"As early as 1963, civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland had compared themselves to blacks in Alabama and Little Rock, and identified themselves as the 'Negroes' of Northern Ireland. They sang 'We Shall Overcome' at their marches and in early 1969 deliberately modeled a protest march on the lines of the Selma-Montgomery march. Oddly, perhaps, the Northern Ireland protesters identified more with black American protests than the myriad of protests in Europe that year — in Paris, Prague, Berlin, Rome and London. They saw their struggle as closer to that of African Americans in the U.S."
- Brian Dooley -
The Fight for Civil Rights in Ireland and Black America
Martin Luther King was the most influential figure in British Occupied Ireland's struggle for human rights.King's speech in Washington and most importantly on Irish television sets with his famous "I have a dream" delivered to over a quarter of a million people, resonated not just with the segregation and discrimination against blacks in housing and jobs but with Irish nationalists who identified and still do with being the Irish nigger well used to bigoted British political oppression and their cultivated sectarianism. Further televised abuse of civil rights campaigners and marchers made Luther King's Civil Rights Movement, a mirror image of Occupied Ireland and was not just the most significant mass protest against injustice in American history but also, the spark for protest in Ireland too.
Unlike today, the largely uncensored corporate media of that time, played an important role in Ireland's fight for justice, especially when Britain murdered 14 unarmed civil rights protesters and morphed the peaceful Irish civil rights protest, into armed struggle for national self-determination. Martin Luther King's non-violent protests were based on Mahatma Gandhi's type of leadership, who was himself inspired by Ireland's ancient struggle, who himself inspired Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma or Myanmar. He was a socialist but avoided communism's strickty, "materialistic interpretation of history" that denied spirituality's place in our reality.
Five years ago the Smitsonian Institute included British Occupied Ireland in its Folk-Life cultural festiva,l with the Bogside Artists invited to take part, despite vociferous objections from the British on the Irish Arts Council, who suggested to the Bogside Artists that they reproduce their Peace Mural on the Mall. They did just but they also paid homage to Martin Luther King. The mural was well received. They chose to paint Luther King for obvious reasons. The mural was a great success at 4th of July celebrations on the Mall where Luther King made his most inspiring speech for the cause for which he gave his life. The article below clarifies the relevance of Martin Luther King in today's society, particularly in British Occupied Ireland, where Internment without trial is again a reality and the negation of civil rights not just for Marian Price and Martin Corey but all of the royal subjects of Viceroyal Villiers.
The Meaning of Altruism
By Paul Balles
"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." --Martin Luther King
September 23, 2012 "Information Clearing House" - WHEN I was a college freshman, I became completely enamoured with Ayn Rand. As a literary heroine, she surpassed so many of my early heroes.
The self-defence of Rand's hero architect Howard York in The Fountainhead, standing trial for dynamiting a housing project he designed.
It was such a captivating defence that I insisted on sharing it with everyone who would listen. Many of my classmates who did listen came to the same conclusions as me.
Six million copies of The Fountainhead provided evidence of the following that Rand developed.
Many of us couldn't help wanting to be trial lawyers, who could make arguments as convincing as Roark (and Rand).
Over the next decade of subscribing to Rand's "objectivism", I realised that I had been infected with the worst kind of selfishness. Objectivism was the term that Rand used to describe selfishness.
To Rand, altruism reflected the evil she opposed. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness and involves doing for others, without any expectation of reward.
"From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality," Rand declared.
This is a near-perfect description of the present conflict between America's two political parties.
For Rand: "Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society."
She perceived a choice between: "A morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man's happiness on earth - or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces."
According to Rand: "The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value."
Martin Luther King Jr opposed Rand's philosophy.
"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness," he said.
Presaging opposition to Rand's ideas, 19th Century British Prime Minister William Gladstone said: "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race."
Apart from anything else, when asked about her position on the Middle East conflict, Rand firmly supported Israel with a rationale that could have come out of a typical anti-Arab hate speech by Benyamin Netanyahu, Abe Foxman, David Harris or any AIPAC speaker.
She explained her position by saying: "Because it's the advanced technological and civilised country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages who have not changed for years and who are racists and who resent Israel because it's bringing industry and intelligence and modern technology into their stagnation."
Current Republican candidates for the posts of US president and vice-president, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, both subscribe to a "morality of rational self-interest".
Ryan, an avowed fan of Rand, hasn't grown out of the enamoured college freshman. He not only tried to get all of the interns in his congressional office to read Rand's writing, he also gave copies of her novel Atlas Shrugged to his staff as Christmas presents.
Should the Republicans win the coming elections, there's little doubt that they will carry Rand's philosophy and politics with them.
Economist, teacher and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith complained that: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins offers some sage advice: "Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish."
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years.