‘Tomorrow is Today’: The Progressive Legacy of Dr. King

Ian Becker

When Obama was ceremonially sworn in for his second term today, he used two Bibles: one owned by Abraham Lincoln and the other by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The talking heads will certainly take this day to compare Obama with both Lincoln, the Great Compromiser,” and King, the Dreamer”--but most will likely present a sanitized version of each. Below, we link to where you can find celebrations of King’s true progressive legacy as an anti-capitalist, a crusader against militarism and the Vietnam War, and a critic of White America’s willful disregard toward economic exploitation of people of color. From The Guardian:  One of the best decisions the US ever made was to commemorate King’s birthday as a national holiday. He’s as close to a prophet as American history offers. But the distance between the veneration expressed for him and the principles he espoused seems to grow every year. When it comes to King’s views on US militarism, nothing more potently illustrates that distance than the use of King’s holiday to re-inaugurate the 44th president.
From Think Progress: King called for a radical restructuring of America’s economic system. And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy… . You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the oil?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the iron ore?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two thirds water?’’ And for more on the radicalization of Dr. King, check out The Real News Network’s interview with Anthony Monteiro, a professor of African-American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, accessible here.
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