Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr.

The Liberal Contempt for Martin Luther King’s Final Year, by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Riverside speech exactly one year before his death was one of his best. It was a powerful statement against US militarism and the war in Vietnam. From Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon at antiwar.com:

The anniversary of his assassination always brings a flood of tributes to Martin Luther King Jr., and this Sunday will surely be no exception. But those tributes – including from countless organizations calling themselves progressive – are routinely evasive about the anti-militarist ideals that King passionately expressed during the final year of his life.

You could call it evasion by omission.

The standard liberal canon waxes fondly nostalgic about King’s “I have a dream” speech in 1963 and his efforts against racial segregation. But in memory lane, the Dr. King who lived his last year is persona non grata.

The pattern is positively Orwellian. King explicitly condemned what he called “the madness of militarism.” And by any reasonable standard, that madness can be diagnosed as pervading U.S. foreign policy in 2021. But today, almost all politicians and mainstream media commentators act as though King never said such things, or if he did then those observations have little to do with today.

But they have everything to do with the USA now in its twentieth year of continuous warfare. The Pentagon’s constant bombing in the Middle East and elsewhere is the scarcely noticed wallpaper in the US media’s echo chamber.

What compounds the madness of militarism in the present day is the silence that stretches eerily and lethally across almost the entire US political spectrum, including the bulk of progressive organizations doing excellent work to challenge economic injustice and institutionalized racism here at home.

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Chris Hedges: Cancel Culture, Where Liberalism Goes to Die

A liberal excoriates fellow liberals for cancel culture. From Chris Hedges at consortiumnews.com:

Elites and their courtiers who trumpet their moral superiority by damning and silencing those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech are the new Jacobins.

(Original art by Mr. Fish)

The Rev. Will Campbell was forced out of his position as director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in 1956 because of his calls for integration.  He escorted Black children through a hostile mob in 1957 to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School.  He was the only white person that was invited to be part of the group that founded Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  He helped integrate Nashville’s lunch counters and organize the Freedom Rides.  

But Campbell was also, despite a slew of death threats he received from white segregationists, an unofficial chaplain to the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.  He denounced and publicly fought the Klan’s racism, acts of terror and violence and marched with Black civil rights protestors in his native Mississippi, but he steadfastly refused to “cancel” white racists out of his life.  He refused to demonize them as less than human.  He insisted that this form of racism, while evil, was not as insidious as a capitalist system that perpetuated the economic misery and instability that pushed whites into the ranks of violent, racist organizations.  

“During the civil rights movement, when we were developing strategies, someone usually said, ‘Call Will Campbell. Check with Will,’” Rep. John Lewis wrote in the introduction to the new edition of Campbell’s memoir Brother to a Dragonfly, one of the most important books I read as a seminarian. “Will knew that the tragedy of Southern history had fallen on our opponents as well as our allies … on George Wallace and Bull Connor as well as Rosa Parks and Fred Shuttlesworth.  He saw that it had created the Ku Klux Klan as well as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. That insight led Will to see racial healing and equity, pursued through courage, love, and faith as the path to spiritual liberation for all.”

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This Way Lies Madness: The Summer of Hate Meets the Age of Intolerance, by John W. Whitehead

Don’t meet hate with hate. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Violence creates many more social problems than it solves…. If they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Marches, protests, boycotts, sit-ins: these are nonviolent tactics that work.

Looting, vandalism, the destruction of public property, intimidation tactics aimed at eliminating anything that might cause offense to the establishment: these tactics of mobs and bullies may work in the short term, but they will only give rise to greater injustices in the long term.

George Floyd’s death sparked the flame of outrage over racial injustice and police brutality, but political correctness is creating a raging inferno that threatens to engulf the nation.

In Boston, racial justice activists beheaded a statue of Christopher Columbus. Protesters in Richmond, Va., used ropes to topple that city’s Columbus statue, spray-painted it, set it on fire and tossed it into a lake. Columbus’ crimes against indigenous peoples throughout the Americas are well known.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, protesters tore down a statue of Francis Scott Key, who penned “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was also a slaveholding lawyer who tried to prosecute abolitionists vocally opposing slavery.

Activists who object to Yale University being named after its founder Elihu Yale, a slave trader, are lobbying to re-name the school.

Students at Harvard University want to re-name Mather House, one of the dorms named after Increase Mather, the college president from 1685 to 1692 and a slave owner.

Administrators at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, N.J.—named after the nation’s 28th president, who guided the nation through World War I while upholding segregation policies—are now looking for a new name.

In an apparent bid to be more culturally sensitive, Land O’ Lakes has removed from its packaging the image of a Native American princess that had been featured on its products for a hundred years.

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They Killed King for the Same Reason They Killed Kennedy, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The “They” in the title is a group of conspirators within the government and their outside confederates. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation, we shouldn’t forget that the U.S. national-security establishment — specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI — was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover of the United States.

This occurred during the Cold War, when Americans were made to believe that there was a gigantic international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world. The conspiracy, they said, was centered in Moscow, Russia — yes, that Russia!

That was, in fact, the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state type of governmental structure after the end of World War II. The argument was that a limited-government republic type of governmental structure, which was the nation’s founding governmental system, was insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists in what was being called a “Cold War,” it would be necessary for the federal government, they said, to become a national-security state so that it could wield the same type of sordid, dark-side, totalitarian-like practices that the communists themselves wielded and exercised.

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He Said That? 1/21/19

From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (15 January 1929 – 4 April 1968) was an American Baptist minister, doctor, civil rights activist, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1964, The Measures of Man (1959)

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

He Said That? 8/28/17

From Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement:

On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?

There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.