Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Power

by | Jan 15, 2021 | Culture and Science of Nonviolence, Struggle for Democracy | 0 comments

In our society, change is reliant on power. Power is the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring social, political, and economic change. A necessary factor in the demanding of love and justice. The powerful, never lose opportunities, they remain available to them, open to the ability to always effect change. Those without power, never experience opportunity, to them it is always arriving later.

Dr. King teaches us about two forms and three kinds of power. The two forms are personal and group power.  Personal power expresses itself in interpersonal interactions. Group power expresses itself in the inter-group relations and interactions.

Economic, political, and cultural/spiritual are the three kinds of power. Economic power means who has the capital, the bucks. Political power is those who make the decisions for the group. Cultural/spiritual, are those who communicate for the group.

We all contain personal and cultural/ spiritual power. It is our voice. Together, when each person exercises their voice, we create an urgent and diverse force. When we come together, we truly realize deliverance through the accumulation of our power. The ability to speak up, to stand up, to make choices that contribute to the betterment of our society is reliant on our ability to change, to transform ourselves.

To be the best warriors for justice we can be, we must undertake the process of self-transformation. Breaking free of the materialist and white supremist ideologies perpetuated by our society requires our own willingness to change. It requires our humility. It requires our action.

Self-transformation asks us to hold up a mirror in front of us. To understand what time it is and what our role in the movement is. It is determined by our ability to criticize ourselves and receive criticism from those around us. To guide eachother on how we can become our nobler selves. Creating bonds with others, allows us to coach one another. Coaching is an act of love. When we coach each other, we identify what changes in someone’s conduct can help them become who they are meant to be.

The ability to rise to the point of self-criticism is one of the sure signs of maturity. We must ask ourselves each morning and every evening —what have I done to be relevant? Evaluating our actions, our conducts, and finding ways that we can become better agents of change.

For nothing could be more tragic than for men to live in these revolutionary times and fail to achieve the new attitude and the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands.

Today our situation demands this of us. When an individual is no longer a true participant, no longer feels a sense of responsibility to their society, the content of democracy is emptied.

When disenfranchisement of voters leaves people in lines for hours to cast their ballots we cannot sit idly by, when lies fed to our people about the integrity of our democracy turns into a violent attack, we cannot stand by and watch.

Dedication to the right, to justice, is the foundation of American Democracy. It is contingent — on the continuous work for it. It is education at its most equitable level. It is robust civic education, learning response-able and truthful curriculum on our democracy.

When we give our students knowledge about how our democracy works, we can go on, intergenerationally and interculturally to transform the systems and institutions that hold us down.  Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power so that government cannot elude our demands.

Vigilance comes from both joy and struggle. Our sights must be set and never waiver. We must keep our eyes on the prize. Not every battle will result in a victory, — but that does not mean we stop fighting.

This requires the strength of organizations. We need organizations that are permeated with mutual trust, incorruptibility, and militancy. Without this spirit we may have numbers, but they will add up to zero.  We will have to build far-flung, workmanlike and experienced organizations. Come together, utilize our group power, become active participants in our democracy. 

Our present urgent necessity is to cease our internal fighting and turn outward to the enemy. To use every form of mass action yet known— to create new forms—and resolve never to let them rest. This is the social lever that will force open the door to freedom.

Our powerful weapons are our voices, our feet, and our bodies, moving without rest toward a just goal.

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