Three weeks into the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, the disorganized mob of shiftless protesters is receiving fresh shock troops from Big Labor. An article at Business Insider lists the new arrivals: “United NY, SEIU 1199, United Federation of Teachers, Working Families Party, and MoveOn.org. The Transit Workers and AFL-CIO are also expected to participate.”
And here I thought the protesters were upset about Big Business using its clout to take advantage of people! Big Labor is the biggest Big Business of all. The SEIU and AFL-CIO are mega-corporations that spend millions purchasing political influence to sustain their “business model,” at a substantial cost to consumers and non-union job seekers.
Also, many among the first wave of protesters were aging college students whining about the high balance of their student loans. Do you suppose the kids will discuss those grievances with the United Federation of Teachers when they show up?
The protesters romantically bill themselves as anarchists, which has attracted some lovestruck admirers from the dreary conventional Left. Here’s Michael Tomasky dashing off a quick mash note in the Daily Beast:
I want to stipulate up front that I am firmly on OWS’s side. I don’t really know who its leaders are, and I don’t especially care. I don’t know its exact goals – a subject on which the movement has been roundly, and in my view pointlessly, criticized. But it is desperately needed. It needs to succeed. And I fear it won’t. To succeed, it would have to model itself on 1963, not 1968. And I’m not confident that any left-wing protest movement today can understand that.
Tomasky is worried that the Occupy Wall Street crowd will strike Middle America as a gang of scary freaks, and might turn violent, which distracts from their wonderful all-American message. He’s not sure exactly what that message is, but he loves these guys because they hate the same people he does, and they’re blocking traffic. (Hilariously, Tomasky thinks the subprime mortgage crisis was caused by “deregulation.” Barney Frank? Chris Dodd? Never heard of ‘em!)
He doesn’t need to worry about OWS failing to be useful to doctrinaire liberals. Those union thugs are pouring into Wall Street because they understand that anarchy is the handmaiden of tyranny.
Anarchist movements are never followed by increased liberty. Even if the protesters imagine themselves to be rebels against oppression, they are always supplanted by highly organized and aggressive leftists with domination on their minds. You can watch it happen in real time on Wall Street today, as the rabble is pushed aside by a disciplined, uniformed regiment wearing SEIU T-shirts.
The first wave of OWS protesters will hardly be unwilling victims of the organized hard-Left takeover. They’ve been on the same page all along. They’ve got a website, and they eventually got around to posting a long manifesto of demands required to “end the occupation.” All of these demands require the exercise of compulsive government force on a massive scale.
Occupy Wall Street wants a “guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment,” along with a minimum wage of twenty dollars per hour. This would require the large-scale seizure of assets from working people to fund the “guaranteed living wage” of those who decide not to work. More force would be required to suppress those desperate to find gainful employment, and willing to work for less than $20 per hour, in the graveyard economy OWS seeks to create.
Of course, the protesters want “free” college educations, which would require the enslavement of either teachers, or those compelled to subsidize them. They want universal single-payer health care, insisting that “private insurers must be banned from the health care market.” Obviously, force will be required to shut down the entire private insurance industry.
They want to “begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end,” which is obviously not something the residents of industrialized nations will do willingly. Trillions are demanded for “infrastructure” and “ecological restoration.” You can’t accumulate that kind of dough by asking for voluntary donations.
Perhaps most tellingly, one of Occupy Wall Street’s demands is “immediate across-the-board debt forgiveness for all.” Everything from sovereign debt, to home mortgages and personal loans, would be wiped out instantly. They explicitly demand this on a planetary scale. They also want to “outlaw all credit reporting agencies.”
This is nothing less than the wholesale seizure of private property – everyone who holds paper would be subdued at gunpoint, allowing an all-powerful, all-knowing super-State to allocate property and financial resources according to its compassion and wisdom.
One of the most important functions of a legitimate government is the enforcement of legal contracts. Without this principle, advanced economies cannot exist at all. The demand to wipe out all debt by fiat is the perfect inversion of contract law: the government-supported theft of assets from lenders by borrowers, accomplished through the unilateral destruction of the borrowers’ side of lawful contracts they entered voluntarily. This is oppression, not “liberty.”
A fairly large number of people would have to be gunned down in cold blood to fulfill these demands. Anarchist mobs can’t grind that kind of meat – it’s a job for fascist legions. Far from agitating for any species of liberty, even the kind envisioned by the hopelessly lazy and disaffected, these protesters are demanding the final dissolution of economic liberty. Their daydreams could only be realized by totalitarian government on a towering scale, in which meaningful dissent from “compassionate” collectivism has been entirely eliminated.
Occupy Wall Street sounds stupid and crazy… but there are organizations like the AFL-CIO, and the degenerate hard-left Democrat Party, who have plenty of uses for stupid and crazy foot soldiers, once “liberal thinkers” and helpful media allies have cleaned them up a bit. The Democrat agenda is only a little less compulsive than OWS’ list of demands. As long as they can all agree on the basic principle of forcing people they dislike to give them stuff, they’ll get along swimmingly.