Like a bad case of the flu, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and its nationwide spawn won’t go away. Predictably, mainstream media and their political cronies (including the leftist-in-chief) have tried to spin these demonstrations as progressive versions of the influential Tea Party rallies—judgments akin to dramatic comparisons that put Paris Hilton in the same league as Katharine Hepburn.
I was present at Oceanside Municipal Pier on April 15, 2009, when more than 3000 working folks gathered to peacefully protest the huge deficits that were being racked up in the first months of the Obama Administration. “Thousands” also reportedly showed up at Temecula’s Duck Pond. At least one protestor carried a prophetic sign that perfectly fit the half-billion dollar Solyndra scandal then being hatched: “It’s not stimulus. It’s payback.”
The primary protest message was as focused as one could expect from a largely spontaneous event: 1. The government is spending too much and should not increase taxes. 2. The unprecedented growth in government is a danger to liberty.
At the Oceanside Tea Party (as at all such gatherings) there was no attempt to provoke confrontations with police or shut down public facilities. Many parents with kids were present, and American flags were abundant and waved with pride.
By contrast, OWS protestors have shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, ignored trespassing and health ordinances, drained municipal resources, and had a negative impact on nearby small businesses.
Moreover, a New York Times numbers guy used credible crowd estimates in 150 cities to come up with a nationwide figure of only 70,000 for the movement’s October 15 protest. The largest gathering, in the Big Apple, was put around 7,000. Figures for Chicago, Denver, and Oakland were each south of the conservative estimate for Oceanside’s April 15 event in 2009.
When it comes to the make-up and message of this group, Democratic pollster Doug Schoen finds what a perusal of video evidence suggests—that the OWS crowd is mostly young (about half under 30) and overwhelmingly leftist in orientation (74% voted for Obama). Significantly, almost a third believe violence may be employed to achieve their collectivist goals.
This finding dovetails with the much larger violent demonstrations in Europe onto which OWS, October 15, piggybacked. After all, the socialist left is a worldwide, reason-resistant virus that didn’t disappear with the collapse of the Soviet Union—a movement composed of power-hungry ideologues and useful idiots who employ utopian demands and violence (when expedient) to achieve totalitarian ends.
In sum, the dubious character of OWS is best epitomized by the picture of a protestor apparently defecating on a New York City police car.