It is January, and in the U.S. this means it is time for the annual ritual of revisiting the white-washed, de-radicalized, pro- “American” M.L. King fairytale as part of the official celebration of King’s birthday. In the official story, Dr. King was not the creation of the movement that was fighting for the democratic and human rights of Black people. No, it was Dr. King who created the movement, according to the colonial white elite and the neocolonial Black misleadership. In this story, the objectives of the movement were not for radical social transformation and Black self-determination but the redemption of the U.S. settler-colonial nation/state and the quiet integration of Black people into the state. In other words, to complete the establishment of a “more perfect nation,” as Obama would put it.
The Trump regime will host NATO’s 70th anniversary celebrations in Washington on April 4, the day Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. “We see this as a grotesque desecration of the legacy of Dr. King, who opposed wars and militarism,” said Netfa Freemanof the Black Alliance for Peace, which will gather at the Plymouth Congregational Church, in Washington, on April 4 to say “No” to U.S. wars.
Gary L. Aguilar, MD, is a private practicing ophthalmologist in San Francisco, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California-San Francisco, and the vice chief of staff at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. One of the few physicians outside the federal government who has ever been allowed to review President Kennedy's still-restricted autopsy photographs and X-rays, Aguilar has delivered lectures on JFK's autopsy evidence before numerous medical and legal conferences.
As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service.Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.” Government sponsored service is cultural neo-liberalism at its finest, the promotion of individualism at the expense of a mass movement for radical institutional change.
By Matt Berman for National Journal. Martin Luther King Jr. was not just the safe-for-all-political-stripes civil-rights activist he is often portrayed as today. He was never just the "I Have a Dream" speech. He was an antiwar, anti-materialist activist whose views on American power would shock many of the same politicians who now scramble to sing his praises. The total spectrum of his beliefs may not be as easy as "let freedom ring," but the full MLK was much larger than the safe-for-everyone caricature that is often presented today. King's more radical worldview came out clearly in a speech to an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. "The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: 'A time comes when silence is betrayal,' " he began.
For the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder, The Washington Post last week overcame its tainted history of softball coverage and published a hard-hitting account quoting the King family’s disbelief in the guilt of convicted killer James Earl Ray. The bold, top-of-the-front-page treatment on April 2 of reporter Tom Jackman’s in-depth piece—“The Past Rediscovered: Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.?” — represents a major turning point in the treatment of the case for the past five decades by mainstream media. Print, broadcast and all too many film makers and academics have consistently soft-pedaled ballistic, eye-witness and other evidence that undermines the official story of King’s death. This time, the Post and Jackman, an experienced reporter, undertook bold but long overdue initiative.
The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day. In this brief celebratory moment of King’s life and death we should be highly suspicious of those who sing his praises yet refuse to pay the cost of embodying King’s strong indictment of the US empire, capitalism and racism in their own lives.
April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, King was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. American history rightly honors King as one of its most celebrated civil rights leaders. Growing up, I remember learning about his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. In school, my teachers always highlighted him as a peaceful, non-violent protester against segregation, and a preacher who promoted messages of love and justice for all. He was all those things. But that’s only one part of King’s legacy. King was actually very radical about his vision of change for America. He didn’t just criticize segregation — he recognized the need for deep, structural changes to our entire economic and political system.
Like so many, I remember precisely where I was and what I was doing when I learned of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Within hours of Dr. King’s assassination and while a participant at a presentation on the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and freedom movement options at Bryn Mawr College, near Philadelphia, every standard of social morality in the US had become ashes to me. A student then at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, I was founding president of the F&M Afro-American Students Society and a few months later, Black Arise, a Black Panther-inspired youth organization in Lancaster’s Black community.
Martin Luther King Day has become a yearly ritual to turn a black radical into a red-white-and-blue icon. It has become a day to celebrate ourselves for “overcoming” racism and “fulfilling” King’s dream. It is a day filled with old sound bites about little black children and little white children that, given the state of America, would enrage King. Most of our great social reformers, once they are dead, are kidnapped by the power elite and turned into harmless props of American glory. King, after all, was not only a socialist but fiercely opposed to American militarism and acutely aware, especially at the end of his life, that racial justice without economic justice was a farce. “King’s words have been appropriated by the people who rejected him in the 1960s,” said Professor James Cone, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York and who wrote the book “Martin & Malcolm & America.”
By Anton Woronczuk for the Real News. Well, Dr. King was involved in a whole range of activities in the five years that separated the March on Washington and his assassination. And yet these years have been excised. It's kind of like an assassination, a stealing of his life, a putting a cap on it, ending, somehow, in 1963, very conveniently. Dr. King was part of the changes of the '60s, but he was also changed by them, not necessarily changed in terms of his internal makeup, his worldview, but in terms of the range of topics that he as a Baptist minister thought that he could address. So everybody's familiar with the "I Have a Dream" speech. It's almost anodyne. But back in 1959--I'm going to read something to you that Dr. King wrote in a presentation. This is a dream that he had four years before his "I Have a Dream" speech.
By Richard Moser for Be Freedom - The scale of our problems are far too great. There is far too much at stake. The problems we face are dangerous, deeply embedded, institutionalized. There is no clever, cunning or purely tactical way of addressing them. Inside baseball and palace politics have failed. We are approaching a shift in the equation of risk. The dangers we face in making the big political changes are becoming less threatening than the dangers we face in continuing on the current course. Perhaps we are already there. Let’s consider the core issues of power and social control in the US today: The Corporate Power is vast wealth wedded to political control. And, it rules America.
By Ajamu Baraka for AjamuBaraka.com. In his speech at Riverside Church, King not only criticized U.S. actions in Vietnam but identified the cultural pathologies at the center of U.S. society. “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” he said. “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, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 50 years later, what rational person can honestly argue against the position that the U.S. is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet?