The Hidden Radicalism of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King in 1968 was an active socialist. He was trying to build an interracial coalition to end the Vietnam War and was fighting for guaranteed annual incomes for all.

In fact, his son, MLK III, stated to NEWSWEEK, “The economic movement was why he was killed, frankly.”

Dr. King’s family has gone on record confirming that the government, most likely with Lyndon Johnson’s approval, feared King might topple the “power structure” and had him assassinated.

Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King can be seen moving away the largely ineffective Christian rhetoric that made whites more comfortable in America, and rather towards a radicalism that only calcified as time progressed.

James Baldwin said that King and Malcolm X began “at what seemed to be very different points… representing very different philosophies,” but “by the time each met his death there was practically no difference between them.”

1968 was supposed to be the official launch of the Poor People’s Campaign. A movement to shed light on the United States’ chronic poverty, systemic racism, inadequate housing and the need to dismantle capitalism along with ending imperialism.

The demands of the campaign included:

  • $30 billion annual appropriation to fight poverty [$213 billion today]
  • Congressional passage of full employment
  • Guaranteed annual wage
  • Construction of 500,000 low-cost housing units to eliminate slums
  • Petition the government to pass an Economic Bill of Rights

In fact, Dr. King was so radical, he orchestrated a massive march for April 22, 1968, that would culminate in a permanent tent encampment in Washington, D.C. titled “Resurrection City” until their demands were met.

And on April 7th, Martin Luther King, Jr. was supposed to deliver the fiery speech, “America May Go to Hell”, exposing the United States blatant hypocrisies and igniting the radical social movement of the PPC in the process. But sadly he never got the chance to do either, as he was assassinated three days before his speech, April 4th, 1968.

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