When I wrote about Apple’s hypocrisy in quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last week, there was more to say. Few people are as accurate in preserving Dr. King’s legacy than Cornel West. Here is West talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. back in 2015 for Salon:
The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. This class struggle may be visible or invisible, manifest or latent. But it rages on in a fight over resources, power, and space. In the past thirty years we have witnessed a top-down, one-sided class war against poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes, and cutting spending for those who are already socially neglected and economically abandoned.
Apple has rarely sided with the poor and in my opinion Apple’s “support” of Dr. King is part of the whitewashing of Dr. King’s struggles to free us all from white supremacy and capitalism, and rebrand them as part of a modern liberalism that is perfectly OK with labor exploitation. To ignore and label Apple’s fundamental materialism as part of Dr. King’s legacy is frankly disgusting, and part of why I’ve been less excited to write about the new products Apple has made lately.
There is a deeper conversation to be had here about capitalism, Apple, and the products it makes. That the products are good or bad or just there isn’t as interesting to me today as the question of what these large technology companies do and the lack of criticism about their actions in abusing the legacy of Dr. King.