Monday, January 16, 2012
One Man, Many Movements
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent. ~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
We move ahead, we fall back. We try to stand again.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s struggles in the 60's are ours today, and we should be mindful that progress is a long, hard slog that requires voices.
He spoke of the need for civil rights and equal opportunity in an era of Jim Crow. Today, we face political movements which would seek to reinstate barriers to voting, negating our most basic democratic right.
He spoke of economic justice in his Poor People's Campaign. Today, we are speaking of the 1% versus the 99%.
He encouraged peaceful and non-violent protests against the status quo. Today, we see the Occupy movements and rallies in Washington D.C.
He questioned the prosecution of the Vietnam War and saw that the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement were linked through views that opposed oppression of others and waste of economic resources on endless occupation in colonizing foreign lands. Today, we are trying to extract ourselves from wars overseas that have not advanced democracy here or abroad and have extracted an onerous economic toll at the expense of investing in our future.
He went to Memphis in April of 1968 to support striking sanitation workers. Today, we have Wisconsin and Ohio and Indiana seeking to break unions and invest corporations with more power in the political arena.
King's speech in Memphis on April 3rd, the night before he was assassinated, was prescient and moving and calls to us today. Voices call to us from the distance of history, urging us to return to the promises of what was written so long ago. We need to climb to the mountaintop again.