Juan Cole’s column, published today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, links King to 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress.
This nation honors King on each third Monday of January, a day when we remember the civil rights leader who denounced through his grand eloquence, the sheer and unmitigated evil of this nation’s legal and long-standing bias against people of color.
Professor Juan Cole’s column, published today (1/21/19), makes a convincing case that had MLK, Jr. not been cut down on April 4, 1968, by a nondescript killer, assigned to the evil task by yet unidentified forces, he would have celebrated his 90th birthday January 15, by endorsing Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’ fight against racial and economic injustice.
Cole begins his column:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 29, has become a lightning rod. She was recruited to run against a corporate Democrat by activists of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which has become a significant caucus within the Democratic Party.
Her advocacy of a higher marginal tax rate (no, she doesn’t want to raise taxes on you) and of a host of practical measures for addressing the exponentially increasing inequality and injustice in American society, has attracted the attention of the capos of the billionaires– the hatchet men working for the odious Rupert Murdoch and the mindless minions of the mountebank Trumps.
Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the DSA advocate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel because of its extensive catalogue of war crimes and crimes against humanity in its treatment of the stateless, Israeli-Occupied Palestinian population. That position is seen by the Israeli government’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, headed by Gilad Erdan, as dangerous to that government’s propaganda effort.
Virulent Jewish-nationalist groups like the Zionist Organization of America and others have also attempted to marginalize especially African-American and minority voices who take up BDS.
Resistance to Ocasio-Cortez runs deep in the American soil and soul. It also runs even deeper in the increasingly malignant Zionist forces now running Israel and among the U.S. media and political centers where Zionism holds power.
AOC will need the backing of U.S. citizens who must stand up to the vicious attacks aimed at her. In Cole’s column, he points to recent examples of what happens when American and Israeli oligarchs zero in on defenders of the oppressed.
Their names are in bold face to signal the importance of remembering each one in the struggle ahead:
Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for a speech upholding Palestinian rights within a one-state framework, and Angela Davis was denied a human rights award in Birmingham for her position on BDS. Other new members of Congress such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have also been attacked on these grounds.
Note carefully in Cole’s column, the video of AOC speaking.
Cole’s column deserves to be savored on this day because while King and AOC, spoke and acted in different decades, they sound the same note of righteous indignation.
Cole reminds us, further, of the reluctance of many U.S. leaders to honor King.
The American elite, people like Dick Cheney, had opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King Day, but once it was voted as a Federal holiday, they have attempted to defang it.
These elites watered down King’s image to remake him “as a gentle radical, deploying nonviolent noncooperation to dismantle Jim Crow structures of systematic discrimination on the basis of race. We are permitted to hear the ‘I have a dream’ speech over and over again because its diction does no more than express a mild hope for racial equality, and racial equality is now given at least lip service outside white supremacist circles.”
But we aren’t typically exposed on television to King’s anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism and anti-war message. If he were alive today, he would certainly be a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and would certainly lend his enormous charisma to the promotion of younger activists such as Ocasio-Cortez.
Below, Cole offers segments of King speeches to make this point. Your assignment, should you wish to accept it, is to find time this week to view this video. Then ask yourself what King would say today, about our new political force, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.