Martin Luther King Jr.'s Views on Socialism, Capitalism, and Communism

by | |

Hiller, Herman, photographer. Dr. & Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front / World Telegram & Sun photo by Herman Hiller. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/96516151.


Martin luther King Jr. stated his views on socialism, capitalism, and communism..in a letter he wrote to Coretta Scott in July 1952. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott were dating at this time. The letter is available to read in it's entirety, on Stanford University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute's "King Papers" page. This letter gives valuable insight into King's views on socialism, capitalism, and communism.

The letter irrefutably proves Martin Luther King Jr.'s views, as King stated, "I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic." King's reading of the book "Looking Backward" by Edward Bellamy amazed him. Coretta Scott had given King a copy of this book to read. This book was first published in 1888. A lot of the information contained in this book, lined up with the way King thought concerning socialism and capitalism. In the letter, King stated:

"I have just completed Bellamy's Looking Backward. It was both stimulating and fascinating. There can be no doubt about it Bellamy had the insight of a social prophet as well as the fact finding mind of the social scientist. I welcomed the book because much of its content is in line with my basic ideas. I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human system it fail victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. So I think Bellamy is right in seeing the gradual decline of capitalism."

Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic." This is the correct mindset to have, and everyone who claims to follow Jesus Christ should have this mindset. King was concerned about the "least of these," as Jesus Christ stated his followers should be in Matthew 25:31-45, which reads as follows:

31. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38. When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45. Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.


In 1961, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech to the Negro American Labor Council. King stated, "Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God's children." King was exactly right, and what he said still applies today. No doubt about it. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was committed to serving "the least of these." King's "Poor People's Campaign," called for a guaranteed annual income, which is also a universal basic income. King elaborated on the guaranteed annual income in a speech at Stanford University. The following youtube video is the Stanford University speech in its entirety. Youtube video courtesy of "Stanford University Libraries"


Reference


Hiller, Herman, photographer. Dr. & Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front / World Telegram & Sun photo by Herman Hiller. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/96516151.


Stanford University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, King papers. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/coretta-scott


Martin Luther King Jr. speech at Stanford University. Youtube video of speech courtesy of "Stanford University Libraries"

This entry was posted in no categories.