Monday, January 18, 2010

Remembering MLK and Palestine today
As a libertarian I try not to be played by either side of the culture war. So I both admire King for what he was trying to do and for his courage but question some of the legal means, or everything George Wallace said about the US Constitution is true; Wallace’s infamous race-baiting doesn’t change that. (And Wallace wasn’t really a conservative but very much a Dixiecrat-like statist who wanted lots of federal pork projects to prop up Alabama’s economy.) And I consider both men part of a better time than the commonly understood ’60s: more a continuation of the ’50s when the real dog work for civil rights was done. The best answers come from Zora Neale Hurston and Ludwig von Mises: violating freedom of association is wrong but in a truly free, market society discrimination in the sense we’re talking about here ultimately hurts those who practise it so it goes away.

Every year I’m amused by the establishment’s bowdlerisation of the man and the holiday: any year now I’m expecting somebody to have a pet-charity activity in his name. (Imagine this picture with dogs and cats surrounding King and him saying or thinking ‘WTF?’)

If only King and his friends, the rednecks and the early Carl Oglesby SDS had got over themselves enough to sit down and talk to each other (moderated by Murray Rothbard and Frank Chodorov?) and said ‘no more’ to the government and being played by the two big parties... then the commonly understood ’60s might never have happened (no Vietnam War and no hippies). I have a dream...

Anyway this came into my inbox more in the true spirit of the man:
Today, we pause to remember the contributions of one of our country’s greatest leaders — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader in the movements for civil rights, peace, and a more equitable sharing of our nations resources. Forty-seven years ago, Dr. King wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” explaining why he and others had chosen the path of nonviolent direct action to struggle against institutionalized racism. Today, Palestinian activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah is in Israeli jail because of his own nonviolent struggle against oppression. The tireless effort of US Campaign activists has already pressured Israel to release two of Aballah’s colleagues. Your support can continue Dr. King’s legacy of boycott and nonviolence to advance human rights. Act now by giving a tax-deductible donation in memory of Dr. King to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Last week, the movement for Palestinian human rights celebrated a huge victory with the release from Israeli prison of two of its own heroes in the struggle for equal rights and a just peace: Palestinian grassroots anti-apartheid activists and boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigners Mohammad Othman and Jamal Juma’.

Together, US Campaign supporters and other members of international civil society played a vital role in their release. We sent thousands of emails to the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem pressuring U.S. Consul General Daniel Rubinstein to demand the release of Mohammad and Jamal.

The release of Jamal and Mohammad shows the importance of international grassroots pressure to secure the political and human rights of Palestinians struggling against the same variety of humiliation, brutality, and broken promises that Dr. King railed against in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” Donate now to help the US Campaign continue advocating for the release of Abdallah and organizing the boycott work called for by Palestinian activists putting themselves on the line. Please continue to send emails to demand the release of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the still-imprisoned leader of nonviolent protests against the Apartheid Wall in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, by clicking below. Donate now to help the US Campaign keep the pressure up to advocate for the release of Palestinian activists such as Abdallah.

On April 4, 1967, Dr. King gave his famous “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in New York City, in which he spoke eloquently of the need to oppose U.S.-sponsored violence:
I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.
Today, U.S. support for Israel’s illegal 42-year-old occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip represents one of the most important fronts in the struggle against U.S. militarism. And the US Campaign is the largest coalition of organizations working to end U.S. military aid to Israel, which is misused to commit human rights abuses against Palestinian in violation of U.S. and international law. Give today to support the important anti-militarism work of the US Campaign.

In a recent op-ed in the
New York Times, rockstar and U2 lead singer Bono expressed his desire for Palestinians to “find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi.” We know that not only has the movement for Palestinian rights already found its leaders of nonviolent resistance, but that these leaders are calling for exactly the kind of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns being organized nationally by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

On his release from Israeli prison, Jamal Juma’ credited international efforts to free him and called for a continuation of the international campaign to secure a just peace:
This international solidarity has given our popular struggle against the Wall further strength. We are deeply thankful for all the efforts. Yet, the latest arrests and continuous repression show that we have not yet defeated the Israeli policy as such, as Israel remains determined to silence Palestinian human rights defenders by all means.

We therefore need to ensure that the campaign for the freedom of all anti-wall activists and Palestinian political prisoners continues to grow. We have to combine our energies to ensure that the root cause — the Wall — will be torn down and the occupation will be brought to an end.
Support the work of continuing to grow the campaign for freedom from Israeli occupation and equal rights for all by clicking here.

As we remember Dr. King and celebrate the release of Jamal and Mohammad, let’s rededicate ourselves to the struggle for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine — and a U.S. policy that will make justice and peace possible.

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