April 4, 1968 is a very strong candidate for the most important day in U.S. history.
That day deprived the nation of a figure who, at the politically tender age of 39, was threatening to bring the country to the point of beginning to discuss social class as a problem needing redress; to do so in a way that made clear its centrality in the millions of lives that have been shattered by racism in this society; and to do so in a powerful democratic, indigenous, and multi-racial idiom.
“It didn’t cost the nation one penny to integrate lunch counters … but now we are dealing with issues that cannot be solved without the nation spending billions of dollars and undergoing a radical redistribution of economic power.” (MLK, February 1968)
You won’t learn any of this by surrendering yourself to the corporate media or the mainstream candibots, of course. There, the real MLK is anathema, despite the saccharine platitudinous advertising/speechifying they grudgingly trot out on days like today. The real purpose of such pitches is not just to cloak the overclass in the garb of “tolerance,” but also to distort and conceal the true message and dream in question. That dream was about actual, practical equality, not just verbal kindnesses. To date, there has been no greater threat to the scandalous, murderous, illegitimate, rampaging power of the rich in this, the engine and armada of corporate capitalism.
If you doubt this, take a look at these amazing, blatant red-baiting dismissals from CNN:
- Story Highlights
- Before his death, King had become radical, scholars and activists say
- The revolutionary “Poor People’s Campaign” alarmed King’s closest advisers
- Campaign aimed to withdraw funding for Vietnam War and abolish poverty
- King also angered his most important ally, President Lyndon Johnson