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View Diary: Could the 2008 Election be Like the 1932 Election? (339 comments)

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  •  So the Civil Rights movement never happened? (0+ / 0-)

    Civil Rights weren't run by writing letters and lobbying.  They were won by people who were seen as barely better than animals or children asserting their own humanity by disrupting and defying a centuries-old social order.  When African Americans proved that they were wiling and able to fuck up the established (White) order, established power reluctantly agreed to let them vote and eat in their restaurants (if, as MLK later famously observed, they could afford it), in exchange for African Americans calming down, getting back to work and buying into the reformed system.

    The Civil Rights Act was a classic compromise along the lines of the New Deal -- agree to a compromise reform in order to forestall more fundamental and threatening changes.  Make a deal with Dr. King so that you don't need to deal with that awful Mr. X, just like making a deal with Mr. Roosevelt (who, after all, was a member of the ruling class), rather than dealing with that sweaty hick Mr. Long.  

    So I think the pattern of threat and compromise was pretty similar.  And within a few years even MLK himself realized the huge inadequacies of the Civil Rights Act, started talking about socialism and organizing general strikes, and was assassinated.

    "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

    by Pesto on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 06:16:13 PM PST

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    •  It Passed OVER the Opposition of Those... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, DemocraticLuntz

      ...who it was most challenging, the Southern Democrats.  

      As for the "compromise" on the Civil Rights Act, I don't know what you're talking about.  

      And MLK never organized in or participated in a "general strike."  

      Again, this sounds like a bunch of stuff out of one of those tracts the Sparts pass out.  Wooly-headed romanticism about general strikes and the like, that all we need are the Kronstadt sailors to rebel, and we'll have the workers paradise.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 06:37:37 PM PST

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      •  Here was what MLK said (0+ / 0-)

        in Memphis, to the striking garbage workers, on March 18, 1968, less than a month before he was assassinated:

        If we are going to get equality, if we are going to get adequate wages, we are going to have to struggle for it. Now, you know what, you may have to escalate the struggle a bit. If they keep refusing, and they will not recognize the union, and will not decree further check-off for the collection of dues, I'm telling you what you ought to do, and you're together here enough to do it. In a few days you ought to get together and just have a general work stoppage in the city of Memphis.

        If you let that day come, not a Negro in this city will go to any job downtown. And no Negro in domestic service will go to anybody's house, anybody's kitchen. And black students will not go to anybody's school, and black teachers, and they will hear you then. The city of Memphis will not be able to function that day. All I'm saying is you've got to put the pressure on.

        Emphasis added.  He went on to say:

        If you let that day come, not a Negro in this city will go to any job downtown. And no Negro in domestic service will go to anybody's house, anybody's kitchen. And black students will not go to anybody's school, and black teachers, and they will hear you then. The city of Memphis will not be able to function that day. All I'm saying is you've got to put the pressure on.

        This is why we have decided that we're going to Washington. We are going to the seat of government, starting out in April. We are going around the question of jobs or income. We aren't going to Washington to beg, we are going to Washington to demand what is ours.

        snip

        I ask you to make this the beginning of the Washington movement, to go in by the thousands. And help us stand up nonviolently yet militantly. We are going to plague Congress. Documents have been written. They say what ought to be done. But nothing has been done. Nothing is ever done until you put the pressure on.

        Read the whole speech at the link I gave above.  It's amazing.  Oh, and incidentally, the link takes you to the website of that well-known Sparticist-sympathizing, communist-riddled organization, the American Federation of Teachers.

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 06:56:44 PM PST

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        •  I Know the Difference Between a General Strike... (0+ / 0-)

          ...and a labor union strike, which was what the Memphis santitation workers' strike was.  They were AFSCME members, and they weren't involved in a "general strike," which we have only happened a couple times in the US.

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 07:42:15 PM PST

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          •  Read what MLK said (0+ / 0-)

            he explicit states that he wants "a general work stoppage in the city of Memphis" a day on which "not a single Negro" will work downtown, or in someone's house, when no black students and no black teachers will go to school.  It will be a day on which "the city of Memphis will not be able to function."

            Now, he does seem to be talking only of African-Americans, so in that sense it's not a total general strike, but he clearly expects the entire community -- students included -- to participate, and he expects to shut the city down completely.

            You're right that a Memphis general strike (or general, African-American strike) never took place.  James Earl Ray took care of that, along with MLK's plans for the Poor People's Campaign.  I think our disagreement on this point may be due to the way I phrased things in my original comment:  I meant that MLK was "talking about Socialism and [about] organizing general strikes" -- but I see how my wording is ambiguous there.

            In any case, MLK was talking about a lot more than AFSCME members not picking up the garbage, and, especially in a country with a limited history of general strikes, as you point out, I think it's fair to characterize what MLK was calling for as a general strike.  And it's what MLK saw as the next logical, necessary step in the struggle.

            "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

            by Pesto on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 07:58:01 PM PST

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