“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”
Excerpt from A letter from Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King Jr.
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One cannot underestimate the importance of all the actions arising out of a new popular community resistance and new fight for civil liberties across the nation.
Last night walking through the Mission District in San Francisco, someone had put their boombox out on the balcony and was playing some speeches from MLK just loud enough to be heard for a good portion of the block. People would stop and listen, and it was nice to see a new form of action taking place, at whatever scale is available to the citizens at any given moment.
As Davey D Cook writes:
“Today was a good day in the Bay Area.. Props to Stanford for shutting down the San Mateo [ bridge ]… One thing we should recall about the Civil Rights era, is things we’re always popping off by different groups.. If some one in DC did something someone else in Nashville would follow up..Hopefully someday soon we have an end to police violence.. and there will be no need for big marches or to shut down bridges “
” This weekend has been historic with all the direct actions happening.. From the shutting down of the Fed building.. To teach ins.. To the demonstrations at Walmart… to far too many other activities to name. Its great to see so many folks come together put lots of pressure on various joints holding up the system.. Its great to see so many folks from diverse ethnic backgrounds participating. Its great to see church folks out there throwing down. Its great to see seasoned activists who hold various ideologies out there inspiring others to step up and do better..
While these actions are all taking place in our collective way to reclaim the legacy of Martin Luther King who has been reduced to a groveling dreamer vs a confrontational, uncompromising freedom fighter, there are still lots of folks who hold key positions who are either sitting on the fence, trying to cut lopsided deals with oppressive forces or completely absent..
There is an erroneous notion that because folks are not on Sunday morning talk shows or not rubbing shoulders with folks at their local democratic club, that they are unaware of how government and the system in general works. There is a mistaken belief that folks are not paying attention to the policies and politics of those in office. There is a misunderstanding in thinking folks are not putting demands on those holding power..
Let’s be clear. One reason for the all the demonstrations and direct actions is because folks are aware. Folks are not marching and doing direct actions because they saw a documentary. What’s taking place is part of a process..Its a process that did not just start yesterday. It won’t end tomorrow and no one or two actions are be all end alls. In short, folks are marching just to march..Traffic being stopped and buildings being shut down is not being done because its trendy or cute..
It’s a process in which folks had to study, learn, reassess and build upon best practices that take into account some of the unique aspects of today’s political and social landscape and adapt and respond accordingly. Part of that process is being clear in understanding that when power is threatened those holding it will try to discredit and publicly dismiss what it finds threatening.
Folks clearly have been taking notes on which way folks are moving, voting, advocating, not voting not advocating etc.. Folks talk, Folks plan, information is being shared..People are watching and watching closely..More importantly folks are re-imagining..
In a society that has representatives doing the bidding of the people, you first ask folks who represent to you to propose and uplift policies that reflect you and your communities interests..In short you negotiate..
When there is no response from those in power to your attempts to negotiate, you make noise..In other words you demonstrate..
If that doesn’t work you have no choice but to see the marginalization, ignoring and overt slighting as a form of repression that must be vigorously resisted..
We Negotiate, We Demonstrate, We Resist… ”
Important analysis, and we highly recommend following his reports…
We’d also like to add some angles to this as a bit of an outsider ( as much as we’d like to be out there in solidarity, our time has been monopolized by trying to keep our own activist projects afloat, in a city that has us in its high costs-of-living in its grip! ).
We think there may be some helpful insights, observing this from a distance, with some perspective on how these things play out in the media, and how people get channeled into one form or another by the way the media, which has the ability at times, to construct the playing/battle – fields.
to be continued.