For today’s topic: class inequality, instead of reading from your textbook, I would instead ask you to listen to one of the most prophetic voices on poverty. Please listen to Doctor Martin Luther King Junior’s famous speech, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” at the link below
Pay attention to the way Doctor King connects foreign war with domestic poverty and consider why he calls war “the enemy of the poor.” This speech was controversial and afterwards King received a great deal of criticism from across the political spectrum for his anti-war position. This speech was delivered approximately one year before his assassination.
Before he was killed, MLK returned to Memphis to support the sanitation (garbage) workers – as part of his struggle for labor equity and the founding of the Poor People’s Campaign. A campaign to provide housing, a decent standard of living, and good jobs for everyone.
Now, over 50 years after MLK’s assassination, a new Poor People’s Campaign has been launched by a coalition of secular and faith-based organizations across the country. Listen to Reverend Bishop Barber, Co-Chair of the new Poor People’s Campaign describe the crisis of poverty in the US – before begin arrested last month.
After you have listened/watched the links above, answer the following questions:
1. What is the relationship between militarism and poverty – as described by Doctor King?
2. What, in your opinion, are the similarities, and differences, between the conditions during MLK’s time – and our own time? Note: In your response, you may choose to draw upon the information on the website of the new Poor People’s Campaign:https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/demands/
3. What are some specific political/social/economic steps for reducing wealth inequality and lifting people out of poverty in the US and around the world?
4. What do you see as viable ‘exit strategies’ – opportunities for overcoming – what MLK called the Triplets of Evil (Racism, Materialism, and Militarism)? In other words, how are we to build a world of substantive human equity and environmental sustainability given the many challenges that lie before us?
5. Optional: Do you support or reject Bishop Barber’s arguments for a guaranteed basic income and universal healthcare.