“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Beyond Vietnam,” 1967
King’s quote, not as well-known as the mandatory and overexposed words of “I Have a Dream,” is even more relevant in 2016 than in 1967. Dr. King’s dream has turned into a nightmare. The billionaires on Forbes’ 400 list have more wealth – $3 trillion – than all of the 41 million African Americans in the population combined, (except for Oprah Winfrey). The “militarism” King decried is far worse than in 1967. The U.S., with 4 percent of the world’s population, is spending half the military budget on the planet, invading nations, and shattering governments leading to the spread of jihadist movements in the Middle East and North Africa. And at the center of today’s racism is the world’s largest prison industrial complex that depletes vital community resources and locks people up primarily based on skin color or socioeconomic status.
For us to undergo King’s requisite “radical revolution of values” we must openly acknowledge the facts about our increasingly fascistic society. What I mean by this is exactly how Mussolini defined fascism – as “illiberal” and as “corporatism.” We cannot allow “weapons of mass distraction” by the corporate media to define our value system.
In 2016 we need to control the narrative of what’s going on to us as a people. We must push movement politics, just a few being “Black Lives Matter,” efforts to protect our environment, and any actions attacking the immoral concentration of wealth – from the Bernie Sanders campaign to Green Party candidates to the remnants of Occupy. The discussions necessary to re-shape our values must begin within our community. We cannot be sidetracked by debates stating the obvious, such as “All Lives Matter,” because the people behind those distractions don’t care about the segment of the population being targeted, oppressed, and killed. We must redress grievances with our elected officials, run for elected office, and demand a voice in shaping our own community’s values.
In 2016 the Free Press intends to push for a radical revolution of our society’s values and to cover the stories that will honor King’s legacy and values.