Monday, January 16, 2012

Here's Why

I left it out on purpose.  Left what out?  Well, the fact that Martin Luther King was in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 to support striking sanitation workers.  And, as the assassination suggests, that was a step too far.

Here's why I omitted its mention this morning.  Everyone, white and black, should already know it.  Sadly, few do.  Also, white union members should not need to know it to appreciate the magnificent accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement on its own terms, as well as King's great service to all of humanity as its leader.  Unfortunately, most do.  Conversations I had at work today completely confirm the sentiments just stated.  Draw your own conclusions.

But I will share with you one last conclusion or conviction of my own: I believe that Martin Luther King was killed precisely because by 1968 he was turning his full attention to the question of economic inequality and class injustice.  Union rights are central to the question of economic justice.  Had King lived, labor rights in this country may well have survived, too.

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