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Sparking King’s Revolution

FIFTY YEARS AGO, Martin Luther King, Jr., protested our country’s counterinsurgency war in Vietnam. King passionately decried the bombings and civilian deaths, the destruction of families and villages, and the herding of the population into “concentration camps.” King denounced our imperialist arrogance and urged “a radical revolution of values.” From the pulpit at Riverside Church in New York City, King declared: “These are revolutionary times.” Indeed they were. And if anything, they have become even more so today.

Today the United States continues to govern through counterinsurgency warfare. It is no longer aimed at communists, but this time at Muslims and other persons of color. It is not only in the theater of war, but this time also outside conventional war zones. And it is not only abroad, but this time at home as well. With drone strikes and indefinite detention, total information awareness, and hypermilitarized policing on our streets, the United States today governs others and its own citizens through a generalized counterinsurgency warfare paradigm.

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About Boston Review

“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