Editors note: This piece was originally published on January 5, 2016.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The man who was tried, convicted and imprisoned for his murder was James Earl Ray, a white man who would die in prison years after attempting to recant his confession.
What needs to be remembered, however, is that King’s murder followed the assassination of Malcolm X by three years. In fact, King was killed during a period where African leaders were being murdered with regularity.
Oakland, California police killed Bobby Hutton of the Black Panther Party on April 6, 1968, two days after King’s assassination. More than 30 members of the Black Panther Party were assassinated throughout the U.S. and another 300 or more imprisoned, in that same year, 1968.
This was the timeframe for the overthrow of Nkrumah in Ghana, the brutal murder of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, the capture and assassination of a wounded Che Guevara in Bolivia and the December 4, 1969 murder of Fred Hampton by the FBI-assisted Chicago police department.
What needs to be said is no matter who actually murdered King—and whether or not there were accomplices in his own organization, as was likely with Malcolm X—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died as a result of a sweeping U.S.-led counterinsurgent campaign to rescue a badly wounded world capitalist system that was tottering from the struggles of the colonized peoples the world over.
What needs to be said is that capitalism, as a parasitic social system exists because European imperialists enslaved and colonized Africans and other peoples whose systemic exploitation and oppression is necessary for the success of the system.
The murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by an arm of the U.S. government, was carried out to prevent African people from escaping our colonial enslavement. It was part of a general war against the colonized—Africans and other peoples of the world—fighting to be free and self-determining.
The death of Martin Luther King, Jr., nearly 48 years ago, was part of a U.S. counterinsurgency that pushed African people out of political life for more than two generations.
The massive imprisonment of African people in the U.S., more than one million potential revolutionaries, along with the military occupation of our colonized communities is something our struggle is only now beginning to overcome.
African militants, however, will be unable to understand the nature of the system we are fighting and its inherent weakness during this time of rapidly developing radical consciousness, without discussing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.
It was the young African working class militants in Ferguson who helped break us free from a critical aspect of the counterinsurgency. By engaging the murderous police military occupation in combat these young people on Canfield Drive have broken through the impact of the counterinsurgency that crushed the Black Revolution of the Sixties with assassinations, slander and mass imprisonment.
Understanding the significance of the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in this light helps us all to understand that the U.S. murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ultimately failed in its intent to destroy the struggle of our people for freedom from U.S. colonialism.
The next step is full independence and self-determination under the leadership of the African working class through its advanced detachment, the African People’s Socialist Party.
Build the African People’s Socialist Party!
Prepare to win! Prepare to govern!