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1963 March on Washington: The Mix of Struggle and Cooptation

Kasama Project

by Nat Winn

 

 

Warning: This is not the history or politics you have been taught.

It is Malcolm X’s immortal discussion, called A Message from the Grassroots.

Today, our oppressors’ media is doing unrestrained and shameless crowing about the 1963 March on Washington — using it to repackage the peoples struggle as a Democratic Party sidecar, and using their coverage to cover over how much the U.S. remains a brutal prison house for African American people and other people of color.

In that light, it is worth remembering that this 1963 March itself had an element of cooptation — that it involved an attempt by that old fox JFK to corral and subordinate the civil rights movement (including by promoting those leaders who were considered “responsible” from the perspective of this system and its dominant politics).

We too face a choice of whether to be “at distance from the state of affairs” or whether to be “politically under the wing of the bourgeoisie” (penned into the cooptation and endless degradation of bourgeois politics) . – (intro by Mike Ely)