After this weekend’s DC demonstrations and all the shallow talk of King I thought it would be good to hear again King in his own words. Every one of these speeches is worth listening to, several times. His force reaches out with every utterance and makes a lie of the ‘official’ King that allows a charlatan fat-fingered, gold-slogging wannabe Father Coughlin to dare lay his sticky hands on him. It goes entirely without saying that the only thing that Glenn Beck has in common with Martin Luther King is that Beck would have been picketed by King. I doubt very much, had he lived, if King would have been invited today to speak at his own commemorations, so dangerous would his words be considered. See this 2006 article by Paul Street for a refresher on who the real MLK was.
On October 2nd will be a march on Washington much more in the vein of King and the movement he was a part of. Whatever the demands of the march (some good, some not so good) this is an important demonstration, perhaps the most important of the present Administration, to build for. That the AFofL (how I miss you, CIO) is on board is important, but whether they will mobilize their membership is still an open question. I’ll be booking my bus ticket soon, you should as well. It is also an opportunity for the left to raise a profile, if we can organize large numbers of folks. The real left, such as it is, needs a massive intervention into the state of discussion in this country now. If the reactionaries are allowed to frame the debate and set the parameters of the political spectrum we’ve lost more than half the battle. Actually, if Glenn Beck can dare claim the mantle of MLK I think it’s pretty fair to say that we have lost half the battle already. We better get our asses in gear if we’re not to lose the whole thing.
Apologies for some of the editing of these videos; King’s legacy has been tightly controlled, which ironically leaves him open for everyone to remake in their own image.