Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. was poised to become the singular voice for all oppressed people throughout America. After spending most of the 50’s and 60’s focused on “black” equality, he had a moment of revelation. He realized the folly of seeking social equity without first gaining economic justice. King pivoted; he made a decision to speak for all who are beset by poverty. This was the reason why he trekked to Memphis in order to stand in solidarity with the striking sanitation workers. Bang! His decision to speak for all was met with a bullet.
The elites loved Martin Luther King as long as he stayed in his lane and presented justice through a very narrow dimension. Not only did the establishment love him, they empowered him as they flocked by his side in order to co-opt the poor people’s march on DC. The dreams of A. Philip Randolph was euthanized the minute the elites joined forces with Martin Luther King. Initially, the political class in Washington DC was terrified of the impoverished marching on the nation’s capital en mass. Our government has always feared an uprising of the people; the planned March on DC became a clear and present danger for this exact reason.
There are two ways our government eliminates threats. One is through savage repression; Shays Rebellion, Whiskey Rebellion, Harpers Ferry, and COINTELPRO are but a few of many examples where deadly force was trained and unleashed on Americans for having the temerity to say “we’ve had enough”. But brute force can only be used sparingly before people wise up to the tyranny of Federalism. A more malicious form of coercion is used to destroy movements. Where a voice of rebellion rises, a megaphone is used to drown out the masses as the establishment co-opts a movement and destroys it from within.
I know I risk the ire of many for speaking against the Civil Rights and the orthodoxy of neo-liberalism, but just know that I’m echoing the very words of Martin Luther King when I say that the March on DC was a failure more than it was a success. Malcolm X realized this way before the first footfalls hit the pavements of Washington. In fact, he mocked Martin Luther King for letting himself be co-opted by the establishment. The movement was nullified by absorption; JFK convened a group of intellectuals with the aim of defanging the March on DC. That is precisely what the intellectuals did, a movement that was supposed to be about the impoverished masses all the sudden morphed into a must attend event for the bourgeoisie.
There is a reason I want nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement and why I realize the “Take the Knee” movement as nothing more than empty symbolism (read Decoding Kaepernick). When the very establishment and the elites who oppress the masses get behind a movement, walk the hell away because they are using the pains of people as a political football. This is a playbook that has been deployed on the masses for centuries; they unleash charlatans to distract our eyes from the sparrow and eventually put us further behind ghettos of insolvency and hopelessness.
Why do you think the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement given fortunes by Soros or why the Koch brothers give millions to Tea Party initiatives (read Rethinking Black Lives Matter). Rich people don’t give money out of kindness; they invest capital to squeeze more from us and to further injustice. Reflect on the words of Malcolm X, this very same system of malicious philanthropy is what he was speaking against:
The White House, with a fanfare of international publicity, “approved,” “endorsed,” and “welcomed” a March on Washington. The big civil rights organizations right at this time had been publicly squabbling about donations. The New York Times had broken the story. The NAACP had charged that other agencies’ demonstrations, highly publicized, had attracted a major part of the civil rights donations–while the NAACP got left holding the bag, supplying costly bail and legal talent for the other organizations’ jailed demonstrators.
It was like a movie. The next scene was the “big six” civil rights Negro “leaders” meeting in New York City with the white head of a big philanthropic agency. They were told that their money–wrangling in public was damaging their image. And a reported $800,000 was donated to a United Civil Rights Leadership council that was quickly organized by the “big six.”
Why, some downtrodden, jobless, hungry Negroes might have gotten trampled. Those “integration”-mad Negroes practically ran over each other trying to find out where to sign up. The “angry blacks” March suddenly had been made chic. Suddenly it had a Kentucky Derby image. For the status-seeker, it was a status symbol. “Were you there?” You can hear that right today. It had become an outing, a picnic.
To his credit, Martin Luther King woke up to this deception and started to agitate for universal justice instead of being used as a pawn by the “liberal” elites. Duplicitous intellectuals and history revisionists (they call themselves professors) present Martin Luther King as a voice for black equality but rarely do they mention his “radicalized” stance after his awakening. Before his trip to Tennessee, Martin Luther King held court with his trusted circle of advisers and said, “I fear, I am integrating my people into a burning house”. This is the Martin Luther King that has been whitewashed from conversation as we keep being presented MLK mostly during the days where he was pleading for integration. Integration become the distraction that took the focus off economic inequality that is pervasive in America–the establishment won by co-opting a movement.
Same is true about the way Malcolm X is presented; the elites love to highlight Malcolm X only through the prism of his pre-Mecca positions. They rarely talk about Malcolm once he became Malik el-Shabazz; he changed form a firebrand into a voice for every man who is trampled by the machine of capital greed and political repression. “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against”, these words spoken by Malcolm X are rarely highlighted. Instead, we are inundated with the rhetoric of “white devil” and the image of an angry Malcolm–rhetoric that Malcolm X himself disavowed after his trip to Mecca.
Both Malik el-Shabazz and Martin Luther King were trying to become a voice for all oppressed people. This is why both were shot and silenced forever (read Confluence of Malcolm and Martin). If you don’t understand that there were forces behind those who pulled the triggers and paid these Judases to kill of both Malcolm and Martin, I have a bridge to sell you in Mar-a-Lago. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are not the only examples of prophets who were killed before they could accomplish their dreams. People from every hue and experience throughout this world have been killed one after the other by a global system of repression that is enslaving the vast majority of humanity.
I don’t write this article to disavow the struggles of people who experienced many hardships and whose struggles opened the pathway for me to attend college and make something of my life. Yet, as I praise the heroic deeds of social activists from the baby boomer generation and before, I would be remiss if I did not point out the failings of the Civil Rights Era. I am the outlier, the struggling masses in the inner cities and rural areas are the rule. We can’t measure society’s advancement by the accomplishments of the talented 10th; we judge societal wellness based on the plight of the huddled masses. Integration has been nullified by gentrification and equality chased away by self-enrichment. We need to refocus our eyes on inclusive justice because chasing individual gains and seeking separable redress is leading us into an era of segregation where poverty and economic imbalances have become the neo-Jim Crow.
I beseech those who are willing to listen; stop being play for suckers by very cunning people. The game that is being played against us is far beyond the left/right divide and it is not about color. In this context, politics truly is for suckers as both Democrats and Republicans are codependent factions bleeding all of us. Likewise, stop viewing injustice through the artificial constructs of race or through the narrow lens of gender. While oppression is felt by some more than others, pain at the end of the day is pain so why try to monopolize injustice? The only weakness of this system of federated tyranny is unity. The only way the bottom 99% can overcome the power of the 1% is through togetherness. The struggle is not between left and right, it’s not about black versus white nor the endless litany of ways we keep being shattered into islands of separable grievances. The struggle has always been about the powerful versus the rest of us.
“White” farmers in Kansas and coal miners in West Virginia understand very well the excesses of state intrusion the same way “black” folks in Chicago and Oakland feel the heat of government brutality. Our struggles are interconnected; we are all being pillaged by a system whose reason d’être is to transfer wealth from the bottom 99% to the ledgers of corporations and plutocrats who lord over us. Demagogues from left to right are being foisted on us in order to keep us distracted from this truth and to have us fighting each other instead of uniting to take on our common oppressors. The only way we can ever hope to bend the arc of history towards justice is if we stow away our differences and come together as one to defend our collective interests.Just imagine this for a minute. What if, instead of waiting for the elites to lead us and being herded like sheep from one counterfeit cause or another, we actually started a movement from the bottom? What if we, the people, resuscitated the dream of A. Phillip Randolph and marched on DC united by our common struggle? This would not be a protest against “white supremacy”, against “male paternalism” or “liberalism”, these silly rhetoric that do nothing but add more logs to the fire of injustice. Instead, we come together on the basis of universal justice and join forces with others who might not look like us and think like us but suffer under the boot of coercion and economic unfairness just like us. I have a dream that one day, we can do exactly this.
Let me end it with this. “To those much given, much expected”. This has always been understood to mean that those who are blessed with riches have a responsibility to give back to the least among us. But what if hardship and pains are the abundance given? Those who have been shackled the most with injustice are best positioned to lead the charge against injustice. Instead of residing in the corner of victimization and lashing out with anger, what if we understand past struggle to be a blessing. The more pains people go through the more they connect with others. This is the latent power we have, this power can only come to fruition if we let love be our guiding light instead of being led astray with antipathy. Stop being victims divided by grievance; be victors together. #WeDefeatUs
There’s no left or right side to justice; injustice is not painted in hues of black and white. We suffer separately; our redemption is in unity::
If you appreciate the message of universal justice in this write up and you too stand up for an inclusive front against oppression, share this article on social media using #WeDefeatUs. As much as possible, send out organic Tweets instead of using share buttons, you get around social media algorithm-based censorship this way.
I ask everyone to watch this Ghion Cast below, the message within it is the capstone of all I’ve been writing about and all that I believe when it comes to unity and shedding divisiveness from our conscience.
This Ghion Cast below is my take on the current ploy that is being used by the establishment to once again divert our attention from our common struggles.
Check out the Ghion Cast below that talks about how unity can overcome tyranny.
Let me end it with this, a speech by Robert F. Kennedy, though he was once part of the system of federalized oppression, he decided to speak against it, that is why they silenced him with a bullet.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019