After waking up this morning, I saw on Twitter that Occupy DC was commemorating its one year anniversary by marching down K Street and protesting big banks, such as Bank of America and others. After knocking out some work, I decided to head over to Freedom Plaza, just a couple of blocks over from the White House, to see what was going on.
After observing for a few minutes, seeing next to nothing. A group of maybe 15 activists were discussing techniques to throw off police during a group protest. It was mildly entertaining, but also pointless.
As I was about to leave, a small group of activists sat down to discuss the finer points of anarchist activism, such as “collective housing” and dumpster diving. The sound isn’t that great in the video, but you can hear some of the points being made by protesters, such as their aversion to private property. This woman leading the talk explains, “Collective housing is a very important environment to survive, organize, and support each other. This is why we’re not pro-private property, because we think we need to share. If we don’t share, it means nothing”:
The above picture is from a story in BuzzFeed, of Libyans in Benghazi denouncing the attack on the consulate and the death of envoy Chris Stevens.
Betcha twenty bucks it doesn’t go far in the mainstream media, because they just want to show violence and flames and people out for our blood.
But this is the real message here: people are individuals. Groups do not have minds. We should not, and can not, blame all Libyans for what happened in Benghazi. Just something to remember as the fallout from this incident hits all of us.
A few weeks ago we brought you a video from an Occupy meeting where the stated goal was to overthrow capitalism. A few commenters took issue with this, claiming it was an isolated statement and that Occupy is a loose-knit group.
I had the opportunity to be with the Occupy protesters at the RNC and the DNC over the past few weeks and I can assuredly tell you that it is not an isolated statement. True, there are many groups represented at the demonstrations, and maybe not all of them will outright say that they want to overthrow capitalism. But when you promote a socialist economy, by definition you are advocating the overthrow of capitalism.
I covered the “March on the RNC” in Tampa and was able to have a conversation with a socialist marcher about the economy:
A few of his comments deserve special attention.
“We need to tax the wealthiest people in the country, who aren’t paying their fair share - it’s not shared sacrifice for them.”
This is a common refrain among not only the Occupy movement but among liberals in general. Consider that the top 20 percent of earners - going way beyond the famed 1 percent - makes a little more than half the money yet pays two-thirds of the federal taxes. And once you hit $200,000 in adjusted gross income, your tax rate nearly doubles - going from an average of 11.9 percent to 19.6 percent.
Occupy Wall Street - what’s that? They’ve gone away, right? They haven’t. They’re regrouping and preparing to ramp up. Nick Tomboulides, Andrew McCaughey, and Danielle Saul recorded some remarks made by Mike Golash, former President Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689, and others at a OccupyDC meeting held August 19, 2012.
They are not hiding their goals anymore - and no matter what your stance on the current state of our government, what is being said here should shock all patriots.
GOLASH: Progressive labor is a revolutionary Communist organization. Its objective is to make revolution in the United States, overthrow the capitalist system, and build communism. We’re trying to learn something from the historical revolutions of the past, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the revolutions in Cuba and Eastern Europe.
What can we learn from them so we can build a more successful movement to transform capitalist society?
The “historical revolutions of the past” don’t include the American Revolution - a revolution which created true freedom and prosperity and has been a model for such - but includes revolutions in which dictators were created who brutally tortured and slaughtered millions of their own people?
The Wall Street Journal editorial board today floats House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan as the best possible vice presidential running mate for presumptive GOP presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney:
The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House Budget Chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.
Against the advice of every Beltway bedwetter, he has put entitlement reform at the center of the public agenda—before it becomes a crisis that requires savage cuts. And he has done so as part of a larger vision that stresses tax reform for faster growth, spending restraint to prevent a Greek-like budget fate, and a Jack Kemp-like belief in opportunity for all. He represents the GOP’s new generation of reformers that includes such Governors as Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and New Jersey’s Chris Christie.
As important, Mr. Ryan can make his case in a reasonable and unthreatening way. He doesn’t get mad, or at least he doesn’t show it. Like Reagan, he has a basic cheerfulness and Midwestern equanimity.
President Obama has been accused of conducting class warfare. His supporters, obviously, disagree. They see Obama merely as fighting for the rights of the lower and middle classes against the all-powerful wealthy. However, this latest quote from the president takes a shot that may just go astray:
If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Yes. He really said that.
However, let’s look at the whole context:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
For the last few days the Supreme Court has listened to a case in which they have been asked to decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
This case is not about health care. It’s not about lowering premiums or rectifying the problem of the uninsured shifting healthcare costs to the insured, it’s not about increasing access to health care. It is simply a debate between whether or not the federal government is adhering more to the principles of individualism or collectivism.
The individual mandate is based upon the principle of collectivism which is the opposite of the principle of individualism,which the federal government was originally founded upon. But over the course of the last 225 years after the Constitution was ratified more and more laws have been passed that were based upon the ideas of collectivism and most have been upheld as “constitutional” by the Supreme Court.
Ayn Rand wrote in her awesome essay, Textbook of Americanisms, that “Individualism holds that man has unalienable rights which can not be taken away from him by any other man, nor by any number, group or collective of men. Therefore each man exists for his own sake and not for the sake of the group.”
On the other hand the Individual Mandate which forces every American to purchase a product is based upon the ideas of collectivism because it’s the majority who are using the force of Government to coerce individuals to act in a certain way.
In Textbook of Americanisms, Ayn Rand explained what the principle of collectivism really boils down to:
Today, the level of political animus and vitriol seems to be on a nearly vertical trajectory, with both sides pulling out all rhetorical stops in an effort to win converts to their ideology. For a time this seemed to be just a partisan war, but I am beginning to believe that it is much, much deeper than that. I believe we are at one of those great crossroads in our nation’s history where we must assess who we are and what values we hold before we can come to agreement on policies that reflect those beliefs. On the ideological left is a philosophy which elevates the state above the individual, which says we as individuals can’t be trusted to make correct decisions and must therefore be governed by a technocrat oligarchy of (theoretically) unbiased bureaucrats. These are the intellectuals and the scientific “experts” who are smarter than the rest of us and will therefore make wise decisions that we are forced to accept now, and at some distant point in the future we will pay homage as beneficiaries of that wisdom.
This philosophy can be seen in efforts to ban the incandescent light bulb, regulate salt and sugar intake in our diets along with the use of trans-fats; in the use of the tax and regulatory codes to force us into smaller, more fuel efficient cars. It can be seen in attempts to ban all public expressions of religious belief and in the rigging of the free market in favor of “renewable” energy sources by providing taxpayer subsidies that hide the true cost.
On the ideological right is a philosophy that holds the individual above the collective, that sees government as a necessary evil to be kept under tight constraints and against which we must jealously guard our liberties from the encroachment and expansion of government power.
With the economy in a sustained recession, unemployment at or above nine percent for approaching three years, and tens of millions of Americans struggling just to put food on their table, perhaps few people or organizations have been showered with such hostility and ill-repute as have “corporations.” Yet, of all of the root causes of our current economic malaise, such contempt may nowhere be more misplaced.
Obama, after the shellacking his party took in the 2010 elections and with no end in sight to the economic downturn, has turned to finding a scapegoat or two to deflect blame for the anger and frustration America feels. His two favorite targets are Republican “obstructionism” and those evil, faceless corporations that steal from the poor to sate their insatiable greed.
Maybe he has a point though. After all, we all know that Steve Jobs became one of the richest men in the world as the head of Apple by hiring legions on thugs to go out across America to households and college campuses, brandishing guns and clubs and threatening violence if the poor masses did not give these brutes their money in exchange for little pieces of molded plastic and silicon and copper which Jobs called “Macs” and “iPods”, “iPhones” and “iPads”. His reign of terror was so complete that every time Jobs released a new version of these little pieces of plastic, hundreds and thousands of people would camp out overnight at one of his stores to give up their money in exchange for these gadgets, in the hope that by voluntarily doing so his thugs would not show up at their homes, schools and places of businesses and threaten them there.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement faces eviction from their humble abode smack dab in the middle of the city that never sleeps, it has truly been a beast of a different feather. Even should the eviction happen, I suspect they’re just find somewhere else to be. But what exactly is the Occupy Wall Street movement?
The real answer is that no one really knows. A list of demands took to the web, but it was quickly discounted by many as “unofficial” when non-supporters began lambasting those very demands, and there in lies the genius of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
When the Tea Party first coalesced, despite its leaderless nature there were very real goals. There were some universal ideas that spread throughout the Tea Party, and the Tea Party acknowledged it. The Tea Party was anti-bailouts for one, and it was against tax increases as well. It stood for some very real thing that anyone who was at a Tea Party as a participant – and not just as a spectator or rabble rouser – was likely to believe.
However, Occupy Wall Street has a built in defense mechanism. When someone lists a demand as “Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment,” and opponents jump on it, Occupy Wall Street supporters can say, “Oh no! That’s not a demand. There aren’t any demands!”
You see, without any demands, they don’t actually have to do anything. They don’t have to work towards any goals, because they don’t have them. They are protesting, but no one seems to know what they actually want, and that amorphous nature allows them to adapt to any situation. All they have to say is that they are representing “the 99%” and to soldier on.