The world is in a sorry state. It’s the first time in my lifetime, I was born in 1997 by the way, that the political landscape has been so militant with regard to social issues like sex, race and gender. The forefathers of the civil rights movement would certainly have had a lot to say if they could see us now. Regardless, of whether you agree with the more militant ideologies of men like Malcolm X we can still learn from them.

In fact freedom fighters like Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela bring up an interesting philosophical discussion: is the use of force morally acceptable in the interest of social justice… or in fact the interest of freedom?

Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela both advocated the use of force when others like Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. desperately discouraged their followers from utilising violence. It’s an interesting discussion — with riots across America and in my home country too — maybe it’s one we should have. With all that being said here are eight Malcolm X quotes on fury, righteousness and freedom. 

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.

The only people who will succeed in the future are those that are willing to sacrifice the present. The ones willing to learn, read and remedy their minds. Once somebody has prepared for times to come, they will flourish within them. Education is what separates us. We are all equal — members of the same race — the human race. Therefore, all that separates us is what we know and what skills we possess, not colour, race or ethnic background.    

Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down.

I’m no advocate for violence, and perhaps this is something me and Malcolm X would never have agreed on. But sometimes showing power and defiance is enough to avoid violence all together. By showing we are strong as individuals and as collectives we can stand in solidarity and be powerful. 

You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker

Capitalism is a system that has come under scrutiny by many. Whether those critics are Marxists, communists or indeed civil rights activists there are definitely discrepancies between the rich and poor in a capitalist society. Obviously, from this statement it’s safe to say that Malcolm X was no fan of the capitalist system, and saw it as an obstacle between freedom and his people. 

Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.

Anger is certainly an emotion that brings about change. As Johnny Rotten famously said, anger is an energy. In truth anger can be considered more than emotion, it drives us to action. Rage can induce someone to spring upon and act. The only issue is that anger can sometimes lead us outside our own conscious control, but it is a fundamental human emotion. 

If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.

Failure is a part of success. We will never achieve if we don’t learn along the way. Without critics we will go through life paddling in the shallows of mediocrity, perfectly comfortable with our lives the way they are. Critics make us uncomfortable. They keep us away from the deep end and in turn we never venture beyond the comfort of our own lives. We need critics to make us resilient and strong, critics help us learn and make us angry. We can feed off their negative energy as much as we feed off positive energy.   

If you’re not ready to die for it, take the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.

Freedom is perhaps the most fundamental human right of all. If we, as humans, are not willing to die for our freedom — our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly, our basic fundamental human rights — then we might as well not bother fighting for it at all. Freedom is fundamental to being human, it is fundamental to life.   

Concerning non-violence: it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.        

Malcolm X was at odds with his fellow American activist Martin Luther King Jr. While King argued for a non-violent approach in peaceful process Malcolm X believed he should fight for his people through any means necessary, which would involve violence. Due to the murder of African Americans in the country, Malcom X did not see violence in his protests as meaningless brawls, he saw it as self-defence. Malcolm X believed the real criminals were the ones who would not put their hands up and fight for freedom. 

One day, may we all meet together in the light of understanding.

Despite our political differences and despite differences in what we believe to be appropriate action, we may all eventually come to terms with each other and simply understand. Malcolm X may not have been everyone’s civil rights hero, at times he may have seemed extreme but I believe this quote sums up the post perfectly. We are all striving for the same thing to one day meet in the light of understanding. That was Malcom X’s dream.

What do you think? 

Let me know what you think down in the comments. Did I miss any quotes from Malcom X which this post sorely missed? Did I get it all wrong and misunderstand any of this completely? Let me know down in the comments I love to hear from readers.