The mainstream media and our political leaders rarely allow Martin Luther King, Jr.’s adamant stand against the Vietnam War into the national conversation. Last week a Pentagon official took this bastardization of King’s words to a new height by saying that King, a strident opponent of violence and of empire, would have been a supporter of current US war policy. (Here’s a link to the speech by the Pentagon’s General Counsel. Don’t read pages six and seven if you have a sensitive stomach.)Truthout is entirely correct about this. As one of our early contributors said in MLK Day: The Martin Luther King Cult
Also conveniently edited out of news coverage, textbooks and remembrance speeches is King’s passionate advocacy for workers’ rights and the poor. Perhaps most dangerous to the balance of power in the US, King took direct and unyielding opposition to the economic system which allows for unprecedented consolidation of power and wealth by plutocrats.
Independent voices must call out and condemn this kind of creepy, selective editing of King’s message and protect his words.
Happily, the managers of the Great Martin Luther King Scam have another problem to supplement the hostility of the extreme Right—the indignation of the radical Left.A Truthout celebration of MLK as a Leftist is here. A wiser analysis is here.
The Left’s position is that King was so a Marxist socialist (good) and enemy of the US Cold War effort (fine), whose womanizing merely proves his vitality (who cares—it’s private). A good statement of this view, with the added ingredient of black supremacism, is Michael Eric Dyson's remarkable 2000 biography I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.
These contributions are extremely valuable to the debate. Of course, the Left has better Big Media access than critics from the right. But, just as important, they have the facts: King was a man of the Left, an opponent of his country in its most threatened hour, a man whose personal lifestyle matched more closely that of the bohemian fringe than that of the country as a whole.
Michael Eric Dyson is quite justified in his angry protests that the over-publicized key passage of the Dream speech, about a color-blind society, in no way represented King's strategic objectives. He provides a valuable antidote to the opportunism of the neoconservative nomenclatura.
The simple fact is that our schools are terrorizing and intimidating our children with a set of assertions based on a lie. The objective is not, and is not intended to be, in the interests of what the authors of the Constitution described in their opening sentence as "ourselves and our posterity.”
Obviously it is absurd to worship a man who needs his FBI tapes banned from public view. (A brief insight.)
Perhaps our grandchildren will laugh at us in years to come—if the record is ever unsealed. More likely they will despise us.