Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK Day 2014

For MLK Day, this is the famous Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam of 04/30/2014

The text is available from Pacifica Radio and UC Berkeley.

The fight against militarism contains. As does the fight for voting rights. Ben Mankiewicz reports for The Young Turks in The Fight For Voting Rights Continues 01/20/2014:

Joan Walsh writes about how important it is to get beyond the goody-two-shoes image of King that has become standard for the mainstream media in The radical MLK we need today Salon 01/20/2014:

King and [Nelson] Mandela had much in common, but one thing stands out this week: As they were lionized globally, both were deradicalized, pasteurized and homogenized, made safe for mass consumption. Each was in favor of a radical redistribution of global wealth. Each crusaded against poverty and inequality and war. Both did it with an equanimity and ebullience and capacity to forgive and love their enemies that made it easy to canonize them in a secular way. White people love being given the benefit of the doubt and/or being forgiven. I speak from experience. ...

King was always a radical, but at the end of his life, he was something of an outcast, criticized by liberals, the left and the right.

Forget about the right, for now: King crossed some Democrats and labor leaders when he turned against the Vietnam War in 1967, after his unparalleled Riverside Church speech. He knew the war was not only wrong, but was making Johnson’s alleged “War on Poverty” fiscally impossible. Meanwhile a growing black power movement mocked King’s commitment to nonviolence and integration. Even some close allies in the civil rights movement blanched when he joined Marion Wright Edelman and other organizers to start a Poor People's Campaign later that year – a movement of black, white, Latino, American Indian and Asian people mired in poverty, to fight the war and get the help they deserved. They were to march on Washington and set up a camp there in April 1968, the month King was assassinated.
Of course, to anyone reasonably in touch with reality, President Obama is anything but a radical. But Joan uses his recent rhetorical stress on income inequality to frame her point:

We are ready for the radical King now. President Obama, perhaps belatedly, has declared income inequality "the defining issue of our time." Even poverty seems back on the agenda. The man who may be doing the most to advance these issues right now isn’t a politician or a rabble rouser; it’s Pope Francis, who’s been hailed by everyone from Obama to Paul Ryan (Ryan gets him wrong) as helping us make the issue of poverty central to our politics. “If Dr. King were alive today, he would be in Rome visiting Pope Francis holding a joint press conference to summoning the world to aid the poor eradicate poverty,” Clarence Jones says. The president promises he’s going to the Vatican to meet the new pope, and that's a start.
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