Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King's Radical Anticommunism: Selected quotes on Communism (1956 - 1967)

“Words have the power to make things happen.” - Frederick Buechner
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Annual Service of Tribute 2020
 Yesterday attended the National Cathedral's observance of the "Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Annual Service of Tribute." During the service there were readings from Letter from Birmingham Jail mixed with recorded excerpts of Reverend Dr. King reading it. There was also a lot of music, and calls to continue the work towards achieving the beloved community. 

Today, over social media the debates and exchanges with different sides attempting to claim him as their own. Yet, when he died on April 4, 1968 he was being targeted by all sides. Today, as in 1968, the words communist and socialist get thrown around a lot. 


Many know of the FBI wiretapping Martin Luther King Jr., monitoring of the Civil Rights Movement, and active measures against the civil rights leader but fewer know of the campaign waged against him by Soviet intelligence, also known as the KGB. The reality is that he challenged both systems.

Many are aware of Reverend King's radical criticisms of Capitalism, but how many remember his radical criticisms of Communism?  Radical is defined here as going to the roots. Below are some of the key statements made by Reverend King on communism over the decade he was most politically active. 
"You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth." - Martin Luther King Jr. Paul's Letter to American Christians (1956)

"Communism, avowedly secularistic and materialistic, has no place for God.4 This I could never accept, for as a Christian I believe that there is a creative personal power in this universe who is the ground and essence of all reality—a power that cannot be explained in materialistic terms. History is ultimately guided by spirit, not matter." - Martin Luther King Jr. Stride to Freedom (1958)

"Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything—force, violence, murder, lying—is a justifiable means to the “millennial” end.5 This type of relativism was abhorrent to me." - Martin Luther King Jr. Stride to Freedom (1958)
 "Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is pre-existent in the mean."  - Martin Luther King Jr. Stride to Freedom (1958)
"In communism the individual ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxist would argue that the state is an “interim” reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state is the end while it lasts, and man only a means to that end. And if any man’s so-called rights or liberties stand in the way of that end, they are simply swept aside."  - Martin Luther King Jr. Stride to Freedom (1958)

"His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state." - Martin Luther King Jr. Stride to Freedom (1958)

"Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself." - Martin Luther King Jr. Stride to Freedom (1958)

"Listen to Lenin as he says 'Lying, deceit, violence, concealing and withholding the truth are all justifiable means to bring about the end of the classless society.'  This is the great weakness and tragedy of communism and any other system that argues that the end justifies the means, for in a real sense, the end is pre-existent in the means; the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process. In the long run of history, immoral means cannot bring about moral ends. Destructive means cannot bring about constructive goals." - Martin Luther King Jr. Address to Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa (1962) 
Cornell College (1962)
“If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.” - MLK Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)
 "This is the faith I commend to you Christians here in Berlin. A living, active, massive faith that affirms the victory of Jesus Christ over the world, whether it be an Eastern world or a Western world." - Martin Luther King Jr. East or West – God’s Children (1964)
 "There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.  This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism." - Martin Luther King Jr. Beyond Vietnam (1967)
"We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy [applause], realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice." - Martin Luther King Jr. Beyond Vietnam (1967)

"We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops." - Martin Luther King Jr. Beyond Vietnam (1967)

"As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems."- Martin Luther King Jr. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence (1967)  
Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)
Martin Luther King Jr. had a radical critique of American society, but despite his own claims at times, was not a revolutionary. He repeatedly challenged the United States to live up to its own aspired ideals and sought through nonviolent action and democratic norms, reforms to end segregation and ensure voting rights for African AmericansReverend King's political outlook could best be described as falling within what is called Christian Democracy. This political school occupies the center with parties on the center left and the center right, but like Reverend King are based on a Christian view of humanity in which "every individual is considered unique and must be treated with dignity."

Mohandas Gandhi, who greatly influenced King, also spoke of social responsibility and trusteeship. He also warned that the state was a "soulless machine" that did not look out for the poor. Gandhi, a self-described socialist, was not an enthusiastic proponent of an expanded social-welfare state. Reverend King spoke of social democracy with an emphasis on democracy, but he also spoke of the need to shift "from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society."

The critique made by both King and Gandhi of a "thing-oriented" society or the state as a "soulless machine" looks to the person or the individual not an economic mechanism  or economic class.  The focus is on the human person and polices that recognize and respect the uniqueness of each human being and their dignity.

The Konrad Adeneur Foundation in their publication Christian Democracy: Principles and Policy Making offers a vision of this made reality in what is known as the social market economy.  This is a departure from a strict market economy, focused on individuals as economic units and one that is arrived at through a process of reforms, not revolution.

This was a challenge to the existing order of the United States, but one that rejected communism, and that was rooted in the Christian tradition.  Perhaps, this is what scared so many powerful people.

Why do you think both the FBI and the KGB targeted Martin Luther King Jr.? Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Fake elections in Cuba

Fraudulent change in Cuba, the latest example

 
Yesterday, this blog revealed that the last free election held in Cuba was in 1950. Today we translate the tweet from independent journalist and blogger Yoani Sanchez who briefly reports on yesterday's vote as follows:
#Cuba Without the possibility of choosing between one candidate and another, without announcing the names previously, without campaign proposals, without a program for future action, without access to the accredited press ... so were the "votes" for governors in this island...
 Below is the original tweet in Spanish:


The so-called election of provincial governors and vice-governors was a fake election and Cubans are tired of these fraudulent exercises that are now in their 61st year.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Cuba's last free election was in 1950. Cubans want to change that.

Fake change continues in Cuba.

Regime propaganda. No free elections in Cuba since June 1, 1950
Today there is a farce underway in Cuba that the Castro regime calls an "election."  The reality is that the last free national election in Cuba was held on June 1, 1950, and it was a parliamentary election.

Cuba's last democratic president, Carlos Prio Socarras, was elected by Cubans in free and fair elections on July 1, 1948 and assumed office on October 10, 1948.

Sadly, on March 10, 1952 Fulgencio Batista staged a coup against President Prio that ended Cuban democracy, established a military dictatorship and opened the path for something even worse in 1959 with the arrival of Castro's totalitarian dictatorship that has ruled Cuba with an iron fist for 61 years.

President Prío met with Castro in Mexico and financed him with the objective of restoring democracy in Cuba. The goal publicly claimed by Fidel Castro as early as 1953. Prio also returned to Cuba to dialogue with Batista in 1955, to achieve a negotiated restoration of democracy but was forced out again at gun point in 1956.

Carlos Prío would return to Cuba again in January 1959 with Batista's ouster pushing for a democratic restoration. Only to depart for exile again in December 1960 as President Prío saw Castro turning the government into a communist military dictatorship.  He continued his resistance to the Castro regime until his death in Miami in April 1977.

However, over six decades there has been a democratic resistance and those voices continues to cry out for freedom.

The Castro regime has been trying to engineer a fake change to maintain power and carry out a generational succession. Oswaldo Payá denounced it months prior to his extrajudicial execution at the hands of agents of the dictatorship.

Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo addressing the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy gave voice to this tradition when she stated, "it is time to put an end to the impunity of the Cuban government, which has never been chosen by Cubans in free, fair and pluralistic elections. It is time for the younger generations  to assume our responsibility to build together a better Cuba."

 Below is a new video from the initiative CubaDecide calling for real elections in Cuba.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Wallenberg at 75: Saved 140,000 Jews in WW2, but disappeared by Soviet communist troops

“I will never be able to go back to Sweden without knowing inside myself that I'd done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible.” - Raoul Wallenberg, Letter and Dispatches 1924 - 1944

Raoul Wallenberg (August 4, 1912 - disappeared January 17, 1945)
Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat saved 140,000 Jews in Hungary, according to the World Jewish Congress. Seventy five years ago today he was imprisoned and disappeared by Soviet troops after the war.

Today is Raoul Wallenberg Day in Canada in honor of his couragous example. Irwin Cotler, a Canadian member of parliament, in an OpEd today in Haaretz, described the last and most dramatic rescue carried out by Wallenberg:
"As the Nazis advanced on Budapest and threatened to blow up the city’s ghetto and liquidate the remaining Jews, [Wallenberg] put the Nazi generals on notice that they would be held accountable and brought to justice, if not executed, for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Nazi generals desisted. Some 70,000 more Jews were saved, thanks to the indomitable courage of one person prepared to confront radical evil."
Nonviolent resistance to the radical evil of the Nazis by courageous Danes and German housewives also worked and saved thousands of Jewish people from the Holocaust.


It is no surprise that it was Soviet Communist troops who disappeared Wallenberg. Six years earlier, in September 1939, the Nazis and the Soviets had been allies in the division and conquest of Poland

Let us honor Raoul Wallenberg for all the lives he saved, and let us also continue to demand justice for him, who had his life taken by Josef Stalin. The Russians refuse to reveal what they did to him, and Wallenberg's family has sued the Russians. Sweden declared him dead in 2016.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr was born 91 years ago today

"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964 


Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was born 91 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia but never saw his 40th birthday because he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. A little over a year before his untimely death the nonviolent icon made an important speech at Stanford University which is worth listening to and studying.

"Let me say as I've always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I'm still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve." 
Dr. King's message remains relevant today and his family continues  to work at The King Center in  training new generations in the ways of nonviolence, and sharing his writings and speeches.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a radical critique of American society. He repeatedly challenged the United States to live up to its own aspired ideals and sought through nonviolent action and democratic norms, reforms to end segregation and ensure voting rights for African Americans

Reverend King's political outlook could best be described as falling within what is called Christian Democracy. This school of thought occupies the center with parties on the center left and the center right, but like Reverend King based on a Christian view of humanity in which "every individual is considered unique and must be treated with dignity."  In his April 4, 1967 speech, Beyond Vietnam gave full expression to this outlook:
"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, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. "
Mohandas Gandhi, who greatly influenced King, also spoke of social responsibility and trusteeship. Gandhi, a self-described socialist, was not an enthusiastic proponent of an expanded social-welfare state as commonly understood arguing
"The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence. Hence I prefer the doctrine of trusteeship. [...] What I would personally prefer would be not centralization of power in the hands of the State, but an extension of the sense of trusteeship, as, in my opinion, the violence of private ownership is less injurious than the violence of the State. However, if it is unavoidable, I would support a minimum of State-ownership."
Furthermore the critique made by both King and Gandhi of a "thing-oriented" society or the state as a "soulless machine" looks to the person or the individual not an economic mechanism  or economic class. The focus is on the human person and polices that recognize and respect the uniqueness of each human being and their dignity.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King over twitter offers a thread of tweets with a few things to consider about her dad of which an essential part was understanding that, "He was not passive. Nonviolence is not passive. It is active, principled, love-centered noncooperation with evil."
When he was alive the civil rights leader was considered a controversial figure. The American FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr., monitored the Civil Rights Movement, and carried out active measures against him. Many have heard about this, but not of the other campaign waged against the civil rights leader by Soviet intelligence, also known as the KGB. It is also important to remember that today when Russian intelligence operatives seek to sow discord, division and hatred in the United States between citizens that they did it before.

In 1992 a high ranking Russian intelligence officer defected to the United Kingdom and brought with him notes and transcripts compiled over the previous thirty years as he moved entire foreign intelligence archives to a new headquarters just outside of Moscow. The Russian intelligence officer’s name was Vasili Mitrokhin and the information he gathered became known as The Mitrokhin Archive.

In the book The Sword and the The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin published in 1999 details were obtained from the Mitrokhin Archive on Soviet efforts to replace Martin Luther King Jr. with a “more radical and malleable leader” such as Stokeley Carmichael to provoke a race war in the United States.

KGB targeted Martin Luther King Jr. for active measures.
Pages 237 and 238 of The Sword and the Shield excerpted below detail elements of the campaign waged by Soviet intelligence and the active measures arrayed against the civil rights leader:
“In August 1967 the Centre approved an operational plan by the deputy head of Service A, Yuri Modin, former controller of the Magnificent Five, to discredit King and his chief lieutenants by placing articles in the African press, which could then be reprinted in American newspapers, portraying King as an “Uncle Tom” who was secretly receiving government subsidies to tame the civil rights movement and prevent it threatening the Johnson administration." [...]  "King’s assassination on April 4, 1968 was quickly followed by the violence and rioting which the KGB had earlier blamed King for trying to prevent. Within a week riots erupted in over a hundred cities, forty-six people had been killed, 3,500 injured and 20,000 arrested. To “Deke” DeLoach, it seemed that, “The nation was teetering on the brink of anarchy.”86 Henceforth, instead of dismissing King as an Uncle Tom, Service A portrayed him as a martyr of the black liberation movement and spread conspiracy theories alleging that his murder had been planned by white racists with the connivance of the authorities."
 University of Cambridge professor Christopher Andrew, who coauthored The Sword and the Shield with Vasili Mitrokhin was interviewed by Charlie Rose on PBS on September 28, 1999 about the book and towards the end of the interview discussed how the Soviets celebrated when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray.  The Russians celebrated because they did not want an independent African American leader, that they could not control, who was a principled nonviolence practitioner.

Taylor Branch, in the third book of his trilogy on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, At Canaan's Edge wrote about the Reverend's views on the militant call to armed struggle in the streets of the United States in January of 1968.
“Riots just don’t pay off,” said King. He pronounced them an objective failure beyond morals or faith. “For if we say that power is the ability to effect change, or the ability to achieve purpose,” he said, “then it is not powerful to engage in an act that does not do that–no matter how loud you are, and no matter how much you burn.” Likewise, he exhorted the staff to combat the “romantic illusion” of guerrilla warfare in the style of Che Guevara. No “black” version of the Cuban revolution could succeed without widespread political sympathy, he asserted, and only a handful of the black minority itself favored insurrection. King extolled the discipline of civil disobedience instead, which he defined not as a right but a personal homage to untapped democratic energy. The staff must “bring to bear all of the power of nonviolence on the economic problem,” he urged, even though nothing in the Constitution promised a roof or a meal. “I say all of these things because I want us to know the hardness of the task,” King concluded, breaking off with his most basic plea: “We must not be intimidated by those who are laughing at nonviolence now.”
Unlike others, who were funded and supported by the Soviet Union, Martin Luther King Jr was targeted by both American and Russian intelligence agencies because he was his own man, and not controlled by anyone, save his conscience. He didn't advocate or engage in violence and changed the United States and the world.

Let us remember him today on what would have been his 91st birthday, and recommit ourselves to continuing his work "to shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society."