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Date: Thu, 2 Apr 98 15:26:40 CST
From: Workers World <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: What's Gov't Role In King Assassination?
Article: 31465
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.29444.19980404121527@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

New evidence bared: Who killed Dr. King?

By Vanessa Lewis, Workers World, 9 April 1998

After 30 years, additional evidence has come to light in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It reinforces the view of King's family--and much of the progressive and civil-rights movement--that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was part of a racist conspiracy to obscure the identities of the real killers.

At a March 24 Atlanta news conference called by lawyers for James Earl Ray, who was convicted of the murder in 1969, former FBI agent Donald Wilson said he had discovered two slips of paper in Ray's car after the assassination. They supported Ray's claim that he had been hired by the underworld and was set up to take the blame for the murder.

Both pieces of paper contained the name Raul. This indicated the existence of the man who James Earl Ray has always said was his controller, his handler, said Ray's lawyer, William Pepper.

Last year, Coretta Scott King and her son Dexter King announced that they supported Ray's claim of innocence and his demand for a new trial. They have made public their belief that the CIA and FBI are responsible for King's assassination.

Attempts by King's family and Ray's defense lawyers to win a new trial have been unsuccessful. The most significant obstruction is the federal government's interest in continuing to deny that there was a murderous conspiracy against King.


This April 4, many media outlets will carry stories on the 30th anniversary of King's murder. But few will explain that, in the political context of 1968, many in the ruling class wanted to get rid of the civil-rights leader.

That was a year of great social crisis. In February the United States had suffered a huge defeat in Vietnam with the Tet Offensive. Just days before King was killed, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not run for re-election--a virtual resignation.

Two months later, Robert Kennedy, the leading contender for the Democratic Party nomination, was assassinated.

The big-business political parties were in turmoil. The anti-war and anti-racist movements were beginning to contest the authority of the capitalist state.

Dr. King, who had built up a great civil-rights movement, was speaking out against the war and in defense of poor and working people.

Some in the ruling class still perceived him as the lesser of two evils. The advocate for civil rights was more palatable than the advocate for Black liberation.

However, many ruling-class racists feared King just as much as they had Malcolm X. They especially worried that he was able to win over the broadest sector of workers--Black, white, Latin, Asian and Native.

King's stand against the Vietnam War and his statements in solidarity with the people of Vietnam were a lightning bolt. He made clear the need for worker solidarity across racial lines, and pointed out the enemy: the U.S. government.

King called the U.S. the worst purveyor of violence in human history.

His last stand was taken for economic justice--in support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn. This was the last straw. Defending workers in the context of the struggle against racism was yet another new phase in his political orientation.

When he was killed, King was planning a massive Poor People's March on Washington. That alone was enough to convince elements in the ruling class and their allies in government that King had to be eliminated.

The FBI, of course, denies it had anything to do with the assassination. But it cannot erase its long history of suppressing progressive movements in this country--from raids against immigrant workers in the 1920s through the anti-communist purges of the 1950s to its infamous programs meant to destroy the struggle movements of the 1960s.