“But when you talk to these Occupy Wall Street gangs, they’re all over the place. It’s like a shotgun as opposed to a precision-guided munition.”Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory has become a cheap industry and prop that anyone can buy a share of--no sacrifice, wisdom, honesty, or sincerity required.
He also dismissed protesters’ claim that Wall Street is responsible for the nation’s economic woes and high unemployment. He also disputed Obama’s contention that Martin Luther King Jr. would have supported the Occupy protesters.
The economic troubles are the responsibility of “Washington, D.C., and the policies thereof,” he maintains. “And when you talk about the unemployment rate, it’s very simple. We have just hit a thousand days under President Obama. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when he took over. The unemployment rate now is 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate in the African-American community is almost 17 percent.
“It has nothing to do with Wall Street. It has everything to do with the failed policies coming out of the Obama administration.
“Martin Luther King Jr. would not have backed these types of protesters. He had a focus, a message. He was divinely inspired. I don’t know what the inspiration is for these individuals.”
West was asked whether Obama’s stated support for the Occupy Wall Street movement ultimately could lead to violence on the part of protesters.
“I’m very concerned about class warfare rhetoric,” he tells Newsmax.
As I pointed out in my essay on Dr. King's sexual peccadilloes and how folks want a perfect man as opposed to a heroic figure who also happened to be human (a point that met with pearl clutching rage, denial, and vitriol over at the kumbaya party that is Daily Kos), we need to have a serious conversation about who and what Brother King stood for in life and death.
I can shake my head at how Glenn Beck and the Tea Party GOP have tried to appropriate King's radical vision in a desperate ploy to capture him for their team. My standards and expectations are so low for the Tea Party GOP and reactionary right in the Age of Obama that there is little which they can do to surprise me.
But perhaps I expect too much from black folks who are the direct descendants and beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Movement. Maybe, I give Dr. King's daughter and son too much credit as folks who can speak both for his legacy and in his stead. And it could simply be that I don't have much use for the counter-factual which is the "what would Dr. King say or do?" game.
But in all, the way that black conservatives working at the behest of the Tea Party GOP abuse his legacy is just dishonest, a lie, a cold misappropriation of history, and an act of willful ignorance.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is the exhalation of righteous frustration at the corporateocracy and a broken economy which views all of us as surplus labor. It is true that you cannot recreate the past; political strategies of protest and intervention have to change to fit the battle of the moment. But ultimately (and while still evolving), the sentiments guiding the Occupy Wall Street movement are in the best tradition of Brother King's struggle and legacy.
Let us not forget that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed while fighting for the rights of union workers, the working class, the poor, and against what would eventually mature into the austerity policies advocated for by the forces of neo liberalism and the Tea Party GOP, where the federal budget is balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable, and the upper classes can benefit from the largess of the State while having to put few, if any, resources into the collective pot.
Shame on you Mr. West, as ideology clearly overrides principle and a commitment to the truth for the myth makers to whom you pledge allegiance. If Dr. King were alive today, the Tea Party GOP, with their rank hostility to "class warfare," and a belief that poor people have only themselves to blame if they are not rich, would hate him. In all, "Socialist" would be the kindest thing that West and company would throw in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's direction.
History speaks back; it does not support Allen West's sad and dishonest distortion of events: