we need to complicate the dominant discourse on martin luther king……

3 years after the watts rebellion, en exactly 1 year after MLK gave his well known speech at the Riverside church in New York, he was assassinated……..

empathetically we might ask ourselves why the dream speech has overshadowed in popular discourse, all the more complex analyses he attempted to present en for example, in the riverside speech…….

he said…my experience in the ghettoes of the north over the last 3 years, especially over the last 3 summers, as I have walked among the desperate, rejected en angry young men, I have told them that Moltov cocktails en rifles would not solve their problems, I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion, while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action,

but they asked, en rightfully so, what about vietnam?

they asked if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence, to solve it’s problems, to bring (home) to bring about the changes it wanted…

their questions hit home en I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettoes without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,
my own government.

for the sake of these boys,
for the sake of this government,
for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence,
I cannot be silent…

en so this was the King we were mourning, en we knew that he was considered a menace to the government, although now ofcourse he is the perhaps the most important figure in the pantheon of U.S Democracy, and as we know is praised by Progressives and Conservatives alike….

and so we decided to declare a day of mourning in Los Angeles, on April 5th….
en we had the audacity to declare a day of mourning for the entire city, en we took ourselves seriously….

without fanie lou hamer, barack obama is inconceivable, en I rarely hear that historical memory evoked in connection with what is seen as an uprecedented presidential election campaign…

but fanie lou hamer was not so much an exceptional individual, as she was a womyn who was willing to take the risk of becoming an agent en envoy of her people, en she was organically connected to all of those people who constituted the  freedom movement, many of whom ofcourse she did not know….

….need to think about what it means to build community, en how community nourishes the individual, perhaps more than the individual nourishes the community, certain insights, certain imaginations, certain aspirations en dreams elude individuals, but arise out of the ties that bind people to each other, the ties and relations that create community.

en so I like to use the term communities of struggle, or,  communities of resistance, not so much to refer to a group of individuals who bring their own individual capacities together to create a collective, I’d like to use these terms to point to something that is qualitatively different from the individual, a collective capacity that is so much more than the sum of individual capacities.

these communities of struggle produce collective subjects, the sense of community includes those whom we do not personally know, those who do not necessarily inhabit our physical communities, those who don’t necessarily live in the U.S, those who are barred from citizenship, undocumented immigrants for example…..aboriginal people, who still suffer….our community should embrace all of these peoples….

(see also the case of Ayiti, Cuba, DRC en Iraq….)

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