MLK Remembered…In the Streets

From: Critical Resistance

People Everywhere #ReclaimMLK Through Action
Dear Friends,

Dr. King devoted his life to struggle. The end of his career was characterized by a devout rejection of militarism, economic inequality, racism, and imperialism. Yet state sponsored commemorations on MLK Day have consistently left out this narrative. They have chosen instead to construct an image of a harmless saint who dreamt of peace for all, not of a civil rights leader who believed in freedom and the radical transformation of U.S. economic and political power structures or a Black political figure who was harassed and threatened by the FBI. In our first post-Ferguson MLK weekend, people around the country mobilized to stop the fairy tales, and to honor Dr. King’s legacy the way he would have wanted it – through massive demonstrations, direct actions, and shut downs.

Communities across the country took up the call from Ferguson             ( to #ReclaimMLK from the “efforts to soften, sanitize, and commercialize” Dr. King’s life and struggle. Thousands took to the streets in cities including Philadelphia, NYC, Oakland, LA, Boston, and Phoenix. In the Bay Area, protesters shut down the San Mateo bridge during the evening rush hour, disrupted BART stations in San Francisco, and gave Oakland’s new pro-police mayor a wakeup visit at the break of dawn.

CR joined allies in Third World Resistance ( (TWR), a new formation of various organizations coming together to stand with the heightened Black struggle in the U.S. while connecting it to anti-imperialist movements for self-determination internationally. To kickoff MLK weekend, activists with TWR chained themselves to the doors of the Federal Building in Oakland, shutting it down for four hours and 28 minutes ( .

Speaking at a rally outside the federal building, Kamau Walton of CR Oakland stressed the importance of sustaining the growing momentum of anti-policing organizing in the U.S., while connecting it to the fight against imprisonment, global policing, and imperialism: “It is really empowering to see our communities rising up against the violent policing of Black people. But we must also be just as enraged at the violence that is harder to see, the violence of our people disappearing into cages. This country, which locks up more people than any other, plays a hand in locking up even more beyond its borders by exporting and sharing tactics and models of repression with oppressive governments, from Israel, to Haiti, and the Philippines.”

The action highlighted Dr. King’s commitment to internationalism and his belief that freedom can only be achieved through confronting “international militarism, racism, imperialism and an unworkable capitalism (
that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.” ( It is these beliefs that people chose to remember and take to the streets for MLK weekend. With the shut down of the Federal Building in Oakland and numerous other actions and mobilizations gaining national and international attention, the state and liberals are going to have a difficult time continuing to whitewash Dr. King’s radical legacy as the resistance against policing continues to spread.

In Solidarity,
Mohamed Shehk

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