First Published: The Vanguard April 11, 1968
Reprinted: World Revolution [journal of the U.S. Progressive Labor Party] Vol. 1, No. 3, Summer 1968
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The murder of Martin Luther King has greatly intensified the difficulties of the U.S. ruling class.
Martin Luther King was one of the safety valves for the U.S. ruling class.
He served a purpose for the U.S. Negro revolt akin to that of the labor party in workers’ revolt. That is, he acted as a focus for rebellion only to lead that rebellion into channels safe for U.S. capitalism. His non-violence, prayer, negotiations, patience, reason, etc., etc., were all designed to contain and sidetrack the ever growing revolt of the U.S. Negroes. To the U.S. ruling class he was a very important man. And this ruling class had spent a lot of effort in building him up as a Negro leader.
Such is the fascism and racism in the U.S. that King was murdered.
His real role was not fully understood. By some Negroes he was seen mistakenly as a symbol of hope: they believed in his liberating mission and did not understand the deception of his role. His death shows anyway the bankruptcy of the idea of ever coming to terms with capitalism, of non-violence, prayer, patience, reason. The only term is the complete overthrow of capitalism.
In his death, therefore, the opposite to that for which he stood is happening. The Negroes in the U.S. are taking their struggle into their own hands and rising up against the U.S. ruling class.
Of course they are branded as “looters,” “rioters,” “hooligans.” They are a splendid people rising in violent rebellion against their violent oppression.
All working people will support them.