Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born today, January 15, 87 years ago. The Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s that he played a key role in radically transformed American society. The mass movement of the 1960s changed conditions for the masses of black people in the South by effectively struggling against and eventually eradicating restrictive, degrading, humiliating Jim Crow “laws” that were designed by KKK fascist politicians and officials in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to attempt to erase black humanity and maintain white social and economic supremacy over the black majority areas of the South. He suffered through countless beatings, death threats, firebombings, burning crosses on his lawn, and all kinds of other outrages and futile attempts to silence or intimidate him into submission, coming from the racist government and individual reactionary cliques, who weren’t and aren’t necessarily separate from each other. He took measures to defend himself and others, applying for a gun permit in 1956 which the fascistic police denied.
This didn’t deter him from exercising his right to self-preservation, of course.
A recipient of constant death threats, King had armed supporters take turns guarding his home and family. He had good reason to fear that the Klan in Alabama was targeting him for assassination.
William Worthy, a journalist who covered the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that once, during a visit to King’s parsonage, he went to sit down on an armchair in the living room and, to his surprise, almost sat on a loaded gun. Glenn Smiley, an adviser to King, described King’s home as “an arsenal.”
The real history of Dr. King is purposefully distorted and warped by the bourgeois educational system and government. It chooses to portray him as a “good American”, honoring him with the same honor extended to slaveowners, racists, and criminals such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, a memorial in Washington DC. This erasure of the revolutionary legacy of one of the oppressed black nation’s most well renowned and respected revolutionary figures is with the intent of pacifying the black masses and negating our revolutionary potential. Black revolutionaries such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, Diane Nash, Malcolm X, and W.E.B. DuBois can not be good Americans. Good Americans passively and uncaringly watch or, actively, willingly participate as their brothers and sisters across the globe are bombed, napalmed and shot in the interests of Yankee capitalism-imperialism. Good Americans sit back and watch and cheer as their brothers and sisters who have been driven away from their homes by Yankee capital-imperial policies are deported (under a black president) to be killed, incarcerated in outrageous and shameful conditions, deprived of their rights, and hounded endlessly by racist, xenophobic, fascistic demagogues like Donald Trump. Good Americans watch and cheer as the police kill and incarcerate oppressed nationalities en masse. Good Americans enjoy and support illegal and fundamentally unjustifiable wars, “regime changes”, and other campaigns of oppression and aggression against the people of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, Chile, Guatemala, Haiti, Laos, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, and countless other nations around the world. Martin Luther King was not a good American. The oppressed masses of color are not good Americans. If Martin Luther King was a good American, as we were taught in school, why would he have made this statement on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was killed by the “good American”?
In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seem to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U. S. military advisers in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.
It is with such activities in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. He said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
This is an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-chauvinist statement. Martin Luther King, tireless fighter for justice, righteousness, liberation, and self-determination of all oppressed peoples and all exploited peoples everywhere, was not capable of joining the good Americans, because he stood with the revolutionary people of the world, while America stands against the revolutionary people of the world by its very nature. America is a capitalist-imperialist country, which means that it can’t live without exploiting and oppressing the working peoples of the whole world, including those who live within its borders. We as revolutionary students and youth are also incapable of being good Americans, because we love Martin Luther King. We love Mike Brown. We love Sandra Bland. We love Leonard Peltier. We love Chelsea Manning. We love Rosa Parks. We love Huey Newton. We love Nelson Mandela. We love Malcolm X. We love and support the refugees. We love and support the political and economic prisoners. We love the exploited people of the whole world, and work for collective liberation. The good Americans call them terrorists, criminals, and deviants, and work for their oppression, suffering, and doom. The good Americans make refugees and subsequently classify them as “illegal”. The good Americans kill black, brown, queer, and homeless comrades. The good Americans love the jails and prisons, and want to build more. The good Americans love war. We are proud bad Americans.
STUDY AND UPHOLD THE ANTI-IMPERIALIST, ANTI-CAPITALIST LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR AND ALL FREEDOM FIGHTERS!
RESIST AND REBEL AGAINST ALL ATTEMPTS TO HIDE OR DESTROY HIS TRUE LEGACY!
STUDY HIS EXAMPLE AND BUILD THE ANTI-IMPERIALIST, ANTI-CAPITALIST, ANTI-OPPRESSION MOVEMENT!
DON’T BE A GOOD AMERICAN!