In most cases, if an individual police officer ever refused an order to make an unconstitutional arrest, he/she would be committing an act of careercide; their chance of advancement within the department would have to be scraped off the sidewalk on the spot and transported to the city morgue.
Are you willing to leave the confines of your comfort zone and go to jail for justice?
Rarely, does reform arrive without the arrest of frontline agitators. Power does not yield without a fight, without attempting to silence dissent by brutality and forced detention. The powerful demand that those of us who notice their excesses and crimes be placed out of sight and out of mind.
Hence, in Oakland, the local corporate news affiliates, to their shame, turned off their cameras when the violent attacks and mass arrest of protesters began.
Are you willing to risk injury to body and reputation to bear witness? The survival of the OWS movement depends on having bodies on the ground and eyes (as well as cameras) on the thugs in uniform.
True to form, a servile corporate media will proclaim how unsightly dissenters are, inferring that sensible folk, simply as a matter of good taste and public propriety should disregard the protesters' entreaties and that these malcontents and cranks should be denied entrance into the realm of legitimate discourse, that these disheveled interlopers be barred by walls of silence.
To be in the world is to be confronted with walls. How we respond to these barriers is called character and art. Many brave souls have confronted walls such as these.
Often, as I gaze upon the blue wall of mindless repression surrounding Zuccotti Park and reflect on other OWS sites nationwide, I am induced to feel the sadness and longing of the repressed souls of the earth, of those throughout time who have met walls of blind hatred, of economic exploitation, of institutional repression".
I empathize with all of those who faced walls of smug indifference, walls of internalized shame and walls of official lies -- those who stood powerless before the stark reality of seemingly implacable circumstances.
I reflect upon the lives and work of itinerate blues musicians of the U.S. Deep South and the manner they met walls of both official repression and collective blind, ignorant fear and hatred, and how they transformed those prison walls into the numinous architecture of The Blues. " How they alchemicalized the barriers into guitar technique.
Musical instruments, like word meeting meter to a poet, serve as both barrier and salvation; the limits of the self are tested, explored, and by effort, failure and moments of elation are transformed by confrontation and union with the instrument, personal circumstance and audience.
As is the case with those on the front lines of OWS encampments, millions of people throughout history have met seemingly implacable barriers in the form of walls of human brutality e.g., Jim Crow laws, union busting management goon squads, the Zionist apartheid wall, various secret police and public bullies -- but they weren't going to let the bastards "turn them 'round""
If you choose to resist entrenched power, when confronted by mindless authority, your heart will know the drill; it will guide you -- its natural trajectory is towards freedom. Hence, you will know what to do when the moment arrives -- and will gain the knowledge that your predecessors discovered in their struggle for justice " that the cry arose forth from deep in their souls, "We shall not be moved."
The practitioners of the Delta Blues came upon walls of oppression " walls of raging hatred, and responded by passing through those walls " to inhabit a landscape more alive, more resonant, more ensouled than their oppressors will ever know possible.
They occupied their own hearts and draw us still into the immediacy of the world by their victory over their degraded circumstances by their appropriating the very barriers that were placed in their path by their oppressors and transforming the criteria of their oppression into the living architecture of the soul.
Those who know this -- have already won " have already overcome.