A year ago on Martin Luther King Day we had a good discussion about ‘Restoring Socialist Visionary Radical Martin Luther King’. This year the many activists involved in the anti-police brutality and murders of citizens, including #BlackLivesMatter and related affinity groups and hashtags, have spent the week Reclaiming King and his true radical legacy from the sanitized version that so many whites preferred. In many venues, all one is treated to is his ‘I have a dream’ speech; left out are his many condemnations of white America’s extreme militarism and capitalism, and the need for revolution against the injustice of ‘a privileged minority’, as well as a true revolution of values. Few know what a visionary prophet he was, even causing me to muse that he could almost make me believe in God.
The folks at the Ferguson National Response Network have an interactive page of actions across the US and Canada (Turtle Island, as the Indigenous name it), and while I may have posted a bit too heavily on the movement, this day seems an important one to honor; I’ll bring in a few favorite Tweeted quotes by MLK, and a few actions via Twitterpics and images. Enjoy.
They were up early in Oakland, having promised 96 hours of direct action, those beautiful souls!
A series of slides were projected onto Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s garage door
Jessica Denice @jessdenice Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. #MLKDay #MLKShutItDown
“If humanism is locked outside the system, Negroes will have revealed its inner core of despotism and a far grater struggle for liberation will unfold. The United States is substantially challenged to demonstrate that it can abolish not only the evils of racism but the scourge of poverty and the horrors of war….”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
zellie “I’m tired of marching for something that should have been mine at birth”. – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1967 #ReclaimMLK
deray mckesson Did the NAACP really say today that today is about MLK and not Mike Brown? Was that really necessary? Sigh. #ReclaimMLK
ShordeeDooWhop Mike Brown means?! WE GOT TO FIGHT BACK! #ReclaimMLK #Ferguson https://vine.co/v/Oj9eqPUYwXv
Bassem Masri @bassem_masri I’m broadcasting live about “#reclaimMLK March in #ferguson live stream ” at http://ustre.am/1hxt6
15 years.; 179 NYers killed by NYPD; 3 indictments; 1 conviction; 0 jail time.
Which reminds me, Oprah marched in Selma this morning. :)
Apologies, wendye. I have been trying and trying to log in over at fdl to recommend your post, and the machinery refuses to work for me there. So here – I recommend your diligence!
To reflect the call of your headline to reclaim MLK day, with such a dearth of good writing out there, I must really recommend Norman Pollack once again for his eloquence; and his having been at the original civil rights protests and on from there, that to me gave resonance to this article. I know you mightn’t have time to read it in full, so I will go back and post here – (I wanted to do it over at your ‘public’ site to perhaps engender further discussion on the thread – perhaps can do that tomorrow) – post here some excerpts from what I think are telling points, at least for me.
I would love to hear what anyone else thinks of this as it has been stewing for me inchoately, as per usual :)
Here’s the first Pollack quote:
“…The March on Washington was an historical watershed, a significant personal turning point for him. Out of that magnificently announced vision, “I have a dream,” two explicit directions, themselves later integrated into one, were articulated in still perhaps inchoate form: antipoverty, antiwar, the Poor People’s Campaign, opposition to the Vietnam War.”
Here is a second quote:
“…Presently, I believe, the civil rights movement is no longer the progressive historical vehicle that Dr. King envisioned. Why? Because it has isolated itself from the Great Issues that go beyond its own limited vision, specifically, the discussion and criticism of foreign policy, intervention, torture, war preparation. It has become putty in Obama’s hands, something Dr. King would never have permitted…”
And here a final one, though not the conclusion of the article:
“…For Dr. King, non-violence came to signify straight-out opposition to what in his time and now through the present is an international posture of world bully, itself always having detrimental effect on the social safety net, and hence the class system. For him, voting rights was not enough, non-violence (narrowly conceived), not enough, ah, anti-militarism, now we’re getting somewhere, but there still has to be more. As my myriad stock-market reports (kidding, of course) say, this page is left intentionally blank. It is for our generation to work out the answers—and certainly not for me to dictate or even suggest a paradigm for going forward…”
You see, perhaps, where I am going with this, and if I can I will transfer these quotations to the fdl diary – hopefully to enlarge the conversation there, as I am sure there will be many who disagree. It’s hard to ask hurting folk to enlarge their horizons, but Martin Luther King was doing that before he died, and we have to honor that vision, I believe. If nothing else, please do read Mr. Pollack’s conclusion. And if you can, read the entire article, not just wendye, who must be very tired from all her efforts, but anyone chancing on these pages.
NOT Here by chance; I proffer an alternative to absent mindfulness. Universal Human- kindfulness, instead and henceforth.
it was good to hear that pollack had picketed woolworth’s and all, wasn’t it? gives some life-long perspective to his writings on populism, for certain.
yes, a wider view of both mlk’s wider message, including his indictment of capitalism, as well as the global need for equality for the Rabble Class, not limited to people of color, but certainly most dramatically.
i’m not sure that all of those in this iteration of the civil rights movement reference the violence of militarism, both long and short view, but they certainly understand what might have happened had dr. king lived long enough to have held the march for poverty.
yes, he had to go, tragically. and so many who chose to rather cynically tae up his mantle were not the militants that the movement needed to advance toward lasting change. the old guard now (some of the aforementioned back in the day) decided to leverage themselves into the political limelight instead, even if that sounds cynical.
toward his point of the need for the movement to be global, it thrills/thrilled me to see the confederation of #3rdworldReclaimMLK (if i have that right; so many hashtags, and six months ago i didn’t know a hashtag from a banana, and i still loathe twitter. it really is helping spread the news and good movements, though…. may we save the internet; the house is talking about it today again. i wish i trusted obama to veto anything that doesn’t reclassify it all as a public utility or allows any two or three-tier preferential treatment for $$$.
that is indeed an inspirational and lovely sentiment, bruce.