At the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade held in Los Angeles on Jan. 20, tens of thousands of spectators and parade participants along MLK Boulevard were welcomed with over a thousand fact sheets against U.S. war and sanctions, and demands for money to fight poverty.
A large banner hovering over two literature and sign-up tables at the beginning of the march also greeted march participants and spectators. Amplified sound carried the messages of money for food stamps, housing, health care and education, not war on Iran, and for the immediate removal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
This action was part of the national call to reclaim the MLK holiday. Unfortunately, the parade in Los Angeles, like in many cities, uses commercial interests, police and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) youth contingents to promote values of war and profit that are foreign to King’s message. The grassroots action on Monday was an attempt to refocus toward the struggle for social justice and against the drive for blood for oil profits.
In this mostly African American parade in South Central L.A., many heads were turned in response to the calls for stopping police killings and bombs against people of color fighting U.S. imperialism. Appeals were made to the ROTC youth to not believe the lies they were being told by recruiters.
In Los Angeles, the Peoples’ Power Assembly, the Socialist Unity Party and Unión del Barrio initiated the event.