Thursday, October 27, 2011

More on OWS

Despite its support in the blogosphere by leftists I am coming to the conclusion that OWS is not a leftist movement. They seem to have a lot more in common with the populist movements of the 19th Century than the socialist and communist movements of the 20th Century. They have not embraced any communist dictators as idols and recommended that the US be overhauled along the lines of the USSR under Stalin, China under Mao, North Vietnam under Ho, or even Cuba under Castro. They have not made any anti-capitalist demands at all as far as I can see. Indeed the economic policies of the OWS demonstrators appear to be far to the right in terms of free markets than the actually existing economies of many non-socialist countries.


Leo Tolstoy said...

The movement was originally sparked, as far as I can tell, by dissatisfaction with corporations holding onto all the bailout money rather than reinvesting it. It became clear over time that they were deliberately holding off hiring people for some reason. Lots of people are unemployed and obviously don't like it. As for what they hope to achieve, I don't think they thought it out that far. It's already beginning to fall apart--and how could it not? The government will ignore any such movement unless it poses a direct threat, in which case they'll send in the military, like Hoover did in the early '30s. I think it's more a first stage of eventual larger protests and civil disturbances, assuming (as I do) that the unemployment problem doesn't get fixed.

LFC said...

This post equates 'leftist' and 'the left' with authoritarianism and/or totalitarianism, which is wrong and, coming from a historian, surprising. There is a long tradition of democratic socialism or social democracy, as you must be aware.