2018-01-14

I Have a Dream

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Tributes to the figure of Marthin Luther King are multiplied today, but these tributes show only a small part his thought.

A caricature of Luther King is "honored" in certain media, a skewed, incomplete, sweetened vision that transforms him into a "pacifist" intellectual and "nonviolence" and limits him to that preaching, when his revolutionary and rebellious thought is much deeper and controversial.

Martin Luther King was the one who categorically defined the US government as "the ultimate agent of violence in the world today ... spending more on instruments of death and destruction than on social programs vital to the country's popular classes," and in 1967 condemned the "three devils" that characterized the American system of power: "racism, economic exploitation and militarism," noting that "the very forces that achieve enormous benefits through wars are responsible for the enormous poverty in our country".

A year before the day of his assassination, Martin Luther King gave a speech at Riverside Church in New York City, in which he announced his moral rejection of the Vietnam War: "We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools... ".

He was also deeply anti-capitalist, as he makes clear in one of his speeches: "Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That's the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system". His last speech, in support of the claims of workers on the sanitation services who were on strike, showed him critical and skeptical with his own previous sayings, even when he questions his famous phrase "I have a dream": "At least two years ago, I stood with many of you in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. When I reached the end of the speech, I tried to tell the Nation about a dream I had... I must confess this morning that since that stifling afternoon August 1963, my dream has often turned into a nightmare ... I've seen my dream shattered as I walk the streets of Chicago and I see blacks, young men and women, with a sense of complete hopelessness because they cannot find no work ... I have seen my dream shattered by going through Appalachia and seeing my white brothers and blacks living in poverty. " Finally, he concluded with a famous sentence: "The central struggle in the United States is the class struggle."

A few weeks later, he was murdered by the same system that King undertook to denounce from his role as spokesman for the rights of African-Americans. His crime remains unpunished, but it is clear today, with Trump in the government, that the preaching of Luther King was not the one that prevailed in his country, but that of those who shot him in a cowardly manner.

 

Taken from: @RevSudestada

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