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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King and the Empowerment of the War Machine: A Libertarian’s View

On Martin Luther King Day I had the pleasure of joining the "Make War No More" protest at the defense contractor Lockheed Martin's property in King of Prussia, PA. It is the largest arms manufacturer in the world which is the reason it has been the object of these protests for so many years. The people that were arrested in an act of civil disobedience there have earned our respect. See video:

Unfortunately, Lockheed Martin’s partnership with evil goes much deeper than just making weapons for the empire. As William Hartung points out in "Big 'Corporate' Brother: Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You?", "It's involved in surveillance and information processing for the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, the Census Bureau, and the Postal Service." Their involvement in both is more proof that the empire abroad and the police state at home are flip sides of the same coin. On this Dr. King agreed, he was an advocate of tying the civil rights and anti war movements together.

Digging deeper, though, we see that there are other connections between domestic and foreign tyranny that many on the left don’t see. Dr. King was a Marxist, as he himself labeled his economic views. This makes the Communist Manifesto as good a place as any to start this analysis. The four of the ten planks in that book that have been implemented in the United States are most relevant to this discussion:

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. - Not only does this furnish money for the government’s use (such as paying for war), it provides them with one of its worse organs of plunder and domestic repression, the IRS.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. - The Federal Reserve System, the United States’ central bank, is the greatest enabler of war the government has. It creates the money that finances them. (For more detail on this subject see "War and Inflation: Financing the Empire")

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. - The corporate media are but the government’s propaganda arm. Hyping the wars and glorifying the troops at every turn. The government owns the roads, most public transportation, ports, and the airports, giving it control of vast resources.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. - Government schools are in reality also indoctrination centers. They produce loyal citizens willing to go fight wars for the state.

When the left decries the government’s diversion of its resources from human needs to the military it is on to something. War does impoverish us. What the left needs to understand is that a government with the resources to build schools also has the resources to build drones, a government with the resources to build roads also has the resources to build jet fighters, and a government with the power to tax and create money has the resources to pay for the weapons mentioned above and to wage war.

And wage war it will, for as Randolph Bourne wrote "War Is the Health of the State". Giving the state resources only feeds the war machine. Welfare at home and warfare abroad are also just flip sides of the same coin. If the left really wants to see Dr. King’s dream of peace come true they must face the reality that they can not give the government the tools it needs to wage war and expect it not to do so. It’s not enough to advocate that they not buy weapons. We must take away the tools they use to acquire them. This means that we must end the Federal Reserve System, the income tax, the federal government’s social spending, its regulatory role, and its police powers. Peace will only come when the government is powerless to commit evil acts both at home and abroad.


  1. Great photos. I was there and you captured quite a lot of the action. Thanks.

  2. Another politically correct protest. I didn't see a single "No More Wars for Israel" sign. Israel is the reason we go to war.
    I admire those willing to commit civil disobedience in protest of our empire's war-mongering ways; but would not join people
    honoring Michael King who not only was a marxist but an abuser of women (he is alleged to have been beating prostitutes just before he was murdered.)
    My favorite protest sign is the two bloody
    hands with these words "Innocent Blood: Iraq
    and Gaza" You can see examples on

    Jean Allen
    Alabama Patriot

  3. Jean,

    Israel is part of the empire but not the totality of it. There are other countries that influence the US govt too. The UK, Saudi Arabia, & China come first to mind. The protest was about Lockheed Martin that may be why there were no signs about Israel. Speaking of which you might like this other blog entry of mine:

    Supporting The Troops Or Supporting Israel?

    I agree that this MLK worship is misguided though the non violent resistance is exactly what we need. I'm a strong believer in working with the left to oppose the war. We can debate the rest later.

    Thanks for the comment.