Like Our Facebook Page

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia: The Kick That the Left Really Needed

“The kick that the left really needed “ are the words of one of the protesters. These are high hopes that will not be realized. Who are these Occupy Philly people? What do they stand for? Who do they represent? Let’s take a look. In the video below there are two interviews with participants in the Occupy Philadelphia movement and a Karl Marx impersonator that performed there. These are the first three parts of the video after the brief introduction. I recommend watching them before reading on. The second half of the video isn’t as relevant to this article as the first half is and can be viewed later.

For the most part what one sees in these interviews is a complete lack of understanding (deliberate misrepresentation?) of what capitalism is and what it has achieved. Every time it, capitalism, is criticized the criticism is that the government intervenes on behalf of the corporate elite. While this is true it also misses the essential point that capitalism is about markets free from government interference. What they are criticizing is actually the corporatist system that we have today, a system that more closely resembles fascism than anything else.

In the first interview Brandon of Philly Socialists talks about how our economic system is the same capitalist system now as it was two hundred years ago, a rather strange point of view. How can one miss the fact that the vast majority of the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies that we suffer under now was created in the twentieth century? How can one not see the vastly larger share of Gross Domestic Product that the government now absorbs? There were very few regulatory agencies in the early days of the republic, often no central bank, and very low levels of taxation. There were also no Robber Barons and a growing economy based much more on local businesses than today. While not perfect it was better than, and a far cry from, our present corporatism.

Rich, a registered nurse, is in the second interview. He advocates protectionism, an idea long ago debunked. (See “Protectionism and Communism”) More importantly Rich claims that the regulation of the medical profession is an illusion. That it is really the corporate elite that writes the rules for their own benefit and controls the regulators through the political process. Up to that point he’s right, but to claim that this means that there is no regulation and that this represents too little government involvement in health care is way off base. Pro business regulation is still regulation. The government is heavily involved, it’s just not doing what it is supposed to do. This is not a problem that is fixable, this is the nature of the beast. The ruling elites will always control the regulators. The only solution is a free market in health care. That means no government regulation or licensing.

Lastly, we come to the Karl Marx impersonator. He repeated the canard that the problem with the free market is the government intervening on behalf of the elites. In a conversation after his performance he acknowledged that that is not actually a free market but what the crowd thinks it is, therefore, his use of the term free market. An interesting admission. Very enlightening was his praise of the Paris Commune of 1871.  My impression is that this is the model they’re trying to emulate in the Occupy Movement.

All of this leads to a few conclusions about Occupy Philadelphia. Since, fortunately, 99% of the people aren’t socialists what we really have here is the .01% claiming to be the representatives of the majority when in reality they are only helping the 1% that rule over us. They are completely ignorant of economics and, therefore, don’t understand why things are going wrong. They cling to the view that government can be made to work if only…whatever, but it’s not that way. In advocating empowering the government so that it will become the “dictatorship of the proletariat” they only play into the hands of the 1% they claim to oppose. Why is the left always so willing to allow itself to be played? They should know by now that the elites will always control the government.

In the end Occupy Philadelphia only manages to discredit itself by presenting stale old statist ideas that have been proved time and again not to work. I ask them to step aside and let those with real solutions, the advocates of liberty, take the lead.


  1. Agreed, Darren, on your closing "discredit" point, IF the first 2 interviewees (along with the Karl Marx impersonator) shown in this video are greatly representative of the participants of all the Occupy protests, there is truly very much ignorance in Philly (and across the country) of what IS government in the US right now (as well as historically what has occurred). Truly sad, but maybe not fatal.

    The vast majority do NOT realize that only the enforcers keep all governments (at all levels and everywhere in the world) in power, after initially making it possible for them to come into existence. None of the legislators, executives (President too), judges and bureaucrats do anything but issue words. The enforcers make those words reality via threats of and actually initiating physical force. When large numbers of people make the role of LAW ENFORCEMENT unpopular by not voluntarily associating with anyone in that position (in any of the vast number of enforcement agencies), there will be far fewer government enforcers. Consequently with far few enforcers, there will be far fewer government rules and regulations - VERY (?Most?) often promoted by corporations, which (at least you & I know) are technically only entities as a result of their "legal creation" by government. (More:

    The life blood of a society of liberty is mutually voluntary interaction - NOT threats of and the actual initiation of physical force, the daily activity of government enforcers.

    The vast Internet communication network can be the tool that enables the percolation to the top of correct ideas - those that will work BECAUSE they are based on the facts of reality, including the nature of humans. It may still take a considerable amount of time but meanwhile, peaceful exchanges of differing ideas can be beneficial. They at least demonstrate that people can listen to each other, find some points (as you did in your video) on which they do agree even while there are many others, including some very substantial, on which they do not agree.

  2. Thanks, Kitty. The issue of the initiation of force is sometimes the most difficult for statists to grasp.

  3. "The issue of the initiation of force is sometimes the most difficult for statists to grasp."

    I definitely agree, Darren, but think that this is a point that, when aired in various ways, is likely to bring some positive results... And I mean to/among statists, few of whom actually acknowledge that they are such. To get those people who have not already concluded that the State is based on initiation of physical force, to realize that is the mini-goal. What *are* the proper basis and method for social order, can only follow.

    I think that very many now see selective instances of State-sponsored physical force initiation (many more opportunities in the past 10 years in the US), but do not (?refuse to?) see that this is the basis of *all* government at every level, everywhere. Even while in some places actual physical force usage is (or has historically been) rare, there is always the threat that it will be used by government enforcers if someone fails to obey the dictates of the ruler(s).

    I would very much like to see other liberty promoters making this point in their writings (there are some who do, but not sufficiently strong or not in the best arenas) especially now that many more individuals are becoming motivated to listen/read, (Occupy everywhere is a clear indication.) The relationship between privileges granted to various groups by government - and of course made effective by the enforcers - can be made clear by some real existing examples - regulations that exist that prohibit some (often all) people from engaging in mutually voluntary actions (adjudged by each to be beneficial). Medical marijuana and raw milk sales are fairly recent examples that have received a great deal of publicity and are growing in support (at least for the former) from a wide spectrum of the US population. These are just two coming from the vast numbers of regulations all over the US. And then there are the wars.....

    So, yes convincing Statists that initiation of physical force is what underlies all government is a definite challenge of sorts. However I think that is less of a challenge than then convincing them that there is a basis for social order that does *not* necessitate threats of or actual initiation of physical force: "Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Interaction" -

  4. "For if you will just grant me for a moment (what I shall very soon try to demonstrate) that protectionism, when it becomes widespread, becomes communism." http://ww w.econ i a t/ m l