Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Democratic Socialism

Zaid Jilani has an important piece at The Intercept today in which he highlights Martin Luther King, Jr.'s critiques of capitalism and militarism. As Jilani points out, this aspect of King's activism is often overlooked in celebrations of his life and legacy.

Following are two quotes by King highlighted in Jilani's article. I share them today at The Wild Reed to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems, it falls victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.
(in a 1952 letter to his wife, Coretta Scott King)

There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.
(in a 1966 comment to staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

Above: Martin Luther King Jr. is accompanied by, among others, renowned pediatrician Benjamin Spock, Father Frederick Reed, and union leader Cleveland Robinson during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in New York City on March 16, 1967. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Related Off-site Links:
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations Overlook His Critiques of Capitalism and Militarism – Zaid Jilani (The Intercept, January 18, 2016).
Martin Luther King Jr.: One of the Nation's Great Democratic Socialists – Peter Dreier (Common Dreams, January 18, 2016).
The Uncompromising Anti-Capitalism of Martin Luther King Jr. – Obery M. Hendricks, Jr. (HuffPost Religion, January 18, 2016).
Three Social Justice Issues MLK Fought For Outside of Racial Equality – Lilly Workneh (HuffPost Black Voices, January 18, 2016).
Black Lives Matter Would Like to See a Little More Help from Congressional Black Caucus – Tyler Tynes (HuffPost Black Voices, January 18, 2016).
Black Lives Matter Protesters Block San Francisco's Bay Bridge as Part of a Long Weekend of Protests Aimed at Reclaiming Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy of Radicalism – Julia Wong (The Guardian, January 18, 2016).
How the World is Proving Martin Luther King Right About Nonviolence – Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan (The Washington Post, January 18, 2016).
Martin Luther King’s Words Call LGBT Catholics and Allies to Action – Bob Shine (Bondings 2.0, January 18, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2016
"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
Quote of the Day – June 19, 2015
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
The Same Premise

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