“I think we’ve been too slow to realize [why] people our own age, with histories just like ours, going through all that state stuff, to be [sic] dishonest, unprincipled, back-stabbing sleaze balls….Well, I was prejudiced in their favor. I thought that because they looked like us, and talked like us, they were going to think like us.” (The Big Chill, 1983)
So whined an ex-radical from the protest movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s, at a reunion of ex-radicals on the occasion of the funeral of a former comrade, “Alex,” who committed suicide and who was apparently the only one who “fought on.” Most of the characters in Lawrence Kasdan’s film of post-“revolutionary soul-searching over how they were “co-opted” by the “establishment” and now all lead comfortable middle class lives. That is, they had to actually support themselves.
Well, sir, they haven’t stopped talking and thinking like “us.” Taking a leaf from Saul Alinsky, they fought on. “There was only the fight.” Now they’re in power. They’re the “establishment.” You spoke too soon. You were dropped from the club of sleaze balls who ascended to the top and left you and your angst-ridden house-mates behind.
When the pond scum and bilge surfaced in American politics, you were not to be found in it.
Who would have thought, three or four decades ago, that Communist activists and terrorists such as Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Tom Haydn, Jane Fonda, and a gallery of other protégés, associates, appointees, and fellow travelers would become the social and political elite to formulate, determine and oversee domestic and foreign policies of the United States? Early on, in their violent and demonstrating heyday, they were virtually penniless, or the progeny of well-to-do parents. Now they bask in relative luxury, either as respected and tenured “academics,” or thanks to their munificently compensated government appointments, or as heads of liberal non-profit organizations, or even as executives of multi-million dollar corporations.
They are not whining. How did they do it? Was it a conspiracy, or did they just fill a moral and political vacuum?
In “The Storm Troopers of OWS” last November, I noted that:
Occupy Wall Street was no spontaneous phenomenon, but a planned and organized instance of “community organizing,” on a scale that would make Saul Alinsky proud. It is orchestrated anarchy intended to cripple the “system,” careening towards whatever target its mobs reach a consensus to freeze, personalize, isolate, and polarize, angling for “confrontation” with the police that would put them in the role of “victims of violence” – when they are the initiators of force. One OWS chant is, “The whole world is watching.”
Who are in the ranks of the OWS?
OWS is an amalgam of communists, welfare state liberals, old school radicals, gray panther leftists, new age hippies, holders of worthless degrees, the professionally unemployed, the perpetually alienated, the clinically certifiably disgruntled, career vagrants, vehicles of middle class guilt, black power advocates, Muslims, anti-Semites, Hispanics of indeterminate national origin, unions, AmeriCorps manqués, Peace Corps veterans, environmentalists – all the bilious movements that mushroomed on the mulch of American educational philosophy, and which were prepared and sanctioned by grade and high schools and universities and patronized, idolized, and encouraged by the news media.
And what did the mobs of the OWS want?
The variety of protest signs, usually scrawled on cardboard, often revealing a profound illiteracy in spelling and grammar, testify to the unity of “angst and anger” and the triumph of a university education. OWS brandishes a variety of banners, including the American, but the Palestinian and Puerto Rican flags were also in evidence. On the whole, what OWS is rebelling against is reality, but it is a reality their elective ilk have created.
OWS has in its ranks countless individuals ready to emulate the German Free Corps of post-World War I Germany. The paramilitary Free Corps helped to elevate Adolf Hitler to power. Many of them made the easy transition from the Free Corps to the SA and SS once the Nazis began to gather electoral steam. Many others found employment in other departments and programs of the Nazi Party.
OWS does not boast uniforms or paramilitary discipline. Its legions have not been street-fighting Communists, but rather have been jockeying for confrontations with the police, so that “all the world” would witness the altercation. But the absence of uniforms and discipline is irrelevant. There is no fundamental difference between the OWS and the Free Corps.
How did Hitler finance his rise to power? There are parallels to explore.
OWS is preparing Phase II of its clamorous and disruptive calls for “change.” Phase II will require money. Aside from the usual suspects of George Soros affiliated donors, there is the usual assortment of affiliated fools, such as Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. The Wall Street Journal of February 28th has this interesting story:
A group of business leaders—including Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg—are planning to pour substantial funds into the Occupy Wall Street movement in hopes of sustaining the protests and fostering political change.
Their goal is to provide some ballast to an amorphous movement that captured the world’s attention with nonstop, overnight protests in dozens of cities but has had trouble regaining momentum since most of those encampments were broken up by police in the past few months.
OWS has gone “formal,” creating a mother ship of finance and guidance. No more of that rowdy, unsanitary, chaotic come-by-chance organization for them. It has “incorporated.”
The latest Occupy supporters call themselves the Movement Resource Group and have raised about $300,000 so far to parcel out in grants to protesters, said Mr. Cohen. Their goal is to raise $1.8 million.
Cohen and Greenfield were not protesting “radicals” of yore, though early photographs of them would lead one to believe they had been right in there battling police and inhaling tear gas and risking thwacks on the head by nightsticks and batons.
Nevertheless, they were “radicals,” and still are.
A little more than two-thirds [of the $1.8 million] was donated by the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation and members of the group’s steering committee, which includes Dal Lamagna, founder of the company Tweezerman, entertainment-industry executive Richard Foos and Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia, along with Messrs. Cohen, Greenfield and Goldberg.
The remainder—about $60,000—came from individual donors, including Norman Lear, a television producer and philanthropist, and Terri Gardner, former president and chief executive of Soft Sheen hair products.
Some entrepreneurs and successful businessmen will gladly provide the rope with which they will eventually be hanged. Norman Lear? Got to keep those “Meat Heads” all in the family.
“Many of us have been working for progressive social change,” Mr. Cohen, a prominent supporter of liberal causes, said Monday. “There’s been a critical ingredient missing.”
Such as better coordination, a focused agenda, and better-trained troops. Perhaps an escrow account for attorney’s fees and bail bonds.
The group will give grants of as much as $25,000 to protesters across the country after undergoing an application process that begins in March. The group, along with five Occupy activists, will review applications.
Of the money raised so far, $150,000 will pay for rent and equipment for an office in New York for the national Occupy movement. An additional $100,000 has been set aside for individual project proposals, and a small portion of the money has been set aside to provide stipends for people Mr. Cohen describes as “core activists.”
Still, the dog insists on, if not biting the hands that feed it, then growling at it in dissatisfaction. There were complaints about the donations.
Mr. Cohen and other members of the group met with protesters in a Manhattan church Sunday night to pitch the idea to dedicated activists. Not all were impressed, on the theory it would only add bureaucracy.
“Essentially this is a group of very wealthy people who have picked a handler to deal with Occupy Wall Street,” said Ravi Ahmed, 34 years old, a protester who works as an academic administrator. “They’ve re-created what’s wrong with nonprofits and philanthropy structures.”
What’s wrong with the whole system is that without all the iPods, and cell phones, tents, and shoes, and processed food and Starbucks, and especially ice cream, not to mention cardboard on which to scrawl semi-literate protests with Magic Markers and dime-store stencils – all that and more produced by wealthy people and used by OWSers to facilitate their protest against “wealthy people” – where would Mr. Ahmed and his colleagues be? Would they even exist? But, these are subjects beyond the ken of OWSers.
And what is actually wrong with most nonprofits and philanthropies is that they are largely altruistic and leftist vehicles to distribute wealth their administrators never created. Watch the credits for any PBS television program about the plight of penguins or polar bears or rain forests, or the struggles of Mexican-Americans and Muslims to retain their “culture,” or the aspirations of inner-city graffiti artists and gang members; it is a roll call of guileless and guilt-ridden “humanitarians.”
Ben & Jerry’s isn’t in the same league as Krupp, German industrialists, bankers and manufacturers. But the German magnates and moneyed elite were also bitten by their beneficiaries. It’s a difference in scale but the ends are the same.
Many years ago, Antony C. Sutton, a British-born “rogue historian,” produced a three-volume blockbusting study under the auspices of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University of why the Soviet Union was able to stumble through seventy years of existence in spite of its mass murders, its vast gulag of prisons for dissenters, its chronic crop failures, its crippled industrial base, and a lethargic population of “workers,” Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development. In this remarkable study Sutton demonstrated how the Soviets were chiefly thieves and copycats in every major technological and industrial field, and that much of the thieving and copycatting was abetted by Western industrialists, bankers, and politicians.
Sutton made the same revealing and thoroughly documented study of the origins of the Nazi Party and its financial underpinnings, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, detailing as well Hitler’s ability to command the whole German economy once the Party was in power.
We do know that prominent European and American industrialists were sponsoring all manner of totalitarian political groups at that time, including Communists and various Nazi groups. The [post-WW2] U.S. Kilgore Committee records that:
By 1919 Krupp was already giving financial aid to one of the reactionary political groups which sowed the seed of the present Nazi ideology. Hugo Stinnes was an early contributor to the Nazi Party (National Socialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei). By 1924 other prominent industrialists and financiers, among them Fritz Thyssen, Albert Voegler, Adolph [sic>] Kirdorf, and Kurt von Schroder, were secretly giving substantial sums to the Nazis. In 1931 members of the coal-owners’ association which Kirdorf headed pledged themselves to pay 50 pfennigs for each ton of’ coal sold, the money to go to the organization which Hitler was building.
Reading about the humble donations of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, and their concerns about OWS’s future as a mover and shaker for “social change” is a let-down, when we can see how big-scale financing of a mover and shaker was done in Germany.
In 1925 the Hugo Stinnes family contributed funds to convert the Nazi weekly Volkischer Beobachter to a daily publication. [Ernst] Putzi Hanfstaengl, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s friend and protegé, provided the remaining funds. Table 7-1 summarizes presently known financial contributions and the business associations of contributors from the United States. Putzi is not listed in Table 7-1 as he was neither industrialist nor financier.
In the early 1930s financial assistance to Hitler began to flow more readily. There took place in Germany a series of meetings, irrefutably documented in several sources, between German industrialists, Hitler himself, and more often Hitler’s representatives Hjalmar Sehaeht and Rudolf Hess.
The critical point is that the German industrialists financing Hitler were predominantly directors of cartels with American associations, ownership, participation, or some form of subsidiary connection. The Hitler backers were not, by and large, firms of purely German origin, or representative of German family business. Except for Thyssen and Kirdoff, in most cases they were the German multi-national firms — i.e., I.G. Farben, A.E.G., DAPAG, etc. These multi-nationals had been built up by American loans in the 1920s, and in the early 1930s had American directors and heavy American financial participation.
America has not seen the last of Occupy Wall Street. Like a spoiled, unruly brat who fouls his own nest on principle, the organization and its hierarchy are being preened for a more active role in American politics. This takes money, guidance, organization and very sophisticated press agentry. For an almost amusing story of the aimlessness and infighting among OWSers, read the New York Post’s story from last October, “They Want a $lice of the Occupie,” an aimlessness and inner-ranks conflict that “new money” hopes to correct.
As for George Soros’s connection with OWS, Reuters published an insipid exposé that merely scratches the surface:
Soros and the protesters deny any connection. But Reuters did find indirect financial links between Soros and Adbusters, an anti-capitalist group in Canada which started the protests with an inventive marketing campaign aimed at sparking an Arab Spring type uprising against Wall Street. Moreover, Soros and the protesters share some ideological ground.
The Hungarian-American was an early supporter of the 2008 election campaign of Barack Obama, who will seek a second term as president in the November, 2012, election. He has long backed liberal causes – the Open Society Institute, the foreign policy think tank Council on Foreign Relations and Human Rights Watch.
According to disclosure documents from 2007-2009, Soros’ Open Society gave grants of $3.5 million to the Tides Center, a San Francisco-based group that acts almost like a clearing house for other donors, directing their contributions to liberal non-profit groups. Among others the Tides Center has partnered with are the Ford Foundation and the Gates Foundation.
Disclosure documents also show Tides, which declined comment, gave Adbusters grants of $185,000 from 2001-2010, including nearly $26,000 between 2007-2009.
Aides to Soros say any connection is tenuous and that Soros has never heard of Adbusters. Soros himself declined comment.
As tenuous a connection as a pit bull latched onto one’s leg. News Busters, however, not a member of the MSM, goes into far more detail:
Reuters even posed the question “Who’s behind the Wall St. protests?” on Oct. 13, but downplayed Soros’s actual financial involvement. Even though “Soros and the protesters share some ideological ground,” the story added. But Reuters undersold the connection significantly.
The protesters stand by their claim that theirs is purely a grassroots movement. But it is hard to ignore the concerted effort by liberal groups, unions, and other Soros-funded entities that prop-up and fuel the Occupy movement. An echo-chamber of left-wing blogs and news sites that receive Soros cash continues to push the anti-capitalist protest story. Articles repeatedly praise labor and climate activists for their support while denigrating police for their efforts to keep the peace.
Organizations that joined the protesters were granted more than $3.6 million from Soros’s Open Society Foundations. On Oct. 5 there was a “march in solidarity with #occupywallstreet” that listed seven such groups out of the 16 overall supporting the protest. Those seven organizations received $3,614,690 from Soros’ Open Society Foundations since the year 2000, with more than $2 million going to Common Cause Education Fund, part of Common Cause, and another $1.1 million to MoveOn.org.
This writer does not subscribe to conspiracy theories. He puts more credence and the onus of responsibility on a moral and philosophical vacuum that collectivist plotters and actors are only too happy to fill. If there were a proper, principled defense of individual rights and the inviolate sanctity of an unadulterated Constitution, plotters and conspirators could act all they wished and would be foiled by such a defense. But what we are seeing unfolding before our eyes, with not much of an alarm being raised, as far as OWS is concerned, is a simply a rerun of what happened in Germany, with a whole new cast of directors and actors.
Imagine Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will remade in the spirit of Hair.
Nobody said that fascism had to speak German and wear shirts and ties when it resurfaced. And nobody every claimed that communism, or its national-socialist doppelganger, had to speak Russian and wear fur hats, either, to march in the streets.
All it has taken, ever since the rise of totalitarian ideologies in the 20th century, is a little cash under the table to help make things happen.