2007 - 2022

Somewhere I read …

Martin Luther King’s murder 50 years ago in Memphis represented an irreparable loss to all of humanity. This is a very short extract from speech (and a rare piece of actual footage rather than audio) but you should listen to it.

Comments (8)

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  1. Jo says:

    It is depressing to think of him being cut down in such a manner. What’s even worse is that little progress has been made. The world is full of hatred more than ever.

  2. SleepingDog says:

    King is able to use the the bill of rights in the written constitution of the USA like key passages from a religious text which quote the word of god, with the added power that judges will have sworn to uphold the Constitution in their oath of office, and in passing legal judgements which clearly contravene the superior Constitution are guilty of, at least, hypocrisy, and have no excuse of a totalitarian system.

    With the shadow of death upon him, he makes a bold plea for people to fix their sight upon what is eternally good, his vision triumphing over the pettiness of many of his opponents.

    Having lately turned to publicly question Capitalism, I wonder how far his soul-searching would have taken him had he lived. After all, the Rights he mentions come from a Republic, not from his religion, and the strain of melding a coherent national vision that could be shared by an angry younger generation would be almost unimaginable to me.

    At the weekend I listened to his Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam speech. There are some powerful passages there, and although perhaps his oratory is a little churchy for many modern tastes, he seems a more honest speaker than practically any politician I have heard.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald. says:

      While Dr King’s initial motivation was about rights for black people he had actually moved quite substantially towards redistribution of wealth and power to all people, irrespective of their colour or creed or gender. His increasing opposition to the war in Vietnam was a move beyond the race equality issue – although it had a strong race element, given the death rate amongst black American soldiers. The Vietnam War eventually destroyed President Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ programme, which was significantly redistributive of wealth and power. Both he and King were aware of this. The pressures of a war which Johnson knew was based on a lie and was unwinnable, yet, because of the strength of the ‘military-industrial complex’ and the financial muscle of the shadowy figures behind Nixon, Ford, Reagan, both Bushes and Trump and, arguably, Mrs Clinton, he knew he had to continue to pursue the War. He hoped that because of his remarkable political skills in deal making that he could keep his social programme on track and felt betrayed by Dr King’s forthright opposition to the War. The emotional pressures on both men (and many around them was immense) and proved eventually to be beyond them.

      What Dr King demonstrated was the immense power of good oratory which people recognise is based on sincere beliefs, which, in turn, are founded on a rigorous analysis of society and economics. He also showed, like Gandhi and others that if enough people are prepared to challenge ‘laws’ which are created to justify the power of a clique, then these ‘laws’ will be seen to be the shams that they are.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Alasdair Macdonald, yes, and I think that some of the strain behind King’s convictions was due to the tension between revelation and discovery: one given from the bible, the other learnt from his personal journey, the people he met and the movement(s) he was immersed in. The former fixed, though reinterpretable; the latter developing over time, although possibly informed by constant values.

        These tensions can be progressive, also destructive. My impression is that the civil rights movement in the USA needed the tension between King and the militant wings to keep each looking outward and responding to criticism with improved clarity and strategy. The enemies of the civil rights movement would have been looking for those tensions to result in mutual destruction between its dissenting voices, and I guess King was skilful enough (or large enough of soul) to stave that off.

  3. allan thomson says:

    “We ain’t gonna let any injunction turn us around”
    What an excellent comparator for the Ian Murrays of this world who by their own professed standards would have condemned this great man for that utterance.

    1. Iain McIntosh says:

      One of my favourites is:

      “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

      I can’t better your summation of the Ian Murrays of this world.

  4. Dougie Blackwood says:

    A delight to listen to this again. When we listen to our professional politicians we know they speak with forked tongue. We get pre-prepared spin that glosses over the true intention behind what is being said. This man spoke truth that shone through in every word.

    1. Jo says:

      “they speak with forked tongue”

      Like much of the media. Especially the state-funded BBC which, incredibly, has still said little or nothing about the admission by Porton Down’s chief that his facility did not state that the substance involved in the Salisbury incident came from Russia. The people who made that statement were the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary.

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