Occupy This

by Michael Walsh

I see that some idiot has weighed in from New York on the Occupy Wall Street protests, desperately trying to rekindle the spirit of the sixties with bongos and babes. Like just about everything else we get from the Astroturf Left, though, this meme ain’t gonna fly.

First, their hearts aren’t really in it. Here’s the WaPo’s Dana Milbank, reporting live from the not-so-popular front for the liberation of whatever:

By the time they got to Woodstock, they were half a million strong. But by the time they assembled on Freedom Plaza on Tuesday morning to plan the day’s civil disobedience, they numbered only 53.

Attempting to emulate the Occupy Wall Street protests, Washington activists and some out-of-town guests set themselves the lofty goal of occupying the Hart Senate Office Building. “We are there to shut the place down!” organizer David Swanson told his small band of followers.

But how to do this with only a few dozen demonstrators? Well, Swanson said, they could push all the buttons on the elevators — the way naughty children sometimes do in apartment buildings. “There are people who are wanting to go into the elevators and fill them and not get out and push all the buttons,” he said. “If you like that, do it.”

This set off a lengthy debate in Freedom Plaza, at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street NW, as activists came to the microphone to argue the pros and cons of elevator disruption.

“Let’s face it, our numbers are not enough to shut this building down,” said the representative from Veterans for Peace. “I think pushing elevator buttons is stupid.”

Second, they’re just not cut out for it. Say what you will about my sixties college cohort, but we (and by “we” I mean “they”) weren’t afraid to get down in the mud, to put bodies on the line, to get tear-gassed and have heads busted by truncheon-wielding cops. In May 1970, the radicals were even angrily dumb enough to throw rocks at guys with loaded guns as the culmination of “direct action” that included trashing downtown Kent, Ohio, and setting the campus ROTC building ablaze. Now, Mayor Bloomberg brings the “occupiers” tea and crumpets.

In the air back then was a sense of enormous moral outrage against the Vietnam War — completely bogus, of course, since it was largely occasioned by the fear of getting drafted. With the switch to the lottery system in 1969, college deferments were a thing of the past and I well remember the abject terror that swept through campuses on Dec. 1 of that year as our birthdays were pulled out of a big glass bowl and lucky No. 1 was Sept. 14.

“For it’s one, two, three, what are we fightin’ for? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn — next stop is Vietnam.”

Then, as now, the “moral” protesters were animated almost exclusively by selfishness, and it’s no accident that between Kent State and the end of the draft in 1973, the “student movement” gradually dissipated, leaving us with the music of Country Joe and the Fish and the current crop of elderly college professors trying to relive their youth. 

In other words, we’ve seen this movie before: High Dudgeon, screenplay by Karl Marx, directed by Bill Ayers and Mel Brooks. First time tragedy, this time farce.