MLK and a 2020 Vision of Poverty In America

Today we celebrate the life of and honor the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. on this very cold winters’ day in New York.

Among his many writings and speeches are the ones that ultimately identified the class system and the power dynamic that underlies systemic inequalities. While the country is now more than ever in the deadly embrace of an entrenched military industrial complex that looks to perpetuate its own income by starting wars, eating up the lions share of our annual budgets, we realize how some of MLKs harder truths about financial inequality were the ones that made him most hated as well because they threatened a status quo. As bad as it looks to you, it looks absolutely perfect to some.

Chris Stain’s “Winter in America” (courtesy the artist)

As we have watched a precipitous decline in the average American’s standard of living in the last 40 years, we can now see that the poor are poor not because of some moral failing but because the system is deliberate; designed to keep them there. With robots and other forms of automation preparing to sideswipe the workers of the world in the next five years, MLK’s ideas about a guaranteed annual income seem not only fair and wise, but also pragmatic and prophetic.

Seen in the NYC Subway

Banner photo credit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. locks arms with his aides as he leads a march of several thousands on March 17, 1965 in Montgomery, Ala. (Credit: AP)