50 Years in the Making, We Must Again Confront and Reject U.S. Warmongering

Source:  Black Alliance for Peace (BAP)

ajama baraka.jpg

The need to break the silence

50 years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King reconnected with the radical black tradition by adding his voice of opposition to the murderous U.S. war machine unleashed on the people of Vietnam. For Dr. King, his silence on the war in Vietnam had become an irreconcilable moral contradiction. He declared that it was hypocritical for him to proclaim the superior value of non-violence as a life principle in the U.S. and remain silent as the U.S. government engaged in genocidal violence against a people whose only crime was to believe that they could escape the clutches of French and then U.S. colonialism.

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems,” Dr. King said. “I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, ‘What about Vietnam?’ They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”

In his speech at Riverside Church, King not only criticized U.S. actions in Vietnam but identified the cultural pathologies at the center of U.S. society. “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” he said. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

50 years later, what rational person can honestly argue against the position that the U.S. is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet?

A militant anti-war and anti-imperialist movement

 But what existed in 1967 that helped put moral and political pressure on King was a militant anti-war and anti-imperialist movement; a movement that in many respects was born out of the black-led pro-democracy and social justice struggles and organizing in the South. Many of the young white activists who took up opposition to the war and built such organizations as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) cut their activist teeth while working with black activists in the South. From the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) to the Northern-based Black Panther party, the cutting edge of the Black liberation movement took an early and resolute oppositional stance against the war on Vietnam.

After almost three decades of pro-war conditioning by both corporate parties and the corporate media coupled with cultural desensitization from almost two decades of unrelenting war, opposition to militarism and war is negligible among the general population. The black public has not been immune to these cultural and political changes. And with the ascendancy of the corporatist President Barack Obama, during whose tenure the U.S. continued its militaristic bent unabated and in fact ratcheted up its aggressive posturing in some parts of the globe, particularly in the Middle East, there was a decidedly rightward shift in the consciousness of the black public and a significantly dampened anti-war sentiment among black people.

Politically the result has been disastrous for the society and for the U.S. anti-war movement. The bi-partisan warmongering over the last two decades has met very little opposition, and the traditional anti-war stance of the black population has almost disappeared.

Opposition growing among young people

But once again we are seeing opposition to militarism, violence and war developing among young people. And once again we are seeing young black voices making the connections between opposition to domestic state violence and the moral necessity to be in opposition to the U.S. war machine reflected in the policy statements from the Movement for Black Lives, BYP 100 and the Black Lives Matter network. Those positions are supported by the Black Left Unity Network, the Black is Back Coalition and other black formations. What is needed at this historical moment is for those forces to be galvanized and given more strategic focus.

What is needed is a Black Alliance for Peace (BAP).

The BAP must be a people(s)-centered human rights project against War, Repression, and imperialism that seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. So, on April 4, we are calling for a new alliance to help revive the black anti-war and peace movement in the black community as an essential component of a revived broader anti-war and pro-peace movement. Moreover, this new movement is even clearer on the connection between state violence and repression and the global war-mongering of the U.S. The pivot to Asia, the rotating of NATO troops on the borders of Russia, the destabilization of the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), continued support for apartheid Israel, police executions and impunity in the U.S. and mass incarceration are all understood to be part of one oppressive, desperate structure of global white supremacy.

Dr. King also called upon the nation to understand the link between the unfulfilled economic needs of the majority of the population ground down by the ravages of an unforgiving racialized capitalism and the ruling class commitment to direct public funds toward militarism. His call for a poor people’s campaign was the human rights foundation of his anti-war position.

Militarism has a direct impact on working people and the poor. Even Republican president Dwight Eisenhower understood this when he issued what in today’s right-wing U.S. culture would read as a radical statement:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

There must be an alternative to the neoliberalism of the Democrats and the nationalist-populism of Trump. We need an independent movement to address both the economic needs of poor and working people and the escalating attacks on the Black community, immigrants, women, unions, the LGBTQ community, refugees, Muslims, the physically and mentally challenged, youth, students, the elderly, Mother Earth – all of us. We need a new movement to end the wars on black people and people around the world. The BAP is a significant step toward helping to revive the anti-war, anti-imperialist and anti-state-repression movement in the U.S. Let us on this 50th anniversary re-dedicate ourselves to building a movement for social justice that rejects the de-humanizing effects of war on everyone.

Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace

The Government that Honors MLK with a National Holiday Killed Him

Source:  Information Clearing House
January 16 2017

A Review of The Plot to Kill King by William Pepper
By Edward Curtin

Our thoughts are with MLK Jr. Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 2016. This article was first published by GR on November 28, 2016

martin luther king.jpgVery few Americans are aware of the truth behind the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Few books have been written about it, unlike other significant assassinations, especially JFK’s. For almost fifty years there has been a media blackout supported by government deception to hide the truth.

And few people, in a massive act of self-deception, have chosen to question the absurd official explanation, choosing, rather, to embrace a mythic fabrication intended to sugarcoat the bitter fruit that has resulted from the murder of the one man capable of leading a mass movement for revolutionary change in the United States.  Today we are eating the fruit of our denial.

In order to comprehend the significance of this extraordinary book, it is first necessary to dispel a widely accepted falsehood about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. William Pepper does that on the first page.

Much more than a civil rights leader

To understand his death, it is essential to realize that although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that.  A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for the long-overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.

In other words, Martin Luther King was a transmitter of a non-violent spiritual and political energy so plenipotent that his very existence was a threat to an established order based on violence, racism, and economic exploitation.  He was a very dangerous man.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society.  If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off.  Forty-eight years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression , and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects.  And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and urging Americans to make it “a day of service.”  Needless to say, such service does not include non-violent war resistance or protesting a decadent system of economic injustice.

Read full article here:  The Government that Honors MLK with a National Holiday Killed Him

MLK: The Madness of US Militarism – “On the Side of the Wealthy, Creating a Hell for the Poor”

by Dr. Martin Luther King

Pondering the Madness of Vietnam

Americans are Strange Liberators

mlk 6“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 re-conquest 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. Continue reading

MLK: US Approaching Spiritual Doom – What Peace-Lovers Must Do

Seven quotations from Martin Luther King

MLK with the peopleWhat peace-lovers must do

Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

Spiritual doom

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

The greatest purveyor of violence Continue reading

Alice Walker: Trayvon Martin, one more among so many black men killed in my lifetime

alice walker 2Source:  theguardian

I deliberately watched none of the Zimmerman trial, just as I have deliberately not read a draft of a new book by Jen Marlowe and others, soon to be published: I Am Troy Davis, about a young black man in Georgia who was, by all indications, innocent of any crime – but was put to death recently by the state. News of these deaths, of Troy, of Trayvon, is so painful that I protect myself in this way.

So many killings of black men in my lifetime. The physical shock is astounding.

I write this, remembering that when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in 1968, the shock to my system was so severe I lost the child I was carrying. This shock, this assault on the psyche and body, is what is intended.

Read more at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/16/trayvon-martin-black-men-killed

See also:  http://alicewalkersgarden.com/2013/07/thoughts-on-our-sorrow-trayvon-martin-and-troy-davis/

“Let’s Keep the Dream Alive” Is A Pastors’ Message to Cuba

Source: Presna Latina

Mexico, Jul 17

pastors for peace in mexicoWearing T-shirts with images of U.S. Reverend Martin Luther King and teacher Jose Marti, the members of the Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan will arrive in Cuba today. “Let’s keep the dream alive” is the emblem that takes us this time to Cuba, the Buddhist church pastor and president of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace, Thomas Smith, told Prensa Latina.

The caravan arrived in Mexico yesterday, heading for Cuba, divided into two groups on Wednesday and Thursday, with the usual solidarity aid towards that people, but especially with the moral support of those who defend their cause in the United States.

Read more at: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1679611&Itemid=1

50th Anniversary of MLK’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

MLK leaving prisonWhile confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely Continue reading