Friday, April 4, 2008


On my walk to work this morning I was reflecting on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and thinking about Peter Drier's note from USAS listserv today:

"If King were alive today, he would surely be speaking out to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq immediately. He would be speaking out about the widening gap between the rich and the rest of America. He'd also be working with unions, clergy, and community groups to raise the federal minimum wage, enact local living wage laws, expand health insurance to all Americans. He'd be helping America's working poor -- hotel workers, janitors, security guards, nurses and other hospital employees, grocery workers, farmworkers, and others -- unionize for better working and living conditions.

He'd be in Los Angeles this April 14-16 helping lead the March from Hollywood to the Docks, a key part of the campaign for good jobs among LA's diverse labor movement and its allies among community groups and clergy -- an obvious parallel to the Memphis campaign 40 years ago.

No doubt he'd be pushing Congress to adopt the Employee Free Choice Act, the progressive labor law reform that would level the playing field between business and workers and catalyze a new wave of union organizing."

Indeed, many people do not recognize that MLK is among the most revolutionary leaders in our country’s history. His analysis of class politics - as tied to race - is far more radical than what is credited to him by popular thought. King was outspoken against Vietnam and was undeniably pro-union. He spent the final days of his life in Memphis, Tennessee, marching in solidarity with African American sanitation workers who were fighting for union recognition. I recommend renting At the River I Stand, a documentary on this struggle with great MLK footage.

AFSCME’s backpage ad on this week’s Nation (which is also on their website.)

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