------------------------- Via Workers World News Service Reprinted from the Jan. 20, 2000 issue of Workers World newspaper -------------------------
EDITORIAL: WHO KILLED DR. KING?
It's the beginning of a new century. When will the culpability of this country's ruling class political establishment in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. be acknowledged before the public?
On Jan. 15 and again two days later on the official holiday commemorating his birthday, much praise will be heaped on the great civil rights leader. It will come from ordinary people and from politicians. The former will be sincere, but much of the latter will be calculated and self- serving.
There will be many glimpses on television of his courage facing the fire hoses and attack dogs of Southern segregationist police. We will again be moved by the soaring eloquence of his "I have a dream" speech at the historic 1963 March on Washington.
Then will come the shattering images taken at the motel in Memphis in 1968 when he was gunned down in cold blood.
But why was King murdered? Who was really behind the trigger? Why did a jury in Memphis find just this Dec. 8, in a civil case brought by King's heirs, that he was killed by a broad conspiracy? And will this fact be given the prominence it deserves in the whirl of media around Martin Luther King Day?
The impression given now is that only the die-hard Southern racists were opposed to King. But that's a coverup. King was under enormous pressure from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had him under constant surveillance and even attacked him publicly. Hoover, in turn, was the top political cop of the U.S. because he had a close relationship to those in power--that is, the super-rich ruling class of the North and South.
King's death came the same year as the assassination of Robert Kennedy immediately after he won the crucial California primary assuring him the Democratic presidential nomination. It came three years after the shooting down of Malcolm X, who was building an anti-imperialist movement among African Americans in solidarity with the oppressed all over the world. It came five years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who, although himself a true- blue capitalist, had angered the far right on Cuba, Vietnam and his domestic policy.
These assassinations were planned by professionals who covered their tracks with the help of the bourgeois political establishment and the media. In every case, the involvement of some element of the state has since been uncovered.
They were meant to change the course of U.S. history. They didn't succeed. They merely changed its tempo. The civil rights movement that King led and inspired had thousands of leaders and millions of stalwarts. The struggle continued and finally brought down the Jim Crow laws.
But the bigger problem--that of a system in which racism is nurtured in order to keep a whole people super-exploited by bosses and landlords--goes on. This class of exploiters protects the individuals and, most importantly, the institutions that killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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