Efforts to rationalize the revolutionary significance of the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” movement are mostly futile. There is not much new about a gaggle of placard-waving, anarchist-inclined people protesting with slogans about rich versus poor, capitalists versus workers, love versus money (or war) and chanting “power to the people”. The “sit-in” of fifty years ago has become today’s “Occupy (fill in the blank)”.
Occupiers vs. Tea Partiers
Comparisons of the “Occupiers” to the Tea Party phenomenon have been made. Applications of “left” versus “right” political orientation have respectively labelled the Occupiers and Tea Partiers as “left-wing” radicals and “right-wing” extremists.
Both movements were spontaneously organized, with social media playing an important role. Allegations have been made that the Republican Party in the US organized the Tea Party movement. Similarly, George Soros and Moveon.org were said to have contributed financially to the Occupiers.
The Occupiers started out by protesting the government (taxpayer) bailouts of financial institutions. So far, so good, but it turns out that many of the protestors simply think the bailouts were misdirected to an elite class and that the loot should have gone elsewhere (to forgiveness of student loans, for example).
It is the Occupiers who have misdirected their efforts against private institutions (or what passes for private property these days). The target of their protests should be the State. More than any other factor, it is the concentration of political power in a government-corporate-union nexus that has contributed to the social disparities and conflicts being protested.
The fundamental difference between the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers can be lost in a sea of concrete points.
The major distinguishing difference is a moral one. The Tea Partiers wanted to shrink the size and reduce the scope of government. This is a profound moral distinction that speaks to the rightness of individual responsibility.
The Occupiers, dominated as they appear to be by Marxist ideology, want the State to remain firmly in control of the wealth created by individuals. All that seems to matter to them is the notion (debunked long ago) that the State should distribute the seized wealth to its particular political favourites. Ironically enough, this would require administration by an elite bureaucratic class. Perhaps some of the protestors expect to find employment in such a utopian regime.
Rather, people ought to be protesting the unsustainable burden of the State in their daily lives. It is the path to continuous conflict and the moral rot of society. They ought to be learning about the proper role of government as a protector rather than an oppressor or provider. Learning to take control of and take responsibility for their own lives should be the common goal—to occupy thy “self”.
©Copyright 2011 Edward Podritske