New York’s Marxist epicenter
By Charles Gasparino, Posted:10:23 PM, October 16, 2011
The standard portrayal of the Wall Street protesters goes something like this: Ragtag group of unemployed young adults, venting often incoherent but overall legitimate populist outrage about economic inequality. But go down to the movement’s headquarters, as I did this past weekend, and you see something far different.
It’s not just that knowledge of their “oppressors” — the evil bankers — is pretty thin, or that many of them are clearly college kids with nothing better to do than embrace the radical chic of “a cause.” I found a unifying and increasingly coherent ideology emerging among the protesters, which at its core has less to do with the evils of the banking business and more about the evils of capitalism — and the need for a socialist revolution.
It’s not an overstatement to describe Zuccotti Park as New York’s Marxist epicenter. Flags with the iconic face of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara are everywhere…. The “occupiers” openly refer to each other as “comrade”….
Don’t try to explain to any of these protesters how those who sought to create a Marxist utopian dream of revolution also gave us the Stalinist purges, Mao’s bloody Cultural Revolution and many other efforts to collectivize thought in the name of economic “justice.”
One woman was holding a “Nationalize the Federal Reserve” sign; I tried to explain that the Fed is already nationalized, because it’s part of government, and she told me to “go check my f—king facts — it’s privately owned.” …
Also absent was any notice of how the much-hated banks benefited not from free-market capitalism, which would have let them fail in 2008, but from crony capitalism that bailed them out. The similar cronyism practiced by Trumka and the Obama administration — massive spending on useless but politically connected businesses like Solyndra, paired with class-warfare rhetoric — likewise has very little to do with free markets.
My thoughts on things
1) Occupy Wall Street
I sometimes wonder what people assume my political affiliations are when they first meet me. I’ve become the strangest hybrid of left and moderate. I refuse to say right because what I consider right-leaning, such as environmental conservation, fiscal conservatism and states’ rights, no longer exists. I’m kidding myself thinking the TRs and Rockefellers of the world will come back into the fray. The party has been shanghaied by radical Tea Partiers, most of whom are hellbent on waving around misspelled signs. When I turn around from the old white crazies at the Tea Party rallies and stumble upon some hipster toking up on a strangely named cannabis, the same look of disdain occupies my face. I hold the political ideologies of moderates, but I sometimes exude the personality of Richard Nixon when talking about radicals. If there’s anything I hate more than old white people reminiscing about the good days before Civil Rights, it’s a bunch of Communist Manifesto-toting 20-something-year-olds whose parents earn six figures. I want to see the WWII vet marching around with his walker, or the Iraq War veteran who argues stirringly yet peacefully in front of bystanders and the police. These people I respect. Not some goddamn hippy or senile gun nut.
I need one, and I need it soon. I had a dream last night that I won a trip to Paris. I’ve never visited Paris. But in my mind, I created it. For some reason, the city was by a large ocean. I sat in a convertible next to someone. She was driving me down a serpentine road, and she turned the wheel right and left as the road weaved toward the city’s center. Small, ball-shaped houses dotted the beach and land between the sea and the sprawling downtown area. Brick skyscrapers rose amongst the cafes, book shops and burlesque houses. I went to Notre Dame, but the gothic spires and buttresses outside the enormous cathedral looked more like industrial smokestacks in the style of Stalinist architecture. No one was praying inside the cathedral. It was fun being an “architect.”
3) The potato
The next time someone tells me the potato is unhealthy, I’m going to murder them with a potato, and as I stand over there his or her body with my blood-stained potato, I’ll say, “The only negative health effects of the potato is being bludgeoned to death with one by Trevor!”. I have government documents bookmarked in my browser that prove the health benefits of potatoes. I will fashion my career into one lifelong campaign to redeem the potato from those affluent, diet-obsessed Californian housewives whose mixture of Skinny Girl margaritas and Vitamin C produces more carcinogens than a potato’ll ever give ya. (the following image looks like a potato heart, but if you turn it upside down, it might resemble a potato scrotum)
4) Three-drink to four-drink lunch
My magazine professor keeps suggesting three-drink lunches to help the creative process. As she says, “If you come up with a brilliant title after a three-drink lunch, you’ve done your job and you can go home.” But today she said four-drink. I’m starting to wonder at which drink magazine journalists, editors and designers call it a day. I don’t think it matters; it’s not quantity, but quality (or maybe potency).
5) Change of pace
I need a change of pace. I love college, but I feel trapped in a bubble. So much is going on in the world right now. In Columbia, Mo., we get the news as reported by international news organizations. I would rather experience the events and participate in them. I’m bored of seeing the world vicariously through the perspective of corny, twitter-crazed CNN anchors and inaccurate Wikipedia posts.