Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day/Open Thread

He would have been 83 yesterday, but in order for Americans  to get their three day weekend, the federal government officially honors the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the third Monday in January.


This year MLK is garnering more attention than usual. His long-delayed memorial in Washington was finally dedicated, just at about the same time the civil rights movement of the 21st Century -- Occupy -- was gearing up.  The class war based on gross income inequality has entered the national political conversation. Civil rights are being sacrificed in the name of a trumped up War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on the 99% by the Oligarchy and the government duopoly.


Jonathan Turley has written a powerful op-ed called "10 Reasons Why America is No Longer the Land of the Free" in the Washington Post. Dr. King, you might recall, was hounded and spied upon by the government himself for his anti-war, pro-labor stance. 


The Christian Science Monitor outlines how we can mark the day by making it a time set aside for service to others.


Chris Hedges marks the day by performing the public service of suing the president over the illegal and inhumane National Defense Authorization Act.


"How Fares the Dream?" asks Paul Krugman in a New York Times column.  He writes "Goodbye Jim Crow, Hello Class System" -- to which I reply that Jim Crow is still lurking if we look all around us. (I copied my response-comment in the Comments below this post).


Finally, here is King's classic Letter from the Birmingham Jail:


But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your 6-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a 5-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.
Please share your own thoughts, along with more suggested reading.


(PS -- I have included the new Bill Moyers site in the Blogroll to your right. You can view his first show by clicking the link). 

26 comments:

Karen Garcia said...

My response to Paul Krugman...

Despite the black man in the White House, Jim Crow actually does still exist in the USA. Voter suppression is on the rise in many states with new, draconian registration requirements. Minorities are the main targets of the misguided "war on drugs" and and are filling our for-profit private jails in record numbers. Young men in New York City are stopped and frisked on grounds of breathing while black. Militarized police forces and the DHS target all kinds of people, based on ethnicity and more recently, on dissent and activism.

Dr. King was spied upon and harassed by his own government for protesting not just inequality, but the Vietnam War. If he were alive today, he would be appalled by the trashing of our civil rights in the name of the new terror state. He would be outraged at the theft of trillions of dollars in household wealth by Wall Street criminals, who not only have gone unpunished, but who have reaped even more rewards at the expense of the 99%. He would be stunned by the thousands of people killed in an illegal war and by the ongoing inhumane "collateral damage" of drone attacks. He would be expressing dismay at the lack of prosecution of the Bush era war criminals.

It's a little too late for Romney to be wishing for a quiet room. OWS, the civil rights movement of the 21st century, has burst upon the world stage with a giant megaphone, to broadcast the news that the oligarchs continue to commit the crimes of the century.

The Black Swan said...

Here is a great speech from Dr. King about peaceful protest

http://www.prx.org/pieces/32961-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-the-christmas-message

The second half is beyond amazing. If only we had someone of his quality and stature to be a voice for the 99% in this day and age.

Anne Lavoie said...

'Beyond Viet Nam: A Time to Break Silence' given at the Riverside Church is one of the least well known of MLK's speeches, but I believe it's his greatest. It can be read in its entirety here:

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html

He spoke about "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government". Is it any wonder he was assassinated one year to the day later? It was his opposition to the Military-Industrial Complex that put him on the real danger/hit list.

Let's honor his life and legacy by following his advice to break the silence. Please read this speech, or reread it if you've heard parts of it in the past. It's as relevant now as ever.

Occupy!

Will said...

Glenn Greenwald's column today expands on Turley's Op-Ed from yesterday:

http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/

I wonder how many of our fellow Americans are spending MLK day reading King, Turley, Hedges, Greenwald and, of course, Garcia. Not enough of us, certainly.

Kat said...

I came here to wish everyone the best on this Martin Luther Kind Day and post his Beyond Vietnam Speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b80Bsw0UG-U

We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Kat said...

P.S. great comment on Krugman, Karen. Goes so much further than his column.

Denis Neville said...

This morning, listening to “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in His Own Words,” I was struck by how Dr. King’s words call to our nation today.

“The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" The question is, "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That’s the question.” - Dr. King’s speech the night before he was assassinated

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/1/16/special_dr_martin_luther_king_jr

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam writes, "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..."

“Now, let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

“As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

‘Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Off’ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ’tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.’

“…If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. - Dr. King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam.”

Denis Neville said...

Mitten’s ACI…

Mittens is spending MLK Day in South Carolina campaigning with Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s and Alabama’s immigration laws and ties to the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal branch of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a “nativist hate group.”

jurassicpork, “Republicans on the Civil Rights Movement” (A Brilliant @ Breakfast Exclusive):

“If there's any one consistent failure plaguing liberals, it's the inability to hold the jackbooted feet of Republicans to the fire of their consistent shunning and skeeving of minorities even on Martin Luther King Day…

“So when Republicans like Romney start mealy-mouthing Dr. King's legacy while others openly shun and target minorities while making racist statements, we really ought to be holding their cloven hooves to the fire and ripping the invisible hoods off their heads.”

http://brilliantatbreakfast.blogspot.com/

There’s also this…

“Mitt Romney gives cash to financially struggling woman at South Carolina rally,”

When a 55-year-old woman, who said she lost her job last October, met Mittens (aka Mitt the Ripper) on the rope line following a campaign rally in Sumter, Mittens gave her what an aide later said was about $50 or $60.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/mitt-romney-gives-cash-to-financially-struggling-woman-at-south-carolina-rally

Philip Rucker:

“This wasn’t the first time Romney tried to give cash to someone at a campaign event. Last June, at a Mexican restaurant in Aurora, Colo., a boy gave Romney a $1 bill that he had folded origami-style for good luck. The candidate rifled through his wallet looking for money to give the boy in return.

“Romney had a $100 bill, but evidently did not want to give that away. An aide handed him a $1 bill, but Romney said that wasn’t enough. Then, deep inside his leather billfold, Romney found a $5 bill. “We’ll give you an Abraham Lincoln back,” he said, handing it to the boy.”

“What’s an ACI?”

Calvin Trillin explains the Asshole Correlation Index.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/low_concept/2012/01/calvin_trillin_offers_a_new_way_of_measuring_pretentiousness.html

Jay - Ottawa said...

Thanks, Denis, for Trillin's report about the ACI, a valuable tool indeed. With science-based discoveries like the ACI, we can more accurately take the measure of politicians and their moneyed friends. BTW, I have a hunch you were the guy Trillin was talking to in the bar. Fess up. Whatever, the next drink's on me.

The Doktor said...

@Kat;
I was hoping you would post a link to that fantastic Viet Nam speech that you brought to my attention several moths ago;
Thank You!
I would like to share a couple of things as well;
This link from The Washington Post.
These past two years we have heard a great deal made of "The Framers" much of this talk attempts to hold them up as somehow above reproach. I found an interesting speech from Thurgood Marshall, given in 1987 regarding the Bi-Centennial Celebration of The Constitution... here is an excerpt;

{"...I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever "fixed" at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite "The Constitution," they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document's preamble: 'We the People." When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America's citizens. "We the People" included, in the words of the Framers, "the whole Number of free Persons." On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes at threefifths each. Women did not gain the right to vote for over a hundred and thirty years.

These omissions were intentional..."}

I would urge anyone who isn't familiar with the speech to give it a read by clicking the above link.

I am truly grateful to Doctor Martin Luther King for his unceasing efforts at opening our eyes. Long Live The King!

Valerie said...

Another heartfelt and outstanding post, Karen. Thank you. And wonderful comments and links from the rest of you regulars.

In response to Mittens giving a woman who lost her job $50 or $60 -I think it tells its own story. Free Marketers say they want to keep more of their tax money (the part that funds social programs) so they can give it to people THEY believe are worthy of their charity. Yet, this is what a man worth quarter of a billion dollars thinks is sufficient charity - $50 or $60 dollars. He probably spends more than that taking his kids out for a coffee break at Starbucks. This amount of charity is what we can expect from people who want to control their own giving - crumbs.

I am not wanting to change the subject from the thought-provoking topic of MLK and the values he stood for, but I would like to mention after listening to Moyer's first interview, I am now totally convinced our only hope in fighting back against the plutocracy is the Occupy Movement. We can talk (and donate) all we want to getting Elizabeth Warren and others like her elected - and I LOVE Liz - but unless there is a huge up-swell of populist protest to scare the rest of those politicians into putting the needs of the 99% before the 1%, people like Liz, Bernie and Denis will be trivialized and marginalised within Congress and the bills they support will be trampled underfoot.

As I read all your wonderful links, I thought about how Martin would be standing with the Occupy protesters today. By protesting ourselves we honour the legacy and spirit of King and people like him who have stood up for Justice against huge self-serving bullies throughout American history.

Kat said...

Have you folks checked out Chris Hedge's lawsuit?

@Denis-- that story of the 5 bucks was too precious. I admit I'm surprised though-- I thought superrich people didn't carry money in their wallets. Maybe he usually doesn't.

DreamsAmelia said...

In all these years (until today), I have never read, in full, King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

--so many years in school were repetitions of the same speeches and sound bites---the same terseness and repetition that allows much of the dehumanization of policy, news, and history to go unquestioned and unexplored.

King's letter, too, encapsulates some of the earlier discussion on these threads of the way religion can be used to provoke a fiercesom morality that sends the 1% shaking in their shoes, or which protects the complacency of the oligarchy:
"In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests."

And the letter has a plethora of literary references through the ages, with frequent references to Socrates.

He echoes Cornel West when he says,"In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."

The fact that race can be used as such a cudgel while in reality being insubstantial is what is so vexing--it is a surface trait claimed as "real" by seekers of self-aggrandizement who think that subjugating others to slave labor so that they might one day have a hundred million dollar trust fund to bequeath to their five sons is a pursuit worthy of the energy of one mortal soul with only one life to live--to use one's time to rob and exploit the labor of others as much as possible--and to live in the presence of a sycophant press who will reinforce such objectives to try to get as many as possible to endorse such aims, rather than condemn and protest such money-exploitation-worship vehemently and actively (vigorously non-violently, embracing chaos and tension, as King notes).

Race oppression along black and white lines becomes an angry betrayal when a "half-black, half-white" president is seen as all-black, all-socialist, all-the-time by half-wits who have no clue how socialistic the military, medicare, sidewalks, roads, schools, libraries, soon-to-be-formerly the internet, the air we breathe, and the food we eat, is.

How can race be about the color of one's skin, when Condi Rice and Colin Powell remain the faces I most associate with the debut of the eternal War on Terror? The Othering can be instigated by anyone of any race or nationality onto any other race or nationality--we are all potential perpetrators and victims of an eternal War on Terror, with race being insubstantial--allies and oppressors cannot be easily identified along color lines--"you're either for us or against us" is a slogan that can be wielded by any petty tyrant to otherize anyone into a "Terrorist"-- and so merrily go jumping into war with Iran or whomever the Terrorist du Jour is--

Yes, Krugman is right, King would "feel that his work is nowhere near done." It is thus up to us to maximize our efforts to continue it. Troy Davis, too, has no more time left to work. So we can, must, and will.

Occupy!

Jay - Ottawa said...

To echo what the rest of you have already said, MLK's words, like those written from a Birmingham jail, touched the conscience of those worthies who had urged him to go slow and be more pragmatic.

The hearts of many more Americans, especially the young, were moved in hearing what King had to say about social justice and war.

But it was the young blacks who occupied lunch counters in their Sunday best, and the marches over dusty roads, and the people on the burned-out busses, and the pushy outside agitators who risked their lives to register blocked-out voters that got everybody's attention, willy nilly, and slowly began to bend back the bars that kept King in jail and his people down.

That is the takeaway message behind OWS today. Words alone cannot restore justice. Show up. And. OCCUPY!

Kat said...

@The Doktor: That speech sends chills down your spine, doesn't it.

@Amelia:
But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."
I think that is perfect It explains why we want so much more from our country.

Anne Lavoie said...

We are witnessing a rewriting of the history of MLK by none other than our first Black President, Barack Obama.

Obama once again misrepresented what MLK's message was at this year's MLK Day event. For 3 years running, he has claimed that MLK's message was about 'service' while he stages a photo-op service project.

As if it hasn't been bad enough for Obama to be virtually silent for 3 years about poverty and other issues important to MLK, but now he actually distorts and attempts to bury MLK's message about a revolution of values.

Is it because President Warlord doesn't believe in or live those values and doesn't want a revolution of values to occur? I'd say the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'

It's up to us to keep the spirit alive with our words and deeds. It's time to break the silence.

Occupy!

Kat said...

@Anne: Oh how awful. Service???
I did a search after I read your post. That is indeed how he celebrated the day. Building some bookcases and painting some MLK quotes on the wall. God.

Denis Neville said...

"True racism in this country is in the judicial system." – Ron Paul

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens reviews William Stuntz’s “The Collapse of American Criminal Justice.” Black citizens are the primary defendants and victims of crime.

Twin problems pervade the American criminal justice today: its overall severity and its disparate treatment of African-Americans. “Ironically, during an age of increasing protection for civil rights, discrimination against both black suspects and black victims of crime steadily increased.”

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/nov/10/our-broken-system-criminal-justice

“While only 10 percent of the adult black population uses illegal drugs, as does a roughly equal percentage—9 percent—of the adult white population, blacks are nine times more likely than whites to serve prison sentences for drug crimes. “And the same system that discriminates against black drug defendants also discriminates against black victims of criminal violence.” As “suburban voters, for whom crime is usually a minor issue,” have come to “exercise more power over urban criminal justice than in the past,” police protection against violent felonies has disproportionately extended to suburban neighborhoods rather than the urban centers where more black individuals reside.

“The “bottom line,” Stuntz explains, has been that “poor black neighborhoods see too little of the kinds of policing and criminal punishment that do the most good, and too much of the kinds that do the most harm.” In this sense and others, Stuntz concludes, our criminal justice system has “run off the rails.”

“Why Occupy Wall Street exists, reason #1,734” – our criminal justice system off the rails:

Ex-mortgage CEO gets 40 months in prison for $3 billion corporate fraud; homeless man gets 15 years for stealing $100.

http://lhote.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-occupy-wall-street-exists-reason.html

Kat said...

Here is a passage from a speech that puts the idea of service into much better context:
The keynote speaker at this year’s breakfast was the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a theologian, pastor and civic leader who worked with King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Moss, now of Cleveland, is an advocate of education, human rights and social justice.

King’s message, Moss said, is one of service, sacrifice and suffering.

“Dr. King is speaking to us ... saying that self-interest will ultimately destroy yourself,” he said. “But interest in others and serving others will build a life, save a family, redeem a community and transform a nation.”


and then he added this:
“When you talk about Dr. King, you’ve got to talk about the right to vote,” Moss said. “You’ve got to talk about the poor people’s campaign, and about economic injustice. Otherwise, the celebration becomes an insult.”

Will folks here be occupying their federal courts on the anniversary of Citizens' United?

Zee said...

@The Doktor--

Thank you for the link to Justice Thurgood Marshall’s 1987 speech to the San Francisco Patent and Trademark Law Association.

@All--

I can accept each and every one of Justice Marshall’s criticisms of the original Constitution. The product of difficult compromises, it was flawed and unfair from the very outset, and, yes, remains flawed today.

Yet, had those compromises never been made at that time, what then?

I’m not historian enough to speculate what form our government might have eventually taken had the original thirteen Colonies had to labor under the Articles of Confederation for some indefinite period longer. But the Articles were clearly unworkable at the time, so some kind of change was inevitable.

If not for the adoption of the Constitution--with all its faults--would there even have been a Union left to preserve by 1861? Or would the Colonies have spun off to become completely independent nations by then? And what then the fate of the slaves in the South? How much longer might slavery have endured?

I am not a person of color, so I can’t facilely state that I fully understand Justice Marshall’s impatience with the Constitution. How frustrating to endure the amount of time--and associated injustice--that it has taken for the Constitution to evolve to the point at which it is now, and yet how much more frustrating to know that more changes still remain before we become the nation that Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned: one in which all people are judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin.

Yet, while it is true that “The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these [particular] changes [as outlined by Marshall in his speech],” they nevertheless seem to have understood even at the time that the document was not perfect.

Else why would they have allowed for a peaceful--if cumbersome--process for its alteration, viz, the amendment process? They even allowed for the convening of Constitutional Conventions, at which times the Constitution could be effectively rewritten.

The amendment process has allowed for the document to be changed peacefully twenty-seven times now. I think that’s a remarkable achievement.

Yes, I know that many people in this country regard the process as too slow and cumbersome, and that a mere twenty-seven modifications to this flawed document over a period of 236 years is far too few. But even the amendment process can be changed via the amendment process if We the People want to.

Yes, there is much fault to be found with the Constitution as written by the Framers. Yet, I think that their “wisdom [and] foresight” was a bit more profound than Justice Marshall gives them credit for.

Denis Neville said...

@ Kat - When you talk about Dr. King…You’ve got to talk about economic injustice…

iSlaves? Was Steve Jobs’ sainthood premature?

Foxconn workers talked out of suicide; Foxconn makes their workers sign a non-suicide pact. What will Apple think of this?

An Inside Look at Apple Supplier Foxconn
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,761934,00.html

William Black, “Apple has released a report on working conditions in its suppliers’ factories. It highlights a form of control fraud that criminology has identified but rarely discussed…Apple’s report shows that anti-employee control fraud is the norm.”

http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2012/01/anti-employee-control-fraud.html#more

“Anti-employee control frauds most commonly fall in four broad, but not mutually exclusive, categories – illegal work conditions due to violation of safety rules, violation of child labor laws, failure to pay employees’ wages and benefits, and frauds based on goods and loans provided by the employer to the employee that lock the employee into quasi-slavery.”

“Anti-employee control fraud creates real economic profits for the firm and can massively increase the controlling officers’ wealth. Honest firm normally cannot compete with anti-employee control frauds, so bad ethics drives good ethics out of the markets. Companies like Apple and its counterparts create this criminogenic environment by selecting least-cost – criminal – suppliers who offer components at prices that honest firms cannot match. Effectively, they hang out a sign – only the fraudulent need apply to be suppliers. But the sign is, of course, invisible and cannot be introduced in court so Apple and its peers also get deniability. They are shocked, shocked that its suppliers are frauds that cheat their employees and put them and the public’s health at risk in order to make a few extra yuan or dong for the senior officers.”

James F Traynor said...

What dismays me about the left and the Occupy! movement in general is this tendency towards kumbaya, 'love', 'morality' and all the rest of the squishy sentiment it elaborates. The Republicans love it almost as much as the racism they so adore; rolling their eyes at the gooey stuff gets them near as much of the white male vote as does the subliminal and not so subliminal racism in which they so joyously indulge. And why not? It works.

Bill Moyers is right, the left needs clout, a political party and proportional representation or the show is over and non violence won't change things once that happens. The Civil Rights movement had the federal government and the 1% reluctantly behind it because it did not require structural change, but only allowed the blacks to legally fit into the system. When King went beyond that it may have been the thing that got him killed. The 1% won't tolerate Occupy! for long.

John in Lafayette said...

Absolutely when you talk about Dr. King you must talk about economic justice:

"We must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring...

"I'm not talking about communism. What I'm talking about is far beyond communism... What I'm saying to you this morning is communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both."

Martin Luther King

DW said...

Great comments.... I am ambivalent at the deification of King..."What would King think today" etc etc.

So many heroes whose vision courage and importance was comparable.

No one says a word today about Bob Moses...without the Freedom Summer there would not have been a Civil RIghts Act. Fred Shuttlesworth held King's feet to the fire in the early days, when King was still more of a moderate. Bayard Rustin, the teachers at the Highlander School, where Rosa Parks and so many others took workshops in Non-violence.

And let us not forget Robert Williams.
"Negroes with Guns." !!!!!

Not to belittle or minimize King. But the world loves superstar heroes, at the expense of everyone else. More of the 1% philosophy.

Even though he was pretty poor at the NYT....Howell Raines' book,
"My Soul is Rested" is invaluable on the movement.

Instead of a statue of King in the style of Mao, how about a wall with
the names of every Black citizen who walked during the Birmingham boycott, of every college student white and Black, who risked (and gave) their lives during the Freedom Summer, The CORE sit in students....That would be something!!

DW said...

As a coda to comments, The great poem by Brecht:

Questions From a Worker Who Reads

Who built Thebes of the 7 gates ?
In the books you will read the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock ?

And Babylon, many times demolished,
Who raised it up so many times ?

In what houses of gold glittering Lima did its builders live ?
Where, the evening that the Great Wall of China was finished, did the masons go?

Great Rome is full of triumphal arches.
Who erected them ?

Over whom did the Caesars triumph ?
Had Byzantium, much praised in song, only palaces for its inhabitants ?

Even in fabled Atlantis, the night that the ocean engulfed it,
The drowning still cried out for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone ?

Caesar defeated the Gauls.
Did he not even have a cook with him ?

Philip of Spain wept when his armada went down.
Was he the only one to weep ?

Frederick the 2nd won the 7 Years War.
Who else won it ?

Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors ?

Every 10 years a great man.
Who paid the bill ?

So many reports.

So many questions.

Anne Lavoie said...

@Kat

I see parallels between Occupy and MLK's message. In both cases, the Powers That Be have decided to recognize them but declare their own version of the message so as to suppress anything that exposes or opposes them.

MLK = Service
Occupy = Income Inequality

While both may be true to a small extent, they are both a corporate whitewash!

It was MLK's opposition to war that threatened the corporate Military-Industrial Complex and enraged LBJ, not his civil rights activism. He was threatening to expose the fact that poverty and most of our ills stemmed from imperialism and violence perpetrated by our government against people around the world.

Apparently even some Blacks missed church that day at Riverside and bought the non-threatening version of the PTB.

Now it is the Occupy movement's threat of exposure of the corporate-government complex that has pushed the PTB to admit the existence of Occupy but to officially announce through the corporate media that the message of Occupy is 'Income Inequality' rather than the cause of that inequality: the corporate-government collusion to enrich the 1% here and abroad, including wars as corporate welfare and jobs program.

If we let Occupy become only about income inequality, we will do as much a disservice to Occupy as accepting the whitewashed corporate version of MLK's message being about service.

MLK died because of his message, and now they are trying to bury his message too. Let's not let them do the same thing to Occupy.