Imagine if we had more American Socialists who had the character and courage to be out front about their socialist politics and not feel the need to hide behind other political labels, like Senator Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill Stein today, but back in the 1960s Dr. Martin L. King. America would be a lot less ignorant politically. Americans with liberal leanings who believe in liberal democratic values ( not necessarily Democratic Party values ) would be a lot more open about being a Liberal and probably be proud Liberals, because they would know that they’re not Socialists or Communists, but instead Liberals who believe in liberal democracy. . In Britain, Europe, and perhaps Canada, you don’t have closeted Socialists which is what we have in America. Socialists there stand up for their socialist politics and are proud to be called Social Democrats or Democratic Socialists and in like in France and Sweden, are proud to be known as Socialists. In America, not so much.
As I argued last week Dr. Martin King, wasn’t just a Socialist, but a proud Socialist and Democratic Socialist at that. Edgar Hoover’s FBI believed that Dr. King was a Communist and working with Communist Party USA to build his movement. There were Communists involved in the civil rights movement, but Dr. King was a Democratic Socialists politically and ideologically and believed in democratic socialism and not communism or other authoritarian ideologies. His labor movement that he was big part of and advocating for garbage collectors in Memphis and workers in other big America cities was part of his democratic socialist movement and what he was advocating for politically. Arguing for workers rights and that all American workers regardless of race should be allowed to organize.
Dr. King believed that American capitalism, along with forced state segregation for the races in America, especially in the South, was failing to meet the needs of the people. With few people at the top with all the money in the world and a lot of people at the bottom who simply struggled to feed themselves and their families and have adequate housing. And workers who would work very hard and work real long hours and be paid practically nothing and struggle just to pay their bills. Which is why he and his organization marched and worked with Memphis sanitation workers in Memphis so they could form their own labor union. Dr. King believed we needed a new economic system that would meet the needs of the people so we would no longer have hardworking people who struggled just to feed themselves and their families.
Dr. King wanted a democratic socialist model that would essentially collect the economic resources of the country through the Federal Government and then give those resources back through government programs based on what people needed to live well. Take from the wealthy though higher taxes to take care of the poor through government. Which is along with their large wealthy energy industry, is the economic model of Sweden. If you look at what Senator Bernie Sanders pushed for economically when he ran for President in 2016, its very similar to what Dr. King advocated for in the 1960s. High taxes on the wealthy to meet the needs of everyone else. This is not my economic model but this is what Martin King believed in and was proud of it and proud to be a Democratic Socialist, unlike a lot of closeted Socialists today who hide behind other political labels.
Dr. King was a proud man who didn’t hide from anyone and would promote his politics proudly regardless of what people on the Right and generally Far-Right in America people who even saw him as evil and wanted him killed and so what if those right-wingers saw him or labeled him as a Socialist or Communist. Because he wasn’t looking for their support anyway. Dr. King was a proud Socialist and would make the case for why he was a Socialist and then tell people who disagreed with them, “why aren’t you a Socialist as well now that you know what and why I stand for?” Which is very different from left-wingers today who are even proud to support Bernie Sanders and agree with him on everything and perhaps even to the left of Senator Sanders and perhaps even have more communist leanings instead of democratic socialist leanings and still feel the need to hide behind other political labels. And fail to claim the socialist label that fits their politics perfectly.