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Diagnosing Racial Capitalism

“I AM CONVINCED,” Martin Luther King, Jr., said in 1967, “that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” This is one of the more resounding lines from King’s corpus and one of the most frequently cited. It is often taken to capture the essence of King’s later radicalism, a sense of the political commitment and moral urgency that he ascribed to a second, more “substantive” phase of his life’s work: to organize an assault on the “evil triplets,” the racism, violence, and cycles of impoverishment that, like a kind of organic compound, had conspired to give life force to the only U.S. society the world had yet known.

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“Genius. This extraordinary issue reminds us that Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of America’s most radical philosophers. Forget the dream, he called for a revolution in values that stood in stark contrast with the nightmare of neoliberalism, permanent war, and state-sanctioned violence. These essays will inspire a new generation to return to the source.” —Robin D. G. Kelley