There has been much ink and air time given over to how the Occupy Movement is the Left’s Tea Party. As a conservative, I wish that were true, but it’s unfair and I would caution politicians against aligning themselves with Occupiers. It’s unfair unless the Left wants to take up the cloak of overthrowing the system rather than working within it. The Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party was established to impress upon our representatives three basic principles of governance: stop spending money you don’t have; stop assuming we will gladly pay to match your influence-peddling; and, please pay attention to the Constitution you swear to protect and defend as a condition of holding office.
Occupy Wall Street – the no-agenda agenda, its name, the location of the encampment and the date that it began – was the brainchild of two anarchists at Adbuster Magazine, as now chronicled in The New Yorker, a publication of impeccable liberal credentials.
The anarchists were quickly joined by leftists whose agenda couldn’t be more different – all-encompassing government versus no government, highly organized versus “horizontal” organization (read: no organization) – thereby muddling whatever message could be deciphered from the crowd. These were joined by the homeless who were in search of food and shelter. The result is a collection of differing causes, all culminating in contempt for authority, hostility toward people trying to get through them to go to work (mostly “99-percenters”), and an unfocused anger that began to express itself in ugly ways.
After weeks at Zuccotti Park, they had become a health hazard and a dangerous place for citizens to be after dark. Women were assaulted, cars were used as toilets, hundreds were arrested, nearby businesses were shut down for lack of customers, and so on. Many of those who jumped on the Occupy bandwagon are now putting distance between themselves and the Movement.
As badly as the press would love to find a congruity between the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement, they haven’t been able to do so because there is no real message coming out of these encampments other than cities should leave them alone and let them squat.
I wish there was a vocal expression of a contemporary liberal agenda, more specific than “eat the rich.” What, exactly, is “rich;” what, exactly, is their “fair share;” where, exactly, is your budget for FY2011 or FY2012? It’s a debate the voters deserve.
See Mattathias Schwartz, Pre-Occupied, in The New Yorker, November 28 2011.