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Any are the national educational radio network presents special of the week in the fall of 1968. A Congress of Black writers was held in Montreal this special of the week is the second of two on this conference recorded for us by the international service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This week James Forman and Stokely Carmichael on the black revolution in America. But first speaking on the theme the psychology of subjection. Alvin Poussaint an assistant professor of psychiatry at Tufts University Medical College in Boston were trained as medical doctors and we're trained to look for problems disease and illness so that we we tend to be negative leaning toward. You know picking up disease without taking a look. At the strengths of people what their
assets are. What their abilities are a good adaptation. And this is very true in terms of the black man. When sociologist of psychiatry study the Black Man United States in looking for problems so the hotbed of pathology that social scientists rushing to study. So again and not just why social scientists also lack social scientists. And this goes on so much that you would think black people were completely mad. Completely diseased in some way.
You have to remember too that psychiatry us by the very nature of the operation tend to support the status quo because they are usually dealing with individual sickness. They take out an individual and they define him as sick. Now frequently it doesn't matter. To them. Too much that the society may be sick because they don't know how to deal with the society so they take the patient and they try to help him to adjust to or adapt frequently to that society. I psychiatry's frequently will tell you you know that they're letting people be themselves. But often this can't be so of the very nature of the operation frequently
gets them to help you to feel better and sometimes to feel better you have to come into more power with the system. So that if you think if you define black people's problems in terms of psychopathology individual psychopathology resorting letting the system off easily you're making the victim of the problem somehow responsible. For the illness. In the larger society let me give you an example of how this works. Suppose you have a family and you have a child and you say a college student and the college student develops a problem. And his family sends him to a psychiatry House and the finds that student is sick.
I suppose psychiatry is learns through the patient that really a lot of his illness is because as you say the family the mother and father are present. Then what is this psychiatry's duty. In that case by accepting the patient as sick in the first place he may be supporting the oppressive system if he doesn't also address himself to that so that some psychiatry is now taken. You know the whole family because they want to deal with the say the oppression of the problems in the family unit by that little society. Well how do you deal with the problems and sickness sickness in the larger society. We have to remember too that frequently psychiatry
although based on some scientific principles is basically a value system. That is instead of defining things as good or bad we have developed other types of words to describe these phenomena. So we call things sick on healthy neurotic when actually what we may be saying is that thing. You know me. This is good and that's bad. The reality sometimes similar to religion and that's why you can find so many different types of quote scientific approaches among psychiatry themselves and physicians because they basically act on what their values are frequently and not out of object of scientific approach.
I was in working in Mississippi. I had some contact with the University of Mississippi psychiatry department. And these with psychiatry is trained to be objective and scientific and we have to put all of that in quotes and it came time for them to integrate their unit. Not integrated. I shouldn't say that the unit was all white. They didn't bother to set up a segregated inpatient service for black people they kept all of it for white people. But the federal federal government was putting pressure on them because of the new laws to integrate their unit. So I can assure you sat down and had meeting after meeting in conference to talk about this.
And each time came up with this with a feeling of objective scientific conclusion that it would be detrimental to the mental health of both white and black patients if they integrated their unit. So that they were using this time was to directly support the status quo. And because they were products of the system. Even I psychiatry's they were unable to cope or deal with essentially what was a social political problem. And you wonder about psychiatry as being in this whole area the white society in America very seldom writes about white psychopathology.
They don't do that because they don't see their problem in terms of cycle psychopathology because they are the society. But yet they seem almost titillating. Over and over again you can write a book upon book upon book about the messed up mind of black people and it sells and who does it sell to. To the white population. And they read it over and over again about the black man's anger the black man's sexual hangups in relationship to racism but they never talk in detail about the racism. Now you have people writing about black psychopathology who start off by saying well all of this is secondary to racism white racism but that's all they say about it. Then they spend the rest of the time talking about
the sick sickness that black people have as a reaction to the racism. But somehow you think that well if you if you if you tell him about the problem you tell him how messed up we are because of of of racism you're going to win friends and they're going to be sympathetic and that you're going to change attitudes. It doesn't work that way. You know a recent book I read speaking about black. If ology blacks were defined as having not paranoid and I think this book clinched the whole thing for you about how the status quo and everything works together. LAX was what defined him as having a paranoid culture of our oil produced by the culture of paranoia in psychiatric terms means that you're delusional and you're
psychotic that you are what you perceive is not in reality. Now blacks don't have that. Blacks have age appropriate suspicion about the motives and intentions of a white man based on concrete reality experience that is not sick behavior. In fact if you want to to even think in such terms about cultural paranoia then you would have to define the white man in America as having this problem because he has acted in a paranoid out of reality fashion to the supposed threats of black people in the country.
What they're going to do to him what they're going to do to them economically what they're going to do to them sexually. That's mostly a matter of their fantasies. We get stuck with a label that was Alvin Poussaint assistant professor of psychiatry at Tufts University Medical College in Boston speaking at the Congress of Black writers held in Montreal. No James foreman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He currently heads the International Bureau of Snick. And here he discusses revolution as distinct from social reform and reaffirms and explains his support for black power. James Foreman How do we make twist our words and regardless of my personal feelings the stark reality remains at the state power necessary racism colonialism capitalism and imperialism will only
come through long protracted bloody rude and violent wars with the press. If liberation movements from the very beginning are not dedicated to revolutionary socialist principles do not involve into movements with socialist principles while the fighting is going on. It is not evident that those who fight will assume state power and implement decisions that are appropriate to the wealth of the countries for the entire people rather to the contrary. The absence of revolutionary souce of this ideology within certain ruling circles of countries in the Third World is directly related not only to the fact that many rulers have settled for. A new style of dress ceded the United Nations accommodation with the former colonial power but more importantly they had no intention in the first place to make a peoples war and to have total economic and political independence.
This is due to four factors lack of ideology negotiated independence opportunism. To develop a people's army. Political and military leaders do not have the perspective experience however that it is impossible to liberate one's country unless one appropriate song and place. And. It follows that they will not implement decisions based upon this fundamental socialist principle. Many people have had this principle in mind as they were waging a struggle for independence but failing to win independence by defeating the enemy struggle. It was necessary to negotiate with the colonial powers. This is a reality of Africa. Where the former colonial powers going on in this process of negotiating the colonial
powers granted political independence granted political independence but maintain economic influence control and investment. Because it was cheaper to grant political than the pullets and keep the economic control this is what we hear colonialism. Then it was to engage in a series of rebellions and perhaps wars such as the Algerian War. Exceptions to what I am saying these exceptions vary in degree but as a Jew serving in the politics of the Third World. And look at the ruling establishments of most countries we must come to the conclusion. We will see and we have learned from experience that the process of negotiating independence and not winning the struggle has built in limitation. France maintains a right. To send troops for instance to its former colonies in the event of disturbances riots or rebellions.
The Red Berets of France can go to the pawn Chad it is. As United States is trying to send its green berets throughout the world. Opportunist opportunism becomes a fact of themselves. As a representative for those who they have become the spokesman for picked up speed. To fight masters whose clients is not represented in the deliberations. We often hear that a second revolution in many countries of the. Revolution. Thank you. Thank
you. In some instances political leaders have struggled against the pitfalls of negotiating to recognize the limitations of Independence which was negotiated from the former colonial masters. They have declared themselves committed to socialist. Some have national. Economies but we have see resulting from the population colonial efforts to topple a progressive government. Leaders happen in many countries. Liking to break the chains of the kind of. Political leaders often find they are helpless. They have no power.
Total nationalization of the resources of the country. There are those who would like to make it another movement their revolutionary force. See capitalism and the Industrial Military Complex which undergirds we call upon all our brothers and sisters to intensify the revolutionary consciousness among our people to unite in the fight against racism. It is through our unity in the struggle by whatever means necessary that we will help in the liberation of oppressed people. We live in the jaws of the exploding octopus. My. Duty is clear. Evidence. I.
You are so James foreman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. How exactly should the black man in America proceed Stokely Carmichael in this address outlines what he sees as the correct course of action. Stokely Carmichael is currently active in ghetto organizing in Washington and we have to state clearly what our fight is. Our fight is against racism and capitalism and certainly imperialism which is the highest stage of capitalism. You. Thank
you I do not think any of us sitting on this platform are deluded by the Black Power pimps in the United States. If they were not there we weren't we would not be doing a good job. The fact that they have to try and co-opt black power means that we are doing our job. Thanks. And if we follow correctly it means that we're heading for the right struggle because that is precisely what they're supposed to do try and co-opt it. Then when collapsing fails then the real confrontation will begin to take place and we have to know that in our minds if we say we're revolutionary Now then if we fight against racism and capitalism serialism The question is what is our goal. Clearly our goal would be a society free of racism and a four sided free of capitalism or imperialism. When talking about capitalism there are three dominating economic systems in the world capitalism socialism or communism. It means that if one is
anti-communism anti capitalism and if one is going to seek within the conventional framework to redress one's problems one must look to socialism and to communism. But just to say socialism or communism today is not enough because there are many types of socialism and communism in the world today. Tito calls himself a communist. Mao Tse-Tung calls himself a communist. Fidel Castro calls himself a communist and the Russians say that they are communist. Thank. You. So just to throw those words loosely around just won't make it. I certainly don't think that one could go along with the Russian form of communism and also go along with the Chinese form of communism because they clearly different. They're clearly different ideological areas where people must take sides. And what is happening is that the African who doesn't have a land to talk
about is caught up in an ideological fight between whether we should be Mao Tse-Tung guys or whether we should be Russian eyes. And we know we even have a country to call our own. Not our country to call our own. So that the first thing we must seek is to begin to talk about ourselves and how we get that ideology together move to see some land build a base and begin to liberate our people. And. Of course the motherland. And the question is can we achieve a society free of racism where both races can live together. That is the question that we must really address ourselves to and not just pull words and say niceties about all human beings because that's Western. They have said that and they have proved themselves incapable of bringing it about. Their own thing. Thank thing. Thank you. So that the questions that we must now be asking is whether or not you can read the Harry says that it's clear that inside a society you cannot have two political and economic
systems. Can it also be true that you can have inside a society two races which can in fact co-exist without one dominating the other. And I'm just not talking about physical domination I'm also talking about cultural domination. Now for me it is clear. There's only three ways you get things. Thank. You ask. You beg. Or you take. Thank you. Thank. You work for it. You beg for it. Or you take it. No you steal it you take it. You only steal it when you don't have power. If you have power you take. It. Thanks. I don't think the white Canadians would say that they stole Canada.
Thanks. From the Indians. They said they took it and they did. Thank you. Thank you. Well then it's clear that we can't work for these lands we can't back form so we must take them. Senator whether we must take them through revolutionary violence now violence is neither good nor bad. There is no moral judgment to violence. Violence is only you who has the power to legitimatize. Oh yes oh yes. In the United States if I were in the United States Army I would be in Vietnam. If I killed 30 yellow people with slanted eyes I would get medals. Yes. In the United States of America if I shot two white cops in Holland. I would get the electric chair.
So murder is neither right nor wrong it is he who has the power to legitimatize it. Thank you. Thank you. And then the major dilemma that Africans face is that we have never legitimatized white Western society as legitimatized everything for us. We have never been able to legitimatize de-legitimatize religion. There are cement ties was there is intimate ties education there is image ties beauty de-legitimatize everything. We must now seek to legitimatize for ourselves we must say to people united states is more honorable to kill hunky cops than to kill Vietnamese they have done nothing to. Thank you.
God. Now then what do we mean by revolutionary violence. I think we ought to understand because the line is very thin. It's a line that the late Dr. King used to play with he said I'm against self-defense because in self-defense the line of aggressive violence and defense of violence is very thin. He's correct. It is very thin. But we must understand that self-defense never changes the status quo. It meant taints the status quo. It just keeps the victims alive. Graphs imbalance is what is needed to change the status quo. Cleared the bank. But that is because Africans get caught up in the questions of balance. We think that violence is just shooting or murder. We do not see that poverty is violence. We do not see that rape is violence. We do not see the cultural degradation is violence. We have allowed white society to define violence as only the man with the gun.
How stupid this was for why Saudi. Arabia Africa. Oh. Thank you. Thank you. It is valid to have little black children get up and feel that they are all bully. It is now only. Thanks. To define violence and we define how we meet that balance. You meet balance white balance is just a degree. That's all it is. And once we begin to define it then we legitimatized the right to move. We should not think that violence is just a gun. Or death.
Matter of fact I would much rather die at 26 than live to 76 and die of malnutrition and see my children hungry starving my daughters prostitute and my wife sitting in a corner and my children with big stomachs. I would rather die at 20 thank black masses the black people must arm themselves and white peoples of that violence. You have to be nonviolent and a black man is going to argue for years and years on the need for violence. When I came to get slaves from Africa at any income non violent league Yeah thank you. Thank you. When they took South America when they took the United States when they took Canada they didn't take it violently. They took it with a pioneering spirit. He of.
Thanks and a pioneering spirit that we must move boldly I thank you. Stokely Carmichael speaking in Montreal last fall at the Congress of Black writers. NPR's special of the week thanks to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for these recordings. This is an hour of the national educational radio network.
Special of the week
Issue 5-1969
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Special of the week; Issue 5-1969,” 1969-01-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 5-1969.” 1969-01-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Special of the week; Issue 5-1969. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from