We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

This isn’t so much a political movement as a form of historical reenactment. That’s why the OWS protesters are so vague about what they want – because what they want is to be camping out at a mass 1968-style protest. There’s little difference between them and Civil War reenactors, except that the Civil War guys understand that it’s not real and the outcome of their mock battles won’t have any effect. The 1968 reenactors down on Wall Street have the quaint belief that what they’re doing is real.

– “Trimegistus” comments here. Like I said a week ago, farce repeating itself as farce.

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Subotai Bahadur

    Speaking as a re-enactor, both Civil War and 1833-1860 US Dragoons; I have to make the point that besides knowing that it is not real, there is another distinction between us and the #Occupy Chiroptera Lunarii. We are simultaneously seekers after and dispensers of knowledge. Re-enacting is an ongoing process of studying the era you are involved in, in immersive detail, to learn whatever you can. And it is the process of teaching history to a public and students who are deprived of it in their schools.

    When we do presentations, we are functionally history lecturers; with the advantage of being able to hold their attention. And one of the reasons we spend the time, money, and endure discomfort [try wearing an authentic-as-to-period wool uniform at Bent's Fort during high summer] is to see the light come on in the eyes of the kids when they suddenly “get” something that was not real to them before. I love doing presentations at schools or for Boy Scout encampments just for that reason.

    I have yet to see any of the #Occupy members seek anything but handouts, or try to interact with onlookers with anything but self-righteous contempt and a desire to offend.

    In their long list of “demands”, there are a few that make sense, but they are interspersed with such a mass of fantasy wish fulfillment that you know that if they get anything, it will not be the sensible items.

    Anyone who has raised kids will recognize the “terrible two’s” in #Occupy.

    Subotai Bahadur

  • veryretired

    I have been amazed that the hard left in the US has been able to form a new sturmabteilung (sp?) right in front of everybody’s nose, and so few people seem to have any clue about what’s going on.

    This is not some cute, nostalgic camp out where everybody is singing kumbaya and exchanging love beads. The core members of these various demonstrating groups, across the country, and allied with groups rioting in other countries, are organizing for the street conflicts which will intensify as the 2012 campaign develops.

    I am afraid that what we are actually seeing is not nostalgia for the ’60’s as much as the preparations for a reprise of the civil turmoil of the ’20’s and ’30’s. Find some old newsreels of the street warfare in Europe between the right and the left between the wars—what you will be watching on your tv’s this next year will seem like deja vu.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If the OWS protesters, even a minority, were consistently in favour of things like ending bailouts and pushing for genuine free market banking, I’d be tolerant. The truth is, however, from my admittedly impressionistic reading, is that the bulk of the “Occupy Something Or Other” are a mix of anti-capitalist types, professional troublemakers and various spoiled trustafarian buffoons.

    There is no doubt that the left has been envious of the Tea Party movement in the US. This is a genuine grassroots organisation, with some outside influence too, no doubt. It drives parts of the anti-capitalist left nuts.

    But although Tea Party protesters have their share of undesirables, I have noted that parts of the media have been fairly quick to pick up on the Tea Party shortcomings, but have not given much attention to some of the, say, anti-semitic claptrap that some OWS people come out with, as shown here.(Link)

    Interesting times.

  • MattP

    The 1968 reenactors down on Wall Street have the quaint belief that what they’re doing is real.

    True. They know so little (most of them) that they don’t know the difference between reality and fiction. Which, by the way, is an indictment of our education system.

    Moreover, they don’t care about the difference.

    I went to a university in California in the 1980s. We had the same phenomena then. People would protest for causes they knew nothing about. I’d talk to them and after establishing they knew nothing about apartheid in South Africa or whatever the cause du jour, they said that they were pursuing their business or law degrees so they could live the conspicuously consumptive young urban lifestyle; condo by the beach, a nice BMW convertible, etc.

    They were protesting whatever, it didn’t matter to them, so they could feel good about themselves. Sort of a variation of “I gave at the office.” They gave to “the cause” while in college so they could be selfish the rest of their lives.

    Of course, these people may be protesting the fact that they went deeply into debt making bad life decisions no one forced them to make, such as getting worthless degrees, expecting they’d just be handed a high-paying job requiring just as little effort as their lazy tenured professor asked of them, and now they’re finding out they aren’t going to live that easy, conspicuously consumptive lifestyle they imagined was theirs by right.

    Now they’re throwing a tantrum. But I see the selfishness part hasn’t changed. They aren’t protesting bailouts; they’re demanding more for themselves. They want someone else to work to pay for their college loans, their credit card debt, the mortgages they want to get, ad infinitum.

    In other words, they want to live like ante bellum plantation owners while someone else works to support them.

  • PeterT

    Well, I don’t know about that, but I do find it striking that whereas OWS and the Tea Party are both angry, the latter appear to have a MUCH better idea of what they are angry about. It would no doubt be possible to come up with an internally coherent leftist list of grievances, but I don’t see that anywhere.

    An OWS revolution would be French; a Tea Party revolution would be American.

  • virgil xenophon

    Strangely (or not so strangely, really) both veryretired and MattP are spot on–they are simply describing different parts of the proverbial elephant. At the core of these protests are a highly organized network of disparate leftist groups of all stripes (and many WELL FUNDED by the likes of Soros-backed organizations and others) dedicated to the overthrow of capitalism and determined to use the sort of 30s tactics veryretired describes. Around this core are arrayed the “usual suspects” of naive “useful idiots” described by MattP, thereby lending a thin veneer or “gloss” of “earnestness” and seemingly “organically derived” protest by “ordinary citizens” which a thoroughly leftist-drenched MSM happily zeros in on–as opposed to the professional/”careerist” type protesters at the core which the MSM studiously ignore. And while on one level these “demonstrations” are naught but formulaic leftist kabuki theater (en grosso mondo) on another analytical level, like superimposed geological layers, if one digs deeply enough, one finds the seeds of a very well-thought out long-term plan to intentionally reverse the anti-leftist tide that is coming in, driven as it is slowly but at long-last inexorably by exposure of the now-impossible-to-hide limits of the welfare-state by the very real financial reality that governments the world over have finally run out of “other people’s money.”

  • veryretired

    Spot on Virgil, thank you.

  • MattP

    Virgil is, of course, entirely correct. I was talking about the “useful idiots” providing the entertaining YouTube video.

    veryretired is talking about the puppet-masters behind the scenes. Recovered e-mails show that the OWS organizers have been very careful to hide they’re real agenda. Which is essentially, “Don’t talk about Marx!”

    The unions are also neck-deep in this, and they too are very well funded. We have recordings of a former SEIU official, Stephen Lerner, discussing how the unions are nearly dead, and their only hope is to further destabilize capitalism as well as our political system. But the key to success, he said, was that the unions can’t be seen to do it.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if our own president was peripherally involved. This is classic Alinskyite community organizing. It’s just too much of a perfect fit. We have a president who, as his former chief of staff puts it, never lets a crisis go to waste. If you don’t have a handy crisis, create one. He’s also the president who told the bank CEOs that his administration was the only thing between them and the pitchforks. Creating an army of pitchforks seems to be exactly the sort of thing he’d do.

    Or rather, his more competent community organizing allies, as Obama’s never been too competent at putting anything together. Destroying what someone else has built, yes.

    I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of the left v. right street violence of the ’20’s and ’30’s, though.

    The government is now on the side of the leftist street thugs. As I said, that’s his army. This will be worse.

  • Hanno

    There are only two kinds of really popular demonstrations. We either call for the blood of people looking not quite like ourselves, or demand the property of those more successful than us.

    OWS is the latter.

  • What Hanno said. Brilliant.

  • Matt: do you happen to have the Lerner link handy?

  • Paul Marks

    For audio and video stuff – Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart are the people (or groups people) to go to Alisa.

    Everyone who gets audio or visual stuff on Mr Leaner (or the rest of the left) sends it either to Glenn Beck’s people or to Breitbart’s people (or both).

    However, for a document form…..

    The new book “Red Army” is the place to go.