Interview with Michael Harrington
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

So about this idea of if he actually transformed in terms of his economic stuff.

MICHAEL HARRINGTON:

I think Dr. King, in my experience, and I really got to know him in 1960 and knew him to the end of his life. And during those eight years I don't think he changed his mind, ah, very much about economic questions. 1960, I found him understanding the need for a rather radical restructuring of the society. 1968, the last time I saw him he was talking about the same thing. I think where he did change, ah, and it was a momentous decision and I think he made the right decision is he was profoundly committed to coalition politics. And he was forced by the war to ask himself the question, ah, which was more important, maintaining his ties with the pro-war liberals and playing down or, ah, finessing his opposition to the war, or making a straight, ah, declaration of hostility to the war. He knew that if he made the statement of hostility to the war that he was breaking his ties with Lyndon Johnson. Ah, that he would no longer be welcome in the White House. Johnson didn't, in this period, let people do that. He decided that he had to do it**. So I think in that sense he became politically, ah, was forced to become more radical by the war, ah, and had to break with the pro-war liberals.