What is a man of Tradition to make of the Occupy Wall Street movements (hereafter OWS)? Is it friend or foe? Is it a grounds for action? A sign of the times? Another proof of the Kali Yuga?
I have seen two reactions in the Rightist milieu most commonly, and these often at a profound emotional levels. First, the OWS movement is a neo-hippy, dirty, Red/Green/Anarchist godless, lawless, shiftless movement consisting of losers of the worst kind, the lazy bums of society asking for the god government to furnish their every material well-being and, of course, they are therefore expecting a hand-out. These are simply the pinko underbelly of society, seeking attention and wishing to exploit the bad economic situation, just as the Nazis/Reds/Democrats/Spanish Republicans/Fascists/New Dealers did in the 1930’s. These are social and economic revolutionaries whose only wish is agitation and this may be exploited by “extremist” movements who will work the crowd to their causes.
At first gloss, there is merit to this view. The deliberate anarchical structure, groupthink and mob tendencies, and the large amount of free time many of the protestors seem to possess an enviable large amount of, all tend to point to this perspective. The one concern mentioned above, of “extremist” hijacking, does merit specific mention. We know from history that this has happened very often, possibly legitimate protest movements infiltrated and moved to a different and more radical end. This happened prominently in the French Revolution, the revolutions of 1848, and the protest movements of the 1960’s. To this end I strongly recommend, if one can get a copy of it, Gary Allen’s Communist Revolution in the Streets. This book was written by a journalist for the John Birch Society in the 1960’s, who grew a beard and dressed like a hippy, joining protest movements and revolutionary groups and experiencing them from the inside. These groups were often similar to the current OWS, largely being shifting and disorganized at first, then building up structure later. It is clear that, in many instances, an “unseen hand” guided these groups into seeking the same goals, and it is very likely that this will happen again with OWS. A John Birch Society official personally told me that the JBS leadership had a former Communist approach them in the 1980’s and tell them that he and 3 other men intentionally started the Watts riots in 1965 to provoke a response. Only 4 men! The risk therefore, is a formidable one, and one that bears watching.
The second response is that the OWS movement is a hopeful sign of societal backlash against the neo-liberal establishment, represented most clearly by the investment banking houses, international finance, stock brokerages, and speculators. The OWS is a sign that society still has a fighting spirit, and their willingness to fight the plutocracy is a hopeful sign that the souls of men can still be inspired to fight for a good cause. Besides, who cannot help but agree with the OWS list of villains? In addition to the corrupted WS establishment, throw in the Federal Reserve and a better part of the government and OWS does seem to fight all the right people. Could this be a sign of opportunity, for the old order to finally die and the new society to rise like a phoenix from the ashes?
There is a certain degree of justification for this opinion as well. Indeed, like the Tea Party before it, the OWS seems to harness some of the energy of a restless generation, a group malcontent with the neoliberal economic empire, perpetual war, middle class values, and bourgeoise sentiment, aspiring to overcome the corporate/government symbiosis with hopes of struggle for a new and better society.
However, the next thought that comes time mind is: Do they really? Do they really struggle for a new society?
Some observations lead to certain doubt. Firstly, the overwhelming dependency of the OWS participants on corporate-sponsored life, not merely in their communications devices, though many boasted possession of products from one of the world’s largest corporations, Apple, and used them often, but also in their food and fashion choices. Nike, Puma, American Eagle, GAP, the Limited Group, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut (the last 3 all owned by one corporation, Yum!) were all not uncommon sights, and leaves one unsettled about how these protestors could survive without them. Secondly, the OWS movement, unlike the Tea Party, is a far more fragmented movement. People protested almost anything you can think of, or even nothing at all, at OWS events, including things completely unrelated to Wall Street or even the economy. When interviewed, responses as to what protestors sought or wanted ranged from incoherent and vague to downright authoritarian and scary. Certainly, the OWS is a broad assortment of individuals with contrasting and even conflicting goals, which leads right back to the question of: Where is this movement going?
Aristotle wrote: “Nature abhors a void.” If the OWS does not become organized in some fashion on its own, by focused and constructive people with a strong agenda for societal transformation, then one of two things will happen: A): The movement will simply dissipate, and the influence it may have had will disappear. B:) The movement will be harnessed by agitators as prior movements were, prompting either a crushing response and an excuse for authoritarian action on the part of the establishment, or, the protests will grow into a revolutionary movement, causing whatever destruction may occur as a result. Neither end is savory to the traditional man, although many of us have of suspected that the Kali Yuga would die in flames and not in its sleep. Nevertheless, the civil upheaval, the overturning of law and order, and the upsetting of the current status quo may only deepen the cycle, so great care must be taken in how we of tradition are to approach this and any other mass movement. Maurras and Evola quickly learned the pitfalls of Nazism and Fascism, although Maurras was always a skeptic, and Guenon and Plinio de Oliveira both avoided these groups from the beginning, indicating that this is not the first time traditional men have had to study the mass movements to gauge the future, and come up with varying conclusions. Men of good will always have opportunities to disagree.
It was clear very quickly, however, to Maurras that the Nazis at least were no source of solace. Once, a young Camelot du Roi attempted to defend Hitler to Maurras, saying “But Hitler is a man of the Right!” To which Maurras replied: “Silly child, Hitler is a German.” Evola, whatever good his lectures might have done in some echelons of German and Italian society, ultimately wasted his time in turning these movements to Tradition, neither ever completely shedding their socialist, proletarian, populist, and nationalist roots, and in the case of Fascism, even compounded these features worse under the Salo regime. It is highly questionable, however excellent it is to see a spirit of fire in the souls of men against the plutocracy, that any attempt to turn these movement to the sensible Right will ever produce any fruit. The Ron Paul movement has already courted OWS indirectly, but with little to show for it (and thankfully for them little invested). The OWS seems to me rather a symptom, a symptom of the discontent underlying the prosperity of middle class America and the threat their plutocrat masters pose to their decadence. The Tea Party itself is simply a right-oriented symptom of the same disease. Neither indicates a spirit for higher things, and at this point, it is hardly likely it will be.
To those of Tradition, I recommend avoiding mass movement such as the Tea Party or OWS altogether. One would simply be wasting energy at this point, tossing pearls before swine. If one does decide this opportunity cannot be missed, go ahead with the spirit of detachment, engaging in the pure joy of the action and not expecting solid results. Recall the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Teach us, Good Lord, To Serve Thee as Thou deservest; To give and not to count the cost; To fight and not to heed the wounds; To labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.” In whatever course you find best, fight, my brethren, fight to the finish.