OWS, the Tea Party, Guy Fawkes, and John Galt
I finally saw the film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged and my curiosity was piqued. The novel is championed by conservatives and libertarians as a defense of capitalism and rugged individualism. But it’s equally vilified by liberals and progressives as simplistic, illogical, selfish and dangerous. As a film, it’s mediocre, but the theme of Atlas Shrugged speaks to our times.
The economic uncertainty roiling our nation should make the Tea Party and OWS fellow travelers and natural allies. Instead, the corporate media casts them as opposites, if not, adversaries.
Some Tea Party types have chosen the fictional John Galt as the iconic representative of their frustration with an intrusive (and in their view, illegitimate) big government. On the other hand, OWS supporters – particularly anarchists— wear Guy Fawkes masks to symbolize their desire to overthrow the system.
The contrasts are immediate. Galt is a fictional hero, while Fawkes is a failed historical figure. Galt used non-violent passive resistance to call attention to his grievances. Fawkes was a co-conspirator in a violent terrorist plot to assassinate King James I, destroy Parliament and restore a Catholic to the English throne. They are decidedly different approaches to dealing with oppression.
Tea party protests have been marked by high-minded, if not askew, rhetoric about constitutionalism, liberty and capitalism. Nationwide OWS protests have been marred by an incoherent message, sexual assaults and conflicts with the police.
I believe that the OWS protesters should discard their Guy Fawkes masks and adopt John Galt’s call for a non-violent general strike involving innovators, students and the exploited 99%. I believe tea partiers should coalesce with the OWS crowd because both groups have been harmed by the crony capitalists controlling the media, corporate America and our federal government.
Crony capitalists have used their paid compatriots in government and the media to move wealth steadily upward and away from the American middle class – the true cradle of liberty, innovation, wealth creation, and production. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why Members of Congress are exempt from insider trading prohibitions that apply to you and me? Ask yourself why cable TV talking heads and talk radio hosts constantly foment resentments on both the left and the right.
Crony capitalists are the real parasites. They don’t produce anything of real, lasting value. All they do is trade paper, gamble other peoples’ money, produce nothing but debt, and tamp down innovation. Real innovation will soak up the capital that these vampires prefer to gamble away in high sounding get rich quick schemes.
Tea party and OWS activists need only look at the Dotcom, housing and derivatives’ bubbles that burst leaving ordinary Americans holding the empty bag.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that homeowners underwater on their mortgages should be allowed to drown, so speculating hyenas can pick up their foreclosed homes on the cheap, charge rent or flip them for quick profits.
He and the other candidates assail the 46% of Americans too poor to pay individual federal income taxes as freeloaders. What Mitt won’t admit is that these “freeloaders” are a necessary reserve labor force to hold down wage growth for all but the wired 1%. Like the pigs and the farmers in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the crony capitalists and their Communist Chinese counterparts toast their oppression of the fooled masses.
These same crony capitalists are master manipulators. While they have Tea Party members fixated on President Obama’s supposed illegitimacy and socialist agenda, they have planted their minions as leaders of the movement. They plant provocateurs in the OWS camp. And their minions in the media stoke the fires of resentment to keep the two mass movements from coalescing.
After Atlas shrugs, the earth shifts but soon returns to a state of equilibrium. But if the Tea Party and OWS coalesced and refused to play the game (rigged against their interests), the crony capitalists worldwide would have to take notice because without willing participants, their scheme collapses.
Like John Galt, we should refuse to participate in their game and establish our own rational utopia where manipulation and exploitation are no longer the name of the game. We could then move to restore our pursuit of liberty, innovation, wealth creation, and production.
Are you John Galt?
Are you John Galt? Leave your response in the comments section.