Dr Martin Luther King – On Poverty and War

Despite the huge opposition that Martin Luther King encountered when standing up for civil rights, that battle has been largely won. Most people accept that all races have a right to equality. I am not saying that we have achieved that. There is still much to be achieved. But it is largely accepted. Few people now support the racist segregationists and white supremacy nutcases. The KKK and Nazi groups are small minorities who are generally regarded as morally abhorrent by most white people.

Yet Dr Martin Luther King did not stop there. He was moving further. He spoke controversially about the role poverty plays in preventing people of all colour reaching their potential. That poverty is the application of choice. We choose to organise our societies to create extreme wealth and mass poverty. It does not have to be that way.

He also opposed the war in Vietnam and accused America as being a purveyor of mass violence around the world.

He related both poverty and the waging of war to that of equal rights.

A society gone mad on war cannot invest in alleviating poverty.

He pointed out that the USA (back in the 60s) spends $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier but only $53 on each person classified as poor! War is the enemy of the poor.

Perhaps instead of just listening to his wonderful speeches on civil rights we should also listen to his astute words on the our terrible enemies – poverty and war!

14 thoughts on “Dr Martin Luther King – On Poverty and War

      1. I didn’t read a direct quote, but I’ll trust you.
        He was wrong as is yourself.
        Official archives are available. Trust them.

    1. Think yourself lucky there’s no money on this as I’d clean you out.
      You don’t know where he got his figures, but you think he was spot on? It’s not that surprising that you’ve only had 4 thoughts. LOL
      Quite why you’re so sure even you don’t know as he didn’t write all his speech content himself.
      In a speech he also said Moses parted the sea for his people to walk.
      Yup, spot on.

      What’s your take on Nelson’s victory at Waterloo?

  1. I do not really care if he was accurate about the figures. It is utterly immaterial isn’t it? It was the principal that was the important point. You are missing the whole thrust by bogging yourself down in silly unimportant details. He was spot on. We waste huge sums waging war and could be spending it tackling overpopulation, poverty and conservation.

    1. I’d like to think that I’d got the principal important point a while back decades ago which is perhaps why I also know the true cost.
      Different times in US back then and a whole other set of priorities with the Commie Red, Yellow Peril, oil supply and military expansion as their number one concerns.
      The plight of the humble black just wasn’t on their radar.
      We also didn’t need MLK to remind us of the cost of war as this was completely irrelevant regards his endeavours for black persons human rights.

      You have forgotten why the US was in Vietnam in the first place, haven’t you?
      And dear old MLK didn’t live to put the equation together.
      Vietnam was US foreign policy – military expansion policy planning to develop new weapons, test these weapons and subsequently sell these weapons to any other interested buyers.
      I think they got their money back with a cherry on the top.

      1. What sort of a question is that?
        See lines three to five above. What’s not to believe when we saw the effect take place over a large part of east Asia and eastern Europe.

        There is no connection between the spread of Communism and the testing of new weapons. It needn’t be either/ or, it was both simultaneously. US was quite able to monitor and engage in prevention of spread whilst using conventional weapons. The testing of new weapons such as Napalm and Agent Orange was an extra added bonus.

  2. Sigh. I agree that we are more than willing to spend huge amounts on warfare in order to fill the coffers of the merchants of death and their bankers. I guess I wouldn’t be so bitter about this if there was an acknowledgment of the plight of the poor by government and a real attempt to balance the spending. The merchants of death and their bankers care not one whit for world peace and security because that would impoverish them. Let’s be honest about this issue and damn the nit-picking over statistics!

      1. But let’s understand why intervention into another territory is sometimes necessary. Do I have to remind you that war with Japan wasn’t just the fact that Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, it was also the threat that Japan could command the high seas and seriously impact US trade. The US has always looked to secure free passage of the Pacific region.
        Sometimes the merchants of death and those that care not one whit for world peace are sitting on the other side.
        MLK simply had some trouble weighing up the values of internal policy, specifically segregation and used this as leverage against the values of foreign policy protectionism. On his part all it really added up to was a spot of sloganeering and whilst effective on first glance was actually of very little substance. He could have picked figures from the costs of Lunar landing missions – but because they were ultra popular, sensibly chose not to criticise that avenue of expenditure.

  3. I think Pearl Harbour had something to do with it.
    MLK used words to create change. He motivated, organised and changed things. His words and his delivery was powerful.

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