It's the time of year where The Man pauses to pay tribute to its favorite appropriated revolutionary, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior. So it's a good for us to remember that he wasn't just an outspoken black man who stood up for civil rights, but a perpetrator of "direct action" and, in the eyes of the oppressive institutions of his time, a criminal.
It was criminal in the 1960s to defy racial segregation. It was criminal to have marches, boycotts, sit-ins, and strikes. Standing alongside the everyday men and women involved in the struggle for equality, MLK was repeatedly arrested - according to the King Center, 30 times.
Sort of flies in the face of what we think of as "criminal," doesn't it?
Like many great thinkers, some of his best words were written from prison. Good lord, that letter finds a whole new realm of relevance with the rise of Occupy Wall Street!
Don't let the LCD flag-waving media turn King into another talking head with a sound-bite dream. 150 years after slavery, racism is still alive and well in America; OWS has taught white and privileged Americans the truths of police brutality which the black community has known for decades. And not everyone the State would like to paint a criminal is in fact our enemy - some are trying to help us face the brutal force we accept all too easily.