As I reflect today, day 3X of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that is quickly become one of the places to be if you are an aspiring socialist/communist/anti-banker/anarchist/free spirit, I find myself coming to a few realizations. Seeing the Greeks, Spaniards, and Italians tangle with riot police, and toss Molotov cocktails, while their government struggles to find some way to pay their un-payable bills, I wonder if we, here in the United States, can expect to see something similar. In Europe (Greece especially), it appears as though trade unions and public sector workers are at the forefront of their riots.
So, what are we to think about the disgruntled and disgusted supporters of the movement? Various unsavory parties have recently endorsed the Occupation – The American Nazi Party and American Communist Party to name two. These movements have lengthy histories of violence and extremist ideologies. This is not to say that the OWSM is in and of itself violent, but if it is any indication of the beliefs held by the majority of the participants, I have not heard many of the participants renounce the endorsement. The usual reaction is to separate quickly those endorsements from the endorsements of others – namely the administration and Congressional leaders, like Nancy Pelosi. It seems whenever there is a negative story that surfaces about OWS supporters, the story is quickly squashed, and the person in question is painted as an outsider, who is unaffiliated with the movement. In my mind, the influx of so many disparate endorsements undermines, rather than helps, legitimate endorsers, while lending a sort of credibility to the others.
What worries me are those “legitimate” endorsements. While people see them as a sort of, “isn’t-that-nice-they-want-to-help” support by Washington, D.C., here is the thing – the movement, while starting out disorganized, and lacking a main message, has recently begun to coalesce into something that sounds more confrontational and more willing to act out in violence. But there is no proof of that, you must thinking. A recent spate of thefts of money, equipment, and other personal items, not to mention the report of a rape in Occupy Cleveland, shows the movement is changing. One convicted felon was picked up and re-arrested for illegal possession of a firearm (a folding-stock rifle) at Occupy Seattle.
Add to that, a presidential administration who has verbally supported OWS, who also has close ties to known leftist terrorists and bombers (Ayres and Dohrn), and a Department of Justice who is both, slow to act (if they act at all) and embroiled in a huge scandal. A former presidential staffer in the administration reminds us to, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” These allied interests, who masquerade as “supporters” have merely found themselves a group of useful idiots, who will allow them to try to advance their positions, while dodging blow-back. It also allows the allied politicians to attach their wants and needs to the movement, while avoiding the low approval that the public may feel for them. And it is not like less-political allies have taken over movements in cities – already, the original Occupy St. Louis movement has been pre-empted, and original organizers threatened.
It feels to me like the movement is increasingly more pre-empted by the day, but it still claims to have no leaders, and to be “organic” and grassroots. It is one agent provocateur from some sort of confrontation that will accomplish nothing, possibly injure many innocent people, and finally lead to the end of any goodwill or political capital that the early movement may have built. As the protesters become increasingly desperate, they may begin to realize that they must increase their confrontations and confrontational style, and try to create a situation where they will be able to “prove” that those they stand in opposition to (whichever group(s) they may be) are the evil and cold-blooded groups that OWS claims.
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