Who Benefited From The Assassination of MLK?

01/13/2015 Mlk_assasination

Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr. in their recent book Black Against Empire provide useful background to King's assassination and to the question "who benefited."

King increasingly championed the struggle against poverty and publicly opposed the war in Vietnam…His leftward turn toward anti-imperialism increasingly incurred the wrath of the establishment.

Shortly before his death, King told reporters, "Our program calls for a redistribution of economic power" Blacks, he explained, must help lead the struggle 'to reform the structure of racist imperialism from within." An article in the New York Times Magazine right before his death explained that King had "come to believe that war and poverty are inseparable issues." Kings's "plans are calculated to disturb whatever peace of mind the President enjoys these days." King was leading plans for an interracial march in the nation's capital that would mobilize thousands of poor people and their supporters to "reestablish that the real issue is not violence or non violence, but poverty and neglect."

An establishment chorus denounced King's Poor People's March as well as his increasingly vigorous opposition to the Vietnam war." Robert Byrd, the Democratic senator of West Virginia, called King a "self-seeking rabble rouser…The day before King was killed, a federal court had issued a restraining order prohibiting him from holding a demonstration in Memphis. Angry and defiant, King called the order "illegal and unconstitutional," and refused to obey it.

But when King died, the establishment quickly put aside its wrath and sought to claim him as a martyr for America.

Stokeley Carmichael…held a press conference the day after King's assassination and declared, " I think white America made its biggest mistake when she killed Dr. King last night because when she killed Dr. King last night, she killed all reasonable hope.

Black against Empire
The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. University of California Press,2013

And in commenting on King's death, Mao Tse-tung, the head of the Chinese Communist Party made the following statement:

Some days ago Martin Luther King, the Afro-American clergyman, was suddenly assassinated by U.S. imperialism. Martin Luther King was an exponent of nonviolence. Nevertheless, the U.S. imperialists did not on that account show any tolerance toward him, but used counter-revolutionary violence and killed him in cold blood.
Mao Tse-tung "A New Storm Against Imperialism"

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