Monday, January 16, 2023

Race, and Beyond

Judd Legum makes a good point: One-sided portrayals can rival comic books in their simplicity but are often unreliable. If you can see his (16) tweet thread, you'll see that Legum notes (emphasis his) "the idea that today, MLK would advocate IGNORING racial and economic inequality is absurd." 

We would do well to remember- heck, even merely to acknowledge, as the mainstream media strives to avoid- that King believed that racial and economic justice are interwoven. In the video below from eleven years ago, journalist John Nichols makes that point.  Thus referring in 1961 to right-to-work laws, Reverend King stated

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.

Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.

In its 2017 decision in Janus whose majority opinion was written by Antonin Alito, the five GOP Justices ruled "states and public sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from non consenting employees."  The number of states with right-to-work laws has grown from 20 to 27. Elizabeth Warren has thrice submitted bills to outlaw such laws, the latest last autumn and co-sponsored by several Democratic senators. 

The failure of legislation to gain traction, combined with the Supreme Court decision, should underscore continuing opposition by Republicans to the rights of workers.  And that the GOP remains hostile not only to Martin Luther King's vision of racial, but also of economic, rights.



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