A very interesting essay on the parallels between OWS and the counterculture of the sixties. The image is Abbie Hoffman outside the Chelsea Hotel in '68. --cd3
Source for the essay: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/10/occupy_wall_street_and_the_chicago_68_riots.html
Source for the photo: http://www.chelseahotelblog.com/living_with_legends_the_h/history-of-activism/
by J.R. Dunn
As the man said, those ignorant of their history are condemned to repeat
it. How much worse are those who deliberately ignore it?
Deliberately ignoring their own record is a liberal specialty. The ideology could
not exist without it. There is scarcely a major event of the last century that matches what liberal mythology has to say about it -- the Depression, WWII, the civil rights movement, the Cold War... They have suppressed, ignored, and hidden the facts about each of these events and
more, instead constructing a glittering façade in which liberals are always right, always heroic, and always victorious.
episode they're ignoring today -- and a particularly ignoble one --
occurred from August 23 to 29, 1968. Known variously as the Chicago
convention riots, the Chicago protests, or simply "Czechago" (a
reference to the contemporaneous Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia), it
comprised one of the key events of the '60s. Some would go so far as to
say that it marked the decade's climax.
Democrats met in Chicago, supposedly under the benevolent control of
the Daley clan, to nominate their presidential candidate. It had been a
strange and brutal primary season. An uprising by the party's far
left, led by Sen. Eugene McCarthy,
challenged incumbent Lyndon Johnson on an anti-Vietnam War platform.
McCarthy effectively won the New Hampshire primary, coming in second in
the vote but bagging most of the delegates and prompting Johnson to bow
out in March. Vice President Hubert Humphrey
ran instead. Seeing his chance, Bobby Kennedy leaped in, soon
outlapping the lesser-known McCarthy. It appeared that that the Kennedy
dynasty was in the process of
seizing its legacy when RFK was shot by Palestinian gunman Sirhan
Sirhan. The path appeared clear for Humphrey. (All this time, the sole
GOP candidate, Richard Nixon, was alternately chuckling and shaking his
several years, liberals had been attempting to co-opt the kids, to take
control of the youth revolt of the '60s -- the youthquake, the
counterculture, whatever -- and use it for their own purposes, much as
they had done with the civil rights movement earlier in the decade.
Giving lip service to the kid's concerns, intoning that "we must listen
when the young people speak out," mouthing approval of demonstrations,
wearing paisley ties, the liberal Democrats did their level best to
nudge the kids into becoming part of the liberal voting bloc.
they couldn't grasp (and in large part still don't) was that the '60s
revolt was aimed as much at liberalism as anything else. In the 1960s,
liberalism was in control. It was the Establishment the kids were
revolting against. There was no organized political opposition, and
there hadn't been since the McCarthy debacle in the mid-'50s. (Barry
Goldwater, the first conservative Republican presidential aspirant since
Calvin Coolidge, had been routed in 1964 by being transformed into Joe
McCarthy, Jr.) Liberals had effectively run the country since the days
of the New Deal and had been in complete political control since JFK
took office. They had their plans -- not at all different from those of
our current incumbent. At the time, it was expressed in the form of
the "Great Society," an LBJ brainstorm that, like every other
social-democratic attempt at governing, amounted to a soft form of
totalitarianism. In exchange for cradle-to-grave welfare, the Great
Society would run everything in the country for you without you having
to bother your head about it. All you had to do was keep voting Row A.
kids weren't having any of it, and throughout the latter half of the
decade, they carried out what amounted to a massive, universal strike
aimed directly at the liberal superstate. (Many conservatives operate
under the assumption that it was aimed at them. But conservatism during
the '60s was still a coterie phenomenon, as far from the levers of
power as it's possible to get. The Reagan Revolution was a decade and
more in the future.) This was helped along by the fact that the Vietnam
War, yet another liberal project, had been dumped on the backs of the
very kids that the liberals were trying to seduce. Very few
Ivy-educated liberals were dying under Vietnam's triple-canopy jungle.
1968, in large part due to hostility against the war, the New Left had
succeeded in taking the driver's seat, but that's another story.
Suffice it to say that at the time of the convention, Americans in
their teens and twenties, whether left, right, or indifferent, had a
serious grudge against the Democratic Party. They had no compunction
about tearing down and stomping flat the liberal façade, and in Chicago
'68, that's exactly what they did.
Chicago convention is unquestionably the most wild-eyed political
convention ever held in this country. Demonstrators came early and
stayed late. While many were organized by the SDS, the Yippies, and the
Mobe (National Mobilization Against the War), the larger number were
freelance, showing up for the fun that was in it. They proceeded to put
the Democrats on the grill. The lakefront area of Chicago was placed
under siege. Several pitched battles were fought for Grant Park, and
the crowd tried to storm the convention center.
Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman showed up to goad people into fighting
the cops from a safe distance (Abbie wearing a psychedelically painted
GI helmet). Hundreds of arrests were made, beatings were rampant, and a
curfew was declared to no avail. At last Mayor Richard J. Daley
ordered the cops to open fire.
heads prevailed before a massacre could occur. All the same, the media
portrayed the police, the mayor, the city, and by extension the
Democrats as the villains. Walter Cronkite, at the peak of his
influence, dismissed the cops as "thugs" on the air. The papers
screamed of a "police riot," which was a little difficult to comprehend
-- the police, after all, belonged in Chicago. They hadn't traveled
thousands of miles to tear the place up.
for the public, the conclusion was straightforward: the Democrats had
for years declared themselves Spokesmen for the Youth, the buttoned-down
allies of the hippies, Yippies, protestors, and demonstrators of
whatever breed. And yet here they were trying to annihilate each other
on national television. Voters wished a plague upon both, and that was
the end of the Democrats for that election. Richard Nixon coasted to an
easy win, setting the country on the road to Watergate, impeachment,
and the election of Jimmy Carter. (Humphrey, the last honest old-school
liberal ever to run for president, might well have done a better job.
He'd have been a Truman figure, easing the wilder aspects of the liberal
agenda and acting as a conciliator. There's one thing for sure --
nobody outside Georgia would have ever heard of Jimmy Carter.)
here we are forty-odd years along, and what has changed? Nothing, if
you're a Democrat. The same exact chain of events is occurring with the
Occupy Wall Street gang. The
99ers are the Chicago mob with the addition of iPhones and minus the
seriousness. Their appearance is similar -- high-priced boho rags,
to-hell-with-it hair. Their rhetoric is indistinguishable. ("Power to
the people, man!") Their behavior is identical: show up, hang out,
yell, and posture for the cameras. The goal is the same -- take down
the power structure. And so will be the result -- the destruction of
the Democratic Party.
media has carefully nurtured the 99ers as an alternative to the Tea
Parties, despite the fact that they can scarcely muster 1% of the
latter's numbers. The Democrats have been quick to jump on the
bandwagon. Obama has made encouraging noises. Nancy Pelosi has offered
direct praise. Rep. John Lewis showed up in Atlanta and got himself made a fool of. According to the New York Times, "[t]he
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party's powerful House
fund-raising arm, is circulating a petition seeking 100,000 party
supporters to declare that 'I stand with the Occupy Wall Street
protests.'" (Hat tip: Peter Wehner.) Clearly, the Dems have adopted
the movement and are going whole hog over it, with the media doing their
best to assure that the connection is not overlooked.
paradox here is, of course, is that the Wall Street moguls that the
demonstrators are so eager to get at were Obama's most crucial
supporters in 2008. A large chunk of the stimulus funds went to the
financial houses that the mob wants to shut down. (Much of the rest
went to the unions, which have now come out in support of the 99ers --
so now we have Obama's two biggest allies at each other's throats.
That, in a nutshell, is liberal logic at work.)
no way this can end well. Yet the Democrats act as if it's all
destined to work out according to their requirements of the moment.
When it goes off, as it will -- the attacks on the cops in New York, the
riot at the National Air and Space Museum in D.C., and the appearance
of hardcore anarchist contingents reveal that clearly enough -- they
will own it, just as they owned the Chicago riots. The voting public
will derive the same lesson as they did in 1968.
Democrats have been dodging the bullet since the late '60s. They have
repeatedly danced up to the edge of the political abyss and then danced
back again. Time after time -- with Chicago, the Nuclear Freeze, the
Sandinistas, and 9/11, to mention just a few instances -- they have
gotten away with it. Eventually, by the simple factor of odds, they
will go over the edge and go splat. And the world will go on, unvexed
by yet another form of organized dementia.
may not happen this time either. They may get away with it once
again. But at the very least, the 99ers will help take Obama down.
That's good enough for me.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.
Tags: Obama, GOP, Democrat, Chicago, 1968, OWS, Occupy, riot, election, Republican, American Thinker
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