In a Christmas Day message that competed with the queen's, the Rev. Jesse Jackson compared the status quo in Britain and the United States to South African apartheid and German fascism.

The American civil rights leader was selected by Channel 4 television to give an "alternative" Christmas Day speech at the same time as Queen Elizabeth II's message on the BBC."We must no longer allow the clock to be turned back on human rights or put up with political systems which are content to maintain the status quo," Jackson said.

"In South Africa the status quo was called racism. We rebelled against it. In Germany it was called fascism. Now in Britain and the U.S., it is called conservatism."

Jackson said the oppressed must take responsibility for their own condition.

"The slave or the exploited may not be responsible for slavery or exploitation. But they must be responsible for taking the initiative to end it. . . . The oppressed must . . . engage in sane, sober, sensitive and disciplined resistance to end their oppression."