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Why Cornel West Was Arrested in Memory of Martin Luther King Jr., in Support of Occupy Movement | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

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Why Cornel West Was Arrested in Memory of Martin Luther King Jr., in Support of Occupy Movement

On the day that President Obama and others celebrated the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the dedication of Washington’s King memorial, Dr. Cornel West was a few blocks away—celebrating King with activism on behalf of economic justice and the “Occupy” movement.

After attending the dedication of the King memorial, West joined a “Stop the Machine! Create a New World!” protest march.

On the steps of the US Supreme Court, with fellow activists, he called out the High Court for making decisions that allow corporations to dominate the economic life and the politics of the nation.

“We want to bear witness today that we know the relation between corporate greed and what goes on too often in the Supreme Court decisions,” West declared. “We want to send a lesson to ourselves, to our loved ones, our families, our communities, our nation and the world, that out of deep love for working and poor people that we are willing to put whatever it takes (on the line)—even if we get arrested today—and say we will not allow this day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial to go by without somebody going to jail. Because Martin King would be here right with us, willing to throw down out of deep love.”

Then, the author of Race Matters, Democracy Matters and other groundbreaking books written in the King tradition sat down on the steps of the court with at least eighteen protesters.

“We are here to bear witness, in solidarity with the Occupy movement all around the world because we love poor people, we love working people, and we want Martin Luther King Jr. to smile from the grave that we haven’t forgotten,” said West.

Moments later, West was cuffed by the police and led into the court building as a crowd chanted: “We’re with you, Dr. West!” and “We won’t forget!”

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