Green Party of New Jersey Marks the 54th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Silence is Betrayal: Why I Oppose the Vietnam War”
Speech with a Statement against U.S. Militarism and Imperialism
As we approach April 4th, the 54th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Silence is Betrayal: Why I Oppose the Vietnam War” speech and the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, we want to echo many of the sentiments King wrote about in this speech. While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred here to Vietnam, here in 2021, we could substitute any one of a number of country’s names.
“Surely this madness must cease,” he said. “We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and dealt death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.”
The Green Party has been the only consistently anti-war party in the U.S. Neither of the mainstream political parties can say that.
One of the four pillars of the Green Party is Peace and one of the key values of the Green Party is non-violence.
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in danger. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
Chloe Alce, Vice Chair of the Young Eco-Socialist Caucus said,”A fundamental belief of the YES Caucus is that it censures and opposes U.S. imperialism. Imperialism disenfranchises inhabitants of certain nations, territories and provinces from their inalienable right to live in a free society.”
While the Green Party of New Jersey will sign on to the CodePink petition calling for Senator Robert Menendez to be replaced as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, as we have no love for the Senator, we also understand that the problem is much larger than one individual in a key spot on a legislative committee. The problem goes well beyond Senator Menendez to the Democratic Party as a whole and far past the issue highlighted by the petition, getting the U.S. to rejoin the Iran Deal. Should the U.S. agree to rejoin the Iran Deal we’re simply returning to where we were at the end of former president Obama’s 2nd term in office in 2016. If Senator Menendez is replaced, that does not change the position of the Democratic Party on endless war. It’s one thing to shuffle the deck a little bit, but another to believe that doing so will change the position of the Democrats in regard to the following issues that are not addressed by this petition:
- Recognizing Juan Guaido as the “leader” of Venezuela. He has very little support within Venezuela, was not democratically elected and simply represents another attempt by the U.S. to launch a coup against the democratically elected president of Venezuela. The U.S. efforts to replace Hugo Chavez in 2002 did not work. So far, the U.S. efforts to destabilize and remove Nicolas Maduro have failed as well.
- Lifting the smothering, strangling unilaterally imposed “economic coercive measures” imposed on Venezuela in an illegal and immoral effort of collective punishment designed to turn Venezuelan residents against their democratically elected leader. If this were being done within the US by one citizen to another, it would be termed as “extortion”.
- Brazenly using the government of Colombia to try to facilitate this coup.
- Continuing to support the destructive and oppressive Plan Colombia, written by Senator Joseph Biden among others, instead of working to implement the Peace Accords signed in 2016.
- Continuing to support Moise in Haiti, a dictator whose term, according to the Haitian constitution expired in February of 2021, but who refuses to step down. In the name of democracy and popular rule and Haitian sovereignty, the U.S. must withdraw its support for this dictator and turn the decision over to the Haitian people.
- Concerns about U.S./CIA meddling in the April 11th runoff election in Ecuador, one which would work against the popular choice of the people of Ecuador, Andres Arauz.
- Concerns about potential U.S/CIA meddling in the November elections in Honduras.
- Respect for the recent elections in Bolivia which overturned the U.S. backed coup of Evo Morales and his political party in 2019.
- Continuing a 60-year failed blockade of Cuba.
- Keeping troops in Afghanistan past the May 1s deadline negotiated with the Trump administration.
- Keeping and increasing troops in Iraq, even after the Iraqis have stated that they want the U.S. to leave.
- Keeping troops in Syria and maintaining a relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite rhetoric and legislative action taken to the contrary, Saudi Arabia maintains the blockade of Sanaa and continues to bomb throughout Yemen and there isn’t a single word of condemnation coming from any elected official of either party in the House or Senate.
- Continued unquestioned support for the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
- Lack of support for Julian Assange and freedom of speech and a desire to extradite Assange to the U.S.
- Continued refusal to even acknowledge the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which just acquired the force of law in late January of 2021.
- Continued approval of military budgets, often with the allocation of funds greater than what the president requested, even during the administration of Donald Trump.
- A refusal to negotiate an end to the Korean War and to continue to negotiate with Kim Jung Un.
- Continued escalation of rhetoric against both Russia and China.
- Continued support for more than 800 U.S. foreign military bases, including 53 military bases in Africa, which means all but one African country houses a U.S. military base.
- Continued existence of the Jones Act which prohibits Puerto Rico from purchasing products from anywhere except the United States.
The Green Party stands for the principle of Peace, Planet and People over profit. So much of the neoliberal agenda relates to profit at the expense of Peace and People.
The Green Party of New Jersey calls for diplomacy over aggression and while concerned that Senator Menendez’s track record does not support diplomacy (remember Madelyn Hoffman ran against him in 2018), his agenda is very much one supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.
As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this could work both for and against the Biden administration. Senator Menendez could serve as cover for Biden’s imperialist agenda, allowing him to blame Senator Menendez for the position of his administration. Putting a different Democrat in that position will not solve this overall problem.
While Senator Menendez is a warhawk, neoliberal, and pro-imperialist this is not unusual within the Democratic Party. However, Menendez takes unquestioned support of Israel very seriously because he is one of the largest recipients of money from the Israeli lobby from 2015 – 2020 — $626,000 to be exact He also co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the Combating BDS Act of 2017, two bills designed to chill speech and suppress campus activism on Israel/Palestine.
Said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech given exactly one year before his assassination on April 4, 1967,
“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
Sadly, not much has changed since 1967 or the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. exactly one year later on April 4, 1968. Said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
“I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin, 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.”
Protest Wednesday, April 7th, 5:30pm
One Gateway Center
Newark, New Jersey
End all U.S. war bring all the troops home, fund human needs, provide housing for all of Newark’s homeless, end U.S. sanctions, free political prisoners and ICE detainees, stop deportations, abolish ICE and AFRICOM, reparations
Demonstration Demands U.S. out of Haiti/ No to U.S. Interference in Ecuador
Co-sponsors: Black is Back Coalition, Green Party of New Jersey, #NJAntiWarAgenda, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Voices of Haitians Living Abroad, Young Eco-Socialists Caucus of New Jersey (List in Formation)
A brand new 8 foot Haitian Liberation Banner will be unveiled at this event!
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