On Anniversary of MLK Killing, "We Are One" Movement Rallies--Will Media Pay Attention?

Today marks the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, in 1968, gunned down while supporting striking sanitation workers. Today, in reaction to a horrendenous spate of anti-union measures in both public and private spheres, a new coalition of workers has joined together to speak out for worker's rights. This week this "Main Street" movement, a coalition of labor and progressives, will participate in nationwide "We Are One" rallies to stand beside workers. (Find a rally near you here.) Today, Martin Luther King III wrote a powerful guest post for the AFL-CIO explaining why his father would have supported this movement:

Forty-three years ago my father, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated while he was in Memphis, Tenn., supporting a strike of municipal sanitation workers. It was, in his eyes, more than a quest for a few more dollars in a paycheck. He saw the strike as part of the great struggle of his time—a struggle for democracy, for truth, for justice and for human dignity.

These are the same basic reasons that my father would be joining with millions of other Americans today in supporting public employees in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and other states, where collective bargaining is now under attack.

The rest of the piece is a must-read. Media Matters has an interesting take on this new coalition, wondering why its fairly massive numbers are overshadowed in media coverage by paltry-in-comparison Tea Party rallies. Eric Boehlert's postnotes that today's rallies are supposed to draw "thousands of supporters to hundreds of rallies:"

But if tradition holds, these rallies will receive a fraction of the media coverage that the mainstream press routinely doles out for the Tea Party (whose events are notoriously under-attended) as well as other right-wing groups.

Boehlert challenges the media to rectify this imbalance in its coverage today.  And while we're remembering Dr. King's legacy and his life cut far too short, let's not forget some of his more radical views, particularly on labor (h/t TPM). As Dr. King said way back in 1961:

By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them...the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature, spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth.
AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at April 4, 2011, 7:45am

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