The court hearing on a restraining order against Mayor Bloomberg didn’t go the Occupiers’ way yesterday evening, so they’re not allowed to sleep in Zuccotti Park anymore. According to the Associated Press, this is what the movement has been reduced to:
About a dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters are in Zuccotti Park, talking and trying to stay awake.
They are sitting on the park’s marble benches, occasionally chanting “We are the 99 percent” and other protest slogans.
About 30 police officers are looking on.
[…] Some of the overnight protesters are holding up signs. One reads “Police, who do you protect really?” It’s posted on the metal barricade that was erected around the park after the protesters were hauled out of the park during a police raid Tuesday.
(Emphasis mine.) I’ll go out on a limb and try to answer the question posed by that protest sign: the police are really trying to protect law-abiding citizens who want to access Zuccotti Park. That the Occupiers would find this concept baffling tells you a great deal about them.
There have been many attempts to contrast the Occupy movement with the Tea Party, which the Left bitterly envies and desperately wishes to emulate. There will never be a true “liberal Tea Party,” because the Tea Party is dedicated to persuading the people while criticizing the government. The Occupy movement, like all leftist street theater, is about persuading the government and criticizing the people.
Some of the same media figures who tried to paint the Tea Party as the kind of violent rabble OWS is have been scribbling obituaries for the Tea Party movement, because it’s been relatively quiet lately. Of course it’s been quiet. That’s because it’s not an incoherent hate group like OWS. The Tea Party doesn’t have to provoke a spirit of perpetual outrage among its members in order to survive.
Tea Partiers are energetic participants in American life. They’ve got jobs and families. They don’t think “the system” is permanently rigged against them. They want the government to stop messing around with the system. They’ll be back in force when the elections draw near.
Tea Party activists are happy to navigate through the network of rules and obligations free people create between each other, because they know those rules can be changed in real time, through the application of economic liberty. They rose up to reject the notion that Americans should wait years between elections to have any say in major decisions about their own lives. They reject a grim future of vicious battle against other Americans at the polls, scrabbling for a share of conflicting “benefits” allocated by the political masters of a collapsing economy.
You can see that future written all over Occupy Wall Street, quite literally, by reading the signs they carry. Their animating principle is the application of coercive force against sectors of American society that “owe” them jobs, education, health care, and other benefits. That’s the entire point of “occupation” – they want to force society to give them a megaphone, rather than competing against the free speech of dissenters on a level playing field.
That is the essential contrast between OWS and the Tea Party: force versus liberty. With that in mind, and looking at the OWS movement’s history of violence, the ominous statements of its leadership should be taken seriously. ABC News asked them what comes next:
“This is going to make us stronger. We’re going to regroup,” said Pete Dutro, a member of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) finance committee.
Dutro said the eviction catalyzed other groups to support OWS.
“The unions are mobilizing people inside the community,” he said.
And next up? Religious groups.
“We’re really going to put pressure on communities of faith,” Dutro said. “We already have members of clergy behind us.”
Hey, remember when the media used to go nuts about the menace of religious groups getting involved in politics? I wonder if they’ll give the Occupiers the same windy lectures about “separation of church and state” they love delivering to pro-lifers.
Dutro and other active members have said they are not deterred by the eviction early Tuesday morning.
“We’re not going anywhere. They just made this worse,” he said. “This is just a symbolic center, as is Oakland. Each time they do these things, it localizes the movement more. If they had half a brain they would have let us stay here.”
Dutro said the eviction was “not American.”
“They threw away our books, hit women, trampled our American flag. No one was fighting them. The live stream clearly shows that,” he said.
Notice that the Tea Party never tried defying the law and threatening public safety to force a police action, so they could whine about the aggressive behavior of the police. The police are the arm of government most closely associated with the law-abiding middle class, which is the true enemy of the Occupiers, as it is always the final enemy of socialists.
“If they had half a brain they would have let us stay here?” That’s pure collectivist thought – the seizure of property through political righteousness. Asserting property rights is quintessentially American. Contrary to socialist babble about materialism as slavery, we are made free by our ability to exercise ownership.
The Wall Street Journal hears war drums pounding in the Obamavilles, which are much angrier than Hoovervilles ever were:
The Obamavillians, who style themselves “the 99%,” plan to retaliate by making the lives of ordinary New Yorkers more difficult. A 2:30 a.m. email from Justin Ruben of MoveOn.org urged recipients to “call 3-1-1 and demand that Mayor Bloomberg respect the protesters’ First Amendment rights.” The mayor does not answer calls to 311, a nonemergency city information line. The MoveOnsters are urging their supporters to harass people who are just doing their jobs answering the phones for the city.
[…] As police dealt with holdouts, hundreds of others scattered into the streets of Lower Manhattan, setting off marches and skirmishes with police that extended as far north as Union Square. Helicopters hovered low and shone spotlights on marchers who filled normally quiet streets with chanting.
Some appeared to provoke confrontation, while others went out of their way to avoid it. As one group marched through SoHo and NoHo, some knocked over trash cans and dumped them on the street. Others came behind them, righted the cans and put trash back in them.
One part of the group chanted “We are peaceful.” Others responded with chants of “We’re not peaceful.”
Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that “Occupy Wall Street leaders announced today their plans to rachet up their wild antics — vowing to wreak havoc on Thursday by shutting down Wall Street and the subways to mark the renegade group’s two-month takeover of Zuccotti.” Over at Big Government, Dan Riehl monitors the efforts of Occupy Wall Street to enlist the “Anonymous” hacker group in a digital attack on the judge who ruled against their restraining order, as well as publishing the judge’s home phone number.
Occupy Wall Street’s leaders vow that the story is far from over. They are certainly correct. This is not a movement that can be allowed to go dormant for the winter, because too many of its members would “go native” and be assimilated by the society they want to tear down. In contrast, Tea Party leaders are serene in their confidence that the bloated government they oppose isn’t going anywhere, and the movement’s rank-and-file members are not going to forget about it.
Update: Verum Serum brings us video of Zuccotti Park evictees and their ideas for urban renewal, which involve bombs and Molotov cocktails. Warning: the video is peppered with Not Safe For Work language, and is not suitable for children, unless you’ve already been dragging your children to an Occupy cesspool.