Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dr. West's Plea

Dr. Cornel West is a one-of-a-kind public intellectual. He refers to all people as his brothers and sisters. He even called Robert P. George, fellow Princeton professor and brain behind the movement against marriage equality for gays and lesbians, a "white conservative brother." Now that's Christian charity. He was not afraid to tell Chris Hedges that he considers Barack Obama a "black puppet of corporate plutocrats" (Whoa!), excoriating the president for opportunistically using his association with West publicly during the election, only to continually snub him after the election. Here is Dr. West's plea in The New York Times for radical change in the name of Martin Luther King, whose anti-poverty and anti-imperialist views are relatively little-known by many who otherwise admire him for his achievements in civil rights and nonviolence:
[T]he prophetic words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel still haunt us: "The whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King."

Rabbi Heschel spoke those words during the last years of King's life, when 72 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks disapproved of King's opposition to the Vietnam War and his efforts to eradicate poverty in America.


The absence of a King-worthy narrative to reinvigorate poor and working people has enabled right-wing populists to seize the moment with credible claims about government corruption and ridiculous claims about tax cuts' stimulating growth. This right-wing threat is a catastrophic response to King's four catastrophes; its agenda would lead to hellish conditions for most Americans.

King weeps from his grave....

King's response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.

(Source: "Dr. King Weeps From His Grave," NYT (August 25, 2011))

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