Saturday, December 29, 2007

MLKing's Letter from Birmingham Jail: Paul Rosenberg, on Open Left,

has a lenghty, erudite excursus up, in which he reminds us its continuing relevance and pertinence to the project of social liberation and civil liberty, and includes the following remarkable text--which I admit to having neglected and forgotten. It was written to the white clerical establishment which was chastising Rev. King for his impatience, in the cause of civil rights for black Americans. Calling him an 'out-side agitator,' they warned him that his 'attitude' was not 'helping his cause.'

King replies (in part):
"...I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
Lo, hear the voices of the oppressed net-roots, ye Democratic apparatat-chiks and corporatist minions!

This could be posted in the cubicle of every DLC/DCCC functionary and satrap and be read daily accompanying the Maoist calisthenics.

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