The White Moderate: ‘The Greatest Threat to Freedom’

I‘m writing something about what’s at stake all of us this year in US electoral politics, but these words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 16 April 1963 in a Birmingham jail cell feel very apt, considering that the Democratic National Committee seems hellbent on preserving its elite hegemony.

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

Prescient? No, Dr. King was diagnosing the white moderate in his own time, it just so happens the white moderate has not evolved one iota since then.

And if that offends you, maybe take a step back; read a history book, see what’s happening in the country. Leave your middle-class bubble, or your ideological comfort zone, and recognize there is injustice and urgency everywhere.

The Nevada caucus is tonight and the collective party leaders of DNC, some of the moderate candidates, the NV Democratic Party, and other superdelegate have thus far:

  1. Signaled they prefer a brokered convention in Milwaukee to stop the current democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders
  2. Required caucus volunteers to sign NDAs to silence them post-caucus, just as Elizabeth Warren went after Michael Bloomberg for his myriad NDAs protecting himself from sexual harassment claims (accused by more women than Trump, by the way)
  3. The Washington Post releasing an article the day before the Nevada caucus alleging Vladimir Putin is helping Bernie Sanders’ campaign
  4. Democratic apparatchiks comfortable with a former republican Bloomberg’s bid to buy the nomination.

We’re at a crossroads and I’m not sure the white moderate sees it very clearly. They are comfortable in their material conditions, handcuffed to believing what is politically possible are limited to empty gestures which Nancy Pelosi deploys in front of Trump or the cameras, ignoring the complicity of establishment democrats in Trump’s massive military spending, among other things. Let’s learn a little about the world and understand that the democratic majority of this country is hurting. Let’s learn from Europe, South America, and everywhere else and get into the streets to demand what we need to thrive.

Dr. King’s socialism is often erased by moderates, but he saw our impediments to racial and economic justice back then, just as Bernie Sanders and his movement see it clearly today. Of course, income equality is even starker today than in the 1960s.

Let’s see what happens in Nevada. But white moderates should educate themselves on what’s really happening behind the curtain of their incrementalist dreams. White moderates should listen to the scientists, that tell us incrementalism is not feasible for planetary survival. Not anymore, not ever.

Trump is odious, but the enemies to a democratic, multiracial, ecological society don’t end with him.

I’ll finish with another MLK quote.

If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she, too, will go to hell.

Bernie Sanders and the movement are demanding un-radical things, but the white moderate has blocked all attempts for the last fifty years.

  • A living biosphere
  • Political power for the working class
  • Universal healthcare
  • The rich to pay their fair share in taxes
  • Student debt cancellation

Let’s see if they try to stop us in Nevada.Thanks for reading, seriously.

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