I’ve never believed that there is a giant conspiracy to subvert the news and history in this country. Conspiracies are done in secret, and the American mainstream media does it right out in the open. Behind the scenes are the major corporate funded think tanks—the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute and so forth, attacking any corporate “journalist” who goes off track and smearing them around the mediasphere. Mainstream media “journalists” soon learn the script, and follow it for their own job security.
The script on Martin Luther King is that he was a nice man who wanted the little black and white children to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Corporate media journalists do not stray from this into pointing out such facts as that he was anti-war, big time, because their owners, board members and advertisers are pro-war, all the time, that’s where the profits are for the investments of owners, board members and advertisers.
And to say that King supported the struggle of the working class would be suicide for any mainstream “journalist.” Nothing is more taboo in the corporate world than admitting that there is a working class, or that organizing labor is important to social justice. King wanted even public workers to be organized.
But as one who followed King in the day and held him up as one of my most important leaders, I have long tried to teach young people about the real King, and highly recommend the piece by Paul Street (Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/17/remembering-the-officially-deleted-dr-king/).
Once, years ago, I found myself at a celebration in honor of King on the day we celebrate his birth. A black teen was talking to peers and pronounced that King was an “Uncle Tom.” I was the only white person in a room of several hundred people, and an old black man came over and put his arm around me after I angrily raised my voice and said “They don’t put Uncle Toms in jail, or murder them.”
What King did may seem easy today, but then it was frightening the wrath that came down on one for merely sitting in a restaurant with a person of color and having coffee (I was once thrown out of a place for this in the early sixties and told to never come back). King was a greater hero than Washington or Lincoln, because he waged his war without the use of violence, a lesson we need to ensure our children learn. —Jack Balkwill
The piece from Paul Street reveals an MLK far removed from the wholesome image presented in the media today:
The official commemoration says nothing about the Dr. King who studied Marx sympathetically at a young age and who said in his last years that “if we are to achieve real equality, the United States will have to adopt a modified form of socialism” . It deletes the King who wrote that the “real issue to be faced” beyond superficial matter was “the radical reconstruction society of society itself.”
In his first talk (“Impasse in Race Relations”), King reflected on how little the black freedom struggle had actually attained beyond some fractional changes in the South. He deplored “the arresting of the limited forward progress” blacks and their allies had attained “by [a] white resistance [that] revealed the latent racism that was [still] deeply rooted in U.S. society.”
“As elation and expectations died,” King explained, “Negroes became more sharply aware that the goal of freedom was still distant and our immediate plight was substantially still an agony of deprivation. In the past decade, little has been done for Northern ghettoes. Al the legislation was to remedy Southern conditions – and even these were only partially improved” (p.6).
Worse than merely limited, the gains won by black Americans during what King considered the “first phase” of their freedom struggle (1955-1965) were dangerous in that they “brought whites a sense of completion” – a preposterous impression that the so-called “Negro problem” had been solved and that there was therefore no more basis or justification for further black activism. “When Negroes assertively moved on to ascend to the second rung of the ladder,” King noted, “a firm resistance from the white community developed….In some quarters it was a courteous rejection, in others it was a singing white backlash. In all quarters unmistakably it was outright resistance” (p.6).
Did the rioters disrespect the law, as their liberal and conservative critics alike charged? Yes, King said, but added that the rioters’ transgressions were “derivative crimes…born of the greater crimes of the…policy-makers of the white society,” who “created discrimination…created slums. [and] perpetuate unemployment, ignorance, and poverty….[T]he white man,” King elaborated, “does not abide by law in the ghetto. Day in and day out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provision of public services. The slums are a handiwork of a vicious system of the white society.” (p.8).
“The storm is rising against the privileged minority of the earth,” King added for good measure. “The storm will not abate until [there is a] just distribution of the fruits of the earth…” (p. 17). As this reference to the entire earth suggested, the “massive, active, nonviolent resistance to the evils of the modern system” (p. 48) that King advocated was “international in scope,” reflecting the fact that “the poor countries are poor primarily because [rich Western nations] have exploited them through political or economic colonialism. Americans in particular must help their nation repent of her modern economic imperialism” (p. 62).
Read the entire piece and see why MLK was deemed such a danger to the powers that be in Washington and on Wall Street. And celebrate the real Martin Luther King for what he really stood for…