The Leftist idea of the world seems to be that there are two kinds of people: good, intelligent, caring, compassionate, thoughtful ones – they call them the Left – and nasty, stupid, unthinking, thoughtless and avaricious ones, called the Right. And these latter have always been wrong about everything, throughout history. Name a Bad Man (as Sellars and Yeatman would have had it) at any time, and, no matter his beliefs or actions, you can be sure he was Right Wing. Even, in the early 1990s, the entire membership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
This very peculiar view of history – “We can’t be wrong because People Like Us are never wrong” – leads to an astonishing ignorance of history. Leftists are like children: unaware that millions of people in the past – and present – have encountered similar problems and attempted solutions similar to theirs which have failed, they’re constantly astonished when their grand theoretical Plans go awry. Simply telling them, “No, that won’t work” is useless. It wasn’t done properly before. It wasn’t done by us.
So in attacking the Occupy protests, I feel rather like the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin*, who a few months ago opined that attacking Microsoft these days was “kind of like kicking a puppy” (given that it’s no longer the 800-pound gorilla it once was), because they’re undergoing the usual implosion that these utopian Leftist Schemes always do: running up against obvious obstacles that they’ve no idea how to handle. They’re not the Revolution, they’re very naughty boys.**
Take this insider account (via Hot Air):
On Sunday, October 23, a meeting was held at 60 Wall Street. Six leaders discussed what to do with the half-million dollars that had been donated to their organization, since, in their estimation, the organization was incapable of making sound financial decisions. The proposed solution was not to spend the money educating their co-workers or stimulating more active participation by improving the organization’s structures and tactics. Instead, those present discussed how they could commandeer the $500,000 for their new, more exclusive organization. No, this was not the meeting of any traditional influence on Wall Street. These were six of the leaders of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
Gosh, who’d'a thunk it? The management of large sums of money is difficult, and attracts the avaricious and power-hungry. Who saw that coming?
But this is the bit that really reminded me of fanatical Leftists’ willful ignorance of history, Hot Air’s explanation of the “organizational” (I use the word loosely) structure of OWS:
The General Assembly (NYC-GA) nominally makes all the decisions through overwhelming consensus; it requires 90% agreement to approve any decision, including expenditures. Sound groovy? Well, not really; a minority of 11% can essentially block all action, and apparently often do.
See? Anyone could have told them that would happen. It’s a “problem” the EU “solved” with Qualified Majority Voting. It’s more or less the problem California has with taxation. Consensus politics doesn’t work because there is no consensus. That’s why there’s politics in the first place. And my God, OWS has terminal politics…
Daniel, a tall, red-bearded, white twenty-something—one of the six leaders of the teach-in—said that the NYC-GA needed to be completely defunded because those with “no stake” in the Occupy Wall Street movement shouldn’t have a say in how the money was spent.
… oh look, they’ve discovered something else the grown-ups already knew …
When I asked him whether everybody in the 99% had a stake in the movement, he said that only those occupying or working in Zuccotti Park did. I pointed out that since the General Assembly took place in Zuccotti Park, everybody who participated was an occupier. He responded with a long rant about how Zuccotti Park is filled with “tourists,” “free-loaders” and “crackheads” and suggested a solution that the even NYPD has not yet attempted: Daniel said that he’d like to take a fire-hose and clear out the entire encampment, adding hopefully that only the “real” activists would come back.
Hey, something we can agree on!
So, anyway, to get round this – gosh, there’s even a word for it – gridlock in their General Assembly (I’m sorry, but I can’t help thinking of a roomful of presbyterian ministers), they – some of them – decided to create a sort of Inner Council. ‘Least, that’s what they said it was for. You can probably guess the real purpose (remember that 500 grand?). The Spokes Council, they called it. Sounds like something to do with bicycles. I prefer “politburo”, but each to his own…
The main obstacle to the creation of the Spokes Council was that the NYC-GA had already voted against it four times. One audience member observed that no organization would vote to relinquish its power.
No! you don’t say!
Some of the strongest proponents of the Spokes Council responded that they had taken this into account, and were planning on creating the Spokes Council regardless of whether the NYC-GA accepted the proposal.
Or, presumably, else.
They claimed that, in the interests of non-hierarchy, neither the Spokes Council nor the General Assembly should have power over the other.
O-kaaay… I suppose the Chain – sorry, Tyres – sorry, Spokes Council would get the half-million smackeroos though, right? Because we wouldn’t want the General Assembly of the People to soil itself with such unseemly capitalist matters. Or something. Yeah, that’ll do. Unseemly capitalism. Yeah.
But there’s more. Oh hell, there’s more:
In the minutes of the teach-in on Saturday the 22nd, the leaders recognize that usurping power from the NYC-GA might make people uncomfortable. The Structure WG’s eventual proposal was to keep the General Assembly alive and functioning while the Spokes Council “gets on its feet.” Working Groups could still technically get funding through the NYC-GA, but the “GA may stop making those kinds of decisions because people [will] stop going… To officially take power away isn’t necessary,” especially because the NYC-GA works on the consensus model. A small group of people aiming to delegitimize the NYC-GA could easily attend each session merely to block every proposal. According to a member of the Demands WG, this is already occurring in several Working Groups.
To placate the rest of OWS, the Structure WG amended their original proposal and gave the NYC-GA power to dissolve the Spokes Council. This amendment is irrelevant, however, given the 90% majority requirement in the NYC-GA, and the ability of members of the Spokes Council to vote in the NYC-GA.
And they wonder why we libertarians want as little politics as we can possibly stomach. I feel sick just reading about it.
There’s even more over there, including downright censorship of their own number, but really nothing that anyone who’s ever been on a committee of anything couldn’t have told them would happen. OWS is nothing more than the church choir writ large, unwashed, and trespassing. It’s no surprise the CofE’s getting on so well with the London branch.
Assuming for rhetorical porpoises there there’s an afterlife, Eugen Richter must be in hysterics right now. “Oh, mein sides! Zey’re doing it again!”
(If you haven’t read Pictures of the Socialistic Future, seriously, do it now. It predicted it all. All.)
*Known to one and all as Zim Jemlin. Well, it’s hard not to.
***And, according to them, other. That’s hilarious, by the way: by their own estimation, OWS is 81% white. According to a commenter there (or it may have been PJM; I can’t find it at the mo’), the racist Tea Party was 76% white by Gallup’s reckoning.