For now, though, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement seems to be winding down. Maybe it’s just because it’s cold outside. But many commentators suspect that it is because the protestors don’t have enough horsepower to create a movement. Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review (Oct. 31, 2011, p. 18) says, “The protesters do not know what they want, they do not know what they do not want. That is because they do not understand the nature of the problem that they intuit, in their ignorant way, but cannot think through, lacking the intellectual tools.”
What seems to elude reporters covering the various “Occupy” movements (Wall Street, Port of Oakland, McPherson Square in D.C.) is that lack of sanitation is not the big problem. The big problem is that movements like this usually start with an impulsive response to a real problem (crony capitalism) but are co-opted by professional revolutionaries, some of whom are truly dangerous. Of course, many OWS leaders are mere publicity hounds who gravitate toward television cameras. This explains the involvement of Oakland rapper Boots Riley, a self-declared communist whose main contribution to art is a song entitled “5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO” (see Michelle Malkin, Human Events, Nov. 7, 2011, p. 20).
But now the professional revolutionaries are coming out of the closet as well. Slavoj Zizek, who the state of New York had the short-sightedness to hire as an NYU professor, inspired protestors by saying “Carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then?” (Kevin Williamson, National Review, Oct. 31, 2011, p. 18). What kinds of changes does Zizek want? Consider this prior statement: “I am a Leninist. Lenin wasn’t afraid to dirty his hands. If you can get power, grab it…we need Marx more than ever.” (New Statesman, Oct. 29, 2009).
Another professional revolutionary (and terrorist) Bill Ayers told protestors not to use violence, but to use their brilliance, humor, and wisdom to “dramatize the violence that exists” (Jessica Guido, NBC Chicago, Nov. 17, 2011). That’s a little mellower than the old Bill Ayers, who once said “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents…” (Have Ayers and his ilk really changed? Read Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott’s Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America before deciding.).
In addition to the professional revolutionaries of the Marxist variety, the anarchist crowd has also gotten involved. Setting aside for a moment the question of why people committed to tearing down society’s structures would care about organizing people, Matthew Continetti from the Weekly Standard (Nov. 28, 2011, p. 21) points out that anarchism is actually a well-developed political theory. In addition to the name “Marx,” perhaps we should also get used to hearing names like Fourier, Bakunin, and Guerin.
One of the best Christianity commentaries on OWS was from WORLD Magazine’s Marvin Olasky who chalks much of the movement up to class envy. Olasky says, “When I became a Christian in 1976, many of my sinful tendencies remained…but one instantly disappeared: class envy. Strange but true. My pre-Christian life did not include a day without envy of the rich. My Christian life has not included a day with it. Would that I could say that about my other sins! But my life has been better without class envy” (WORLD Magazine, Oct. 22, 2011, p. 76).