November 3, 2011
Nothing New under the Sun: OWS and '60s RadicalismBy Graves Collins
Have you read A Patriot's History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, published by the Penguin Group? If not, you should.
In his review, Glenn Beck said, "This book has taught me more about our history than any I've read in years. A Patriot's History of the United States should be required reading for all Americans." I agree. (Except for the "should be required" thing. I don't want anyone requiring me to read anything, no matter how good.)
The thing about this book is that it does not only deal with an outline of events in our history, but it instead fills in the background details of what was happening in, around, before, and as a consequence of those events. Rather than a slide show, it is a verbal video of our history. It dares to question the accuracy of some of today's revisionist historians and to debunk some popular myths about many of our politicians whose clay feet have never been adequately examined.
One striking result of my reading this book was a recurring sense of déjà vu in our national story. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the Free Speech Movement and the anti-Viet Nam War protests of the 1960s and '70s and how they relate to the current "Occupy Everything" movement. Note the following similarities:
Neither was just a spontaneous, grassroots emotional outburst.
Writing about the Free Speech movement on college campuses, authors Schweikart and Allen observed:
Likewise, at the OWS, radical elements quickly moved in to take over and offer money (from G. Soros, et al.?), food, shelter, advice, and encouragement to the early few, who, bolstered by leftist money and organized support, soon blossomed into the large numbers the MSM so enjoys touting. The claim to spontaneity was given the lie by Glenn Beck in the rising smoke of the Arab Spring months earlier, when he brought to light leftist documents that promised "big things" in October.
Both were co-opted by radicals with an agenda.
Schweikart and Allen further noted that even the outspoken leftist leader Tom Bell was not radical enough for the audience at a 1968 SDS convention:
Those of us who read Ms Zelikovsky's October 17 article, "The Revolutionaries' Revenge," may remember her litany of friends of OWS: MoveOn, SEIU, AFL-CIO, National Nurses United, Working Families Party, Van Jones' Rebuild the Dream, Adbusters, US Day of Rage, Take the Square, October 2011, We are the 99%, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO, and MoveOn's very own Avaaz.org -- the international progenitor of the Arab Spring.
Tactics of confrontation designed to elicit violence were used by both.
The OWS crowd has deliberately engaged in actions designed to elicit a response from authorities, from blocking bridges, streets, and public parks to vandalism en masse of banks. The MSM have been quick to show police reaction, complete with young "victims" on the ground, some conveniently bleeding, amid clouds of tear gas. Absent, however, from prime-time news has been footage of the bottle- and rock-throwing by the protesters or the blood on injured police.
Their aims were the same.
The authors of A Patriot's History point out the goals and strategies of the protesters of the 1970s:
Ms. Zelikovsky's video, as well as those of Fox News journalists and (surprise, surprise) even some -- well, a few -- from the MSM, have shown the recurring themes of "Down with the system," "Í won't believe corporations are people till Texas executes one," "Pepper Spray Goldman $achs" "Jail Bankers," "Class warfare ahead," "Money hungry fascists are dead inside," and "Tear down this wall street."
Celebrities were quick to join the cause.
Who can forget (or get over) I-never-saw-a-leftist-cause-I-didn't-like Michael Moore in Oakland, his jowls flapping joyously in the wind, cheering on the bottle- and rock-throwing victims of the one-percenters' greed?
The website Celebrity Net Worth catalogued the following not-so-oppressed VIPs among OWS supporters:
Further comparisons could be made -- the MSM's love affair, the cheering on of violence against U.S. military, taking pride in smelling bad just to irritate the opposition -- but I'll leave that for your further reading.
Some historians adhere to a cyclical theory of history, which seems to fit in this case. However, I find more cause for hope in what I call the pendulum theory -- at least in American history. There appears to be some basic principle of moral gravity in the psyche of the American middle majority that allows the swing of events to go just so far to the left or to the right. We tend to latch on to a charismatic leader or catchy phrase (both in one package is even better) and ride the bob till it reaches the amplitude of our toleration. Then we lean back, shouting "thus far and no farther," and ride the trend in the other direction. We went from Truman to Ike, from Johnson to Nixon (oops!), from Carter to Reagan, from Bush 1 to Clinton to Bush 2 to Obama (a bit of a fibrillated beat there). One can only hope that we can make Obama's swing a short one and come up with someone who will give us a long, smooth ride.
Graves Collins: early on, a Baptist minister, now retired from thirty years in sales. He once wrote articles, training materials, and position papers for different Southern Baptist Convention agencies. He is now a collector of his own numerous "books'n stuff in progress."
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