50 Years Later We Still Must Reject US Wars

MLK giving Beyond Vietnam speech

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?

Heed King’s Words On A ‘Revolution Of Values’

Joel Suárez and Berta Zúñiga Cáceres at the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Havana. (Photo: Beverly Bell)

By Nancy Price for The Davis Enterprise – Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” of August 1963, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, is the most widely known of his speeches, and is remembered every year on his birthday, Jan. 15. But King’s most revolutionary speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” was given on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City, a year before he died. It seems relevant today as it marked his movement from civil rights to a critique of unbridled capitalism and war. Bear in mind that King spoke at the time of the Vietnam war and the threat of Chinese communism spreading into Southeast Asia. Most broadly, he questioned a foreign policy based on interventions overseas, repression of war critics, and of colonialism and imperialism driven by resource extraction in other countries. As he declared: “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.” He called for a “revolution of values,” a shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society.

Media Silence After Water Protectors And Police Clash On MLK Day

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By Alexandra Jacobo for Nation of Change – The National Guard and Morton County Sheriff’s Department violently clashed with protesters on a day we are supposed to remember a man who dedicated his life to non-violence. On Martin Luther King day this past Monday, officials fired less-than-lethal projectiles and pepper spray at water protectors and arrested three for trespassing. 200 people marched on the Dakota Access Pipeline horizontal drill pad. According to the Morton County Sheriff Department, the three individuals (who have not yet been named) that were arrested are charged with criminal trespassing onto private property, inciting a riot and resisting arrest.

Handcuffed For MLK Quotes @ MLK Memorial On MLK Day


By Matt Orfalea for Medium – Memorial visitors were enjoying my banners until I was approached by 5 police officers threatening to arrest me if I did not move the banners. My partner and I were confused why a wreath on stands was allowed to stay but not banners displaying MLK’s own words. They refused to explain that and when I did not remove the banners as they told me, they handcuffed me, searched me for weapons, and removed the banners from the memorial. Thankfully, they later decided not to arrest me. But I’m still confused: Why is a wreath on stands allowed to honor MLK on his day but not a banner with his own words?

On Martin Luther King Day: Revolutionary Love In An Era Of Trump

Joel Suárez and Berta Zúñiga Cáceres at the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Havana. (Photo: Beverly Bell)

By Beverly Bell for Truth Out – In the toxic political environment of the US, love is an act of protest. At least, that is what Dr. Martin Luther King, whose 88th birthday we celebrate Monday, said in many ways. As just one example, he wrote in his book Strength to Love, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” But today, with such dangerous and violent power at play, is love a priority? Should it, or even can it be a fundament of our organizing and mobilization, especially amongst the sectors suffering the rampant attacks and threats?

What Can We Learn from MLK About US Elections

From media.npr.org. King and Spock marching together

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.

The Forgotten, Radical Martin Luther King Jr.

In Chicago in 1967, Martin Luther King delivers a speech calling for an end to fighting in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity)

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.

Unanimous Jury In 1999 Civil Trial Found Gov Assassinated Dr. King

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By Kirsten West Savali for Newsome – Though the United States government has wrapped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy in the American flag, waving his words to symbolize racial harmony and patriotic solidarity even as institutionalized White supremacy remains embedded in policies detrimental to the very Black community he tirelessly strived to uplift, very little is spoken of the fact that a Memphis jury found the United States government guilty of conspiring to assassinate Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968.

Creating Truth & Transformation Drawing On MLK + 50

MLK painting

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow for the Shalom Center. The election brought an unexpected outpouring of the “Old American left-outs” – blue-collar white men and women –– into a moment’s triumph. We have already seen a first response from the “New American left-outs” in the spontaneous demonstrations that erupted all over America within 24 hoursof the election, and in many commitments to resistance and opposition that have arisen since. We need to crystallize this outburst into a broadly embracing movement of movements that can pursue acts of nonviolent, loving, assertive, and empowering creativity. Acts that reach across the present barricades to make sense to both the “Old” and “New” Americas, to nurture the seeds of a new society and to challenge institutions that are domineering and destructive.

When King Came Up Against Chicago Racism


By Staff of Socialist Worker – Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference took on a new challenge: expose and overcome racial discrimination in Chicago. Here, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, explains the backdrop to this new struggle of the civil rights movement and tells the story of a challenge to institutional racism in 1960s America’s second-largest city. THE MAIN goals of the Southern civil rights movement included ending Jim Crow and securing the right of African Americans to vote across the South.

Edward Snowden Invokes Martin Luther King To Defend Whistleblowing

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By Melissa Chan for Time – Edward Snowden on Thursday invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent civil disobedience to condemn the U.S. for how it treats whistleblowers, warning that others may not stand up for alleged wrongdoing if they fear punishment. The former National Security Agency contractor, who in 2013 revealed a trove of classified secrets on the intelligence agency’s surveillance programs, defended his leaks as an act of “public service” while virtually addressing a crowd at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

Black Lives Matter Commandeers Denver’s MLK Day Marade

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By Laura Bond for The Colorado Independent – Roughly 2,000 demonstrators took control of Denver’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march, turning what they say has become a corporate event into a day of protest against police violence. The activists decried Mayor Michael Hancock for failing to hold accountable the sheriff’s deputies who in November restrained black, homeless street preacher Michael Lee Marshall into unconsciousness. Nine days later he died. His death was ruled a homicide by the city coroner.

For Black Lives Matter, MLK’s Kind Of Activism Isn’t Only Way

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By Harry Bruinius for The Christian Science Monitor – NEW YORK — In years past, the civil rights mantle of Martin Luther King Jr. was taken up by other charismatic leaders, political figureheads such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton – each a skilled orator with roots in the black church, which in many ways is still the center of community life and politics for black Americans. But as the country remembers Dr. King on Monday, a new generation of activists is doing things differently. Many within the Black Lives Matter movement are uncomfortable with venerating any “great man” of the past, and they reject the idea that any dynamic figurehead should embody their struggle today.

Movement Reclaims MLK Legacy

From http://mlkcoalitionofgreaterlosangeles.com/

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend there was a call by #BlackLivesMatter to #ReclaimMLK. Events were held all over the country responding to the call and the radical Martin Luther King, jr was brought to people’s hearts; not only the King who expressed his dream on racism, but the King who questioned the unfairness in the US capitalist economy and the long history of a foreign policy dominated by militarism. At the end of his life not only was he speaking clearly on these issues but he was organizing around poverty, planning a Poor People’s March to Washington, DC. This march continued after his death and Resurrection City, an earlier occupation of the city, that focused on poverty and economic issues. The election year of 2016 is an opportunity to push forward a Black Agenda, not by supporting any particular candidate but by pushing all candidates. We must push to make up for the disinvestment and racially unfair treatment of black communities.

MLK’s Hate Mail Eerily Resembles Criticism Of Black Lives Matter Movement

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By David Matthews for Fusion – In the last year or so, as the Black Lives Matter movement has taken off, the cause has been criticized by (mostly) white people asking, “Yeah, but what about this?” It turns out that this argument has been in style for at least half a century. Indeed, this type of discourse is nothing new, as we can see when we examine the hate mail that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receivedduring the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It’s overwhelming how the fear of the status quo being changed has been something white America can’t stop thinking about–and loudly announcing how it’s a problem–for so long now.