Volume 7, Number 13 August 23, 2004
An "Elijah Plan" for Economic Development
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
After World War II with the European countries in economic ruin, the United States agreed to send aid to Europe if the countries would meet and decide on what they needed. The European Economic Recovery Program called the "Marshall Plan" began in April of 1948 and over a three year period, until 1951, America sent $13 billion in food, machinery and other products to Europe.
When will Black people "meet and decide" on what we need? I guess the first question should be: "When will Black people wake up and realize that we are in economic ruin?" Statistics show that one half of Black men from the ages of 16 to 64 do not have a job in New York City. And according to an National Public Radio report, one out of four Black children in New York City suffer from some form of asthma. Nationally at least twenty-five percent of Black males are now in the "Correctional Population": in prison, on parole or probation, or awaiting sentencing.
I thought that Blacks fled the South and went up North for jobs and better living conditions? Fifty percent unemployment, twenty-five percent asthma and that cold jail cell should tell us that the "dream" is over. The fifty percent who have jobs should send as much money as they can to the Three Year Economic Savings Program, buy a one-way bus ticket for the other fifty percent and send them packing back down South so that we can start over again as a people.
Remember we had over 16 million acres of land, businesses, hospitals, insurance companies and schools in 1910. Then the KKK burned and terrorized us out of our properties down South, while their northern cousins lured us into the northern cities to become cheap labor in the white manís economic expansion project. Now that we have served him well, he has kicked us to the curb, literally, where we lay there selling dope, frequenting prison and dying a slow dishonorable death.
In 1964 the Honorable Elijah Muhammad spelled out what I call the "Elijah Plan" in chapter 78 of "Message to the Black Man" entitled "AN ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT". He writes:
"The following blueprint shows the way:
1. Recognize the necessity for unity and group operation (activities).
2. Pool your resources, physically as well as financially.
3. Stop wanton criticisms of everything that is black-owned and black-operated.
4. Keep in mind -- jealousy destroys from within.
5. Observe the operations of the white man. He is successful. He makes no excuses for his failures. He works hard in a collective manner. You do the same.
If there are six or eight Muslims with knowledge and experience of the grocery business -- pool your knowledge, open a grocery store -- and you work collectively and harmoniously, Allah will bless you with success." (p. 174)
THE THREE YEAR ECONOMIC SAVINGS PROGRAM was established by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1964 as the major program initiative of the "Elijah Plan". This program asked black people to pool their resources by contributing $10 a month to help fight against poverty, want, unemployment, abominable housing, hunger and nakedness of the 30-40 million black people in America.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan re-established this program in October 1991. Though this program and other contributions we purchased 1600 acres of farm land in Georgia, however we need more. In October of 2001 the Three Year Economic Savings Program was incorporated as a 501-C3, not for profit corporation. This insures that your contributions are tax deductible and the properties bought with those contributions will be owned by the corporation and not individuals.
The Program's name might imply that it was to last for only three years, like the Marshall Plan after W.W.II. However an "Elijah Plan" for economic development must be an ongoing program until the problems of our people are eradicated.
As an economist, the following words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad points out the difficulty in following this simple program:
"It is very hard for an economist to plan a wise program and see his plans carried out, because the so-called American Negroesí economics are controlled by the white man...Do not become extravagant spenders like the rich, who own the country and everything in it. It is sheer ignorance for us to try to compete in luxury with the owners." (p. 195)
When will Black people come together and evaluate the "Elijah Plan"? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes: "I have set before you a program, according to the Divine Supreme Being and His Prophets. You have neither produced a better program nor anything to equal it." (p.194)
Forty years (1964-2004) have passed since he made this statement and no other program has come forward. Instead of the "Elijah Plan" we chose social integration with promises of "affirmative action." We "integrated" with poor whites, left our businesses and institutions behind and built the fortunes of K-mart, Wal-mart, McDonalds, Burger King and Holiday Inn. The corporations offered a few window dressing jobs to our "Talented Tenth", lured them to the other side of town and got them to invest their savings in the "stock market" which eventually collapsed. Now corporations are downsizing, out-sourcing and dropping our "Talented Tenth".
Why have we not followed the "Elijah Plan"? Is it because he had only a third grade education and we do not believe that he was divinely taught? We doubted him, yet we allow the white manís concepts of economic "rationality" to dictate both our economic and moral behavior.
I have a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and through all of my study and training, I have yet to find a better solution to raise black people out of economic ruin. In fact, not only have I found the "Elijah Plan" to be sound, but I have discovered that the underlying assumptions of many of the white manís economic theories are false. If the assumptions are wrong, then the stacks of postulates and formulas that he uses to predict and manage his economies will not work. However, he has been able to cover his mistakes by exploiting more of the blood, sweat and mineral resources of dark skinned people all over the world. He also relies on the willingness of his white brethren at home to suffer economic losses for the cause of white supremacy. And when all else fells, he just starts a war.
In the future we will point out some of the holes in the white manís economic theories while explaining the wholeness of the "Elijah Plan". In the meantime, send your tax deductible contributions to:
The Three Year Economic Savings Program
4855 South Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, Ill 60615