Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s Impact & Influence  

“When ma­chines and com­put­ers, profit mo­tives and prop­erty rights are con­sid­ered more im­por­tant than peo­ple, the giant triplets of racism, ma­te­ri­al­ism, and mil­i­tarism are in­ca­pable of being con­quered.”  MLK –A Tes­ta­ment of Hope

(posthu­mously pub­lished essay).

     Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said prophetically in the last years of Martin Luther King’s life that “the whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King.”  This was at a time when King was speaking out forcefully not only against racism, but against the Vietnam war and organizing for a massive poor peoples’ march on Washington, D.C. for the summer of 1968.  King’s broadening vision was linking the civil rights movement with the growing anti-war movement into a movement for peace and economic justice.  He wanted to create a moral and political crisis on these issues which the country could no longer ignore and he was preparing to shut down the nation’s capitol, if necessary, through non-violent civil disobedience.   King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.  He never made it back to D.C. to fulfill his dream.

Cornel West has written a piece for the Aug. 26, 2011 NY Times entitled “Dr. King Weeps From His Grave.” (http://lists.readersupportednews.org/ss/link.php?M=65595&N=726&C=1c9f2589544923f06aca46ed458ebf8c&L=980)  West says: “The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.”  And I would add war, and more war, on behalf of the military/industrial complex, oil companies, and the financial titans of empire.

Martin Luther King was not about empire building.  He was all about justice and peace and deeply committed to the principles of non-violence.  He said, “non-violent resistance avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of the spirit.  The non-violent resister no only refuses to shoot an opponent but also refuses to hate him or her.  At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

Cornel West said “King’s response to our (present) crisis can be put in one word: revolution.  A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.”

West concludes by saying “In concrete terms, this means support for progressive politicians…; extensive community and media organizing; civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready…”  I say Amen to that.  The struggles for justice, peace, and the earth are one.

Have No Fear!  Be Coffin-Ready!

1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, etc.
5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Contact: Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
Phone (808) 966-7622.  Email ja@interpac.net   http://www.malu-aina.org
Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (Sept. 2, 2011 – 519th week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office