Greece: OWS on Steroids
The best way to understand a principle is to follow it to its logical conclusions. During the Cold War if you wanted to understand socialism, you only had to look at communist countries that were pure examples. Today, if you want to understand Occupy Wall Street, look at Greece.
More than 80,000 leftists took to the streets in Athens. As is usual for all Occupy movements, confrontations with the police are essential. The purpose, as usual, is violent confrontation in the hopes that excessive force can be exploited for propaganda purposes. Recently events show us can how far they are willing to go in Athens.
Over 40 buildings were destroyed by fire including a historic theater. This is not unusual. Last May three employees were killed when a fire, started by leftists, destroyed a bank. The destruction of businesses and private property is acceptable in socialist Greece. The attacks on police are normal. At least 106 police were injured by gasoline bombs. Injuries to police outnumber injuries to demonstrators as the police are severely restricted when it comes to responding to violence.
OWS America differs only in degree. Across the nation OWS leftists trespass (hence the name "occupy") and confront the police hoping for a "repression" that never happens. Once again the police are asked not to enforce the law. Lawlessness, nevertheless, breeds only greater lawlessness.
The best example of this is Oakland, California. Continual violent clashes with the police brings, what one "protester" said, "attention to the cause." Unlike peaceful Tea Party gatherings, the media flocks to OWS riots and sees little wrong. Perfunctory disclaimers by OWS leadership can't hide the violent nature of this movement. Breaking the law is their defining characteristic.
Why is Oakland the worst? It has had decades of the most leftist mayors in the nation. Jean Quan, herself a veteran of street actions, took over last year by replacing Ronald Dellums. Dellums, a defender of the 1960s "People's Park" occupation, supported Castro and opposed the USA military while in Congress. He took over from Jerry Brown, who stepped down due to term limits.
After several decades, the far left mayors had ample chance to change the police department. This isn't a case of leftists protesting a conservative regime. They are rioting against the most far left city in America, just as leftists in Greece are rioting against one of the most leftist (until recently) regimes in Europe.
Greece is the epitome of leftist insanity. Unlike Scandinavia, whose welfare state is build upon a solid capitalist industrial base, Greece gives out benefits with borrowed money without any means to pay it back. It is pure welfare. It has destroyed its business class with the exception of shipping. Taxes are crushing the business base.
Greece's main asset is climate. Tourists, generally from productive northern Europe, flock to Greece for the warmth. But with riots and anti-German bigotry on the rise, what are the prospects for Greece's future? Typical of reckless leftists who are ignorant of economics or completely indifferent to the burden they place on producers, OWS Greek style is the logical conclusion of "rob the rich and let's party now" mentality.
I'm immensely grateful that my grandparents emigrated from Greece a century ago. I have no doubt that hardworking Greeks can create wealth. They are here in business and industry doing just that. But my cousins there need to live within their means and protect private property if they expect investment and expansion. It's a lesson we Americans have to relearn given that we are heading the way of Greece.
Jason Pappas is retired and writes on cultural issues at his blog www.libertyandculture.blogspot.com