In the latest Best of the Left podcast there is a segment taken from Dave Zirin’s “The Edge of Sports” where he deals with the reaction to American football player Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the US national anthem in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Zirin uses a quote from Martin Luther King to describe the reaction of several influential people from the sport’s community to the protest, whereby they essentially say “I support the ends but not the means”.
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the white citizen’s Councillor or Ku Klux Klan-er, but the “white moderate”, who is more devoted to order than to justice, who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.
Who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”.
Who paternalistically believes they can set the timetable for another man’s freedom, who lives by a mythical concept of time. And who constantly advises the negro to wait for a more convenient season.
Personally I have more respect for someone who bravely stands up for what he believes in than I do for someone who blindly stands up for a song and a waving piece of cloth.
But I also believe the quote is significant for wider issues around the world. Take what we have here in Ireland, like #RepealThe8th #Right2Water and #StopTTIP. Please understand that I appreciate the many differences between those struggles and those of the African American community in the US.
What I do mean is that such struggles should not be fought against the extremists at the far end of any ideological argument. It should instead be directed at those in between who stand with their backs to the resistance because while they do appreciate the injustice, they don’t see the point in resisting…at least not right now. “Maybe that day will come, but it is not today”, is essentially their argument.
They should be shown that not only can it be today, but it can also be done peacefully. If enough people believe, it can be so.