On the first Saturday of April, morning, afternoon and evening TV NY 1 video newscasts showed large placards and signs with quotes from Martin Luther King's sermon, Beyond Vietnam a Time to Break Silence carried by Latino residents of Washington Heights during
their 11 mile march down to the Occupy Wall Street encampment.
At times, the camera focused in on one sign to fill the whole screen with:
"CAPITALISM FORGETS LIFE IS SOCIAL" MLKjr
As the camera panned the colorful sidewalk parade of marchers, viewers caught glimpses of bold black lettered quotes on glistening white pasteboard held high in the air:
KING CONDEMNED US WARS AS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
"ALL US WARS are for maintaining UNJUST PREDATORY OVERSEAS INVESTMENTS",
"SILENCE IS BETRAYAL"
"EVERYONE MUST PROTEST"
"HOTTEST PLACES IN HELL FOR THOSE MAINTAINING NEUTRALITY"
While participating in the march myself, I was struck by the enthusiasm the largely Dominican crowd showed for King's messages exhorting popular condemnation of US Wars. An obvious explanation immediately came to mind. Though most were too young to have heard much about national hero Martin Luther King having been outspokenly anti-US-imperialism during the last year of his life, they all would certainly be keenly aware of the brutal history of the bloody 1965 US invasion of their Dominican Republic homeland.
That bombardment, invasion and months long US sniper slayings of Dominican patriots was to prevent their beloved elected president, unacceptable to Wall Street interests and therefore also the US State Department, from being allowed to govern. Popular President Juan Bosch had been deposed by a military junta seven months after taking office, but two years later the greater part of the Dominican Armed Forces rebelled and would have reinstated him in office but for the crimes- against-humanity intervention of violent Americans in uniform serving Wall Street interests.
Two years later, King could no longer be silent and agonized over his previous silence during so many similar US wars in poor countries obviously mean to maintain "unjust predatory overseas investments."
"King Called US Greatest Purveyor of Violence in World!"
read a 5 by 4 feet sized placard carried by an elderly dark complexioned Latin American. This was the bold large type newspaper headline seen everywhere on April 5, 1967. I remember coming down to my hotel newsstand on my way breakfast and seeing this phrase spread across the front page of all the European papers in a dozen languages.
Dominicans and Latin Americans would also remember the island's long occupation by US Marines from 1916 to 1924 ordered by US President Woodrow Wilson.
By contrast, American born Occupation Wall Street organizers, have never experienced death and destruction by hails of flying metal fired from ground and sky in their United States homeland, and have never witnessed heavily armed foreign troops patrolling the streets of their cities.
Surely, most of these up dynamically creative young Wall St. Occupiers, feel compassion for the millions upon millions of third world poor that have grieved over loved ones "fallen into to harms way' of invading US Military Forces. However, these Occupy Wall Streeters, who we appreciate for their idealism to reform America, apparently feel it is most important for the growth of the Occupation Wall St. movement to attract that vast bamboozled and ignorant TV addicted population that is gu,ng-ho supporting of US Wars. By this line of thinking, these hundred million war supporters will be turned off and away by such anti US wars slogans using the Martin Luther King quotes that the Washington Heights Latinos weighed in with on New York TV.
Occupation Wall St. direct action leaders organize protests around every possible theme of Wall St.'s economic injustice toward Americans even though they surely realize they themselves, at the same time, are just as responsible for the mass murder, mayhem and exploitation ongoing in six Muslim nations, as is that gung-ho patriot segment of the American population that has accepted this need for Wall Street imperialist capital grown since the US invasion of Korea right through the destruction of Libya. (Perhaps the more savvy OWS participants can be said to be more responsible, for they being aware of the disinformation and war promotion perpetrated upon the unwary multitude by Wall Street owned mass-media, should be the first to protest and educate the misled.)