Here it comes again. This holiday weekend we'll see a lot of media coverage of Martin Luther King, Jr. But we'll hear very little about what he really was -- a brave and visionary leader whose vision is as relevant today as ever.
One year ago I listed ten quotes by Dr. King, and mourned the lack of a movement that would advance his kind of vision. Then came the uprising in Madison and the Occupy movement, which began a long-overdue national debate about economic, as well as racial inequality.
Once again, Dr. King's insights offer insight and vision for today's movement activists -- and tomorrow's.
1. "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Where Do We Go From Here? August 1967 speech.
"Bain Capitalism" - a.k.a "vulture capitalism" -- didn't happen out of nowhere. It was made by politicians. It should be un-made by politicians. The system is the problem and it needs to change.
A long list of corporations and banks enriched itself by triggering the events that led to the Great Recession, and many of them took Federal bailout money when it happened. Each of them has a Corporate Social Responsibility policy, designed to show they're good citizens who give back to the community. And each of them has a fleet of lobbyists working to protect their privileged status and tax benefits.
Meanwhile the poverty rate, which had been declining, started to rise again in 2000. That year it stood at 11.3 percent, but by 2009 the Census Bureau reported that it had climbed back to 14.3 percent. At last count, 46 million Americans lived in poverty, more than 15 percent of the population. More than 16 million of them are children, which means that nearly one in four American kids (22 percent) is living in poverty.
Is that OK with you?