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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/19494/naomi-wolf-on-occupy-wall-street/

Naomi Wolf on Occupy Wall Street

November 26, 2011 by

As part of the ongoing survey of opinion here is Naomi Wolf on “the shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy.” Naomi mmay be most well known to LVMI readers for her book Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries and her mindblowing interview with Lew Rockwell on America’s slow-motion Fascist coup.

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies’ profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists’ privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can’t suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.


Daniel November 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

End the Fed

Chris Rossini November 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Great observations!

As a result of using violence against the peaceful, the State is showing its teeth. Americans are not used to that…That’s the kind of stuff that happens in the “unfree” foreign countries.

feudalredux November 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Funny thing is, those peaceful people you refer to are baying for the blood of the rich. Maybe they will take this opportunity to learn who their real enemy is.

Gil November 27, 2011 at 4:36 am


coturnix November 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Had this happen in some other country america would have already put 100 sanctions on it and bombed it to the ground. But in america, there is democracy, that’s why people can be abused. Absurdity it is. I repeat this on and on: The United Staes Government IS The Ultimate Terrorist of This World!

Ohhh Henry November 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Whoops there is a little typo above, I think it is meant to read:

“Had this happen in some other country [which possessed petroleum reserves that were not being preferentially sold to the USA, priced in USD and developed and controlled by US oil companies and banks] america would have already put 100 sanctions on it and bombed it to the ground.

RAN November 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I’m sorry but all of this is a finely tuned orchestrated dance. The OWS demonstrations are no more spontaneous than the responses of the various municipalities. To make a statement such as “US citizens are reeling from…unparallelled police brutality” means the writer either isn’t old to enough to have lived through the 1960′s or is seeking to purposefully obfuscate what is going on. The level of violence from both sides has yet to rise to the level of the demonstrations of the 1960′s. All we are seeing is one big kabuki theater meant to distract us. Both the left and the right posturing about who’s doing what to whom and why. Nothing more than distractions much in the manner that a magician uses slight of hand. The truth is the country is headed down the crapper. When people finally realize this, then you will see unparallelled chaos. Unless that is the lemmings which are the majority of citizens have been truly medicated by reality tv, videos games and pharmaceuticals and won’t realize the cliff we are heading over.

Walt D. November 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Sad, but true.

RFN November 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Well, the writer is Naomi Wolf. Yes, the police state is STILL with us, but as of now, the violence is little league compared to the 60′s and even earlier times.

RTB November 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Ahhh….nostalgia for the 60′s never dies.

Libertarian Jerry November 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I guarantee you that a vast majority of the American people will cheer on the police and their brutal methods. The majority of the American people have been so conditioned through the Public School System and through the Main Stream Media not to question authority that they couldn’t think for themselves if their lives depended on it The only thing is,that the majority of the participants in OWS have the same problem as not being able to think for themselves,otherwise they would picket the real troublemakers in Washington DC.

Albermarle November 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm

… must be a really, really slow holiday weekend for Mises.Org to be promoting Naomi Wolf’s viewpoint on anything.
One can very safely ignore everything Naomi says.

On this specific issue, see: http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/shocking-truth-about-factless-assertions

There’s nothing mysterious about the general police crackdown on OWS, it’s merely evidence of the blossoming American police-state since 9/11. The vast para-military establishment created across America to counter phantom “terrorism” … is quite easily turned against the citizenry itself — especially against those who openly protest the political status quo.

Rulers must make the Ruled understand their true status. Clubs and Pepper-Spray are surprisingly effective in educating the politically naive.

Matthew Swaringen November 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I tend to agree with you here, although I don’t mind the attempt to work with the left on some things, I don’t think we want to start taking their talking points that are totally off base.

Franklin November 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Nicely stated.
There’s no credibility in the posturing airhead Naomi who would simply swap the current batch of fascists with a bunch of her own.
And a supportive nod to poster RAN above, who interjects the sobering reality.

Capn Mike November 27, 2011 at 12:26 am

We’re never gonna make it better if we close our ranks against those not anointed with Misesian wisdom. We’ve got to welcome those “airheads” from the left and wean them on true liberty…
Otherwise, it’s just political masturbation.

Franklin November 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

I tend to be a “devil’s in the details” person, so when I scrutinize the mechanics in their “fix” (and hers is a laundry list from way back) I’m not so sure the enemy of my enemy will advance the cause.
But I appreciate your point and will guard against my knee-jerk.

Dave Albin November 27, 2011 at 12:53 am

I’ll take Wendy McElroy over Naomi Wolf anyday.

Dr. Acula November 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm


RTB November 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Hear! Hear!

Rob Mandel November 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I’ve often wondered if these OWS people, naive and ignorant in so many ways, night not be potential libertarians. True, it is hard to make sense of the panoply, everything from forgiving student loan debt to palestinian statehood, whatever. It is the usual hodge-podge of leftist demands and grievances, all it seems have one common denominator: the state. However, if they can see, or be shown, that it is the state that is the true evil, the true source of all their complaints, then maybe there’s hope.

It does seem to me that there is terrible anti free market bias in the crowds, but this I truly believe comes from complete lack of understanding what free markets are about. Capitalism isn’t special privileges, subsidies, and trade deals, insider advantage to the large and connected. They learn about “capitalism” from marxist derived thought, from a public school bureaucracy that’s wholly inimical to capitalism and free markets. And so, it’s almost like Soviet students who learned about capitalism in their schools.

Maybe they can come the realization that the state they want to give them everything, has also mislead them, betrayed them, stole from them, indebted them, and now abuses and assauts them. They can’t have the former with all the latter. As much as I have made such use of the mises.org resources, my kindle being filled the works of the giants, I am not the most desired audience. We need to bring the message to OWS.

I must admit, I was initially turned off by OWS, and in many ways still am very unsympathetic to them, insofar as they “occupy” what doesn’t belong to them, they don’t seem to understand propert rights all that well. (Yes, they are occupying “public” property, but in reality there can be no such thing. If the state own it, then it isn’t “public”.) And they seemed more inclined to a very leftist/socialist direction. However, this is truly what the police state looks like, virtually indistinguishable from teh welfare/warfare state. And maybe they will reach the conclusion that the only solution is far less, if any, federal government. One can only hope.

Inquisitor November 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Well in my home country of Sweden (and my native one of Norway is scarcely different), a lot of schoolkids think the Soviets just killed a few thousands. Yeah. A few thousands. :/ They’re spoilt, ignorant and thus supportive of all sorts of idiotic, insane schemes. However I do think the younger generation is going to wake up to the fact that it is born to a government that is effectively bankrupt, financially and morally, as the country’s wealth is further eroded. Norway has a cushion of oil “profits” it is squandering.

And now I live in the UK, one of the most socialist countries in the EU in terms of the sheer amount of violations of civil liberties that it allows for. Fun times. Your point on the police state being the other side of the welfare state is well made, since it requires it for its existence. When the welfare state can no longer freely leech off the productive it turns violent and desperate, as many European states are now revealing themselves to be.

RFN November 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

The fact that the communists of America are part of this group is all I need to know. Yes, there are some legitimate points, but the majority of these occupiers want free shit. That’s it.

RTB November 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

We can get to them while they’re young.

Matthew Swaringen November 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I don’t buy this story too much. While congress may trade on inside information, and while this may be a bit different from those doing it who aren’t using force by modifying legal frameworks, the amount of this that is occurring is probably not nearly as much as Naomi is imaging.

I don’t really believe that making laws against insider trading in congress will make the system work. I don’t buy that making the taxpayers pay for political campaigns to get money out of the system is going to make anything better. That may shift the balance of power a bit towards populist laws, but this won’t make the system more free.

In any case, I think there may be a reason for coordination against the occupy movement but I don’t think it’s this.

Inquisitor November 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

If anything… why the hell should we be forced to pay for corrupt, profligate congregations of professional leeches and vampires? They should be subjected to a witch hunt and burnt at the stake, not financed by us. In the UK they are contemplating funding political parties by higher taxation because “no alternative can be envisaged” (ugh, what?) I would like for insider trading inside the gov’t to go on unabated. The more it descends into utter 3rd world corruption and hypocrisy, the less credible its authority becomes. I want the government to be maximally corrupted, so people can disabuse themselves of their childlike faith in the state.

nate-m November 27, 2011 at 12:08 am

> I don’t really believe that making laws against insider trading in congress will make the system work.

Laws against insider trading is what makes insider trading from people in congress so profitable.

Anways, Congress isn’t going to pass anything meaningful against themselves. So even if they pass insider trading laws against themselves it is not going to have any teeth.

bagoh20 November 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm

What a load of breathless, perspective-free, propaganda. This is minimal violence in the wider scheme of things, and in fact virtually demanded by the protesters. It is the goal, and when accomplished is followed by a cacophony of self-righteous, hand-over-mouth surprise. Spare me.

nate-m November 27, 2011 at 12:24 am

When somebody beats up your wife while another group of people have you pinned you down while they empty a entire canister military-strength pepper spray directly into your face are you going to come back and say that it is not such a big deal in the wider scheme of things?

This is a violent government reaction to largely non-violent behavior. Do not forget this.

bagoh20 November 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

Nonviolent behavior designed to force a violent reaction. This is exactly what they were trying to get and they got it. How do you move people who refuse to move without violence? The protesters are the only people who could have prevented this, but they’re not really into taking responsibility for themselves. Put away the tissues and wise up.

El Tonno November 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

> Nonviolent behavior designed to force a violent reaction.

How does that kind of sh*t even make sense? “Force” a violent reaction? Is that like laughing at brownshirts or entitled muslims/christians/jews who then suddenly have the irresistible urge to spring into action?

bagoh20 November 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

OK, so how would YOU return the property to those who have the right to use and enjoy it, but are being deprived? Remember, they think staying and defying you is the most important and noble thing they have ever done in their lives. Now get out there and fix this. If you succeed, you could make millions.

Sloan November 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm

One of only two or three informed comments I’ve seen here.

Dave Albin November 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm

They were not trying to get beat up. Most of them are clueless. They’ve been fed the government propaganda BS their whole lives in public school, etc., and by other institutions we’re all forced to pay for. They truly believe that if they occupy public spaces then the government will simply create jobs for them out of thin air. After all, that’s what you do, right? – go to college, take out a bunch of government-backed student loans, and you will magically have a job. This isn’t working now, so time to protest.

These people are mostly sadly misinformed, but they don’t want to get beat up.

Notice, too, how well the government deals with public property management. This doesn’t happen on private property because the owners have an incentive to keep it up, and because no one shows up to private property without some reason, like voluntary, mutually-beneficial exchange.

niku November 27, 2011 at 4:29 am

unparallelled police brutality…massive mobilisation
Pepper Spraying into Apocalypse. Get a grip Ms. Wolf.

David C November 27, 2011 at 10:02 am

I don’t see OWS as a movement against wall street corruption, I see it as people lashing out because the government can no longer afford them things at other peoples expense. Wall street corruption is just the pretext, and their agenda is more designed to pressure the elite to give them the government programs they want, not to end corruption.

nate-m November 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I don’t see OWS as a movement against wall street corruption,

It’s what they are protesting against. They are protesting against corruption and greed. The problem with OWS is not that they are protesting, it is that they are focusing on the wrong group.

The most important thing that Americans need to understand is that since the beginnings of the 1900′s there has been a very intentional, very thoughtful, very focused, and very deliberate attempts by both people in government and people in major corporations to combine their efforts to promote the profitability and success of major American corporations in the world.

It’s the American Corporate State that people need to be aware of and protest against. Our government no longer is just ‘Congress’, ‘Judicial’, and ‘President’. Our Federal State Government includes such groups the Federal Banking System, the Council of Foreign Affairs, The 3 or 4 companies that control the bulk of “Mainstream Media” and dozens of other corporate associations, trusts, and cabals, that decide policy, have special legal privileges, special legal protections, and use their influence to direct government actions.

When we go to war it is not to just ‘spread democracy’. It is to project USA military strength to make the world safe for American corporate profits. Just as our government seeks to establish ‘puppet’ governments that are favorable to our political agenda, they also seek to establish ‘puppet economies’ that are favorable to our economic agendas.

History is rife with such examples. But people are ignorant of it and this is a serious problem.

Just a simple example:
We supported revolutionaries in Panama…
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Panama_(1821-1903)
The section called “The 1903 treaty and qualified independence”

When USA negotiations with the Panamanian government to allow us to build the canal failed there was a international conspiracy to overthrow that government. Revolutionaries were financed by corporate instances and powerful families. The USA lent direct military power directly to the revolutionaries.

Once we had the government replaced then it was easy to build the Panama canal.

How many times has this played out in the 20th century?

How many supported wars, how many juntas, how many usurped leaders have fell to the blade of the USA government economic interests? If you think about it it’s obvious. One country after another in every region on every continent has had the unfortunate experience of attracting the attention of our corporate interests.

And if we are willing to overthrow governments abroad and kill thousands of people… then what does that mean for people here? If you are willing to destroy the lives of people to increase American Elite’s profitability.. then what does that mean for people living IN America?

There is all sorts of fun stuff:

OWS is like most Americans. We are blinded by the false dichotomy of “Liberal vs Conservative” or “Corporate Profits vs Government Laws”. These standard ways of thinking and arguing are carefully created by elements in our media and schools to remove the ability for people to realize what is going on and debate things meaningfully.

Sloan November 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Nate-m, you would really do yourself a favor if you took a sabbatical from that fringe propaganda you’ve indoctrinated yourself with and started reading material with some proof and logic behind it. Then you might be able to make a positive difference in the world.

nate-m November 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm


So the USA deciding to overthrow the Panamanian government in order to build the canal didn’t actually happen?
Can you pick out anything that I said that is actually wrong?

Or is just the tone that you find ‘fringe’?

Anthony November 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm


There is a huge array of extremely well documented examples of the US killing and torturing in countries around the work in support of corporations and “freedom” (read “America’s freedom to dictate policy in weaker countries). This proof comes in the form of declassified government documents along with other reliable sources. Look these things up before you assume they are created out of nothing by conspiracy theorists.

nate-m November 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Yes, more or less.

Going back to the earliest years of the 20th century it was the belief of people like Woodrow Wilson was that large corporations running the country’s economy was the natural replacement for individualistic ‘Laissez-Faire’ capitalism. They believed that with the closing of the American frontier we were going to run into a situation were we would have no outlet for the new American industrialized base.

So they worked with corporate interests to reduce the ‘evils’ of unbridled competition and sought out a aggressive foreign policies to expand Democracy and their version of Capitalism. It was critical in their view to break down the barriers between countries and create new economic frontiers for the expansion of US corporate interests.

The Federal Reserve System is a example of this. Our involvement in South East Asia is another. The USA joining WW1 was a direct result of these policies. The ‘New Deal’ and anti-trust laws. Drug wars, intervention in the Boxer rebellion, ‘Dollar Diplomacy’. ‘Gun Boat Diplomacy’ So on and so forth.

These attitudes, policies, and actions contribute directly for the economic and political problem we have today. Everything we have today is just a extension of what happened over a hundred years ago.

Following the history of these things is fascinating…

Eric Phillips November 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm
Jamie November 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

“No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.”

So the Mises Institute is in favor of Glass-Steagall?

Dagnytg November 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm


Frank Shostak addresses this issue here: http://mises.org/daily/4100

Frank’s conclusion: As long as we have a central bank, the answer is yes.

Jamie November 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Thank you Dagnytg! This has certainly changed my opinion of Glass-Steagall.

Matthew Swaringen November 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I think that’s an oversimplification of the conclusion. He poses that Volker’s idea wouldn’t be good enough to eliminate the boom bust cycles.

I tend to think this likely to create moral hazard as these rules create a false sense of security. Frank seems to agree with that in part, “Consequently, instead of having a severe crisis in 20 years’ time, we have it now.”

Walt D. November 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This sort of violence has been perpetrated on the homeless for years. Nobody is going to let a homeless person put up a tent in Justin Herman Plaza. Police violence during arrests is so common that in some States they have made it illegal to video record it because they don’t want it appearing on YouTube.

Ohhh Henry November 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm

“I’m sorry but all of this is a finely tuned orchestrated dance. The OWS demonstrations are no more spontaneous than the responses of the various municipalities.”

I agree. The OWS people popped up simultaneously in many cities and used the same tactics and had more or less the same, vague, wishy-washy messages. The repression also happened more or less simultaneously in every city and using similar tactics. Both the demonstrations and the crackdowns appear to be orchestrated.

If you were doing things which are extremely controversial, like Wall Street, the US government and the military-industrial-espionage complex are doing, then you are bound to have opposition. Would you rather have a broadly based opposition whose demonstrations and public statements are spontaneous, unpredictable and therefore difficult to combat? Or would you rather have your would-be opponents show up according to a schedule in an ordained set of small, contained spaces where they will be made to look like grubby, unintelligent troublemakers and where they all parrot the same, vague complaints? And where, obviously, once you feel you’ve won the PR war, it’s very easy to dispose of them.

The OWS protestors are the best opposition that Wall St money can buy. Anyone who complains about Wall St from now on is going to be compared to the rent-a-mob people who sleep in public parks and complain about “greed”.

Becky Hargrove November 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

People become libertarian (through life experience) when they realize government can not do for them, what it would like to be able to do for them. And why should government admit that taking care of everyone has become impossible? The challenge for libertarians is to find ways to show others this truth before it is too late, and unfortunately the dialogue in the present is only getting worse. There is a forming vacuum that govenment can no longer fill, which is why libertarianism needs more pro-active economic solutions, otherwise the vacuum becomes chaos.

Dave Albin November 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

This is perhaps the best place anywhere for education and solutions to today’s economic woes (which ends up affecting everything). Slowly but surely, more people are learning what you said in your post – the government cannot take care of them, it simply confiscates more and more while giving less and less in return. Private enterprises do exactly the opposite. All of this starts with control over the money supply, and goes on from there, to what we can eat to what kinds of light bulbs we can use.

nate-m November 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Of of the biggest problem is that the Libertarian message is often ‘Do nothing, let it run it’s course’

Q) What should we do about world hunger?
A) Do nothing. Let the people in Africa figure out a profitable way to feed themselves and then the problem will solve itself. Their biggest problem is their own governments and there is really nothing constructive we can do to solve that. Any international aid and support we are able to give them now is just going to support the legitimacy and financial solvency of the regimes that terrorize them and ruin their economies. The best thing we can do to help is by removing the requirements for corporations and people to pay taxes when operating outside of the USA borders and eliminate things like anti-bribery laws.

Q) What should we do about the poor in America?
A) Do less then we are doing now. Repeal the laws that give special privileges and legal protections to Unions. Get rid of the minimal wage laws. Get rid of child labor laws. Get rid of import/export restrictions. Get rid of immigration restrictions. Get rid of all these controls and people will sort it out themselves.

Q) What should we do about the housing/banking crisis in America?
A) Much less then we do now. Let people get their houses foreclosed on. Let the banks go bankrupt. Remove the FDIC protections and guarantees on private accounts. When banks go bankrupt let them take the customer’s accounts with them. That way people have a vested interest in what banks are doing with their money and the resulting competitive banking market will regulate itself.

Q) What should we do about the Federal Government financial meltdown?
A) Let the U.S. Government go bankrupt. Remove all forms of financial welfare. Get rid of the vast majority of the armed forces. Let medicare and social security be gradually scaled back until it’s eliminated completely in a few decades. Eliminate things like the subsidies for the Postal service. etc. etc. Eliminate taxation whenever and where ever possible.

Everybody is brought up believing that the vast majority of people are just a hair better then deprived raging lunatics. That there are whole armies of nothing but drug using rapists, religious nut cases, and evil business interests that want nothing more then to enslave the populations of the world and murder people left and right.

Trying to tell people to ‘Let Go’ and just learn to trust one another and depend on the value and integrity of individuals operating under a system of freedom and capitalism is border-line heresy. Almost nobody can believe that that a economic system were people are governed by individual action and motivations could ever possibly work unless it’s carefully controlled by government regulation.

It’s a very tough message to sell.

People feel scared and think that they ‘must act’. That ‘somebody has to do something’. When the real solutions is just to let people live their own lives in their own way. However, the only time we need violent actions and controls is in response to other people’s violent aggression, and in the real world that is actually very rare in a open and free society. But almost nobody actually believes that.

It’s a tough sell to people who already consider themselves libertarian.

BioTube November 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm

The key, of course, is to try and recast negative answers into positive ones. For example:

Q) What should we do about the poor in America?
A) End price supports for food(both farm subsidies and tariffs) that keep Americans paying above world price. End import restrictions and allow cheap foreign goods to be available for those who can’t afford American products. Reduce the minimum wage so businesses are less reluctant to hire those with little or no work history and lower productivity. Eliminate work restrictions on teenagers since offsetting their living expenses can be the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and making some sort of fiscal headway.

feudalredux November 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

doing nothing is hard to do.

Walt D. November 28, 2011 at 1:04 am

Q) What should we do about the poor in America?
Allow them to upgrade their IPhone3 to an IPhone 4S for free.

Kevin Puskar November 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

The accounting of brutal police activities although vivid and disturbing are not unprecendented in the histroy of peaceful dissent in America. For anyone old enough to have lived through the sixties
these scenes are reminders of another era of social and political unrest that largely ended with the killing of students at Kent State. That police action was unprecedented and a warning to anyone choosing to speak out too loudly in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

iain November 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Cool story bro.

RFN November 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm


RG November 28, 2011 at 12:48 am

Although the violence is undoubtedly being directed by our friends in Washington, does it matter? Who cares if it’s some muni wannabe with an axe to grind or his high holiness from his throne in the white house?

Naomi and her ilk will never understand that it’s all one in the same.

“If only we had benevolent people at the federal level this wouldn’t happen! We just need the right leaders in these positions of power!”

You hear these mantras from all sides, democrat, republican, tea party, OWS, etc. Only on this site, and a few others hand in hand, understand that it’s the system that lends itself to this violence. The people in power cannot change the system in any positive direction (with all due apologies to RP, you will only slightly delay the inevitable). The system must be dismantled and remain dismantled.

JFF November 28, 2011 at 9:29 am

“If only we had benevolent people at the federal level this wouldn’t happen! We just need the right leaders in these positions of power!”

THIS is the key here. They don’t care about substantive “change;” they just want their people in power and it’ll all take care of themselves. The system is the issue.

Police brutality is a fact a life in this country, see William Grigg, et al., yet people only get on it when a bunch of yupsters get their hissy fit broken up. This is why I have so little sympathy for this “movement.”

Charles Martel November 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

“US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters”

Is this a joke, a delusion, or does Wolf not read anything? Rapes, assaults, occupation of property, and forcible closures of businesses are the very definition of “violent.”


El Tonno December 2, 2011 at 5:46 am

This is (not particular) fun:

“Shock Revealer” Naomi Wolf vs “Printing Money to Save Everyone” Josh Holland, both good at disrespecting the machinery of reality:

Was There a Coordinated Federal Crackdown on Occupy Wall Street?

Naomi Wolf responds to Joshua Holland’s criticisms of her piece alleging a coordinated federal crackdown on Occupy Wall Street.

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