“Never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was legal”: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Okay, I don’t want people to presume I’m dissing Dr. King. When this line appeared in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in 1963, it was surely inflammatory–as incendiary as anything ever said to a complacent American public. And it has not become less so over the years. We’re in a time when the standards for legality have become extremely slippery, and every revelation by The Guardian shows us how little respect the people in charge have for the law.
But that’s the point of my little rant here, because us well-meaning liberals and lefties need to remember the corollary:
“Never forget that EVERYTHING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DID WAS LEGAL–And they beat him and jailed him and killed him anyway”.
And that’s the crux of the matter, right? We can quibble about law and illegality and moral responsibility all we want, but if the Empire has it in for you, they’re going to get you. I am by no means encouraging violent law-breaking among those of us who’ve had it with the practices of this country, but I’m saying that people should not be surprised that the government is going to do everything it can to derail genuine change.
And remember that the Empire can and will set up people for arrest on unrelated charges. That means phony drug charges, IRS audits, and all sorts of other means of harassment.
Actually, (again, not to diss Dr King), everything Hitler did was NOT LEGAL. In 1923, he tried to overthrow the Weimar government in the infamous ‘Beerhall Putsch’ of Munich. Four police officers and sixteen Nazis were killed in the ensuing gun battles. Hitler was convicted of high treason (a capital offense), but sentenced to a mere five years and released after only one. He served at Landsberg, a relatively comfortable prison in which to do time, and had enough spare time and lack of supervision there to write his book MEIN KAMPF. Hitler and his movement had extremely powerful friends in the establishment that kept him from being punished severely for his first attempt to overthrow the government.
In short, NOT EVERYTHING HITLER DID WAS LEGAL. But when he broke the law, powerful people made sure he didn’t pay a price for it.