through a new, Global Poor People’s Campaign and renewed Economic Bill of Rights
Now more than ever, we are coming to appreciate how inter-connected are the political, economic and military forces that combine to produce the profound levels of poverty, racial discrimination and conflict we see around the world. Neo-liberalism – as some describe it, capitalism ‘with the gloves taken off’ – is rampant the world over. As governments now only serve vested interests, so we witness money and (often white) privilege operate with impunity.
Martin Luther King’s vision and policy calls on race, economic exploitation and war are – arguably – more relevant now than then.
Fifty years ago, Rev Dr. Martin Luther King said: ‘The Triple Evils of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated, all-inclusive, and stand as barriers to our living in the Beloved Community. When we work to remedy one evil, we affect all evils.’
Then as now, the 21st century is witnessing the consequences of poverty, racism and militarism – consequences that are deep, widespread and present across communities and societies be it local, national or international. There needs to be a global campaign call that says now is the time to end the triple evils of Poverty Racism and Militarism.
In this 21st century, we are shamed to know that all three ‘evils’ are as widespread as they have ever been. We can address this call through the mobilisation of peoples. Peoples who are ‘armed’ with Dr King’s renewed Economic Bill of Rights for all. We believe we can put an end to racism, economic exploitation and militarism in our lifetime with his core 5 demands from 1968 with 5 additional campaign calls, including climate justice, to reflect our 21st century world.
IN DR.KING’S WORDS: SPOKEN THEN but RELEVANT NOW
Poverty “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty … The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.”
Racism “Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life. It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission. It is the absurd dogma that one race is responsible for all the progress of history and alone can assure the progress of the future. Racism is total estrangement. It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”
Militarism “A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war- ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This way of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.
The world spends just under $2 trillion p/a on military spending. The United States has a multi-trillion dollar permanent war economy, the costliest deployment of weapons and military personnel in the world
The General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that US forces had expended around six billion bullets between 2002 and 2005, that is at least 250,000 bullets for every insurgent killed in the ‘war on terror’
EU military expenditure totalled €194 billion in 2010, equivalent to the annual deficits of Greece, Italy and Spain combined
In 2016, Britain was ranked as the 2nd biggest arms dealer in the world, after the USA
The projected full costs of the Iraq war (estimated $3 trillion) would cover “all of the global investments in renewable power generation” needed between now and 2030 to reverse global warming trends.
USA: People of colour are subjected to unrelenting state violence through police brutality, police murder and massive incarceration rates while suffering gross disparities in income, education, employment, military service, housing and health care.
UK: Hate crimes have surged by 42% in the UK since the Brexit vote
International: Far right political parties across Europe, East Europe and USA gain ground and membership year on year
The USA, UK and many other rich nations are more unequal now than in 1968 with greater levels of poverty – in the USA with far greater levels of incarceration and war spending.
The world’s richest 85 people have a combined wealth of £1trillion, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population. 69 out of the world’s top 100 economies are corporations; globally, climate change impact hits the poorest hardest.
As a global family, on all counts, we are worse off now than in 1968