Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Timeliness and Relevance of Dr. King’s Anti- War Stance

The Timeliness and Relevance of Dr. King’s Anti- War Stance

“They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.
Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.” Martin Luther King Jr April 4, 1967

One year to the date before he was assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. Delivered a powerful speech in New York City at the Riverside Church. In it King outlined why he had chosen to speak out against the escalating war in Vietnam. He cited his calling as a preacher, he addressed the fact he was a Nobel peace Prize recipient, he noted the connection between the anti-war movement and the human rights struggle, he talked about the hypocrisy of sending the poor overseas to fight a war to guarantee rights and privileges they hadn’t experienced or enjoyed at home and at one point he declared he was speaking out to save the soul of AmeriKKKa. he said, “If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.” King understood the moral implications of AmeriKKKa's imperialist war in Southeast Asia. In his mind AmeriKKKa's imperial over reach of 1967 was sapping AmeriKKKa of what little moral vitality it had left. Little did King realize how right and on point he was! The ruling elites felt gravely threatened by King's bold and courageous stance against the war and his initiatives to address the glaring inequities in income, wealth and privilege in AmeriKKKa, so they targeted him for assassination.
If you lived through that era as I did, and you listen to Martin Luther King Jr’s Beyond Vietnam Time To Break Silence speech as I have and if you are keenly aware of what is going on now in Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia and post 9-11 AmeriKKKa; and you listen to some of the music of mid ‘60's to early ‘70's era like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?, Sam Cooke’s Change Is Gonna Come, Cutis Mayfield’s People Get Ready, Bill Wither’s I Can’t Right Left Handed or Gil Scott Heron’s Winter In America as I have recently, you get the sickening feeling this is deja vu all over again! The lyrics of those songs bring back memories of resistance and dissent against the AmeriKKKan imperialist war in Vietnam and the AmeriKKKan fascist police state with its COINTELPRO, Operation Chaos, Richard Nixon’s enemies list and draconian King Alfred Plan! Things are equally as bad if not worse today. Back then communism was the bogeyman of choice, today it is amorphous terrorists under every bed that Bu$h and Co. are using to scare and dupe the masses into accepting his dictatorial powers! Today as then, we have an unpopular war based on lies, cooked CIA intelligence that is escalating out of control as it drains and ruins the nation’s treasury and demoralizes us as we sink deeper into the abys of immorality, fascism and criminality.
I suggest you Google the Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech, reread it or listen to it. Then ask yourself if you substituted the worlds and socio-political rhetoric about Iraq for King's verbiage about the socio-political realities of the Vietnam era, wouldn't that speech be as relevant for today as it was in 1967? The sad reality for me and for most of you the answer would have to be a resounding yes! Alas, AmeriKKKa is just as ruthless and bloodthirsty in 2006 as it was in 1967. The AmeriKKKan executive branch is just as morally bankrupt today as it was in 1967! One major difference is that in 1967 there was a vocal, vigorous, energized and large scale anti-war movement flourishing despite the illegal activities of the FBI’s COINTELPRO and the CIA’s Operation Chaos that spied upon them, illegally opened people’s mail, falsely arrested, railroaded and framed people, abused their legal rights and even assassinated them because they refused to go along with the war agenda of the Johnson and Nixon administrations. The ruling elites learned a lesson from thatera and adopted an all volunteer army which did away withthe draft so their imperialist wars and follies around the world lessen the direct impact on families today. Nevertheless, George W Bu$h and his NeoCon fascists have resurrected the illegal anti-dissent policies of Johnson and Nixon and plan to use Samuel Alito and similar ideologues on the US Supreme Court to justify the destruction of civil liberties and procedural rights and make it legal. Remember everything Adolph Hitler did following the Reichstag fire and passage of the Enabling Acts in Nazi Germany was legal; even the concentration camps and murders merely because Hilter said so and the German people acquiesced to his usurpation of power. White AmeriKKKans have acquiesced to Bu$h’s aggressive and illegal abrogation of constitutional powers. Bu$h is hoping Alito and the rest of his sycophants on the Supreme Court will make everything he and his fascist cohorts are doing legal. Just as previous Supreme Courts did nothing to stop the extermination of the Native Americans nor the enslavement, oppression, degradation of Africans prior to the NAACP legal challenges to AmeriKKKan racial apartheid in the 1940's and ‘50's Bu$h and Co will get a free ride to dictatorship! It took a Henry David Thoreau to challenge the US government’s involvement in slavery in the mid 1800's. It took a man like John Brown to take up arms to destroy the evil institution of slavery and it took Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr to galvanize black people to directly confront racial cast in Montgomery Alabama in the 1950's. Martin Luther King said in effect, to remain silent in the face of great evil was a betrayal of humanity. Where are the Henry David Thoreau , Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr of this generation? Are there any people willing to break the silence and stand up for what is right?

-30-

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