Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupation or Revolution?

Here is a recent quote from the Occupy movement:

“The Occupy movement is born of the simple belief that humanity could meet our common needs if not for the predation and greed of the very few.”

That is a left-wing credo no matter how you slice it.

Now two quotes from Ted Rall’s new book, not very cleverly titled The Anti-American Manifesto:

“The story of the United States of America as we know it - not merely as the world’s dominant superpower, but as a discrete political, economic, and geographic entity - is drawing to a close, due to a convergence of emerging economic, environmental and political crises ...Nothing lasts forever, empires least of all. There’s going to be an intense, violent, probably haphazard struggle for control.  It’s going to come down to us versus them.”

As the Occupy movement continues to spread throughout the country, pundits continue to ask when it will make specific demands, or put forth a program. If Ted Rall is right, the situation is beyond repair by demands, or even a change of program. If the Occupy movement decides to get behind any presidential candidate, the logical choice would be Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. But there is a consensus among Occupiers and others that elections will be useless, at least until the Constitution is amended (for which there is a call: http://movetoamend.org/).

The independent third party that does not want to be a party, Americans Elect apparently thinks the right person in the White House will solve all our problems. It has adopted the method used in Iceland to nominate and vote for candidates on-line. But that does not make it a left-wing operation. Its CEO, Elliot Ackerman admits: “A lot of the folks that engage with us are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”  In a word, libertarians.

Honor goes to the Occupy movement for being peaceable, while groups that are likely to be attracted to Americans Elect have been practicing military skills for years in the woods. As Occupiers take pepper spray and tear gas sitting down, a tight-knit right-wing/libertarian community flocks to gun shows and exchanges ideas for taking on the government.

Personally, I agree with Rall that violence is inevitable: his historical and political ducks are lined up perfectly. But he contradicts himself when he suggests toward the end of his book that the enemies of our enemies should be our friends, and therefore that the left should enter into a temporary alliance with the right that knows how to shoot.

In defense of this idea he refers to the French partisan groups that helped end the Nazi occupation of their country.  Some were Catholic and right-wing, others were Catholic and left-wing, still others were Communists or Socialists. They cooperated to oust the Germans, knowing they would thrash out their differences afterward. Like other European countries, the French are still doing that, which is why they have been governed alternately by the left and the right, with the social benefits gained by a powerful left never in question.

Alas, we are not a European country benefitting from a socialist tradition that has endured since the French Revolution.  As Rall points out, the statement in the 1776 Declaration of Independence giving us the right, and even the duty, to overthrow an unsatisfactory government, was quickly counter-manded by the four Aliens and Seditions Acts, that authorized deportation of anyone advocating the overthrow of the government, by the way, forever linking foreigners with sedition.  Our government by and for the people lasted only twenty-two years, the last of act being passed by 1798.

Dylan Ratigan interviewed Rall on November 9th, www.youtube.com/watch?v=namL_pIqsVo, with his friendly way of navigating the unimaginable. The negative comments to the transcript were all from the woodsmen. Neither the Occupiers nor the left’s high priests had anything to say.

Yet Rall’s book draws a blueprint for action: the formation by anyone and everyone of small action cells consisting of people that can fully trust each other. As India’s Adivasi discovered when they refused to leave their mineral rich forest, confrontation with a well-funded, trained military, non-violence rarely works. The Adivasi need the support of the Maoists to stay in their homes.

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