Peter Dreier, Professor of Poitics at Occidental College, and Author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, presents two reflective essays related to Obama's Inauguration and MLK Day.
One is on the top progressive victories of 2012. Professor Dreier bases his selection on the criteria for successful activism presented in Organizing for Social Change: (1) wins real improvements in people’s lives, (2) gives people a sense of their own power and (3) changes the structure of power so that people begin the next phase of movement-building with greater leverage. See
The other is a review of the development of Martin Luther King Jr's ideas and activism on social justice. King had hoped that the bus boycott, sit-ins, and other forms of civil disobedience would stir white southern moderates to see the immorality of segregation and racism, but gradually realized that white Americans in a position of power had a vested interested in perpetuating racism to keep working class whites from challenging their own oppression. This led King to speak openly about the need to confront the gulf between "the haves and the nave nots" and to call for a Marshall Plan for the poor, both black and white. Professor Dreiser calls on us to honor King's memory by continuing the struggle for human dignity, workers' rights, racial equality, peace, and social justice. Read his essay:
Martin Luther King Was a Radical, not a Saint