From a 1982 book review in which Garry Wills argued that Martin Luther King, Jr. knew he “would have to accept his own death” if he were to play a leading role in the civil rights movement:
…He did not do it all at once; he hoped to slip away from the appointment he had made. But it was soon clear to him, as to others around him, that one could not challenge the entire moral basis of a society’s racial arrangements without being jailed, beaten, and (finally) killed. Going to jail meant risking death from inmates as well as guards, and he went to jail nineteen times… More here.
James Wolcott makes a disturbing point in reacting to the NYPD’s use of LRADs — Long Range Acoustic Devices, a.k.a. sound cannons — against Occupy Wall Street protesters. He quotes from an ACLU report on the damage inflicted on the human body by these devices, and writes:
This is what happens when counterterrorism becomes the justification for the high-tech, SWAT-team-mentality militarization of police enforcement. Had police departments possessed such weaponized disrupters during the civil rights era, they would have trained them on freedom marchers, so much tidier than the water cannons unleashed in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963.
The same battles are still being fought. The cops have a new arsenal, but the people have picture phones.
Chris Hedges, plainly stating why “liberal” has become a dirty word not only to right-wingers but to many thinkers and activists on the left:
Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands. This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart.
Obama blew it. That’s the point of a long piece in today’s NYT by an exasperated academic who has stopped pretending Obama is the second coming of Martin Luther King. Instead, he asks sobering and long-overdue questions (overdue in the mainstream media, that is).