Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It was ever thus

A good piece by Brendan O'Neill in which he lambasts the stupid, spoilt rich kids who are running Occupy Wall Street. But his idea that this is something new is peculiar. What of the various protests of the sixties? Were they really working class or particularly well supported by the majority of working people? Not in the West. What of the silly anarchists of West Berlin, a movement that eventually morphed into the Baader-Meinhof gang? Hardly working class?

Does he really think there is something peculiarly novel about this:
Occupy Wall Street claims to be a mass workers’ movement, but it’s nothing of the sort. It is in fact a tiny, self-selected group of self-righteous, mostly middle-class activists who have failed to win over large sections of the American public to their “cause” – which isn’t surprising when you consider that on the rare occasion that these trendy banker-bashers talk about the American public, they do so with a metaphorical peg on their snouts. An article on the Occupy Wall Street website claims “the working class in this country has been brainwashed by MSM, Fox News and the Right-wing propaganda machine”. It says everyday Americans, being stupid, do not understand what socialism is, because “they have been emotionally brainwashed against it”. And so it falls to the cool, fashionable, oh-so-enlightened activists of Occupy Wall Street to help “de-programme people against the brainwashing they’ve experienced”. That is, the oiks must be re-educated by the hipsters. The little people must have their minds cleaned out by their moral and fashion superiors. Occupy Wall Street mashes together the outlook of Kim Jong-Il with the politics of Susan Sarandon, giving rise to a weirdly hippyish yet authoritarian gathering of slackers-cum-elitists.
There was this chap called Lenin who, following in the footsteps of Marx, Engels, Chernyshevsky and Plekhanov, proclaimed that the working class could not possibly sort out its own problems and trade unions were merely distractions from the real revolution. What was needed was a vanguard of middle class (or classless, as he preferred to call them) revolutionaries who formed a party, created a revolution and led the working class to the bright future, incidentally murdering, torturing and impoverishing them. The only difference is that this bunch of nonsensical lay-abouts will not get to lead a revolution.


  1. Not sure.

    Whilst your essential point that Socialists have always been elitists is true, there is an increasing incoherence about the left.

    I mean, these are the proposed demands from "Wall Street"


  2. The incoherence of the non-Marxist, non-working class, non-religious (the roots of English socialism) left is extraordinary and Brendan O'Neill finds that offensive as do I, though I also find it amusing.