A FIERY MINISTER Louis Farrakhan, speaking to a large crowd in Philadelphia yesterday to mark the 16th anniversary of his Million Man March, brought a message to what he called the "young white people" of the budding Occupy Wall Street protest movement: He's supportive.

"It's not the Arab Spring - it's the American Autumn that has just begun," said Farrakhan, noting that labor unions as well as some black and Latino activists have joined the protests against corporate power. "And the beauty of autumn is that the leaves that were once green start giving us different colors."

But like President Obama before them, it's quite possible that Occupy Wall Street would say "thanks but no thanks" to an endorsement from the controversial Nation of Islam leader, whose speech also showed off his longtime penchant for inflammatory remarks about Jewish political power and about Israel.

Farrakhan told well over 10,000 people at the Pennsylvania Convention Center that the tea party should speak out against "control by the Zionists," that congressmen live in fear of offending a pro-Israel lobbying group and that he opposed U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Middle East, vowing "never will we die for the state of Israel."

Clocking in at two hours and 20 minutes, Farrakhan's speech touched on almost every aspect of modern American politics and society. It occasionally even veered toward its purported purpose of renewing and updating the message of black self-empowerment that he delivered on the National Mall in 1995.

"The spirit of the Million Man March is dead," said Farrakhan, echoing his warm-up speakers who bemoaned the continued plagues of black-on-black murders and teen pregnancy in the inner city. "You have to pump it up."

Farrakhan and event organizers said that the minister - based in Chicago - chose here to honor a march that took place in Washington because Philadelphia sent more men in 1995 - an estimated 200,000 - than anywhere else.

No one is sure why he honored the un-round-numbered 16th anniversary. In 2007, Farrakhan, now 78, curtailed his activities due to failing health, but he seemed energetic and in good shape yesterday. His speech was the keynote of a three-day event focused on poverty, crime and political engagement, with the goal of involving young people in their troubled neighborhoods.

But politics-of-the-moment is still Farrakhan's favorite topic, and he continued to send mixed signals about what he thinks about America's first black president in Obama.

He told the audience that we have to have "respect for him because he's our brother," and "we are wrong to expect from him what he can't get through Congress." But he also chastised Obama for not doing more to help poor people, which he said should be his primary focus even if it ensures that he will be a one-term president after the 2012 election.

And Farrakhan also ripped the recent drone killing of an American citizen, the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen, and said that Osama bin Laden should have been captured and brought back to America for a trial that would prove he was behind the events of 9/11.