Chapter Six – Black Self-Determination and Self-Defense

Malcolm X Exercises

Malcolm X

Part One: Elements of Liberalism, Marxism, or Anarchism in Malcolm X’s Thinking

Supplemental reading: watch this video where Malcolm X talks about economics:


  1. Do you find elements of liberalism, Marxism, and/or Anarchism in this video?

Part Two: Elements of Violence and Self-Defense in Malcolm X’s thinking

Watch this short interview of Malcolm X after he returns from Mecca:


Excerpt from the full documentary film Malcolm X (1972). Perl, A. and Worth, M (Producers), & Perl, A. (Director). (1972). Malcolm X [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Bros.

  1. Kidnapped and enslaved, still living today under White Supremacy and police brutality, were Black people ever asked to sign the Social Contract?
  2. Is X’s call for the Black community to defend itself still valid today?
  3. To answer the following questions, please listen, read and compare Malcolm X’s speech below and the Ten Point Program of the Black Panther Party.

Malcolm X interview on Self-Determination and Self-Defense

1966 10 Point Program put forth by the Black Panther Party (BPP)

  1. Both Malcolm X and the BPP seem to believe that simply asking the government to respect Black people in the U.S will not be enough. Why do they think this and what do they advocate for instead?
  2. In addition to arming themselves and policing the police, practices popularly associated with the BPP- the BPP established free breakfast programs, health clinics, daycare centers, and many other services for people in their communities. How can these community programs be seen as an extension of Malcolm X’s philosophy of Black people protecting themselves?
  3. Malcolm X says that “in areas of this country where the government has proven either its inability or its unwillingness to protect the lives and property of our people, then it’s only fair to expect us to do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves.” Consider Ferguson, MO, 2014, where Mike Brown, an unarmed young Black man, was killed by a white police officer.

  4. Mike Brown’s killing was not a unique situation, and we have seen similar incidents throughout the country in many other predominantly Black low income communities in the US today. Taking this situation of extreme police brutality against the Black community into account, explain the burning down of the Third Precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department in the context of the protests over the murder of George Floyd by the police in 2020. See below for a first hand account of the actions.


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