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Martin Luther King and Communism
< Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom | 1957 | Martin Luther King Jr

Posted on 12/29/2002 3:10:55 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright

"During the Christmas holidays of 1949 I decided to spend my spare time reading Karl Marx to try to understand the appeal of communism for many people. For the first time I carefully scrutinized *Das Kapital* and *The Communist Manifesto.* I also read some interpretive works on the thinking of Marx and Lenin. In reading such Communist writings I drew certain conclusions that have remained with me as convictions to this day. First, I rejected their materialistic interpretation of history. Communism, avowedly secularistic and materialistic, has no place for God. This I could never accept, for as a Christian, I believe that there is a creative personal power in the universe who is the ground and essence of all reality-a power that cannot be explained in materialistic terms. History is ultimately guided by spirit, not matter.

Second, I strongly disagreed with communism's ethical relativism. Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything-force, violence murder, lying-is a justifiable means to the 'millennial' end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me. Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is pre- existent in the means.

Third, I opposed communism's political totalitarianism. In communism, the individual ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxists would argue that the state is an 'interim' reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state is the end while it lasts, and man is only a means to that end. And if man's so-called rights and liberties stand in the way of that end, they are simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state.

This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as means to the end of the state; but always as an end within himself."

Martin Luther King Jr., *Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story* (New York: Harper and Row, 1957), 92-93


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: communism; individualism; karlmarx; martinlutherking
The King bashers, of course, have rarely bothered to read King in the original....so this deserves a special posting.

King had his problems but the early stages of his movement deserve the applause of conservatives. He was a "doer" who used the tools of the market to fight segregation. BTW, he voted for Eisenhower in 1956. It is true that he became more statist later but he was never a communist. He could have chosen better associates at times but he tended to rely on people who got things done. Had conservatives embraced his brave on the ground fight against state-enforced segregation from the beginning, they could have filled these roles and could have shaped his movement from within. They failed to do this and now have little cause to complain.

1 posted on 12/29/2002 3:10:56 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Who can argue with King's assertion that we should just people based on character, not on skin color. Unfortunately, so much of civil rights law has now been perverted to make it illegal to judge people on their character, if such a character judgment would impact one group more than another. For example, employers can't ask about criminal history, because some ethnic groups have more criminals than others. An employer can't require a high school education of all its employees, in order to have a higher caliber of employees, because some ethnic groups drop out of high school at higher rates than others. It goes on and on.



I
2 posted on 12/29/2002 3:21:07 PM PST by lady lawyer
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To: mhking
ping
3 posted on 12/29/2002 3:25:17 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: lady lawyer
bttt
4 posted on 12/29/2002 3:54:37 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Good read. Thanks for the post.
5 posted on 12/29/2002 4:07:22 PM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: 11th Earl of Mar
Your welcome.
6 posted on 12/29/2002 4:09:34 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
King was a plagiarist, womanizer and denier of key tenets of his faith. In short, he was a hypocrite of the first rank. To take "King in the original" as anything other than suspect is to believe Clinton in the original: "I didn't have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky...."

America's Fifth Column ... watch Steve Emerson/PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
New Link: Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)

Who is Steve Emerson?

7 posted on 12/29/2002 4:39:34 PM PST by JCG
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To: lady lawyer
Who can argue with King's assertion that we should judge people based on character, not on skin color.

Yes! Regardless of King's faults, real or imagined, just as Jefferson's words ring of truth in the Declaration, so do Kings from his Wash. DC speech.

8 posted on 12/29/2002 4:50:33 PM PST by elbucko
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To: JCG
In other words, you don't want to actually read what the man wrote or objectively want to assess his accomplishments.
9 posted on 12/29/2002 5:36:15 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
In other words, you don't want to actually read what the man wrote or objectively want to assess his accomplishments.

In other words, what a known liar says about himself is suspect. For example I doubt "King in the original" has anything to say about his "open bed policy." But his chief lieutenant, Ralph Abernathy, had a whole lot to say about it.

As to King's accomplishments, he did lead the way to ending Jim Crow and that was a good thing.

America's Fifth Column ... watch Steve Emerson/PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
New Link: Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)

Who is Steve Emerson?

10 posted on 12/29/2002 5:43:39 PM PST by JCG
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Thank you - It has been a long time since I last read this.

It should be required reading for all elected officials, but I fear that most lack the foundation to understand it.
11 posted on 12/29/2002 5:51:40 PM PST by Mike Darancette
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To: Austin Willard Wright
huge bumps - thanks!
12 posted on 12/29/2002 6:10:52 PM PST by lodwick
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To: Austin Willard Wright; JCG
Bumped for MLK - a fine American doing the right thing.

Letter from Birmingham Jail.

13 posted on 12/29/2002 6:16:20 PM PST by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

14 posted on 12/29/2002 7:12:41 PM PST by mhking
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To: JCG; mhking
But his chief lieutenant, Ralph Abernathy, had a whole lot to say about it.

Yes, Bro. Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy (Kappa Alpha Psi) did speak out about this. He even called Je$$e a liar in public about King dying in his arms.


Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy
March 21, 1926 - April 17, 1990

Birth of Tha SYNDICATE, the philosophical heir to William Lloyd Garrison.
101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that Internet Explorer cannot.

15 posted on 12/29/2002 7:58:01 PM PST by rdb3
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To: Austin Willard Wright
bump
16 posted on 12/29/2002 8:01:49 PM PST by foreverfree
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To: rdb3
Abernathy, of course, also supported Reagan in 1980. Perhaps King too would have had he lived.

King was a flawed man but nobody who studies him can avoid the conclusion that he was brilliant and thoughtful. He was a giant in this respect compared to Jackson, Sharpton, etc. The King of the 1950s, as reflected in this quote, had fundamentally libertarian inclinations on many basic issues. He went off the deep end in the 1960s and led the crazy, statist Poor Peoples Movement (aptly described a sa beg in) but this does not undermine his earlier accomplishments.

17 posted on 12/29/2002 8:28:18 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Second, I strongly disagreed with communism's ethical relativism

As I recall it, this was a major point of discussion between the different factions within the "movement" in the 60's, both before and after King's death. Generally speaking the CORE people(and in Chicago the "Al Raby" people) held to moral absolutes. Certainly that was true of the CORE people I knew in Chicago and Mississippi.

The SNCC people (and in Chicago, many of the Alinsky people) were much quicker to take the attitude later expressed as "whatever it takes".

The movement was not monolithic. In Chicago Leon Depres was the only White liberal Democrat to support the movement. While numerous White Republican State Reps actively supported it. The Democrat machine actively opposed it. Even the Blacks in the Democrat machine blocked renaming South Parkway to Martin Luther King Drive for over 10 years after his death.

But nationally, the image of Nixon adopting the "Southern Strategy" of Howard Phillips and Pat Buchanan set the stage for the next 30 years. Look where Howard Phillips and Pat Buchanan are now in relationship to the Republican Party. Nobody bent principle for political expediency more than those three.

Now somebody pass me the teflon.

18 posted on 12/29/2002 8:50:58 PM PST by spintreebob
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To: lady lawyer
An employer can't require a high school education of all its employees, in order to have a higher caliber of employees, because some ethnic groups drop out of high school at higher rates than others.

Where did you get that?

19 posted on 12/30/2002 5:45:08 AM PST by Ditto
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Had conservatives embraced his brave on the ground fight against state-enforced segregation from the beginning, they could have filled these roles and could have shaped his movement from within. They failed to do this and now have little cause to complain.

Thanks for posting this. Sometimes have wondered what would have happened if MLK had lived. Bet Jesse Jackson would not have become as powerful as he once was based on his lies.

20 posted on 12/30/2002 7:10:49 AM PST by PhiKapMom
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To: Ditto
That's a famous Supreme Court case, whose name escapes me right now. It helped establish the "disparate impact" theory of discrimination. It is against the law to discriminate deliberately. It is also against the law to discriminate by accident -- that is, to have policies that negatively impact one group more than another. In that particular supreme court case, if I remember correctly, a factory required all its workers to have a high school diploma. The courts held that there was no relationship between a high school education and the ability to do some of the jobs at the factory, for instance, janitorial work. Without proof of such a relationship, the high school diploma requirement was discriminatory because some protected minority groups had more high school dropouts than the white population.
21 posted on 12/30/2002 8:15:45 AM PST by lady lawyer
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten; traditionalist
fyi
22 posted on 01/20/2003 8:57:12 AM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Cuttnhorse
FYI. Your thoughts on this specific piece of evidence based on primary sources would be appreciated.
23 posted on 01/20/2003 1:01:06 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: secretagent
You forgot about Charles Evers. Also, Alveda King, a big fan of her uncle, supported Dubya, attacked affirmative action, and supports vouchers.
24 posted on 01/20/2003 1:22:23 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
Yes, but did Charles Evers come from the left or the right? He ran prostitutes back then, remains unrepentant about that, so he won't bear much referencing to.

Alveda King did have a minor role as a youngster swept up in the events: 'During the years of the Civil Rights Movement, led by her Uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alveda's family home was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama. During the heat of the struggle. "Daddy's house was bombed, then in Louisville, Kentucky his church office was bombed. I was also jailed during the open housing movement," she recalls.'

But again, she probably didn't join the Republican party back then.

Thanks for these two references though - I'd never heard of either before.

25 posted on 01/21/2003 1:19:23 PM PST by secretagent
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To: wideawake
"It it talks like a duck...." I am interested in your specific response to these specific words of King because they would seem to contradict your "duck" theory. In fact, few freepers have ever so effectively criticized Communism.
26 posted on 01/25/2003 10:43:01 AM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
My specific response:

(1) King had to publicly reject Communism in 1957. Too many people associated with his movement were out-and-out Reds. In order to avoid trouble he made these statements.

I will add that in 1959 Fidel Castro made similar statements himself - and we know how that turned out.

(2) If King really despised Communism for its "moral relativism" why did he continue to associate with Communists like Bayard Rustin?

There are only three possible reasons: (a) He was a Communist posing as a non-Communist; (b) he was too stupid to realize that Rustin was a vocal Communist (doubtful) or (c) he was willing to use Communists to help in his movement while ignoring the fact that they were fighting against everything he claimed to believe in. If the latter were the case, then he stands as a proponent of the same moral relativism that he accused the Communists of practicing.

(3) The "Poor People's Movement" in its rhetoric and in its platform was identical with Bolshevik ideology.

(4) He talks about the divine order and God - but his sermons and speeches are famously devoid of any supernatural content - in all of King's work the Kingdom of God is here and now and is found in the form of creature comforts and political power. The supernatural is nonexistent for King except as a source of rhetorical fuel for his extremely secular fire.

27 posted on 01/25/2003 10:25:20 PM PST by wideawake
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To: wideawake
Out and out Reds in King's movement? The only one I know is Levinson, who was a confirmed commie at the time and remained one. The rest is pure innuendo.

If Castro ever denounced the philosophical and applied basis of even theoretical communism is even close to the enthusiastic and thoughtful terms as King did, I would be curious to see your reference.

If King was a commie before 1956, he was certainly a strange one. He endorsed Ike in 1956 and often praised Vice President Nixon's civil rights record, two actions very much contrary the party line. I can provide the references if you wish.

King specifically and at length denied that he was a social gospelite in Stride for Freedom. He specifically criticized the Social Gospel overemphasis on worldly things and its view that society could be perfected.

Read the Collected Writings of King and you will find many sermons which stress the importance of spirituality. As Baptists go, King was something of a moderate doctrinally....but not a securalist or quasi-Unitarian. One of his most famous sermons, which discussed the dangers of avoiding churches which either "burn up" or "freeze up," stressed the need for churches to maintain spirituality while at the same tackling have application to the lives of parishioners.

Abernathy, even after he endorsed and campaigned for Reagan in 1980 and exposed King's affairs, always rejected the charge that King had been a commie. By endorsing Reagan, and discussing King's sexual habits, btw, Abernathy had been disowned by the civil rights establishment, and thus no incentive to cover up for King.

Charles Evers, who knew King well, has also rejected the Commie charge. King's niece Alveda, disowned by the family because of her support for vouchers, criticism of gays, and support for Bush, also defends her uncle on this issue. The same is true (I believe) with James Meredith who even endorsed David Duke and thus would have no reason to cover for King. Can you name *anyone* associated with King who now claims he was a commie?

Bayard Rustin had been a commie (so was Eugene Genovese and, so I remember, Irving Kristol) but had long since broken with the party and denounced it on many....many occasions. Long before he died, Rustin had become a died-in-the wool social Democrat. Hence, Rustin was closely associated with Norman Thomas, a social democrat who zealously avoided communist connections. I wouldn't call the Poor People's Movement "Bolshevik" but it was certainly a crazy, leftist, and extreme movement of moochers. Having said that, it was near the end of King's career. It was also during the late 1960s when a lot of otherwise sane people went crazy. King was a very different man in 1967 than he had been in 1957 or 1963.

28 posted on 01/26/2003 8:50:55 AM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: wideawake
Bayard Rustin had been a member of the CP in the 1930s but quit shortly after the Berlin/Moscow pact. He was a consistent critic of the Soviet Union after that.

Though he was a social democrat with pacifist inclinations, he was started to work closely with neo-cons in the 1970s. He condemned the PLO as terrorists, organized public campaigns against Soviet persecution of the Jews, spoke out against the Soviet Union's use of Cuban troops in Africa, and became a spokesman for the anti-Communist Freedom House which supported the view "that no matter the alternative was, Soviet domination could be worse." Daniel Levine, Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement (Rutgers University Press, 2000), 20, 237.

29 posted on 01/28/2003 7:20:57 AM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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