Posts Tagged ‘Malcolm Fleschner’

The Young Turks on the Real, Anti-Capitalist Radical Martin Luther King

February 4, 2017

In my last post, I talked about how contemporary scholars were re-examining MLK’s life and political thought to show that far from being a moderate, Dr Luther King was a radical who opposed not just racism, but the capitalist exploitation of the poor, the Developing World and the Vietnam War. These aspects of the man have been airbrushed out of his to make him more palatable to the right-wing mainstream.

In this video from The Young Turks’ ‘Aggressive Progressives’, Jimmy Dore, Steve Oh and Malcolm Fleschner discuss a recent article by Zaid Jilani in the Intercept, in which he tears apart what Dr Cornel West has called ‘the santaclausification’ of MLK. In one of his speeches, Dr Luther King refuted the lie that America was built on the Puritan values of hard work. He said

“Again, we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of Black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both Black and White, both here and abroad.”

Steve Oh talks about how Cenk Uygur, himself and others go on trips during MLK weekend. One trip they made was to Charleston, South Carolina. This was the richest city in America in 1850, and its economy was built on slavery – through slave produced cotton, rice farming and the sale of human beings. He makes the point that although chattel slavery has vanished from America, it is in a sense still with us in the form of the economic slavery, which now affects all poor Americans. He mentions one of the White people they interviewed, who talked about the destruction of his community by the anti-working class, anti-welfare policies and the elite. These policies affect Blacks and Latinos disproportionately, but all poor Americans, regardless of their colour, are suffering.

Oh makes the point that while King now is seen as a consensus builder and fighter for racial justice in the Segregated South, he was a radical like Malcolm X, although his approach differed from the other Civil Rights leader. He talks about how MLK’s teachings were beautiful, and for all Americans, and how he spent the last year of his life, before his assassination in 1968 battling against the Democratic party. Other Civil Rights leaders had warned King not to alienate the Democrats with his condemnation of the Vietnam War. MLK responded to this by giving a speech at Riverside Church in New York City, in which he denounced the American government as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, the napalm bombing of cities and its support for the puppet government in South Vietnam. He called for a complete re-examination of American foreign policy, including the capitalist exploitation of the Developing World.

Dore makes the point that the same problems affect American radicals now. Bernie Sanders is also fighting for economic justice for the American working man and woman. But he’s also being opposed by a corporate, Democrat elite, who want to privatise schools, parks, education and definitely the healthcare system, as the state system is so much better.

There’s much more that could be said here. I know many people, who don’t like MLK because they see him as being too much of an ‘Uncle Tom’. This presents the opposite view, and with luck should help encourage more people to rediscover MLK’s legacy of radicalism and anti-capitalist protest.

The Young Turks: Trump Wants to Punch Protestors in the Face

February 24, 2016

More verbal thuggery from the Duce of Trump tower. In this clip from The Young Turks, Wes Clark, Steve Oh and Malcolm Feschner discuss Trump wishing for the return of the old days when a protestor is hustled out from his rally. He says that it was great back then, because he wants to punch protestors in the face. You can’t do that now, but back then they’d be sent out on a stretcher. The TYT panel talk about how Trump is always keen to incite violence at his rallies, though less eager to engage in it himself. What Trump describes isn’t quite the good old days. That was when the police beat and turned fire hoses on people. While it goes down well with his supporters, it doesn’t appeal to the great American public. They state that the classic example of that was at the 1968 Democratic convention, when the cops rioted and began beating the anti-war protestors.

They also point out that Trump wants to appoint a force to go door to door, checking for illegal immigrants. They ponder it’s bizarre appeal to his supporters, who have a fear of state violence. In fact, one of them says that actually they’re really hoping that they’ll get the call to join Trump’s forces. It’s the same type of mob mentality that saw the rise of the Fascist militias in the former Yugoslavia, and the Brownshirts in Nazi Germany. Absolutely. In the 1920s, when the Communists and Nazis were running around the streets of Weimar Germany beating the living daylights out of each other, the Nazis used to sing a nasty little song. It clearly express their anti-Semitism, and ended with the line, ‘Until the Jew lies bleeding at our feet’. It’s not hard to imagine Trump’s supporters singing something similar about Muslims. Steve Oh says that Trump is a charismatic bully. He is, just like that other charismatic racist bully, Adolf Hitler.

The panel also discusses the possibility that Trump’s supporters will start appearing next at his rallies with their guns. It’ll only be a few at first, but the numbers will steadily increase.

In a lighter vein, they also talk about how the Republican primaries could be improved if Trump and the other candidates just decided to get in the ring, as at a boxing or wrestling match, and beat seven bells out of each other until a winner emerges.