Capitalism thrives on the exploitation of the poor

Let’s observe Martin Luther King day via a piece by Tavis Smiley in December 2017:

On Aug. 31, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech entitled “The Three Evils of Society” at the National Conference of New Politics.

Since it’s not the “I Have A Dream” speech, most of my fellow citizens are unacquainted with the text of this particular address, delivered just eight months before his assassination in Memphis, April 4, 1968. And, even if we were familiar with it, it’s not exactly the kind of speech that the corporate media would be quoting with enthusiasm.

Consider what King had to say that day:

“We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice,” said King. “The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor — both black and white, here and abroad.”

Let’s hear Mike Pence tell us again that Trump is like King. Let’s hear Trump tell us again that “we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.”

He went on to boldly declare that, “The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”

See what I mean? Who really wants to wrestle with that? Anyone? Anyone?

A radical redistribution of political and economic power.

By the time King gave this speech, he was no longer on the list of most admired Americans. The radical King was now being ridiculed by fervent foes and former friends. The truth he was telling was too hot to handle.

He was getting too close to the money. They’ll give up even the racism before they’ll give up the money.

Even as a bullet with his name on it chased him all around America in his final year, King kept reminding us that the inseparable twin of racial injustice is economic injustice.

“Many white Americans of goodwill have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice. But these two evils have a malignant kinship.”

As they bear witness to the increasing racial unrest in our nation, and some even denounce white supremacy, our national leaders in Washington still haven’t made the connection, the “malignant kinship” between poverty and race.

And they’re not going to, because the poverty is too precious to them. The divine right to pay workers as little as you can possibly get away with is sacred.

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