Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 17, 2011

MLK Jr.’s spirit rises to the occasion

Filed under: african-american,Occupy Wall Street — louisproyect @ 10:20 pm


  1. I keep thinking King would hate that memorial. And I strongly suspect you won’t find this line of his there: “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.” —Martin Luther King

    Comment by Will Shetterly — October 17, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  2. How true and a wonderful quote Will.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — October 17, 2011 @ 11:47 pm


    1) Compared to a few days ago, the attitude of the police is noticeably different. They are not standing close to the edge of the site. They are not hurrying passersby along. They are mostly just standing around passively.

    2) Barriers remain along the west and north sides of the site. There is a stone wall on the south side. The east side, which faces Broadway (the busiest thoroughfare in Manhattan) is open.

    3) There are two focuses of energy: the southeast corner where the general assemblies are held and the southwest corner where there is constant drumming of about 6-8 drummers.

    4) Finally, there is a labor table. It was not manned nor was there any organized activity going on. The half a dozen people who were sitting around the table were all self-identified as union members, including one man from the structural ironworkers and one from the painters. This latter is interesting as during the time of the Civil Right Movement and the Vietnam War, the construction workers unions were the most reactionary.

    5) There was no sign whatsoever of organized left-wing activity: no stickers, posters, newsletters, tables, individuals leafletting, etc. THIS IS A FUCKING DISASTER, A SHAME AND SERVES TO EXPOSE THE WEAKNESS AND COWARDLINESS OF THE ORGANIZED LEFT.

    6) The site was noticeable cleaner and better organized. However, it should be noted that when I visited it last, it was disorganized but not particularly dirty.

    7) There is a noticeable absence of tension, probably having to do with the fact that the cops have been faced down and the mayor, may he rot in hell, backed off. I have read that the mayor’s live-in girlfriend is a stockholder in the company that actually owns the site.

    8) There is still virtually a complete absence of politics in the sense that the Left defines it. While there are constant little groups of people forming, reforming and talking, the issues are scattered and the discussions are unfocused and have a kind of casual nature. I may be projecting, but I get the distinct feeling that people are waiting for someone, some group, to make a definite statement or, at very least, provide a focus for the discussion.

    9) There is no indication of a coming together on a set of demands, goals, whatever. I heard people talking about: bribery of public officials, taxing the rich, use of hydrogen for power (I kid you not), etc. The self-identification of the occupiers as the “99%” is everywhere, but there is little beyond that in terms of a class analysis.

    10) The occupiers are mostly young, women and men, and beautifully ethnically mixed. Compared with a week ago, I would say there are less people hanging around the edges, less curiosity seekers and passersby. The novelty has worn off, but there is no “feeling” of jadedness. I do get an underlying feeling of impatience.

    11) To summarize, the Occupation is still at a pre-political stage. In my opinion, without the presence of organized workers, as part of their unions or as independent delegations from the unions (NYC is the most unionized city in the USA) and without the presence of the organized left, stagnation and frustration will soon begin to increase.

    12) Also, it should be noted, the weather is noticeably colder and it is getting dark markedly earlier than a month ago when the Occupation began.


    Comment by RED DAVE — October 18, 2011 @ 12:42 am

  4. Will, if only more people would learn lessons from the quote you posted from Dr. King.

    Herman Cain should go back and listen to the teachings of King.

    I feel so strongly about Cain because it tells you a lot about a man who has such a stereotypical view of his own race and looks down on all underprivileged Americans.

    He’ intolerant of people who have fallen on hard times.

    I’m sure that Dr. King wanted African-Americans to be able to achieve success as a result of the passing of the Civil Rights Act.

    I think it’s fair to say, I’m sure he would not have wanted a racial social class to feel they have climbed the latter so high that they are superior to the blacks who are still victims of circumstances they didn’t want or ask for.

    It’s a sub-class struggle within the black race and other ethnic communities, that can be classified as a cultural component per se of the main class struggle that affects all proletarian Americans against the bourgeois.

    Herman Cain’s comments are degrading and demeaning to all Americans who are unemployed and in poverty through no fault of their own, but he seems to be particvlarly harsh on black Americans who don’t have wealth.

    A man who can joke about erecting an electrified fence as to kill Mexicans who cross the border, is in serious need of sensitivity training.

    He can begin this training by listening to the statements and speeches of Dr. King and if he actually absorbs some of it, maybe there’s hope for him after all.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — October 18, 2011 @ 5:28 am

  5. Quite a few protesters yesterday were sporting the 1964 “jobs and freedom” buttons in Liberty Plaza yesterday: http://www.smithsonianlegacies.si.edu/objectdescription.cfm?ID=227

    Comment by Binh — October 18, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

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