By Ernest A. Canning on 11/20/2011, 6:37pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The photo at right may well provide a pivotal moment in a new American revolution. It exposes a crack in the façade of the corporate security state that could grow to the point that rule by and for the 1% may some time soon internally collapse.

The real story lies not in the fact that retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis was arrested by the NYPD during an Occupy Wall Street confrontation. (Video of arrest posted below). It's the potential that Lewis' recognition of immense betrayal will spread throughout the rank and file of the security apparatus even as the clueless and increasingly desperate power elites seek to effectuate a coordinated crackdown on Occupy Wall Street encampments...

The futility of encampment assaults

The coordinated hyper-militarized, pre-dawn raids, like the October 25 assault on Occupy Oakland does more than underscore the desperation of what former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges described as our "decaying corporate regime." It exposes the underlying futility of the power elites and their giant internal security and surveillance state.

Occupy Wall Street is not a place. It will not end with the removal of encampments or even under a barrage of CS gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray against peaceful demonstrators exercising their Constitutional First Amendment rights. "By not being somewhere," Ralph Nader observed in a Nov. 16 email, "the Occupy movement will now be everywhere."

Nader's prescient observation was underscored on Nov. 18 when the movement marked its two month anniversary with massive actions across the nation, which included major disruptions for the New York Stock Exchange and a march of some 32,000 demonstrators across the Brooklyn Bridge.

While Occupy Wall Street engages in demonstrations, it is not, like earlier anti-war movements, a form of simple "protest." It does not seek to persuade political elites, who long ago sold their souls to the corporate security state, to vote the right way on this or that issue. It seeks nothing less than the revolutionary elimination of corporate rule and the erection of an egalitarian democracy in its place.

And, as it both disperses and grows stronger, Occupy Wall Street has before it a myriad of peaceful, non-violent tactics at its disposal, such as the relatively simple Move Your Money campaign, which may already be having a devastating financial impact on the giant banking institutions who brought us the 2008 financial meltdown.

No obedience, no power

Howard Zinn, in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress observed:

There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants and writers and teachers and artists. When the citizens begin to suspect that they have been deceived and withdraw their support, government loses its legitimacy and its power.

When police change sides

"All the cops are just workers for the one percent," Ray Lewis said, "and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited."

Actually, a good number of police officers not only know they're being exploited but understand that they are being asked to line up on the wrong side of the 1% vs. 99% divide. As we reported last February, "a wide swath of Wisconsin society, entailing not only both public and private union members, but students, doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers...and fire fighters...swarmed the streets and public buildings of Madison as part of a mass movement [against GOP union-busting] rivaling those we've recently seen on the streets of Cairo."

More recently, we covered the comments of Oakland Police Officer Fred Shavies, who observed that video of police officers firing tear gas at peaceful demonstrators on Oct. 25 at 14th & Broadway, "could be...the video of our generation. That could be our Birmingham," referencing the the police brutality that served to accelerate the civil rights movement, leading to the demise of Jim Crow.

It is at this very moment, when force is applied against non-violent civil disobedience and when public officials fail to bring accountability for those excesses, that the hypocrisies and moral depravity of the power elite is openly exposed. The image of a bloodied and critically brain injured former Iraq Vet Scott Olsen and the words of a former police officer like Ray Lewis can have impact upon the very individuals without whom power could not be retained by the 1%.

* * *

Video of retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis speaking at OWS in NYC follows...

Video depicting arrest of Ray Lewis by NYPD follows...

* * *

Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @Cann4ing.