birmingham protesters

the gov moving trump’s “state visit” [how can you call it a state visit without a stay at buckingham palace and an address to parliament] to autumn when the weather’s “colder” to “avoid protests”… in britain… because apparently british people are scared of cold weather… and thus won’t protest… 

Can we just STOP with the “Martin Luther King, Jr., Didn’t Riot But He Changed the World” Thing?

First, MLK was relentlessly investigated by law enforcement authorities on suspicion of being a Communist. His supporters were abused and murdered by both civilians and law enforcement over the years. The FBI spent vastly more resources trying to demonstrate that he was causing riots as a paid agent of Soviet Communism than they ever spent investigating the endless murder threats to his life. And, of course, the FBI mounted multiple sting and other investigations to expose and exploit his all too human flaws, particularly his cheating on his wife. His life is hardly a good model of police-citizen relations.

Second, King faced endless, brutal criticism for the peaceful protests he led. Lots and lots of (mostly) white people insisted that now was not the time to protest, that social and political change would best happen at its own pace, over a long period. Heck, has anyone actually read “Letter from Birmingham Jail”? The whole thing is a response to a letter published in the Birmingham paper in which white ministers asked why an “outsider” like King would come to Birmingham to lead protests, leading to his famous response “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” There is never a convenient time for protest, or an acceptable way to demand change from majorities that like things the way they are. Martin Luther King may be an American saint now. But he wasn’t when he was alive. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Third, is it now required that we all be Martin Luther King? Is it required that we all have the patience to endure endless harassment and violence in order to be “worthy” to protest? Do remember that King himself had largely abandoned the philosophy of nonviolence at the time of his assassination. For example, he was only in Memphis in April 1968 supporting a direct action strike by sanitation workers in the city, an action LOTS of people would have called violently disruptive to the health of the community. His movement only seems beatific in retrospect, through the lens of the rioting and social chaos that ensued his marginalization in the later 1960s and 1970s.  There are no perfect protestors even when there is much to protest.

I do not think the Martin Luther King, Jr., you remember is the Martin Luther King, Jr., who actually lived. 

Me at the Birmingham anti austerity protest last week!!! Thousands showed up to protest against the Conservative party whom have more or less illustrated that they are completely unfit to not only rule the country but ever return to power, as they stifle the situation for the British working class daily. The right wing in Britain has continued to scapegoat refugees and as a first generation refugee, it was nice to see so many protest against the racist scapegoating of migrants!