The Occupy Wall Street movement is an exercise in nostalgia. It’s an attempt to recreate the excitement of 1968, when the world’s youth took to the barricades. . . .And Stanley has a point when he predicts that this movement will help elect Republicans in 2012:
Photos confirm what I suspected: that most of the protesters are kids looking for their Sixties rush. Naked girls are painted in psychedelic colours. Handsome boys lounge around in cable-knit sweaters. Angry, doomed youth wave signs in the faces of frustrated policemen. Numbers are exchanged; kisses are snatched behind the barricades; disease is spread. This is what every generation of liberal has tried to recreate since 1968, be it the Watergate protests, the Battle of Seattle or the Stop the War Movement.
If the existential hope of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to recreate the 1960s, then the protestors need to watch out. Culturally, the Left dominates our memories of the decade. But, in fact, it was the Right who politically triumphed. In 1960s America, antiwar protests generated counter demonstrations that were often bigger. While some students occupied campuses, others held “bleed ins” to provide blood for the troops. Ronald Reagan made his name as Governor of California by facing down students at Berkeley and popular reaction against radicalism helped elect Republican Richard Nixon in 1968. On 4 May 1970, four students were shot dead by the Ohio National Guard at a protest at Kent State University. Shockingly, the public had little sympathy. A Gallup poll found that 58 percent blamed the students for the deaths, 11 percent blamed the National Guard and 31 percent expressed no opinion. Two years later, the squares re-elected Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in American history.But Stanley's point is limited. Yes, the right did win in the short term. As long as the hippies were smoking drugs, spreading disease and chanting hate slogans in the name of love, they did nothing but hurt their own cause (i.e. socialism). But soon after the end of the 60s, they put on suits and ties and, under the guidance of gurus like Saul Alinsky, began the Gramasican "long march through the institutions" until they became the establishment.
It is precisely the leftist establishment, which dominates the media, Hollywood, the universities, and the unions, that we have to fear and we must not underestimate the cunning of left wingers in using popular street theater for their own purposes.
"How so?" you ask. Well, consider this perspective. If, as I believe is evident, the essential goal of left-right politics in a two-party democratic system, is to move the center in one direction or the other, then the establishment left may well be able to make use of the revival of 60s radicalism to accomplish this goal.
Obama's re-election problem is how to position himself as a centrist when he pursues consistently left-wing policies. In 2008 it was easy because he had no record and he was a smooth talker. But in 2012 he has a record and it is impossible to paint it as centrist. So why would he adopt the strategy of moving leftward and "placating" his base in the run-up to the election? Doesn't that defeat his need to appear centrist?
Well, that is where the OWS protesters come in. Obama has been encouraging class warfare, divisiveness and anti-capitalism for months now and like evil spirits rising up out of the caldron we behold the old ghosts from the 60s taking shape before our eyes. Their demands are crazy; but that is the beauty of it. They call for the utter destruction of the capitalist system and the beheading of bankers, which re-defines the left and thus allows Obama to position himself as the moderate alternative. Obama just wants to tax them to death, not behead them, so he is moderate.
If the left is for "Communism Now" and that center is for "Creeping Socialism Under the Banner of Liberalism" to keep the revolution from boiling over, some cautious souls in the center of the electorate will consider Obama to be a safer choice. The goal here is to portray the Republicans as the polar opposite of the left, which makes them a polarizing choice - and therefore "dangerous."
Few conservative voters will fall for this trick, but that is beside the point. Obama needs to win big among moderates, centrists and independents, as well as among various victim groups and special interest groups. His base alone is inadequate and he will never win the 40% of Americans who are conservatives. His only hope is to repeat his trick of 2008 and appear as a moderate who can "hold things together."
But a few hippies chanting slogans in the park don't scare middle America. They are considered a joke by normal people. But news came last week of the big unions inserting themselves into the OWS movement and of hard-core anarchist agitators taking control of the leadership. They will whip up violence and sow fear and uncertainty and if they can succeed, with the help of the left-wing media, in creating an atmosphere in which events seem "out of control" then Barack Obama can step forward as the only one who can talk to both sides and calm the troubled waters.
It is a classic tactic of both fascist and communist movements. The goal is to make us think there is no alternative to Obama. If you think "it can't happen here," think again.
In this situation, the only way the conservatives of America can stop a second term of Obama and the transformation of America into a democratic socialist state modeled on the failed states of Europe is to be ready to confront violence with massive force and a cheerful willingness to let the leftist radicals take their best shot without backing down. One of the tragic paradoxes is that, in certain historical situations, free societies cannot defend themselves without meeting revolutionary violence with force (eg. the American Revolution, World War II).
The irony is that it won't take much to scare the hippies and then the hard-core anarchist agitators will have no tools to use anymore. Civil war is not necessary; a bit of fearless and implacable parenting is all that is needed. The children must be told "No." The left does not have the stomach for a real fight, but, like children, they specialize in bluffing, propaganda and rhetoric. The patient inflexible resolution of Scott Walker in Wisconsin will beat back the left every time - if only America's leaders have the courage of their convictions and stand up to bullying.
Occupy Wall Street will "end" in violence in a double sense: it will spawn violence and that violence will be the end of it as a movement.