This January 17th in the United States and everywhere we should all honor Martin Luther King Jr for not just his words, but they were great, but for his actions, including his stand against the Vietnam War and so much else of US Government policy in those crucial days in 1967 and later as well as his leadership of US blacks in their struggle for justice in their country and justice for all in this country on a whole range of issues.
As he put it so well “all life is interrelated. What affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Either we will “all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together like fools.” As we move to honor this great US citizen and most of all great human being, let us heed his sage words that “we must” internationalize the struggle for justice with movements for non violent, civil disobedience to meet the challenges we all face in this world which as he said it in his time “is sick with war” by moving together as we must with “loyalties which transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation. . .” to “develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world.” We in the USA must move to get on ‘the right side of world revolution” as Dr King put it if we are going to survive and do well and better with the rest of the human race. Everyone “is somebody” as Dr King said and if we truly believe in that and in the sanctity of human life, we “won’t exploit people, we won’t trample over them with the iron feet of oppression, and we won’t kill anybody.” The “Christmas hope of peace on earth and goodwill to all” “can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian” as Dr King explained. We can honor Dr King best by living out the truth of his sage advice that we struggle to end injustice everywhere as “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” just as Dr King told us. To do this we will need to continue with “an international coalition of socially aware forces operating outside governmental frameworks.” to bring justice, peace, and dignity to every corner of this planet.
As we do this we will be moving toward provided this country with a peace dividend which absolutely would be a good idea toward reordering the USA’s priorities to cutting Pentagon spending going for killing and maiming people abroad and dominating them and instead putting much more into health care, education, the environment, and so much that this country and other countries need. In providing help to under developed countries made poor by the West we will tend to be part of movements and efforts otherwise often outside “governmental frameworks” putting pressure on Western governments to do this. This won’t be easy but so many of such efforts before history haven’t in the least been. But if we aren’t to go the way of the dinosaurs, then this is the way to go for us in the West. and we will have collaboration from those in the third world such as ALBA (The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) which Venezuela is currently leading and which Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador are currently members of. Some in the European Union often outside of governmental frameworks will also be collaborating in such efforts. likewise in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand folks will often be operating outside such “governmental frameworks” as Dr King advocated. Some governments especially those in ALBA will be supportive, but regardless all can make a contribution to the struggle for a better world.
Let us then brace ourselves to these tasks for making for ourselves a better world by this international struggle by “socially aware forces” pressing governments, regional organizations and yes the United Nations to act for all for the good of all.
For too long and surely since the Second World War as Dr King pointed out in his speech opposing the Vietnam War and other morally bankrupt US Government policies the USA and the rest of the West have been on “wrong side of” the events of upheaval of the downtrodden rising up against cruel “systems of exploitation and oppression.” as we economically and sometime politically as well as militarily exploited the Third World and in the US case specifically aligning ourselves with the “landed gentry of Latin America.” and against those seeking only justice and decency for themselves. But as Dr King said at the time “Vietnam” and he would surely say today that “Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and wherever else the US war machine is killing people in huge numbers for the over pampered and all too wealthy power elites in the USA and the rest of the West are just “symptoms” of the problem. The crux of the matter is our being on the wrong side of this “world revolution” now going on as it was then. To get beyond this we “must move to a radical revolution of values” which provide us with the vision to see what we are doing with policies in the Third World isn’t “just.” We will have to recognize this to come to grips with and move toward alleviating the overwhelming suffering and misery we are causing in the Third World. The responsibility for stopping this “military madness” and all that goes along with it is ours in the West.
If we can move to such a transformation and toward Dr King’s vision of all “beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks,” and the “lion lying down with the lamb,” we can have a better world where we all see each person as “somebody” due respect, dignity, compassion, and a level playing field for all and all power going to all the people. We will then see and live the truth of Dr King’s words that “we are all caught up in a network of mutuality tied into a single garment of destiny.”
The struggle will be long, but the “arc of moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice” as Dr King put it so well. For as Dr King quoted Carlyle “No lie can live forever,” and not even the one that so many of Western power elites and their puppets in the Third World are living today.
Of the USA and those aligned with it and their “war on terror,” I’m convinced Dr King would say as he did in his day of the Vietnam War “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now.” Then he would tell us how we must move to reorder our priorities to get on the right side of today’s “world revolution” and on the side of the people internationally which we have been on “the wrong side” of since the Second World War and would point out that the US Government is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
A H Goldberg* is a pseudonym the writer uses on a regular basis.