Martin Luther King

On the Shoulders of Giants
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by The Zeitgeist Kid

Of necessity, the primary focus of The Zeitgeist Movement is on educational and awareness activism for ourselves and for our communities. Our ultimate goal is to realize a sustainable human civilization that promotes the health and well being of our planet and of all life upon it, including our entire human family. As you read through Dr. King's philosophy, you should recognize many of the same nonviolent methods employed by Zeitgeist Movement activists in our efforts to move the cultural Zeitgeist. I encourage all activists to familiarize themselves with Dr. King's philosophy for our activism today rests upon the shoulder's of the giants that have preceded us, like Dr. King. A Natural Law Resource Based Economy will only emerge from the global sharing Dr. King envisioned for "The Beloved Community".  Dr. King's assassination tragically but only temporarily postponed the civil rights movement. Peter Joseph's latest book "The New Human Rights Movement, Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression" clearly outlines the way forward. Join us as we work towards the realization of Dr. King's vision!

Dr. Martin Luther King's Philosophy

Mostly sourced from http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy.

  • Triple Evils
  • Six Principles Of Nonviolence
  • Six Steps of Nonviolent Social Change
  • The Beloved Community

Triple Evils

The Triple Evils of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated, all-inclusive, and stand as barriers to our living in the Beloved Community. When we work to remedy one evil, we affect all evils. To work against the Triple Evils, you must develop a nonviolent frame of mind as described in the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” and use the Kingian model for social action outlined in the “Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change.”

Some contemporary examples of the Triple Evils are listed next to each item:

POVERTY
unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, infant mortality, slums…

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty … The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.”

RACISM
prejudice, apartheid, ethnic conflict, anti-Semitism, Zionism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, ageism, discrimination against disabled groups, stereotypes…

“Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life. It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission. It is the absurd dogma that one race is responsible for all the progress of history and alone can assure the progress of the future. Racism is total estrangement. It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”

MILITARISM
war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, terrorism, human trafficking, media violence, drugs, child abuse, violent crime…

“A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war- ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This way of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Source: “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1967

SIX PRINCIPLES OF NONVIOLENCE

1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

  • It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
  • It is assertive spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
  • It is always persuading the opponent of the justice of your cause.

2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.

  • The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
  • The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.

3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.

  • Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims.

4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.

  • Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its actions.
  • Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.
  • Nonviolence accepts violence if necessary, but will never inflict it.
  • Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
  • Suffering can have the power to convert the enemy when reason fails.

5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.

  • Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as of the body.
  • Nonviolent love gives willingly, knowing that the return might be hostility.
  • Nonviolent love is active, not passive.
  • Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
  • Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.
  • Love restores community and resists injustice.
  • Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.

6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

  • The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.
  • Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.

SIX STEPS OF NONVIOLENT SOCIAL CHANGE

The Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change are based on Dr. King's nonviolent campaigns and teachings that emphasize love in action. Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolence, as reviewed in the Six Principles of Nonviolence, guide these steps for social and interpersonal change.

1. INFORMATION GATHERING:

To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent's position.

2. EDUCATION:

It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.

3. PERSONAL COMMITMENT:

Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.

4. DISCUSSION/NEGOTIATION:

Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.

5. DIRECT ACTION:

These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a "creative tension" into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.

6. RECONCILIATION:

Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the 'Beloved Community.'

Based on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in Why We Can't Wait, Penguin Books, 1963.

We often view the Six Steps as phases or cycles of a campaign rather than steps because each of them embodies a cluster or series of activities related to each of the other five elements.

THE BELOVED COMMUNITY

“The Beloved Community” is a term that was first coined in the early days of the 20th Century by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. However, it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who popularized the term and invested it with a deeper meaning which has captured the imagination of people of goodwill all over the world.

For Dr. King, The Beloved Community was not a lofty Utopian goal to be confused with the rapturous image of the Peaceable Kingdom, in which lions and lambs coexist in idyllic harmony. Rather, The Beloved Community was for him a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.

Dr. King’s Beloved Community was not devoid of interpersonal, group or international conflict. Instead he recognized that conflict was an inevitable part of human experience. But he believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully and adversaries could be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence. No conflict, he believed, need erupt in violence. And all conflicts in The Beloved Community should end with reconciliation of adversaries cooperating together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.

As early as 1956, Dr. King spoke of The Beloved Community as the end goal of nonviolent boycotts. As he said in a speech at a victory rally following the announcement of a favorable U.S. Supreme Court Decision desegregating the seats on Montgomery’s buses, “the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”

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