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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 4, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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04/04/18 04/04/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> enough is enough! >> our school! amy: oklahoma to kentucky to arizona, teachers rising up in what is being called a red state rebellion. we will go to oklahoma where thehers strike has shut state, close for third day while demanding funds for education. and to kentucky were thousands
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of teachers filled the state capitol demanding tension reform. we will get the latest in both states. 50 years ago today, the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. was assassinated in memphis, tennessee. >> i don't know what will happen now. we have got some difficulties ahead. but it really doesn't matter with me now because i have been to the mountaintop. amy: we will speak to pulitzer prize winning historian taylor branch, looking at kings radicalization in his final years as he fought against what he called the three evils -- racism, materialism, and militarism. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president donald trump said tuesday he's preparing to deploy the military to the u.s. southern border in the latest escalation of trump's campaign to win funding for an expanded u.s.-mexico border wall.
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pres. trump: we are going to be doing some things. i have been speaking with general metals -- general mattis. we're going to be guarding our border with the military. that is a big step. amy: trump has offered few details on how such a plan would be implemented. presidents obama and george w. bush both deployed national guard troops to the mexican border to assist the u.s. border patrol. an 1878 law known as the posse from carrying out law enforcement actions inside the united states. back in the u.s., a coalition of 17 states, washington, dc, and six other cities filed suit against the trump administration tuesday demanding it halt -- halt plans to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census. voting rights activists say the question is meant to deter immigrants from participating in the census, which is used to allocate public funds and draw congressional districts.
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the violence broke out side youtube's main building. police have identified the shooter as nasim najafi aghda, a not cited a motive. she was frequent uploader to youtube who'd been banned from the streaming service for multiple or severe violations of its policy. in one online video, aghdam accused youtube of censoring her and depriving her of income from advertising. the incident is a rare case of a mass shooting conducted by a woman. she was particularly concerned about cruelty to anima. special counsel robert mueller's investigation into alleged russian meddling in the 2016 election has netted its first prison sentence. alex van der zwaan, who worked with donald trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and his aide richard gates, was sentenced tuesday to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000 on charges of lying to the fbi. van der zwaan is a belgian-born dutch attorney who's married to the daughter of a powerful
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russian billionaire. he was charged after he failed to disclose details to the fbi about work he did on behalf of a pro-russia ukrainian political party. meanwhile, "the washington post" reports that robert mueller informed donald trump's lawyers last month that the president is not currently being investigated as a criminal target. however, the president remains subject in mueller's probe into possible collusion between the trump campaign and russia, meaning prosecutors could still bring a criminal indictment -- including possible obstruction of justice charges -- over trump's firing of former fbi director james comey. protection agency had scott pruitt tuesday formally announced plans to roll back obama-era fuel efficiency standards, saying the move met a central promise of donald trump's campaign. >> this is another step in the president's regulatory agenda. the president, again, saying america is going to be put first. we have nothing to be apologetic about. amy: pruitt made the remarks at the epa's headquarters in washington, d.c., after
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chevlet dealers objected to pruitt's plans to use a chevy salesroom in virginia as a backdrop to his announcement. the event was attended by a handful of auto industry lobbyists and only a handful of reporters were allowed to attend. the announcement came as pruitt is under increasing pressure to resign over reports he paid just $50 a night to live in a capitol hill condominium linked to a prominent washington lobbyis whose firm represents fossil fuel companies. meanwhile, the atlantic reports pruitt bypassed the white house last month and used an obscure law to give big raises to his closest aides. pruitt also used the provision to hire nancy beck, a long-time lobbyist for the chemical industry, as the deputy head of the office of chemical safety and pollution prevention in a move that allowed beck to avoid signing a white house ethics pledge. on tuesday, two republican lawmakers from florida joined a chorus of democrats who are calling on pruitt to resign over the mounting scandals. at the white house, a reporter asked president trump about
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pledge. scott pruitt's future. >> scott pruitt, sir? amy: the trump administratio publish a list 27 about 1300 chinese products to be hit with a 25% tariff. it prompted retaliation from china which responded today with a 25% tariff of its own on $50 billion worth of u.s. goods, including cars, airplanes, and other foodstuffs. this morning, trump tweeted -- "we are not in a trade war with china, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the u.s." in the gaza strip, israeli police shot and killed another young palestinian man in the tuesday 19th such killing in less than a week. 25-year-old ahmad arafa bled to death after was shot in the stomach near the border wall separating gaza from israel in the city of khan younis. israel's military said arafa had breached the border and labeled him a terrorist. his father, omar arafa, said otherwise.
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next to me. he went to the wall like everyone else. they shot him with a bullet from a silencer. he was far from the wall. amy: the latest killing followed a massacre last friday, which saw israeli forces open fire on a protest near the gaza strip's eastern border with israel, killing at least 18 palestinians and wounding as many as 1700 others. the massacre set a protest across the middle east and worldwide. onboston, massachusetts, young jewish americans were tuesday, eight arrested outside the israeli consulate as they locked themselves together in a nonviolent protest. the united nations is appealing to international donors for $3 billion to combat hunger and disease in yemen as the u.s.-backed saudi led coalition continues, campaign that has killed more than 15,000 yemenis and devastated yemen's health, water, sanitation systems. this is the un's secretary-general. >> every 10 minutes a child
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under five dies of preventable causes. arely 3 million children actually malnourished. childrenlf of our between six months and five years old are chronically malnourished and suffer from stunting, which is causing reduced ability to learn throughout their entire lives. amy: last month 10 senate democrats joined him geordie of republicans at a 44 to 50 50 that rejected a bill seeking to end u.s. military involvement in u.s.-backed saudi led war. a warning to listeners and viewers, this next headline contains disturbing content. in north carolina called the city of asheville has released body cam video showing a white police officer beating him a choking, taser and johnnie rush, a 33 euros african-american man, afteoffice stopp himor jaywalking. rush had allegedly crossed the street in an area without a crosswalk, when officer
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christopher hickman yelled and ordered him to place his hands behind his back. when rush ran from the officers, hickman tackled him, repeatedly struck him in the head, tasered him, and used both arms to place rush in a chokehold. at several points in the video, rush is heard echoing the words of eric garner -- who died in 2014 after a new york police officer placed him in a chokehold, "i can't breathe." >> i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. oh, my god. amy: rush survived the assault with burns from the taser and injuries to his head and face. officer christopher hickman resigned in january just before he was to be fired for violating his department's use-of-force policy. last month, hickman was arrested on charges including felony assault by strangulation. in california, state lawmakers introduced a bill tuesday that would tighten the rules under which police officers can use deadly force.
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the measure would change the standard of when officers would be allowed to use firearms from reasonable force to one of necessary force. the bill has drawn support from the american civil liberties union, as well as sequita thompson, the grandmother of stephon clark -- an unarmed african american man who was shot to death by a pair of sacramento officers in his own backyard last month, a killing that's inspired protests across the country. meanwhile, the supreme court sided tuesday with police who use deadly force, writing in a 7-2 decision that an arizona police officer could not be sued after he shot a woman to death in her own front yard. the majority ruled the officer was entitled to qualified immunity, the doctrine that police are immunfrom lawsuits charging excessive force. justice sonia sotomayor dissented, joined by justice ruth bader ginsburg, saying that it "tells officers that they can shoot first and think later, and it tells the public that palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished." and in florida, a jury at a federal court in fort lauderdale
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found former bolivian president gonzalo sanchez de lozada, and his ex-minister carlos sanchez berzain, responsible for extrajudicial killings carried out by the bolivian military in 2003. the massacre left at least 64 civilians dead and more than 400 wounded. the victims were killed as the military cracked down on protests that sparked an uprising against then-de lozada. -- been bolivian president de lozada. in la paz, bolivia on tuesday, family members of the victims gathered for a press conference to welcome the ruling, calling it a victory against impunity. this is juan patricio quispe, who lost his brother in the massacre. a great it is satisfaction for as invoked this sentence is ratified. or us, do something unexpected that will not change. that will be written into the history of our country, that centers still is otto has been found to leave for the events of october september 2003.
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awarded florida jury $10 million in compensation to family members of victims of the 2003 massacre. the center for constitutional rights, which spent 10 years pursuing the case, said it was the first time in u.s. history a former head of state has sat before his or her accusers in a u.s. human rights trial. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy w!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. schools across oklahoma are closed today for a third day as teachers continue a strike demanding more funding for education and increased pay. oklahoma's public education budget has been slashed more than any other state since the start of the recession in 2008, and its teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. scores of teachers are planning to begin a 123-mile protest march today from tulsa to oklahoma city. meanwhile, thousands of teachers continue to protest in kentucky in a reversal to a provision in a recently-passed bill about sewage treatment that gutted their pension benefits.
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on monday, every school in the statwas close to either due to spring break or anticipation of a massive rally when teachers filled the rotunda of the kentucky state capitol, chanting, "fund our schools!" this is kentucky education association president stephanie winkler. >> there will be no more bills like that after november. we have to fight for every single new teacher. you can tell me all you want it is not going to hurt you. if you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. amy: this year's wave of teacher rebellions began in west virginia, where teachers won a 5% pay raise after a historic strike. the protests have also inspired teachers in other states, including arizona, where union members are threatening to strike unless their demand for a 20% wage increase is met. the teacher protests and was for ginny, oklahoma, kentucky, and arizona have been described as is a red state revolt. in 2016, president trump one all
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caps rest days. at loyola faculty chicago are planning to go on strike today. well, for more, we go to oklahoma and kentucky. we're joined by andrea thomas, a 9th and 11th grade english teacher at newcastle high school outside of oklahoma city. she has taught for 19 years. she is now on strike. mickey mccoy is a retired english teacher and school board member in eastern kentucky. he taught for 27 years. also in kentucky, we're joined by democratic state representative attica scott, who serves on the house education committee. in 2016, she became the first african american woman serve on kentucky's state legislature in 20 years. and we're joined by mike elk, senior labor reporter at payday report and a corresponnt for the guardian. elk's recent piece is headlined, "-- mike, give us an overview of what has taken place. after the successful west virginia strike, a lot of teachers had been talking prior
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to the west virginia strike about organizing some sort of walk out. when they saw teachers in west virginia when that nine-day historic strike, a gave them a lot of confidence to keep pushing. over 100ened here is school districts throughout the state now are on strike and some of these go districts of the democratic superintendent of the schools, what supportive because of how bad the funding cuts are. crunched theand i numbers. oklahoma has cut more from its state budget since 2009 than any other state in the country. it has one of the lowest tax rate on oil and natural gas. the tax rate is through percent tax rate. in comparison, texas, which pays its teachers a starting salary of $18,000 more, texas oil and naturally as at 8%. what we're seeing here is teachers are demanding a lot more in terms of funding. already the state has passed a
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$6,000 pay raise for teachers. teachers are saying it is about more than a pay raise, it is about funding classrooms, having textbooks. i've interviewed so many teachers that are telling me that they cannot even get proper supplies or textbooks. they cannot assign homework because they cannot risk losing a $200 textbook. they tell me thetudents know the state is not investing in ucion. isat a te okhoma is booming. you to dotown oaha city tul and the place is ia qution of xaon a rollit back. teachers are making a bold stand. honest every teacher i talked to emphasized ts is a strike not about raises, but out making t more money for the cssroom -- you get more money for the classrooms. it looks like will go on for a we or two. thsuperintendent in fullet announced she would close schools for a week and she is appearing later today at a rally to kk off a march fm tulsa
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to oklahoma city that is expected to take a week. this strike will go on for a while and it looks like the striking kentucky will go on for sometime time, too. it will be incredible to see what kind of ripple effect this has. and let's go to andrea thomas, who is in oklahoma city. you are aeacher. you have been a teacher fromis two decas. you and ur has and in the oklahoma school fuop talk abouwhy y are striking d what youre demanding. >> welcome the legislature, they ve pasthe $6,000 raise. we can live with that. what we're fighting for now is for the kid i have seeso many signs that i'veaid "we are here for the kids." i have had students come and pport us. is about funding for th classrooms. it is about technology. we are lacking in technology at our schools. it is about being able to implement safety measures.
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in o society todaywe would to imemen more safety meas, buit is so hard to do. our librarian, we don't have a library budget. if she wants new books, she has to do fundraisers. it is about class size. my class sizes have grown immensely in the pasfor years. of 35. it is so much harder to have a relationship with your students and do what is best for them whenever you have so many. we're just trying to survive. amy: in oklahoma, i think the 49ther salaries are like in the country, 49 out of 50. also, in some school districts, there is so little money that classes are only four days a week, they close school on the fifth day come also so teachers can make some extra money doing other jobs. how do you and your husband get by? >> we are relying on that fit day now for our extra jobs. lifeth worked at an herbal
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shop. i clean houses. my husband even sells his own plasma when things get supertough. amy:e sells his blood. >> yes. amy: are you cleaning houses of i dostudents? one >> no, for a shop and for some people in town. amy: that will amaze people around the country that schools are closed on the fifth day for teachers to be ultimate more money and because they cannot keep the schools open. i want to go across to kentucky mickey mccoy to. you are a retired english teacher, deeply concerned about your pension. can you talk about what is happening in kentucky now as thousands of teachers have dissented on the state capitol in frankfurt talk about what you're mt concerned with.
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>> i most concerned with and most of my brothers and sisters who have come down are concerned about this war that is on education. there is a war of public education. it seems the teachers did not need to be drafted. they volunteered. they will continue to volunteer until we can straighten out the things that need to be straightened out. it is not just about pensions. it is not just about our medical insurance. you understand we have, like, youth service cenrs thaare being cut. and these centers help the kids both in urban areas and r inural areas with things they need. not only just school supplies, but a shirt on their back, shoes on their feet, they give them extra food to take home. legislature does well, governor matt
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bevins, a sort of like a general in this war on education am a public education, and was through place public education with charters schools. charter schools that will pick anchoo whohey e going to teh, charter schools who will not take the underprivileged kids -- they seem to be able to build their little school the way they want to. funded is allowed to be in kentucky or any state, we're going to change this nation into a place of the haves and have-nots. going to let that happen, no, not in kentucky. amy: i want to turn to the person sitting next to, kentucky state are presented of atca sct. atti stt is the fit african american woman to serve on kentucky's state legislature in 20 years.
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thousands of teachers dissented on the capital yesterday. can you talk about what it was like to simply get into your building? >> definitely. thank you so much. i actually come from an activism and organizing background with the former coordinator of kentucky jobs of justice. it was exciting to see this kind of mobilizing and organizing that we needed to have more on in kentucky. we need more of that righteous anger that dr. king had. we need more people descending on the state capitol and say kentucky deserves better. i was there with my daughter who is a public school student who wanted to be in frankfurt to support her public school teachers and to support public employees across kentucky. we made our way through the crowd speaking to people, high ing with people. and for both of us, we understood clearly why it was
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such a tight cap way to get for my office in the capital annex into the capitol building, now is just fine because we were not the legislators trying to destroy public education or heard public employees. -- hurt public employees. my daughter supportsubli education. we were not afraid to walk to the crowd. wed th walkeugh the owd and we knew we were walking through a group of friends and family members who were there standing up for themselves while i went into the house chambers to fight for and with them full amy: can you explain, state representative scott, the whole issue of demanding a reversal to a provision in a recently passed bill about sewage treatment that gutted the pension benefits? , onhe sewage pension bill the thursday before good friday, that morning it was a sewage bill. by that afternoon, it was the so-called pension reform bill, a
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bill that members of the committee only had about five minutes to read, a bill that in fact is probably illegal because we did not have an actuarial analysis, fiscal impact statement on the bill and how it would impact the contract that we have with our public educators. and yet members of the committee, the nose of the house floor, were expected to vote on that hill with little to no debate in the committee. we had extensive debate on the house floor, but it passed anyway because as mickey said, the governor and his followers in the legislature are determined to destroy public education. and taking away the agreement that we made with teachers, the theract, and moving retirement benefits into a 401(k) plan, that highly our commitment to our public employees. and the way in which -- i say we use i'mart of the legislature, but it is the so-called new republican majority, the wathey pusthat bill forward and made it clear that they knew what they're
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doing was wrong. they knew what there were doing was not in the best interest of the commonwealth of kentucky. and those of us who were on the right side of this issue knew it as well. amy: i understand education association called for everyone -- oh, red, a kind of wearing red is the sign of solidarity in a red state revolt. mickey, are you wearing red? >> it just happened to fit so well that i put it on. amy: and state representative scott, your blouse? definitely wearing red for public ed. and if i'm tuesday night, bernie sanders tweeted out a message of plotting the teachers. >> there are pundits out there who talk about blue states in red states and purple states. i have never believed that. i think that any state in this country which has working people struggling economically, struggling to send their kids to
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school, struggling for health care, struggling for childcare, that is a state that can become progressive. i want to applaud the teachers in west virginia and oklahoma, kentucky, so-called red states, who are helping to lead this country to change our national priorities. saying loudly and clearly that we have got to take care of our kids, take care of our schools, and that is more important than giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations. thank you, teachers and was virginia, thank you teachers and obama, thank you teachers in ntucky. we are with you. amy: that the senator bernie sanders. you are in the state, state representative scott, of kentucky, the state of the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. has he weighed in in any way? the federal body, the congress deal with this strike that is now crossing the country from west virginia to oklahoma
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to kentucky? >> unfortunately, the senate majority leader has now weighed in in any way that would make any bit of difference for the people in the commonwealth of kentucky. that is why what you have seen is a grassroots movement. grassroots folks who have said, we don't need elected officials to be our spokespeople, we will speak for ourselves and organize ourselves and to send on and take over our state capitol. we will shut down our public schools until we not only get what we want as far as the public pension, but also make sure we take care of our kids. how dare we in the commonwealth of kentucky remove funding for textbooks from our budget. on monday of this week, we removed funding for textbooks from our budget. that is something that is inexcusable, unacceptable, and kentucky deserves better. amy: i want to go back to andrea thomas in oklahoma.
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what affected the west virginia very successful strike have on you going out on strike? and also, your concerns about your daughter, she is a junior in high school right now? >> yes. i would say the west virginia strikes were inspiring for us as teachers. i am in a facebook group and there has been a lot of west to-that saychers they support us. that is nice. as far as my daughter concerned, she is a junior in high school. i am very concerned about how we're going to afford to send her to college. it is just so hard in the environment that we have and the lack of funding that we have come it is really hard to make ends meet and to find a way to send your own kid to school. i can't you -- sorry. i can give you an example. they had a deal at our school where they were getting class
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rings. my daughter did not get a class ring. we could not afford it. it is just things like that. amy: you and your husband are both teachers. your husband is selling his own blood. you are cleaning houses in addition to teaching. you have four day a week school, public school in oklahoma. so the to the the schools opened fifth day so you can work second and third jobs. >> and it does help with our second and third jobs. we are managed to handle that situation very well. as students are still performing well with our four day week. they are still getting the same amount of time that they got before. i feel like i might even be getting more in in my lessons because i have longer hours. it hasn't been negative, but it has been helpless teachers. amy: mike elk, as you look at this movement across the country, particularly in red states, the states that elected donald trump, you have been covering education for years.
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you have come out of the successful teacher strike and was virginia. your final thoughts? >> i think we're in a new period. dealing thing i can really compare this to is when we were organizing as digital media journalists and i remember i was leading a drive at politico from which a was fired, featuring some of our organizing there, and i remember hundreds of reporters tweeting about it and send we are going to get it done. the next couple of years, we ofanized three outlets publications. what we found i think is what a lot of teachers are finding now is the social media so for has really changed the game. -- social media support has really changed the game. people have their back. the feedback loops did not exist. i think we are getting to a new era here.
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people are upset with the war on teachers. we have seen students walkout over gun violence and the repeal of daca and now teachers walking out. in the state of oklahoma, as well as kentucky, we're seeing a lot of local school boards being very supportive of folks walking out. so it is still longer a teachers union versus the school board or teachers union versus the students. the students, teachers, school boards coming together. amy: we have to leave it there. we will continue to follow this "d we will link to your piece wave of teachers' wildcat strikes spreads to oklahoma and kentucky." thank you so much to andrea , and sayickey mccoy democratic legislator attica scott. this is democracy now! when we come back, speaking about movements, we go south.
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.e go to memphis, tennessee 50 years ago today, a man who movements, dr. martin luther king, was gunned down, assassinated on the balcony of the lorraine motel. stay with us. ♪ [music break] amy: "ich side are you on" by ani difranco. i am amy goodman. 50 years ago today when dr. martin luther king was assassinated in memphis, tennessee, just 39 years old.
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we turn now to a conversation i recently had with pulitzer prize winning historian taylor branch and with writer trey ellis. they both work on the new hbo documentary called "king in the wilderness." it premiered at sundance. it went on hbo this week. it recalls the last three years of king's life. i began by talking to taylor branch, who wrote the "america in the king years" trilogy. let's talk about the last three years were dr. king is moving north and he would say at that time he was never so afraid as he was in chicago. i mean, for all that he faced in the south, chicago. northern united states. of selmawithin a month in 1965, he was saying we have to go north.
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and the staff, including diane, did not want him to go. did not want to go north. we still had work to do the south, that is what she said. but king became more determined. he was reluctant in the early years. he was trying to make the movement climb up. andy young said we wanted have chicken dinners and congratulate ourselves for 20 years. he said, no, we want to go to selma. as soon as selma than companies that we want to go north to show america the race issue is not and never has been purely southern. the staff did not want to go. all of the staff except for one person was against his coming out and making the riverside church speech against the a nam. -- vietnam. there was a downward pull of king in the last year's where he felt compelled to make a witness on things that he did not have confidence were going to be big breakthrough moments like "i
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have drink" or the civil rights actf 1965. he's in the wilderness and he is lonely but he is much more of a leader, almost a possessed leader. we have to do this list of even made a speech to his staff saying we have to finish -- there is a quote in revelation, we have to finish on her principles even if we have very little left. amy: can you take us on the trajectory of the mississippi march. this is after the selma to march, and why king decided to join us, through the whole challenge by stokely carmichael who would later become -- incredible footage of feuding orly sort of it was more of a battle of ideas of who should be included in the march. but start with meredith. >> the meredith march was a watershed in the public perception of the movement. it was the birth of black power.
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stokely had just taken over the student nonviolent corn 80 committee from john lewis. lewis was ousted because he was too much like martin luther king,'s to steadfast and nonviolent. when meredith got shot, dr. king and stokely were thrown together in continuing his march through mississippi. amy: explain what happened to james meredith. >> he had his own solo march against fear to try and inspire black mississippians who are afraid to go to the courthouse to register to vote. he said if i can march through mississippi by myself, then you should not be afraid to register. but on the third day out, he was shot. he was shot by white people who are angry he was trying to rally black people to vote. civil rights leaders, many of whom were not consulted about this march but they felt they had to continue it because it was so public. it through dr. king together leader stokelycc and stokely said openly that he
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is the fact that all of the press came with dr. king to announce this new doctrine to make this student nonviolent coordinating committee not be second fiddle. thee felt that dr. king got publicity and they were spending more time in jail. .his mesmerized the media to this day, i mean, it is more popular. there are a lot of nonviolent movement that are embarrassed because they were nonviolent and black power became so popular. arguet night they would -- on amy: with a reporter holding a microphone going back and forth. and also the inclusion of non-black activists in the movement. >> yes. -- thees, they wanted march was very integrated. the march against fear. remember, it is 220 something miles. it went on from a statement.
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it is bigger than the selma march. it significance is it march this the transformation between violence and nonviolence or the opening of a debate. stokely would say, how come we have to be nonviolent? how come america admires nonviolence only in black people but otherwise they admire john wayne? why do we have to do that? and dr. king would say, we don't. i'm not telling you your to do it. i'm telling you that nonviolence is the leadership doctrine, the head of the human america. if we become violent, it is not that we are stepping up to be like john wayne, it is that we're stepping back from nonviolence to try to move the country toward reconciliation, toward spirituality. they had this big argument about whether the civil rights movement needed to be nonviolent, whether it was effective, whe was principled, and what can of leadership strategy it was. dominated the last
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couple of years of dr. king's life. amy: taylor branch, you are an historian and won a pulitzer prize. it you were also surprised by some of the footage that you saw . wrote,s surprised -- i but i did not feel -- i wrote in these thousands of white people would come out and throw bricks and it was women with pocketbooks and they hit people with pocketbooks and they yell and scream. but to write it is different based on source material than to see nazi signs of people yelling and screaming in chicago. it was a very rough place. he swastikas, the presence of these swastikas. >> there were lots of swastikas and a lot of young people involved. on the other side, dr. king was
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trying to experiment with nonviolence in the north. in many respects, there were no stories there were in memphis of nonviolence breaking down on the movement side in chicago. in fact, a number of gang leaders would come up to dr. king's apartment and argue with him for a number of nice. he had the blackstone rangers and a number of them in these marches. the farrespects, reaches of the laboratory of who could be nonviolent and whether or not it could work, but what you get out of the film is you see the other side of it. dr. king said, we have to show america that there is a race problem in the north because you'd be surprised how many millions of people think that there is no more race problem since we passed the civil rights bill. and in that one little task, they succeeded admirably. amy: wasn't he hit by a brick in chicago? >> he was.
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rock postr twice by a up he was struck many times, stabbed. violence had a was been close to him his whole life before memphis. that was not new. down in the south would have a couple of hundred klansmen. you would be scared. in chicago, there were thousands of people and they were enraged. you could hear them. it was an angry crowd. amy: let's talk about vietnam and how king ended up making "why iverside sh, opposed the war in vietnam." i want to turn to a clip of vince harding before he died we had a long conversation with him about the speech and his conversations with dr. king. the man vince harding, who helped to craft that speech. this is what he had to say. >> market was, towards the end of his life, you may remember,
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by the last years of his life, he was saying that america had to deal with three, when he called triple evils. the evil of racism, the evil of materialism, and the evil of militarism. and he saw those three very much connected to each other in a way, amy, as long as martin and we wereach other, talking about the kinds of things that were involved in that speech. about theiring tremendous damage that war does to those who bridges of pay in at, to those who are the victims lose, to those who tremendous possibilities in their own lives because of it.
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always -- we were always talking about what it find mean to try to creative, nonviolence alternatives to the terrible old-fashioned this of war as a way of solving problems. then when vietnam began to inelop on all of our screens the 1960's, we talked a great role inut our countries a great about the role of those of us who were believers in the way of nonviolent struggle for change and what our responsibility was both as nonviolent believers and as followers of the teachings in the ways of jesus the christ.
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was clear with himself that he had to make a major public address on this subject as fully as he can possibly do it, he was looking for a setting in which that to on the grounds of his religious stance particularly. and when clergy and laity against the war in vietnam invited him to do that at riverside for the occasion of 1967,gathering in april it was clear to him that that was place th he ally ought to make e speech, ought to take the stand in the most public way possible.
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amy: that was vince harding, a close ally of dr. king who helped to craft that "beyond " speech. the speech that dr. king gave at riverside church in new york on april 4, 1967, a year to the day before dr. king was assassinated in memphis. talk about vince harding's role in that speech, taylor branch. speech, taylor branch. >> vince harding was a student of nonviolence his whole life who lived in atlanta, not far from dr. king. when the speech -- when he undertook the speech for reasons that trey can explain, is one of the few he rode out. yet have a condition of doing this that they wanted to publicize it and get his views out. they wanted a written view. amy: that dr. king wrote. >> yes. wingedy, dr. king
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things. principally, vince harding to the first draft. was the staff did not want him to give the speech but he said if you're one to do it, do it in a way that at least the press will be attention to it. don't do it with a lot of, hey, hey, lbj, how many kids camino, plaque is in the background. amy: how many kids did you kill. >> nothing provocative. do it in a nice setting. interviewed different and is about how ty went in there. they were try to make it as palatable as possible and get the world one chance to listen to his conference of argument about the history of vietnam, about the vietnamese people, about how they viewed our claims that we work fostering this out of concern for the democratic future. -- he crafted his
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conference of speech and nobody listened to it anyway. they said you are a traitor. they -- it was one of the big disappointments in his life. amy: and what taking and vince harding say? the next time he saw me, -- the next time he saw him, he said, you got me in a lot of trouble. i'm going to blame you. they survived on humor. dr. king was a champion. amy: talk more about the significance of this speech. i want to play another clip list of this of dr. king himself. so many of the phrases he used became so important later. >> i speak as a child of god and brother to the suffering poor to vietnam, i speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose whoseare being destroyed, culture is being subverted. i speak for the poor of america who are paying the price of
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smashed hopes at home and 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 her own nation. the great initiative in this war is ours. the initiative to stop it must be ours. as i have walked among the desperate, rejected, an angry them man, i have told molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. i have tried to offer them my deepest compassion on maintaining my conviction that mostl change comes meaningfully through nonviolent action. but they asked, and rightly so,
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what about vietnam? they ask of her own nation was not using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. their questions hit home. i knew i could never again raise my vce 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. amy: that is dr. king saying that his country, the united states, was the greatest purveyor of violence on earth. the corporate media, the mainstream media, went after him dutch i have the "life" magazine copy still. they talked about they said his speech sounded like a script from radio hanoi.
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they said he a done a disservice to his cause, his country, and his people. so for those young people who say was easy for king because everything he did everyone idolized, he was slammed. in the documentary talking about he nudged into the idea of global politics, and anytime he would try to say anything except for white southerners should not segregate, he was pilloried. they try their best to say, how can we make a strong statement as innocuous, as palatable as possible? happened after, year to the day he was assassinated, that speech, is what king says? >> it is amazing that the coincidence that it is a year to the day after that speech he is gued down inemphis the backlash against thepeech was not only the media or the
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white community, it was also really will consent and the naacp come all of the black clergymen were very concerned. the sclc, they were very concerned, the southern leadership christian conference, which he led. they were concerned. their money dried up. yet no friends. said hewhen his advisor died of a broken heart. that is one of those great reasons. everybody seemed to have turned against him with his turn against the war. amy: explain this last year of dr. king's life, the poor people's march. >> after the coming out against the war in vietnam and he is really at his lowest point -- some people might say that he deserved it. if you want to take over riverside church and live in the upper said -- upper west side of manhattan, you deserve it. he said, no, he wanted to fight longer. the first interview i did with mary and and she said when she
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came and visited the poor in mississippi with productivity and bobby kennedy said to her, tell king to bring the poor to washington, which goes to taylor's point about having the public/private, how governance and lbest, how king nl jacob were together. e goes to s fice any as that. she tells in this idea from bobby kennedy and her and he lights up. it is -- i think you saw -- he talks about this march on washington, this or people's campaign. he envisioned it as bigger than his "i have a dream" speech. all americans, white, black, hispanic, all poor people would washington and it would beransformative change. when you see the plans for that marge and what could've been in that march cut short by the assassins bullet, it is really
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quite heartbreaking. amy: taylor branch? >> one reason he may have lit up so much is this idea of racism, poverty, and more that you mentioned. he called it the triple scourge of evil. that was not a new idea for dr. king. it is the theme of his nobel prize lecture that they are related, racism, poverty, and war. violence of the flesan violence of the spirit. so he had done racism. he had done war in vietnam. and poverty is equally violent in his worldview. so an opportunity to make an explicit witness on the third leg of what he called the ancient triple scourge of racism, poverty, and war, i think is something he knew he needed to do to make his message complete. he is been speaking on a but not demonstrating poverty. amy: let's move on to memphis. and this is not the final moment of memphis, but it was in two
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parts. again, we're talking about enormous tension within the sclc and dr. king's closest advisers. did being concerned about king going to memphis, he is then invited to stand with the sanitation workers as they tried to unionize? >> i will talk about the origins of memphis. shows,ff -- as the film it took an enormous effort to get the staff behind the poor people's campaign. some people said, if you don't end of the vietnam war, doesn't matter what we do. others said, we still have segregation in the south and north and we should be on race relations. goingfinally gets them onto the poor people's campaign and their plans, and in memphis. the strike started because two of the sanitation workers were crushed to death in the back of a cylinder garbage truck when they were not allowed to seek
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shelter in rainstorms because they were all black and the rules do not allow them to seek shelter in any way numbered because it offended white people. the only place they could find shelter was in the -- with the garbage itself and a broom fell and hit a lever and compacted them. literally crush them. that is therigins of "i am a ma" meaning they picked that slogan because the whole strike was it was economic, but it was also essential dignity. they were being crushed like the garbage they were kicking up and no one cared. the carry these signs. the person leading the demonstration, jim lawson, was one of dr. king's old mentors and nonviolence. he called him and said, martin, can you come? did most ofe trey the interviews about memphis. he said, i have to go to memphis. yes, it is a diversion, but it is from jim lawson and of these
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people don't personify with the poor people's campaign is going to be about, nobody does. once again, he drags his staff to memphis as a diversion from the poor people's campaign. amy: taken from there. time they -- every wanted to go north, when he wanted to go against the war, he was getting this pushback from his staff. and now they're such dissent, he has a little hunger strike. it is the first time he says he can't get through to them and yesterday something extreme so they will listen to him. to me, an extraordinary moment is when he goes to the first memphis march and it goes badly unclear people -- it is what the reasons are, but some people in the back are taking
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march is a disaster. i am most impressed by dr. king when he is on the film and says, yes, it was terrible and i should have done a better job organizing this march. i should not have just jumped in sight unseen into this march. there is not a single person who would imagine that kind of mistake. when he comes back, though he is redoubling its efforts to come back next time and make it right. amy: i want to go to the clip of dr. king the night before he was killed. this was april 3, 1968. >> i don't know what will happen now. we have got some difficult days ahead. but it really doesn't matter withe now because i have been to the mountaintop. like anybody, i would like to live a long life.
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longevity has its place. but i'm not concerned about that now. , just want to do god's will and he has allowed me to go up to the mountain. and i have looked over and i have seen the promised land. you, not get there with but i want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. so i'm happy tonight. i am not worried about anything. i am not fearing any man. mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord. amy: dr. martin luther king speaking april 3, 19 68. he was assassinated less than 24 hours later in memphis to some 50 years ago today, april 4, 1968. visit democracynow.org to watch
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our full conversation with trey ellis, taylor
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