MLK and Malcom X

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CMOT Dibbler
MLK and Malcom X


Malcom X and Martin Luther King were great  men who spoke  with great  insight  about  issues of  great  importance.  They gave hope and solace to many  people  challenged the established  order,  all the while  speaking  from a position of faith.  They are  both dead now,  and  there doesn't  seem  to be anyone  to take their  place.  Lewis  Farakan and  Clarence Thomas are both right wing Lunatics,  and Jesse Jackson,  while he may be left-wing  doesn't  have  the same fire that Martin  and  Malcom  did.  Why are there no theologically  driven  firebrands on the left? Have the  prophets of  progressive  change all died  out,  or have they  just been  stifled by the  mainstream  media?   

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

CMOT Dibbler: I think you should consider the role of Desmond Tutu. While I have very little use for any position driven by theology, I think Tutu fits the criteria you are laying out - he has reconciled theological considerations with a progressive human-rights driven vision of life. Apart from his work against Apartheid (Marks 1 & 2), his continuing contributions to the defence of the LGBT communities in the face of attack from established theological positions should never be underestimated.

Desmond Tutu wrote:

A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.

I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Of course I doubt he would characterize himself as a "firebrand".

Desmond Tutu wrote:

I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.



i agree i just don't think they're in america right now.  Also, faith based activists are less visible with the decline in religion, and i think we tend to look at the work of movements more than an individual.  But there are mass movements all over the place agitating for change much in the same way that mlk or malcom x did.  i just think as time and the situation in a country changes, so do the tactics for activism.  

Nowadays it seems there are just too many voices for one individual to have such a great impact, and the level of government propaganda is off the scales.

Or perhaps when the target audience is too middle class/well off they just don't get serious enough until they're destitute and are forced to pay attention, like during the depression or the civil rights era.


Michael Moore has about the biggest platform these days.  I don't know how influential he is, though.