The Occupy Crowds’ Vague Goals and Marxist Critical Theory
During his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama was buoyed by a wave of energy and enthusiasm as idealistic youth responded to his vague “hope and change” message. The refreshing and vibrant candidate promised to “fundamentally transform” America from the perceived warmongering and corporate greed era of the Bush administration to a new age of fairness, equality, and democracy.
But President Obama’s administration has been a tumultuous and dispiriting one for many Americans, including young and college aged people, who are currently suffering unemployment levels upward of 18%.
Disappointment and disillusion among the country’s youth are leading some into a kind of general mental and occupational fugue state, which can then be politically harnessed and directed towards adversaries or simply used to misdirect anger away from those who would otherwise bear the brunt of popular dissatisfaction.
Such a project is encapsulated well by the Marxian rubric of “Critical Theory,” which channels mental energy into critiques of capitalism, rather than either open praise or critiques of socialism as applied in practice.
In addition to being an ideological program, Critical Theory is a strategy of organizing political opposition to capitalism, and entails the aggregation of various victim groups, who are continuously agitated by the left, both institutionally (college faculty departments, e.g.) and structural-legally (separate civil rights legislation rather than universal individual rights for all American citizens, e.g.), and through media message-framing and coordination.
At the very core of a socialist resistance movement are dedicated theoreticians and boots-on-the-ground practitioners. These may be college professors, non-profit organization heads, union and labor leaders, and freelance social activists and community organizers. These constitute the gel of the movement that holds it all together.
Component groups, not necessarily explicit in socialist orientation, come in various forms: racial agitators, feminists, environmentalists, consumer advocacy groups, animal rights…the permutations are nearly endless. These activist groups are usually disconnected from the hardcore explicit socialists, Democratic Socialists of America, CPUSA (note its front page advocacy of the Democrat-squelched American Jobs Act), and various other communist front groups. (Note that Obama was a member of the radical New Party.)
But these detached grievance groups all share the common thread of being opposed to “the system,” a vague entity that encapsulates everything one can possibly be frustrated about in life: supposed environmental degradation, homosexual discrimination, lack of well-paying jobs, or free healthcare, free education, free…you name it.
The strategy has been to maintain a loose coalition of these grievance groups, not apparently united by anything but vague dissatisfaction with the United States. This disperses the threat perception of the American public to these groups. It also allows the left to maintain “plausible deniability,” or in other words, to play dumb. If all these groups were overtly communist, the normal, sane population would get tipped off and would mobilize in opposition.
But actually these groups are carefully managed not to engage in criticism of one another. They are all tacitly united by Marxism to the extent that capitalism is equated with racism, paternalist hierarchy, homosexual bigotry, and so forth. There is also an assumed agreement among groups not to engage in serious criticism of one another: feminists and homosexual groups do not critique Islamist front groups like CAIR, racial agitators do not criticize homosexuals, etc., etc.
Meanwhile, various “sleepers” around the nation are dispersed, waiting to be activated. These are the self-professed communists and anti-capitalists, and some may even have ties to foreign intelligence agencies, like the CPUSA had with the KGB. When these sleepers are activated, they mobilize these victim groups so as to make it appear like a “spontaneous” uprising. Therefore, in the initial stages, the message is very vague. Only later is the message crafted by the leadership, who co-opt the movement, speak for its members, and put forth increasingly socialist or communistic demands.
When the OccupyWallStreet crowd are interviewed, they express anger at Wall Street and big corporations. Some don’t even know why they are there. They don’t acknowledge Obama’s connections with Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms, that the president walloped John McCain in corporate donations, that the president rewarded firms for their mismanagement of funds, due in the main to government pressure to partake in risky loans and perverse incentives like the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insurance of mortgage backed securities (See these articles from Mises Institute foreshadowing the mortgage market meltdown, here and here).
But the activists aren’t focused on the president, they are focused on “Wall Street,” a proxy for capitalism in general. And that is why Obama, the corporate donors’ dream president, “understands their frustration.”
In addition, the left creates the economic or materialist preconditions for such widespread economic discontent through waste and corruption, massive overextension of welfare (See Francis Fox-Piven’s endorsement of OWS), and capital destruction through overheating the monetary printing presses (so to speak). It should be pointed out that the centralization of banking and credit is a plank straight out of The Communist Manifesto. It doesn’t really matter if there is a secret cabal that is intentionally bringing about a communist revolution, the important thing to note is that The Federal Reserve is playing right into the radicals’ playbook by wrecking the value of our currency, leading to drastically rising inflation. This puts extreme pressure on households, effectively squeezing the middle class into the lower class.
Critical Theory is similar, but not equivalent to, Cultural Marxism, which is another important part of leftist theory. The control and degradation of the culture and concomitant destruction of the capitalist economic base is the overarching strategy to bring about transformational change of the country. Thus we can expect the media to sympathize with these groups and parrot the party line that they are spontaneous grassroots organizations, even as OccupyWallStreet has connections with George Soros, Ford Foundation, Tides Foundation, National Lawyers Guild, Moveon. org, SEIU, and dozens of other radical groups.
The Occupy movement may be a way for the president to mobilize the left-wing base while he maintains some political distance. But we should be wary of what Van Jones referred to as an “Oktober Offensive,” recreating a variation of the Bolshevik putsch in Russia that occurred nearly a century ago. But this one would have been planned well in advance of next year’s critical juncture.
Hopefully, this article is a rubric for the attentive reader to interpret the current and upcoming activism on the left. We must all be prepared to witness increasingly socialist and crypto-communist (such as “free” everything), and believe our lying eyes when we do.
The leftists will play stupid, like they always do. It is crucial that we do not join them.
As posted on Political Crush.