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Forum Post: Martin Luther King, Jr. was a radical & his wise words below are highly relevant today. We should use his playbook. It works.

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 19, 2012, 5:51 a.m. EST by therising (6643)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from the Birmingh Jail" spoke directly to the issue that is facing occupy today: do we push from the inside or the outside? King said its not one or the other, it's both. Through masterful nonviolent direct action and clever handling of the press, King's brand of nonviolence because a real force.

"The Letter from the Birmingham jail is wonderful (aimed mostly at white ministers who were sitting on the sidelines -- "the appalling silence of the good people"). Early on in the letter, King talks about creating tension to bring people to the negotiating table. He says:

"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

"The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation."

Here's the entire "Letter from the Birmingham Jail": http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html . It's a treasure and is as timely as ever.

Direct action with large numbers of people can make a real difference. Consider this other quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., an occupier from back in the day: "A delegation of poor people can walk into a high official’s office with a carefully, collectively prepared list of demands. (If you’re poor, if you’re unemployed anyway, you can choose to stay in Washington as long as the struggle needs you.) And if that official says, ‘But Congress would have to approve this,’ or, ‘But the President would have to be consulted on that,’ you can say, ‘All right, we’ll wait.’ And you can settle down in his office for as long a stay as necessary."

What we're talking about here is forcing the hand of congress nonviolently as has been done before. Gandhi and King's tactics work. Let's use them.

11 Comments

11 Comments


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[-] 1 points by BoycottCoke (275) 2 years ago

If you listen to his last speech, Dr King spoke about economic withdrawal as a means for forcing corporations to stop their behavior. We need to reflect on that and set a course towards real change, by using our dollarsx as few as they might be, to achieve our goals as a people. Thank you for this post. BC

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

I agree completely. That is a great strategy!!! Boycotts are very effective. It worked in Montgomery!! Vote with your dollars :)

[-] 1 points by BoycottCoke (275) 2 years ago

Let's do this. Once we start, others will follow. But someone has to start, what we need to do is get the target and go for it. Myself I have one, needless to say it is the Coca Cola company, oddly enough in Dr King's last speech the first company he targeted for withdrawing financial support was Coca Cola, since somehow they seem to always find themselves on the wrong side of social issues. Let us pick up right where he left off and target Coke, until they change their abusive ways towards their workers and their shady activities with the shareholder's profits. BC

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

I'm all for targeted nonviolent action and boycotts. You should post a list of the top 20 worst things the coca cola corp has done in the last 20 years to show a pattern of abuse. Then we could just go company by company. Need to make the case though. People have to say "holy shit" and feel like acting and passing the word after they read your post. It has to be solidly researched and cite reliable recognized sources. If it moves people and the info is solid, people will naturally support and recruit others to do so. I think it's a great idea. Ought to be something that happens company by company and people will chime in and help.

[-] 1 points by BoycottCoke (275) 2 years ago

While I worked there I saw a lot of things wrong with them. One thing for sure is that somehow there is a culture of fear injected into the workers, that once you leave or are fired life stops and you will go bankrupt. I found out how this works on my own experience, here is how they do it. After moving on (that is being fired), I found it hard to find another job filling out application after application and no calls, I found it to be suspicious, after all I do have a lot of experience, in my field. To make a long story short the way they do it is by denying you ever worked with them. I found this out cause my current employer was the kind that does 2 interviews before you are hired, so for the second one, the district manager called me and asked me to prove that I actually worked at Coca Cola, cause they were denying that I ever worked there. So after bringing copies of the last 15 years of paystubs...please don't ask how I save them :-). He called them back and threaten them, cause it is a federal requirement that in my field, past employers MUST give this information to prospective employers, he told me after doing this, right away they complied with his request. I know of three individuals who lost their houses and had to go bankrupt because they could not get a job after leaving Coke for months and months. I wish I could get in contact with them to tell them how Coke operates after firing you. This is just one reason and thank God I can and will prove this in a court of law. There are more, I'm sure there will be more people coming forward who will give more testimony to the horror stories. They can also do a search for Killer Koke, this has been going on for a long time. Just 3 days ago the police had to be called to one of their production plants in Queens NY due to one of the employees threatening another one, who happens to be in the same lawsuit as myself. The rumor is that if we win they will close that very plant, so there is a lot of hostility towards anybody involved in this. This, of course, is not new, the Cocal Cola company has a history of terror against people they label as trouble makers, those who have the audacity of standing up for the rights of workers. I was dismissed for speaking out agains the abuses and in a matter of minutes my 15 years of spotless service were dismissed. I'll stop here as I feel my blood pressure skyrocketting. God bless. BC

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

I've heard lots of bad things about their Tropicama operation -- conditions are horrible and they basically own the employees

[-] 1 points by BoycottCoke (275) 2 years ago

This is actually the website for Killer Coke, I messed the name up

http://killercoke.org/

[-] 1 points by BoycottCoke (275) 2 years ago

Please, watch that and tell me if this is unreasonable or if I have your support in this endeavor. God bless. BC

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Later in life, King and Malcolm X were much closer together in ideology. The book Martin and Malcolm lays this out pretty clearly.

[-] 0 points by BlackSun (275) from Agua León, BC 2 years ago

Yes! Time to use Dr. Kings tactics! And Ghandis tactics! Success is assured!

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Glad you agree