Social workers: Let’s remember the real Martin Luther King

January 18, 2021

Today is MLK Day, so let us, on this national holiday celebrated in the shadow of 2020’s despicable surge of reactionary white supremacist violence, pause to recall some insights of King the radical Christian egalitarian, expressed in his marvelous 1967 speech, “Where Do We Go From Here?”:

“Depressed living standards for Negroes are not simply the consequence of neglect. Nor can they be explained by the myth of the Negro’s innate incapacities, or by the more sophisticated rationalization of his acquired infirmities (family disorganization, poor education, etc.). They are a structural part of the economic system in the United States [emphasis added].

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It understands that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.

“One day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’… When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalist economy.

“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly, by…the guaranteed income.”

Amen, Brother Martin, martyr in the struggle for justice. Rest in power. As to the rest of us – Let’s those with ears, hear.

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