Regime Change: Martin Luther King & the Left’s Mutiny Against the Democrats

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 4 – 11 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in!  Next show: May 16. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party
Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color.
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Trayvon Martin Act

This legislation addresses racial profiling, police brutality, and  police containment of communities of color
Safe Work Environment Act
The Safe Work Environment Act would eliminatlegal barriers that people currently face when they file a lawsuit against their employer.
Community Update 
Hartford Civilian Police Review Board Vindicated
“It was normal at the end of a pursuit for Los Angeles police officers, and I’m sure at other police agencies – it was required to give these people an ass kicking, to teach them that you don’t run away from the police.” ~ Former LAPD officer Alex Salazar, talking about his reaction when he first saw the 1991 video of four LAPD officers brutally beating Rodney King, following a car chase. (2015 Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio interview).

April 26 Fox 61 report by Jim McKeever and Laura Roberts.

The Hartford Police Department is disciplining five of their own for violating department standards during a violent arrest following a stolen car chase last summer.
An investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs division found that seven officers in all were at fault. One of them, Sean Spell, retired in August and is facing assault charges as a result of this incident. A 68-page summary of the probe released early Tuesday states that Spell would have faced discipline for kicking a handcuffed suspect in the head had he not retired.
Five other active officers named in the report were disciplined, including one who also kicked suspect Emilio Diaz after he had been subdued, and initially lied to investigators about it.
Officer Ricardo Colon, who was caught on camera kicking the suspect three times, received the most serious punishment. He received a 90-day suspension and was denied a promotion.
Detective Christopher Mastroianni, Officer Stephen Barone, Officer James Prignano and Sergeant Luan Bojka were also named in the report as receiving disciplinary action for not following police department policies. One officer is getting a four-day suspension; one is getting a two-day suspension; while two received oral reprimands.
Ricardo Torres and three other CPRB members were fired by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, after they requested the names of the 19 HPD officers who did not cooperate with the Emilio Diaz investigation. The Board subsequently asked for the names of the five officers seen on an enhanced video stomping Diaz. Torres raised an important question while commenting about the HPD announcement on Facebook: why wasn’t Colon criminally charged? Spell was charged for kicking Diaz once, Colon kicked him three times.
Malloy Doublespeak on State Budget
‘Highlights’ from Gov. Dan Malloy’s appearance Monday on WNPR’s Where We Live program…
Malloy talked about the plight of the rich and hedge fund managers. The working class and the poor in Connecticut pay more in taxes than the state’s wealthiest residents (CT Voices for Children report). Malloy said this about the state budget, “I’m open to having discussions. Having said that, whatever we end up with as a budget really has to live within our basic means.” Malloy then said out of the other side of his mouth that he still supports his $250 million XL Center renovation proposal, even though it would cost more money than the state has. The late Ed Snider, CEO of Spectacor, which manages the XL Center, was one of the Connecticut Democrats’ top donors in 2013.

Raff & House Support Oppressed Rich People & Hedge Fund Managers
WFSB Face the State hosts Susan Raff and Dennis House continue to shill for the rich. Last Sunday they had Department of Revenue Commissioner Kevin Sullivan on to talk about how wrong it is to tax the rich and rich people are fleeing the state, and blah, blah, blah. Needless to say the topic of Minnesota was avoided: Gov. Mark Dayton turned a $6 billion budget deficit into a $1 billion surplus by raising taxes on individuals earning $150,000 a year, and couples earning $250,000 when filing jointly.
Last week during an interview on WNPR, Connecticut Mirror budget analyst Keith Phaneuf said data indicates that the group driving the migration rate are college students who just graduated, and are moving to other states to find employment.
Policy Watch:  ‘Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?’
“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.” ~ Martin Luther King
“When having money in your pockets or a title is your bottom versus getting the best for your constituents you will not get my vote.” ~ Facebook comment by Sistah Nandi, on urban legislators in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.
“It would take the smallest tweak to properly adjust the tax brackets in this state and we would be out of this chronic manufactured debt crisis cycle. They are cowards for not doing the needful on this. Sick of the whining about the wealthy moving out as the asinine excuse for not doing the necessary work of government as far as taxes are concerned.” ~ Facebook comment by Jason Villani, on Gov. Dan Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly refusing to tax the rich.
The subtitle of this commentary is the title of Martin Luther King’s final book. So appropriate. I’ve been doing policy work in Connecticut since 2004, and I must say that I am fed up with urban legislators, especially those in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. We have toothless racial profiling and body cameras laws that the police aren’t complying with. Human services funding is being cut every year. The public sector, the largest employer of Black people and women, is under constant attack: 2,000 state employees were laid off last year, and Malloy is threatening to lay off 4200 more. Villani’s point about the $1.7 billion deficit being a manufactured crisis is the most important point to remember about the budget issue.

Neoliberalism is based on privatization and profit. Malloy, his fellow neoliberal Democrats and the Republicans need a pretext to privatize human services: the deficit. The ultimate goal is to get government out of providing services, in addition to rolling back decades of wage and benefits gains by unionized workers.  State Representative Josh Elliott is the only legislator in the General Assembly pounding the table for higher taxes on the rich, which should have always been a priority for urban lawmakers. This is a disgrace. I support the grassroots movement aimed at breaking up the Democratic / Republican duopoly.

“I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King
Last Saturday was the 25 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Rebellion, following the Rodney King verdict. The uprising wasn’t just about the acquittal of the LAPD officers who were caught on video beating King within an inch of his life. It was about communities being deprived of jobs and resources by the Democrats and Republicans, which is still happening today, including right here in Hartford.
The police are viewed as an occupying force in low income communities of color. Their job is not to protect residents, but to contain them.  The poverty rate in South Central L.A. is higher than it was 25 years ago. Hartford annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S.
Where’s the poverty bill from urban legislators here in Connecticut? We’ve never seen one. They aren’t talking about Black unemployment, currently at Depression era rates, or racial wage and wealth disparity. The unemployment rate for young Black males age 18 – 25 in some parts of Hartford is as high as 50%. Black people earn 60 cents for every dollar whites make, and possess 10 cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have. Poverty = violence. There have been 10 murders in Hartford already this year.
Last week I heard a speech by Dr. King, who went in on white liberals. Dr. King said that liberals who stood by him during the fight to end segregation walked away, when he started to focus on poverty and racial economic disparity. Dr. King said these whites were outraged about Blacks being shot, lynched, bombed and beaten, but “they weren’t interested in EQUALITY.”
50 years later, nothing has changed. White liberals #resist Donald Trump, after supporting the Clintons and Barack Obama. Bill Clinton fueled poverty and Black mass incarceration with his racist welfare and crime bills, respectively (both supported by Hillary). Clinton repealed the Glass-Stegall Act, which directly led to Wall Street crashing the economy in 2008, and the conditions that created a perfect storm for Trump.
Obama funneled trillions of dollars to Wall Street, refused a 2009 demand from members of the Congressional Black Caucus that he implement targeted job creation in Black communities with the highest poverty and unemployment rates, his Justice Department prosecuted ZERO cops for killing Black people, he bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries, deported more immigrants than any other president, signed a law allowing citizens to be jailed without being charged, enhanced the surveillance state that’s now in the hands of Trump, and last week you were crying about how much you miss him.
The words ‘President Trump’ and losing the Supreme Court majority for generations has taught you nothing. You can’t see that to these corporate Democrats, you all are pawns, too. Dr. King pulled your card a long time ago. Urban legislators in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport are only concerned about their political careers. As Dr. King would say, they represent cities on an island of poverty in the middle of an ocean of wealth. These lawmakers are cogs in the Democratic Party machine. They’re well connected, with sellout Black individuals, groups and nonprofits ready to leap to their defense. It will take a radical redistribution of political power to elect individuals who will truly work for communities of color, and all oppressed people.
Before he was assassinated Dr. King organized the National Conference on New Politics, a coalition of left organizations that included disenfranchised Democrats. President Lyndon Johnson felt so threatened, he ordered FBI surveillance of the organization and attempted to sabotage their efforts. Dr, King left us a blueprint that we should use to challenge the Democratic / Republican duopoly on the local, state and national level. 
Martin Luther King: Struggling Not to Lose Him –
Former LAPD officer Alex Salazar talks about LAPD racism, brutality and corruption.
San Francisco police union attacks Black cop for exposing racism in the department.
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary.  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues  Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns ( Contact us at   

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