Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK: the man, the legend.

On this great day, let us not forget exactly who MLK was. He was not what the mainstream media portrays him [1] to be and certainly not what the vast majority of people think he is [2]. This isn't exactly a conspiracy. If you're so inclined, simply read his speeches—especially his speeches from the later part of his life. My favorite one is "I've been to the Mountaintop". A haunting speech. [3] Or read his speech on the Vietnam War. Thus I'm glad that twitter has a #reclaimMLK hashtag to point out to all that MLK had a radical legacy [4].



So celebrate the day, but don't celebrate a Disneyland version that never existed. Also know that the main powers now who try to dress themselves in their version of MLK's legacy do so to cover their actions—actions that MLK would surely be denouncing. So when the authorities are tapping and using surveillance against Black Lives Matter, they do so after having done the same to MLK. It's the legacy of unchecked power. When the FBI and others use terms like "national security threat", remember that they thought MLK to be just that. So don't just swallow such claims without thinking. 

Enjoy the day, but try not to forget what it really means: unfinished business and a moment to think on the legacy that MLK would truly want. Go ahead, read those speeches. MLK was one of the greatest men of the 20th century. But don't let the mainstream narrative define your view of him. Read as much original source as you can.



[1] Now. The mainstream media then vilified him when they could, and now they try to use a revisionist view of him to pedal whatever middle of the road tripe they're going for. Note that when people try to bludgeon Black Lives Matters (as being too loud or not doing anything the right way, or not being charismatic enough) with MLK's legacy, they know what they're doing and they're trying to change history for their own benefit. Civil rights movements like Black Lives Matter are very important and before and during MLK's time there were many other such civil rights movements meant to disrupt and bring attention to an issue. Also, one must not forget MLK's radical views on war and America's economic system.

[2] Judging by the tripe comments on reddit and other places that disparage groups like Black Lives Matter, I find it easy to think of them as descendants who would have poo-pooed the diner sit-ins as rabble rousing (remember there are many in the South and around the country who still think that this was an overreach of government, that private businesses should be able to discriminate as they please).

[3] Very much so. Easy to see that the man knew he was going to be killed. All those death threats, he had to take something serious (combined with the establishment now turning against him once he spoke out against militarism and other matters). 

[4] Indeed, towards the end of his life, MLK came to see more of what Malcolm X was saying about the powers in America and its actions overseas.


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