We Twisted King’s Dream, So We Live With His Nightmare

mlk legacy

Tim Wise: If double-digit unemployment had been viewed as the emergency it is, when only people of color were experiencing it (as they typically have been, in good times or bad, year after year throughout this century), perhaps lawmakers might have seen fit to address the problem.

Finally, Black Civil Rights Movement is Dying

Rev. Irene Monroe: For many African Americans of younger generations, who are now the beneficiaries of the racial gains from the Movement, feeling the Movement’s’ slow death is like a welcoming boulder gradually being lifted from their shoulders, especially for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

A Time for Action — Not Servility

jeff cohen

Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen: While Washington pundits are talking up a new civility, many progressives are bracing for the old servility — a bipartisanship that is servile to a corporate elite that is unquenchably greedy and more powerful than ever.

Trust Black Women: Remove the Billboards

Black Children An Endangered Species

Jan Robinson Flint: It is reprehensible that someone would use Black children as a tool to attack Black women for political purposes.

Martin Luther King Day: They Never Heard Him Give a Speech

Eddie Martinez

Kafi D. Blumenfield: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This generation of leaders has taken Dr. King’s injunction to heart and they are taking action. They and their peers find common ground by connecting not only through race, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status, but also, on higher ground, through shared aspirations and hope for the future.

The Pentagon and the King Legacy

martin luther king riverside church

William Lorenz Katz: Was not Martin Luther King, Jr. reaching beyond Vietnam when he warned of “approaching spiritual death” and called for “a significant and profound change in American life and policy” and insisted “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” Was he only speaking of Vietnam when he said, “War is not the answer?”

Mississippi Governor’s Remarks Reveal Much about White Racism

Jessie Daniels: This is classic white racism. Horrible years of grueling oppression? Ah, get over it. One of the white supremacist sites I looked at in Cyber Racism makes a similar argument about slavery – a supposedly ‘humane institution’ that slaves ‘loved and wanted to return to’ after emancipation.

Los Angeles Homeowners Take to the Streets to Protest Foreclosure Abuses

peter dreier

Peter Dreier: In Los Angeles this Thursday, members of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) — a statewide community organizing group — will sponsor a demonstration at a major bank that will include civil disobedience and probably arrests.

America Turns Right

john boehner

Randy Shaw: Obama’s early and steadfast refusal to attack Republicans in fiercely partisan terms allowed the GOP to blame Democrats for the ongoing economic crisis, and by the time Obama hit the campaign trail it was too little too late to change the public mood.

Is Social Media Useless for Change?

Malcolm Gladwell

Social networking websites can play and are playing an important role in finding and connecting people who are beginning to think and feel similar things. They can help participants deepen their understanding and form common perspectives. They can help inform those who use them of possible courses of action.

Markos Calls Out Right-Wing Extremists

Markos Moulitsas

Sylvia Moore: The U.S. is going through such a shock right now. Moulitsas is correct when he says that we can’t be polite to or negotiate with extremists, no matter where they reside, in the Middle East or in America.

Lies to Power

republican elephant

Jerry Drucker: One score and ten years ago the Republican Party brought forth to this nation, a concept conceived in the privatization of government for profit, dedicated to the proposition that large corporations (now persons), special interest groups and lobbyists, can expand the United States wealth for those several entities and the vast eternal warring military-industrial complex.

Civil Rights and Wrongs Onstage at Two L.A. Theatres

Carry It On! Bill Durhamm and Rowena Johnson (Photo Miriam Geer)

Ed Rampell: Art emerges out of our collective psyche to reflect our times, and it’s fascinating to see how L.A. theatre is responding to the current attack on our civil, human and constitutional rights and liberties.

How the Internet Can Make It Harder to Act

social media

Paul Loeb: For all the strengths of online engagement, people still need to gather together, eat, joke, flirt, tell their stories, attach names to faces, and ultimately build deeper levels of trust.

Blacks Prison and Unemployment

black child

Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.

Paging Dr. King

Martin Luther King Jr.

Tom Degan: That’s what I love about this guy! American history is littered with “Christian” religious leaders. Try as you might, you can’t escape them. The thing that sets Reverend King apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn’t a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were – a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day. Please give me a day or two and I might be able to name more, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968, Day in 1980. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.

Hollywood’s Fix for America’s Three and a Half Trillion-Dollar Lobbying Addiction

nomiki konst

Nomiki Konst: The United States of America has a dirty little secret. We’re addicted to a drug. A drug dealt everyday in the halls of Congress, on the streets of Washington, and at the exclusive Georgetown soirees. That drug is corruption, pure and simple. And the dealers are lobbyists. The year 2009 was record breaking for the lobbying industry, mostly due to the health care debate, with total spending on all issues at more than $3.47 billion.

Toward a More Complete MLK Day

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Simon Balto: King understood that the problems of America involved much more than racial inequality, and—in answer to LBJ’s question—what he in fact wanted was “a radical redistribution of power.”

Friday Feedback: Ignoring Lessons

At the present rate, historians will be speaking of the dozen years of the OBushma administrations. It’s getting very fast to look as if the only thing that MIGHT save the Obama presidency for a second term is the Gop death wish to nominate Ms Death Panel – i.e. Ms Death Palin – herself.

Grassroots News from Congo: Midwives Transform Trash Into Hope

IMAGE courtesy of APROSAF midwives

The midwives need the means to accomplish their noble goal of saving women through direct intervention, HIV/AIDS counseling, and nutrition. This is truly a grassroots effort with a humble beginning that literally transforms grass and roots into life-supporting energy.

Community Organizer Obama Asks Activists: “Where’s Your Base”?

organizer_obama

Some activists excited about Barack Obama’s community organizing background forget what this fully means – namely, that he expects groups seeking progressive measures to mobilize their base. Community organizers do not expect politicians to challenge entrenched interests absent grassroots pressure, and President Obama is not about to spend political capital on issues like Afghanistan, the [...]

A New Wave of Community Organizers for the Obama Era

projectvote

I usually have about 20 students in the Community Organizing course I teach each year at Occidental College in Los Angeles. So far, 42 students have registered for next fall’s class. I haven’t all of a sudden become a more popular professor. There’s clearly something happening on American campuses and in the broader culture that’s [...]

Bigotry Still Rules

Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr.

In the summer of 2006 I attended the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard. One of the guest presenters was 95-year-old Johnnie Carr, the woman who took over the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1956 after the successful Montgomery bus boycott when Martin Luther King, Jr. went [...]

How Obama Did It: What All Political Parties and Businesses Must Learn Before 2010

If you think this campaign was about tons of money for slick television adverts, you’re wrong. The money helped Obama take his message into additional ‘red’ states, but this election was about getting to know the voter (the customer, if you will) and giving them a voice and a say. Yes, Obama built a classic [...]

Angry Organizer to RNC: “Go to Hell!”

At the Republican National Convention, Palin and Giuliani mocked Obama’s experience as a community organizer and the attending crowd laughed in response. Palin and McCain can wear whatever “outsider” mask they wish, nothing can hide the ugliness of their elitism. At the center of their ridicule of community organizing is disrespect for the potential power [...]

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