Monday, 17 January 2011

Being on the right side of the world revolution

The words of Martin Luther King are just as relevant today. Note how the use of language changes: 'revolution' is a word now closely paired with violence or terrorism in mainstream western political discourse.

These words are from his first public anti-Vietnam war speech on 4 April 1967. It marks the broadening of his campaigning from racial segregation into wider issues of unjust war, poverty and global injustice. He became a threat to power, and some powerful people made the decision to silence him. Exactly one year later he was assassinated:

"...the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered"