today ... whether there is a million... less than a million or more, it is not the most important thing ... creating a movement of our people is important.” He expressed his appreciation to the “unprecedented” number of Black leaders from different political backgrounds and faiths who had come together to speak “with one voice.”
He stressed that the failure of the U.S. government to answer the needs of Black people and the poor was exposed by its lack of response to Hurricane Katrina. He recommended that the Department of Homeland Security, along with its emergency management agency, FEMA, be the target of a class-action lawsuit by Katrina survivors, who should be fully compensated for everything they lost due to “criminal neglect” on the part of the government. The lawsuit, he said, should be based on facts and not hearsay, in terms of what the government did and did not do to rescue people of color off rooftops in New Orleans. He also called for an investigation of what really happened to the levees.
The NOI leader spoke poignantly about the 2,500 children, mainly of color, who are still missing from the Katrina catastrophe and the pain that their families are still going through.
Farrakhan urged everyone to go back home and organize—street by street and house by house—to build a movement that can be ready before another disaster. He warned, “Organizing is serious and there are those who don’t want to see us organized. The poor are supporting the rich, who hate anyone who can stimulate the conscience of the poor. Are you sure you want a movement? Then be ready for severe opposition.”
He then presented a proposal to set up a number of ministries. Pointing out that Black people make up a significant percentage of the population, he said the funds could come from an equal percentage of the tax dollars, much of which go to the military budget.
A Ministry of Health and Human Services should truly take care of the health needs of the people. Farrakhan praised the Cuban government for offering to send 1,500 doctors to the Gulf Coast region to care for the Katrina survivors. The offer, to this day, has been ignored by the Bush administration. He also thanked the Venezuelan government for offering support to the Katrina survivors—also rejected by the White House.
He also praised President Fidel Castro of Cuba for offering 500 scholarships for working-class people from the U.S. to study medicine in Cuba, with the stipulation that, upon the completion of these studies, they come back to the U.S. to provide health care for the indigent.
In response to the suffering of Black farmers in the U.S. who have become dispossessed from their lands by racism and rich agribusiness subsidies, Farrakhan motivated the need for a Ministry of Agriculture. He also stated that Native people, much of whose land had been systematically stolen in a genocidal manner by the U.S. government in the interests of westward expansion, still have land in reservations that could be leased by Black farmers, for their mutual benefit.
A Ministry of Education would be necessary to help unite all Black educators because, according to Farrakhan, the “Western system has run its course” and is no longer worthy of educating children.
Farrakhan stated that a Ministry of Defense is vital because “our young people are fighting in the wrong war—either against each other at home or in an unjust war in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He said they should be brought home to defend their communities. “You don’t need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “You need to be in our neighborhoods stopping the police from shooting us down.”
Farrakhan connected the need for a Ministry of Arts and Culture to the mass influence of the leader of the Chinese revolution, Mao Zedong. Farrakhan stated that Mao’s ideas were very much reflected in Chinese culture because Mao took a great interest in the creative ways that political ideas could be broadly expressed.
Farrakhan said that Africa and the Caribbean are in need of factories and that forming a Ministry of Trade and Commerce could assist in this endeavor. He also stressed that trade alliances should be formed between Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America to help strengthen these economies. The struggle for reparations, he said, goes beyond the U.S. government making an apology for the slave trade and for slavery. Reparations also mean canceling all debt of developing countries and providing the means to build infrastructure.
Continuing in this vein, Farrakhan reminded everyone that one of the reasons immigrants from Latin America are forced to come here to find work is because the U.S. stole lands from Mexico that are now Arizona, California, Texas and other states.
Tavis Smiley organized and hosted a forum, held on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at Chicago State University on the city’s South Side. The confab offered up a provocative query: Is there room for a black agenda in the “post-racial America” of Barack Obama?
The televised event drew about 3,000 people, heard Smiley lead a four-hour conversation among 12 black intellectuals, educators and activists. The mix included longtime Smiley compatriots, academics like Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson and Julianne Malveaux. Others were longtime black leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan. Most of them came, they said, to “lovingly” take Obama to the woodshed.
"Our Muslim World Wants to See the US/UK Handcuffed"
Video here. At an unknown date (possibly circa December 6, 2010), Minister Louis Farrakhan of Nation of Islam addressed an audience. Video is to the right, Full audio is here, excerpts of his comments are below.
- "The cracker don't have no authority over me"
- "I'm a guided man, and Allah has blessed me to get you this far"
- "Since i've been on this tour, I've been telling the people - that God wants to give you the promised land"
- "I know the messiah - I am taught by the messiah - because my work is messaianic"
- "I can never forget Iran - Iran has beautiful Muslims. You don't know how much our Muslim world is anxious to see the enemy handcuffed. ...the enemy - the British and the Americans have created all of that havoc in the Islamic world. And imagine us rising up in America at a time
when there's no superpower to deal with us and God with us - is the power that's gonna deal with America."
Meeting with Hassan Rouhani
While in town for the 68th UN General Assembly, the new Iranian president hosted the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Muslim leaders from different Islamic communities and members of the U.S. Congress at a private meeting.
President Hassan Rouhani was elected in June and held the gathering at the One UN Hotel in Manhattan Sept. 24, 2013 across the street from the UN headquarters.
The meeting came after Iran’s president spoke at the General Assembly and impressed analysts with words that reflected a desire to thaw U.S.-Iran relations.
After the guests were hosted at a dinner, the Iranian president entered and engaged in a warm discussion with guests, including Democratic congressmen Gregory Meeks of New York and Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Abdul Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam, and Supreme Capt. Mustapha Farrakhan were part of the Nation of Islam delegation.
- CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS AND NATION OF ISLAM AGREE ON ALLIANCE By Lynne Duke September 17, 1993
- WW D.C. rally stresses unity and Black power By Monica Moorehead Washington, D.C. Published Oct 19, 2005
- [http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_100830.shtml Ghe Final callA dialogue with Iran's new president BY FINALCALL.COM NEWS | LAST UPDATED: OCT 2, 2013]