Monday, October 1, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.: AMERICA'S MORAL CONSCIENCE- 1967 (Full Speech)



Harrisson wrote:

Thanks for the tip, Savant. Read Josie Fanon's interview with C. Filostrat and enjoyed it. Still have to read King's perspective...
Dr. King's perspective on Frantz Fanon is interesting. He notes in WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE (p.55)that within radical left Black circles of the late 1960s, many youth were no longer quoting Gandhi or Tolstoy, but Fanon's THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH. Despite his disagreements with Fanon, who proposed armed insurgency to end racist oppression and colonialist exploitation, Kind admits that Fnaon's book is "well written" and "with many penetrating insights."(p.55).
Indeed, King apparently admires Fanon's revolutionary call to maek "inventions" and "discovering", to create a new social order with radically new values leading to the self-transformaton of the human being. King clearly admires Fanon's call at the end of Les Damnes de l Terre:
"For Europe, for ourselves, and for humanity, comrades, we must turn over a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, a try to set afoot a NEW MAN."

NOw King actually admires these challenging words from Fanon's WRETCHED OF THE EARTH. And on p. 66 of WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE, King replies: "These are brave and challenging words; I am HAPPY that young black men and women are quoting them.But the problem is that Fanon and those who quote his words are seeking to "work out new concepts" and "set afoot a new man" with a willingness to imitate old concepts of violence."

King's attitude toward Fanon, as largely also toward Marx, is to embrace the humanistic end but not the violent means. In STRENGTH TO LOVE, King describes Marx's idea of a classless society free of exploitation, poverty and racism as a "noble end," while regarding as ignoble the call for an ARMED proletarian uprising. King agrees with Fanon that humanity must end radical inequalities of wealth or be torn about by it.
He agrees whe Fanon writes "What we want to do all the time, night and day, is to go forward in the company of Man, in the company of ALL men..."
In essence, King says "Bravo, Fanon. That is precisely what we want. But we cannot go forward together in the company of all men if we take a violent path to get there."
Of course, even Fanon argued (as I mentioned in an essay I sent you) that there were SOME situations, some societies, where radical change may be achieved by peaceful means.
But what about situations in which this is not possible. Relatively peaceful deconolinzation was possible in Ghana, but not in Algeria according to Fanon.
And what about America? Is revolutionary onviolent change possible in America? Can we end plutocracy and racism withou armed struggle? Does the Occupy MOvement offer us an historical possibility of radical nonviolent transformation?
Like the ultimate outcome of the Arab Spring, the jury's still out on that. But we must strive, must push forward, to achieve a more just society withut drowning the land in blood.
Heaven help us all if we fail.


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