On this birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., celebrated during times of racist violence and white supremacist insurrection unleashed in the name of “American greatness”, we give full attention to one of MLK’s most powerfully transformative sermons: The Drum Major Instinct, delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968.
We urge close, deep listening to the entirety of the sermon; excerpts transcribed below.
We also take note of an op-ed in the Washington Post written by MLK III in opposition to the ruthless executions staged by a racist & omnicidal thanatocracy during its own dying days, with an excerpt relayed below:
Today, a man named Brandon Bernard was executed for a a crime committed when he was eighteen, in circumstances clouded by numerous unanswered questions. Appeals for clemency fell on deaf ears.
Now comes the honorable Bryan Stevenson, a winner of this year’s “Right Livelihood” award, for his tireless work exposing, documenting and fighting against the injustices of the Carceral State. Below, his acceptance speech for the award.
Images are from the most powerful work of public art in North America: the museum and memorial created by Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.
In a fascinating essay in the most recent New York Review of Books, Fintan O’Toole refers to the rise of “zombie politics”, and to Trumpism as akin to a necromantic death cult. Consistent with his observations, we note that five federal executions have been scheduled between now and the way overdue termination of this relentlessly omnicidal administration.
Now comes Hegel scholar and political philosopher Alexander Kojève, writing in 1943. We dare say the “records” to which he alludes in the second paragraph have surely been not just broken but shattered during the relentlessly mendacious Trump years, most notably (and dangerously) in the abundance of bunkum saturating the vast & delusional MAGA zone in the aftermath of recent elections.
The entire essay is worth your consideration; excerpts below, with a couple of emblematic images.
THE GREATEST LEADER EVER & FOREVER & A DAY UNTIL DEATH DO US PART AMEN
Now comes Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network and author of From What Is to What If, speaking in an interview last year, voicing ideas that ring with even greater urgency today. Images are relayed from Little Sparta, a hippocampus campus where “small and tortured thought” (see the quote from Susan Griffin below) is strictly forbidden.
We note that Hopkins begins his excellent book with two sentences from Susan Griffin’s brilliant To Love the Marigold; below, the entire passage, worthy of close and repeated readings:
The shallow promises of Social Media, to connect everyone to everybody while feeding egos and pumping addictive endorphins, are nothing but camouflage for the vast data mine that is both social heart and economic engine for Surveillance Capitalism.
The varied platforms of Social Media also incubate and accelerate a detachment of American political life from the world of verifiable facts and evidence, with potentially catastrophic results, as evidenced by the increasingly aberrant outbursts from King Tweet (Exhibit A, below).
Below a few lucid remarks from political historian and distinguished essayist Jill Lepore, in an interview following the publication of her recent book about the Simulmatics Corporation, an early probe into the commodification of human subjectivity via the data mine.
In this time of divisive agony, the three simple words of our title are worthy of sustained meditation.
The people, united.
For example: The people, united against Climate Emergency; the people, united against Covid-19; the people, united against White Supremacism. Yet here we are, a country of highly armed splinters, awaiting combustion into a firestorm of violence.
Meanwhile, south of our borders in Chile, we are witnessing an exemplary embodiment of the creative potential of a people, united. By an overwhelming majority, Chileans have initiated a process to replace their draconian state-of-emergency Pinochet-era Constitution with a new system of governance that will more accurately reflect the needs and dreams of — un pueblo, unido.
Now comes Chilean-American Ariel Dorfman writing in a recent essay, suggesting that possibly we might take up such a challenge ourselves, and conceive a more perfect union as our body politic spins and heaves.
Brief excerpts below, with an intervening link to an extraordinary video that we recommend watching at least once a day between now and the end of November.