On the heels of a historic anniversary, I thought I’d hip you to this nice piece about MLK’s last stop, in support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis.
I admire MLK’s consistent support of the labor movement, even in the face of labor’s, uh, lethargic embrace of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and pretty much every other grass roots contingent that made the sixties the sixties. But more important is MLK’s tireless attention to poverty, a topic that’s been all but whitewashed from American political discourse.
Lest my riffing strike you as a bit hokey or idealist, avail yourselves of this 30-minute radio broadcast re: continued exploitation of black and white labor in the South, and an interview with the author of Down Jericho Road, a historical work on the Memphis strike and King’s place in it. That certain Southern states still refuse public employees the right to organize is, uh, more than just ‘fucked up.’
A tiny insight from the other side of the old ivory tower: it’s amazing how academics propogate radical chic by pitting identity politics vs. economic justice, and how most of our great activists have refused any such bifurcation.