07 October 2011
'Mob' rule on Wall Street?
To Republican observers, the "occupation" of Wall Street and sympathetic "occupations" across the country are real live "class warfare," if not worse. They worry the hell out of House Majority Leader Cantor, who describes them as "mobs," who are "pitting Americans against Americans" with the alleged connivance of Democrats. In response to this, Democratic spokesman are borrowing Republican tactics by playing the hypocrisy card. How can you support Tea Parties yet denounce the occupations, the President's spokesman asks. Actually, this is a bit of a dodge, since any Republican or TP has the instant answer: Tea Parties, they argue, have always been law-abiding gatherings, and participants do not get arrested. The Republican attitude toward the occupations -- not counting the gigantic contempt for all involved expressed by Herman "If you don't have a job, blame yourselves" Cain, whose business is named after a fictional mobster, --is that if people are getting arrested, they must be doing something wrong. Republicans have never been fans of civil disobedience, even if we entertain their objection that the occupations haven't been consistently civil. Even in their anti-slavery formative days, they distinguished themselves from the abolitionist "left" by insisting on compliance with the Fugitive Slave Laws until they could be repealed. From then through the civil rights movement to the present, Republicans have rarely if ever deemed disobedience a legitimate opposition strategy, though some sympathizers with Operation Rescue may be considered exceptions. They won't stop people from seeking change through elections, but that change must be pursued exclusively through electioneering, not through the demonstrations that seem so intimidating to the likes of Cantor. In this case of course, even legitimate electioneering will be condemned as class warfare, and any appeal to direct democracy will be denounced as un-American. Even to think in terms of classes, one suspects, is un-American to many Republicans. But it might be instructive to learn Cantor's opinion regarding class in America. Are there classes? If he says there are, he could be asked where they come from, since it's the suspicion of many people, historians and laymen alike, that the original class warfare is that which creates classes in the first place. Meanwhile, Tea Parties carry on class warfare unmolested with Bolshevik intensity. As the Bolsheviks called it a classless society when proletarians allegedly dominated everyone else, while they dominated in the proletariat's name, so Tea Partiers call it a classless society when their own lumpenbourgeois kind -- again, it must be stressed, not the "super rich," -- dominate everyone else, or Republicans dominate for them. They also call it "law and order" when they get their way, and "mob rule" whenever people gather together to disagree. But I can't get very bothered, despite this paragraph, by the complaints of Cantor and other Republicans. If they really are worried, the occupiers are probably doing something right.