Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – April 4, 1967 – Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence (Repost from 2013)
“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.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A true revolution…
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We are living in the middle of massive changes that will profoundly affect us all. One could look back through history and say, it was ever thus, but the world has never known concentrated power and control on this level and its consolidation continues every day. We now live in a world, as Oxfam recently described, where “[w]ealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and creating a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population.”
More often than not, those 85 people use the corporation as an entity to embody their wealth and power – and to make it grow. Growth has become the thing to strive for, it is the mantra of governments, the logic of capitalism, and by extension, the corporations who control the capital. Of course, we are not talking only…
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Pretty good as always, yet the concrete “what is to be done” question doesn’t really get answered. Maybe it’s impossible, but maybe he and others need to listen to that old social worker who was talking essentially about having a plan, breaking it down into pieces and taking action. This doesn’t mean we can’t change on the fly as democratically as possible (which is a necessity), but it’s almost useless to say “we need to…” The left had been saying “we need to” for forty years as things have gotten worse.
Of course, there has to be a “we” in the first place. The organizers and activists must organize each other in order to organize others. And then have something to offer everyday people, materially and ideologically. In this sense, at the moment, “we” don’t exist. I’m not putting this soley on Hedges. As one person he has done more than his share, but if he was part of an organized left, he would be able to accomplish more. Maybe his copping to being a Keynesian is part of why having a plan and building a movement isn’t at the top of his list, but that may not be fair. There is of course always a role for people of the left as public intellectuals and, well, cheerleaders. His analysis is sound, and many of his books sounded the alarm long before most people had put two and two together. His sense of urgency and yes morality is needed. His voice of urgency was rare and early, and it has been a touchstone for some on the left for decades. But, again, we, what’s left of the left (i.e., what remains), are not on the path that leads to a mass movement, let alone an international. Until we have a broad-based group or organization that offers a clear vision, a concrete way to win, and actual support to struggling people, we will not present any impediment to corporate rule and the destruction it creates.
Journalist, author and war correspondent Chris Hedges took questions after speaking at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY on November 10, 2017 on fascism and empire in the age of Trump.
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Chris Hedges is the best-selling author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. A quote from the book was used as the opening title quotation in the critically-acclaimed and Academy Award-winning 2009 film, “The Hurt Locker.” The quote reads: “The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal…
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It’s Time to Nationalize the Internet
To counter the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, we need to start treating the Internet like the public good it is.
Private network providers prioritize only those they expect to provide a return on investment, thus excluding poor and sparsely populated areas.
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Looking back on the year that’s been, with the countless number of untold stories of resistance and life made meaningful, especially in California, we remain grateful especially to our readers! For a quick outro to the year, then, we wanted to gather some of the best of what they found to be the most interesting reflections on California culture from some of the most-read interviews and articles in Boom California for 2017. Thanks for reading—see you in the new year!
Most read interviews:
The late, great chronicler of California gives one of his last interviews with Boom editor, Jason Sexton, reflecting on religion, life, and his changing views about California.
Heather Dundas sits down with the (now) late Simeon Wade, gathering his reflections on the 1975 Death Valley experience with Michel Foucault, which the…
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