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Martin Luther King Jr. vs. The Military Industrial Complex

Junious Ricardo Stanton


“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government” Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 1967


One year prior to his murder by the United States’ imperial forces, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a profoundly well thought out and cogent speech at Riverside Church in New York City on why he opposed the Vietnam War. In it King gave a history of Western imperialism in Southeast Asia, how the United States stepped in to fill the European colonial vacuum after the French were run out of Vietnam. He gave a detailed synopsis of the Vietnamese people’s struggle for freedom and how the US callously rejected their attempts to forge friendly relationships with America.

King detailed the hypocrisy and mendacity of Americans travelling thousands of miles to wage a war for “freedom and democracy” when Blacks who were being drafted to be crippled and maimed in higher numbers than our percentage of the population were denied freedom and democracy at home. King put the war in a global context of racism, imperialism and moral depravity. He linked the war in Southeast Asia and the Vietnamese people’s valiant struggle to free themselves from the yoke of Western imperialism and neocolonialism with Afro-Americans ongoing struggle for dignity, human rights and personhood. King noted the cruel irony of an imperialist war that conscripted Black and white boys to fight and die in side by side solidarity when they were forbidden to live side by side in the United States due to vestiges of American apartheid.

King saw the war as a great drain of resources and waste of human potential at a time when poverty was rampant in the US, that the Vietnam War was undermining the struggle for civil rights and economic justice at home.

He shared with the audience how he was at a loss to preach to young Black people about the value of non-violent civil disobedience in the face of virulent government sanctioned brutality especially when they asked him, “What about Vietnam and America’s use of unrestrained violence and atrocity?” He stated in a matter of fact way to the crowded church that it troubled him deeply that “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”

As a clergyman, a citizen, as a conscious and conscientious human being King stated to remain silent in the face of such institutionalized evil was betrayal. This marked a change in King’s program. He added peace to his agenda. Martin Luther King Jr. was the only prominent religious figure who came out in opposition of the war. Norma Vincent Peale was silent; Billy Graham uttered not a mumbling word, Bishop Fulton Sheen remained mute, only King, a Black man, stood up and spoke truth to power about peace.

His continuous assault on the Military Industrial Complex, US foreign policy and his campaigns to break down US racial apartheid and economic privation was the straw that broke the camel’s back with regard to the ruling class’ tolerance of his movement.

The same liberal journalists, newspapers and politicians who lauded him for being non-violent in the face of Southern whites’ insanity and brutality turned on him when he challenged the moral and financial inhumanity and waste of the Vietnam War. Once the ruling elites’ campaign to turn the tide of public opinion against King went into full effect, the government put their plan to neutralize King in motion.

King was planning a Poor People’s March on Washington D.C. to galvanize a full spectrum mobilization of whites and people of color to challenge and change US foreign and domestic policies in favor of the people.

This was a huge no-no as King’s support invigorated the Peace and anti-movements and he was forging a wider coalition for social justice and change, thus thwarting the usual divide and rule paradigm, so the ruling class determined he had to go!

So a year later on April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was murdered. King’s assassination was part of a larger counter insurgency program run by the FBI and CIA called COINTELPRO and Operation Chaos respectively and local police The US government declared war on dissent going full bore framing, demonizing, jailing and even murdering US citizens for daring to want change.

Today every vile and immoral act the government sanctioned during that era is legal thanks to the 9-11 false flag operation. Today America is undeniably at the point King warned us about in 1967. He said, “The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality... we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala -- Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.”

Alas King was wrong; unfortunately the peace movement is moribund and non-existent it has been co-opted by the corporate/government war machine which does not bode well for the soul of America.



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