Dr King and President Johnson

Freedom: The Burden of Accountability – Part 2

“Great power involves great responsibility”  

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The following article is part of a largerfivepart series on accountability and reform as they pertain to freedomFocusing primarily on American politics and history, the series draws on America’s continual struggle towards that “more perfect society.. 

“Our hopes have been blasted and our dreams have been shattered. The promise of a great society was shipwrecked.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Three Evils of Society” 

We all think we know the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights movement he led, heralded, and died for. Some of us lived through those times, others grew up learning all about them in school. The problem is as it has been: history is written by the victors. Despite the wins of the Civil Rights movement, Black Americans were not the victors. There was a long road ahead for equity and justice, and that road remains untraveled. 

Brace yourself for this one, as it’s big and heavy when you don’t already know. The FBI killed Dr. King. You read that right. Our own government killed one of the most iconic civil rights leaders of all time. 

Dexter Scott King, Dr. King’s son, called his father’s assassination “the most incredible cover-up of the century”. This is no conspiracy theory, either. A landmark trial by jury, King v. Jowers, found the U.S Government guilty of this crime, despite the U.S Justice Department (DOJ) doing its level-best to shred every piece of evidence. Even further, the DOJ tried to overturn the verdict. In reality, the crime was carried out in concert between the Memphis PD and the FBI. 

“What happens to a dream deferred? It leads to bewildering frustration and corroding bitterness.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Three Evils of Society” 

The ruling, and capitalist, class marginally tolerated Dr. King and the movement as long as they fought for civil rights. Once King outwardly turned towards fighting capitalism, racism, and militarism, the capitalist ruling class – knowing Dr. King could unite the poor white with the Black and win – wouldn’t stand for it. Ultimately, the ruling class determined he was no longer a tolerable threat, and that led to the previously discussed assassination.  

“The corrupt political order seeks to crush even this beginning of hope.”  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Three Evils of Society”

And crush it they did. Some key civil rights leaders who remained eventually became a part of what Malcolm X described as “the black bourgeoisie”. 

Others remained true to the struggle, but their words are now only misspoken by the establishment and liberals when they sound somewhat favorable to the establishment narrative, often taking the Black leader’s quotes completely out of context. An example follows: 

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Three Evils of Society” 

While this is out of period, it’s highly relevant. Did you know that as of 2019, the USA spends more than $232,000,000 ($232M) known dollars per hour subsidizing war and oil? And the Pentagon is known for “losing” trillions of dollars

While we’re still in the present, remember the 2020 Democratic Primaries? Many of its contestants and its two ultimate victors were the evil that seems fair. Hiding behind platitudes and identity politics, most of them would’ve ushered in blue fascism with a smile. Now and before the inauguration, we were already seeing how “Uncle Joe” and the “Top Cop” were lying, conniving snakes in the grass. Back to the past, shall we? 

“The hour is dark. Evil comes forth in the guise of good. It is a time of double-talk when men in high places have a high blood pressure of deceptive rhetoric and an anemia of concrete performance. We cry out against welfare handouts to the poor but generously approve an oil depletion allowance to make the rich, richer…what they truly advocate is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Three Evils of Society” 

_____________________________

Despite the glorification and white-washing of Dr. King and President Johnson’s relationship, it was a rocky and tumultuous one. On one occasion, Johnson tried to get King to wait with promises of civil rights “later” in exchange for King helping push Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Of course, poverty was a chief concern of King’s, and they later worked together, in a sense, on the front of poverty. The reality is, Johnson continued to push his ”War on Poverty” and Dr. King founded the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). 

An anonymous aide confided once that Lyndon B. Johnson believed in nothing, save his own ambition. It’s uncommon knowledge that President Johnson also made a pastime of disparaging the Civil Rights Movement and Black Americans in general. This makes sense, given Johnson’s long-lived record as a segregationist and racist.  

(Trigger Warning: Historical N-word Reference)  

I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One  

History –  Our recent history proves that a racist, segregationist president, devoid of real values can be pushed to implement meaningful reform. In a sense, they can be pushed – nay forced – to be accountable and act in the interest of the people they’re supposed to serve rather than the whims of global capital. 

Will that be true in the Biden administration? Biden himself is an alleged rapistracist, and segregationist. He once eulogized his political mentor Strom Thurmond. Thurmond was responsible for the Senate’s single-longest filibuster. A Senator Thurmond filibustered the Civil Rights Act (of 1957) for over 24 hours. 

Only a massive, labor-heavy movement – unseen since the 20th century – will have the power to force Biden to act in the scope necessary. In order to force Biden’s hands, it’ll have to use the old and new; general strikes, purchasing boycotts, social media campaigns, letter campaigns, employer- and industry-based strikes, and so on, or we will fail. The weight of that failure will burn the rest of the climate clock and guarantee our extinction. We must not fail. 

“The time has come for America to face the ultimate choice between humanism and materialism.” –

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Three Evils of Society” 

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