Monday, January 21, 2013
Honoring the Subversive Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
People of all political stripes seek to honor King or to claim him. Dr. King is honored in our nation largely for his role in the civil rights movement. There is no doubt that his prophetic ministry help lead to the advancement of civil rights for African-Americans, and that therefore, he is rightfully an icon for the African-American community.
Dr. Martin Luther King also spoke on behalf of workers, and against the Vietnam War. When he was assassinated, he was in Memphis supporting a garbage worker's strike. He gave a famous speech against the Vietnam War in 1967. Dr. King was subversive of the American Imperialist system. He prophetically denounced the oppression of people of color and the working class. He spoke against the imperial actions of the United States in South East Asia and elsewhere. He even on a few occasions referred to himself as a "democratic socialist."
So as we honor Dr. King, let us not domesticate him. Let us remember how radical his advocacy of African-American Civil rights really was at the time. Let us not take it for granted. His dream is still not fulfilled, even though an African-American resides in the White House. There is still systemic racism in our society.
Let us remember, at a time when unions are being busted and workers are losing wages, benefits and striking rights, that Dr. King was for economic justice, rights for workers, and unions. I believe Dr. King would have joined the protesters last year in Madison, and the Occupy movement.
Let us remember at a time, when we have engaged in two imperialist wars, and have had a policy of torture and indefinite internment, that Dr. King was against imperialist aggression and the Vietnam war.
Dr. King still speaks, his work is not done.
Read Martin Luther King Jr.s Speech on the Vietnam War here.