This quote by Martin Luther King Jr. was unearthed in the “Right to Work” debate, and if it’s true, it’s huge:
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.
Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.”
Quote or no quote, this is the real King, eons away from the McDonald’s commercials and Republican lawmakers who now claim the Civil Rights leader as one of their own. King understood poverty just as well as he understand racism. He understood the interrelationship of the two – how racism birthed poverty – and how the impoverished were kept deliberately trapped in system designed to heap wealth into the coffers of plutocrats.
King was a witness to class warfare, understood that plutocrats had instigated the division, and knew that it was his job, as a man of God, to side with the poor and suffering. Unlike today’s African-American Christian leaders, such as Rev. Al Sharpton, King didn’t contemplate what the poor couldn’t obtain due to the political climate. Instead of engaging in hypothetical punditry, and putting space between himself and the poor, King put himself in the line of a bullet. That’s what King did. That’s what Al and all the rest will never do. They’re made men now… lest you forget.
When you consider King and his stance on poverty, consider this video. It gives me chills every time: