Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Seattle’

The Gunpowder Guard Guy

April 7, 2012

While visiting Seattle last fall, I observed the Occupy Seattle for a couple of days. I thought it would be interesting to see what was going on in that city’s setting where riots had erupted in 1999 during the World Trade Organization meeting. It was.

One thing I noticed at Occupy Seattle was a particular mask–several of them, actually–being worn by some of the Occupyers. You may have noticed it in a photo or two taken during the coverage of that movement last year. The face depicted on the mask resembles the classic Greek drama/comedy symbol. It is male face with a thinly styled handlebar moustache, presenting a rather bizarre plastic smile.

My later research revealed the visage to be a representation of some guy named Guy Fawkes. Guy who?

Guy Fawkes was a fanatic Catholic terrorist who almost succeeded in blowing up the House of Lords in the year of our Lord 1605.

England and Scotland had been all asunder over religion at that time. The great divisive issue of the day was whether the Protestants were to have the run of Great Britain, or whether the Catholics could muscle their way back into power after the 1603 death of Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth’s father, the infamous King Henry VIII, had brought the religious contentions to a boil during his reign (1507-1547.) His multiple marriage escapades, along with an independently brewing Protestantism in England, had severed the ecclesiastical bonds with the Roman church. Elizabeth I had sought, after her father’s death, to stabilize the church of England by encouraging both strains of Christian religious devotion–the popish ceremony and the protestant emphasis on holiness.

According to David Starkey,, the accession of King James I after Elizabeth would manifest an even more Protestant direction for Great Britain. Certain extremists of the Catholic faction did not like this development one bit. So they decided to take manners into their hands with some strategically placed gunpowder fireworks.

Sound familiar? Very modern it was.  This sort of thing has apparently been going on all along in human history, perhaps directly proportional to the pyrotechnic capabilities of each era.

In our time, what’s alarming about the Occupy movement is this terrorist revolutionary undercurrent. Are they willing to identify their movement, and their tactics, with this Guy Fawkes guy? He was a terrorist, outright–caught red-handed on the night Nov 4, 1605, with a fuse to detonate a large gunpowder stash that had been gathered in a cellar chamber directly beneath Parliament in London.

Early IRA stuff it was, and Al Qaidaesque too.

Fawkes and his popish co-conspirators should have been taking their inspiration from the founder of their faith– the Risen Savior– instead of bullish church politics. And that goes for the protestants too. Damn their death-wielding tactics and machinations!

As for the Occupyers, they would do well to take their cues from the Prince of Peace,  resurrected from being dead, instead of any violent revolutionary like that Guy guy.  And I think Rev. Dr. King would agree if he were here.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Judah and Israel

October 22, 2011

Settling back into the Appalachian homing crib now, after a west coast week turnaround, I’m puzzling about the few days I spent observing the Occupyers at Seattle and Vancouver.

Yesterday I get an RSS email from Phyllis Chesler pronouncing the Occupy movement antisemitic.Whoa!

She presents some convincing evidence in her 5-page posting, with video quips of two Occupy LA  protesters whose statements about bankers reveal some authentically deliberate Jew-bashing, and there’s a lengthy, detailed sign about the old bogey Illuminati/Freemason conspiracy, whch was a dark strain of allegedly hidden connections that I had investigated briefly about 33 years ago.

So I get to hypertexting around on the net, and sure’nuff, there’s more to this Occupy movement than meets the all-seeing eye. More evidence shows up on Jeff Dunetz’ yidwithlid blog:
Yid with Lid wrote:
“The MSM (mainstream media) worked very hard to brand the Tea Party Movement as Racist, but it wasn’t. They are working just as hard to ignore the blatant Antisemitism and libelous demonization of Israel coming out of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and they are. It is not just a few nuts within the Occupy Wall Street Movement who are bashing Israel and Jews, it is the leadership and founders.”
A few more clicks mouses us around to a different point of view, the other side of the shekel, from Dave Weigel at Slate:
Weigel wrote:
“There is a problem: The movement isn’t anti-Semitic. It started in New York. Its ideological hero is Naomi Klein. This is a movement studded with liberal Jews! Here’s one video that’s gotten less play than the one of the irate anti-Semitic dipshit with the “Nazi bankers” sign: The Kol Nidre in New York, at the Occupy camp.”

If Naomi Klein is such a formidable player in this Occupying wave, and she is Jewish, then how can the movement itself be antisemitic? Furthermore, If you view the 3-minute video (Kol Nidre, above) that Weigel posted, in which a large group of obviously Jewish dancers joyously stepped into Yom Kippur, it is obvious that the Hebraic delegation is untimidated about putting their best feet forward in the Occupy WallStreet festivities.

So we see one group of Jews who are out to change the world with their involvement in, among many other leftist movements, Occupy WallStreet etc; its the J-Street apologist contingent, the old socialist/labor cadre, the Yid liberal strain whose purpose is to confront the slings and arrows of world injustice and equality, and by opposing end those evils.

And we see another group of Jewish people,  including the grand old man of anti-defamation exposé Elie Wiesel, who have detected (accurately) within that same broad Occupy movement, an insidious strain of nascent nazis nestled nefariously in the shadows of  the sign-wielding rabble. Yes, the Jew-haters are in there; they lurk among thousands of protesters.

So is the Occupy WallStreet movement antisemitic? Yes and no.That makes it like just about any other political movement  in this melting-pot that we call America.
The Judah-apologist school of Judaism and the Israel-defensive school are strange bedfellows nestled within the same religious/ethnic heritage; one is reformative and communitarian, the other is orthodox and conservative. Oy vey. What else is new? It’s been this way since Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

The tension that exists between these two camps of Judaism, as represented by the activist Golda Meir strain and the prosperous Alan Greenspan strain, is as old as the Judean hills, and they have lived with it long enough to convince the world that they are here to stay.  Either way, they’re not going away. Thank G_d.

The contemporary quarrel between liberal and conservative branches of political Judaism is reconcilable when surveyed through this proverbial wisdom  from Yid with Lid:

“Jewish tradition respects economic success, so long as it is obtained honestly, and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it. That social responsibility is a personal duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government.”

Last link. Over two millenia ago, the prophet Zechariah posted this on his website:

“…I took for myself two staffs, the one I called Favor and the other I called Union…I took my staff Favor and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples…then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”

And its been that way ever since. But hey! Mazel tov and L’chaim!.
But if you want to see what occupation really looks like in the here and now, look at this pic I snapped at Occupy Jerusalem six years ago:

Wailing Wall

Glass half-Full

I am the 50%

October 12, 2011

Our hard times polarize us, but I am the 50%.
Pat and I deplaned this afternoon at Sea-Tac airport, caught the rail to downtown Seattle. We ascended the stairs from Westlake Station up to street level, and walked, as chance would have it, into Occupy Seattle. Imagine that. I saw a crowd of people there and heard some speeches.

America used to be a young democratic republic, starting 235 years ago when those upstart colonials convened in Philadelphia and cut the tether that George III had used to keep us bound in unrepresented  taxation.
But now we are aging, becoming every day more and more like our European forebears, taking upon ourselves those classic ideological divisions of left and right. With hard times upon us, its not really about democrats and republicans any more. Its about socialists and libertarians, and everything in between. Just let me say: I am the 50%(ile).

Being a baby boomer, happenstancing today upon the Occupy crowd at Seattle, I caught a whiff of, and recognized, the old 60s counterculture zeitgeist. I remember it from back in college days, but of course it is different now. The spirit of anti-war anti-establishment discontent is the same, but the issues are different; the costumes are different. Whereas we were flower children back in the day, all about peace and love, these days the mood is edgy and punky, and definitely socialist. A little more threatening, or maybe thats because I’m older, and more comfortable, and Christian.

The first speaker was actually a rather pleasant surprise. A young fellow named Michael started out his message speaking of Moses and delivering his people from slavery in Egypt. I can relate. I do not want want to diminish the passionately eloquent appeal about  very real economic issues that he made to the hundreds of mostly young occupiers gathered there. He was encouraging the people to get involved with the movement.

But what this old guy (me) appreciated at the end of Michael’s speech was his exhortation to keep it peaceful. I appreciated that, although Michael said much more about what’s happening now than just work in the system and be non-violent.

Not all the speakers were as peacefully oriented.

I am, btw, a person whose worldview is defined by the original non-violent resister, Jesus.  Athough  Y’shu haMeshciach was much more than that,  since he was also the redeemer of all mankind, or  the redeemer of, all those mankind who are inclined to receive his redemptive, resurrected grace.

Anyway, once the Occupy rally got cranked up, and they got the microphone going, I’m just old-fashioned enough to appreciate speakers who can be heard and have something to say, which is better than the un-amplified call and response drill that I had earlier seen on the news of Occupy Wherever  a few days ago.
Bottom line about the speakers: We are definitely dealing with a brave new paradigm here,  of socialism vs. conservatism in America. And so I say it again: I am the (of) the 50th percentile. I’ll walk the middle road as long as I can, even though after every speaker a young very attractive Latina got on the mic, and she would lead, exuberatly, the crowd, in chants about the gathered ones being the “99%.

In spite of the anti-establishment mood, one young man encouraged the gathered protesters to work toward passage of a new Glass-Steagall Act in Congress. I was impressed with the constructivity of that. I think the basic message there is let the bankers and the wall street crowd eat their own losses, instead of hitting up the taxpayers for the bill, based on the “too big to fail” bluster. Yeah, right. I never did appreciate that midnight deal that Hank Paulsen talked the Congress into bailing out the banks back in ’08. I would think even some Tea Partiers out there would find common ground on that.
In a way, I guess that’s what got this whole thing going, that bank bailout in ’08. Its what the Republicans call crony capitalism, as opposed to true capitalism, which is what mom and pop used to do on main street, not wall street, back in the day, before Disney co-opted Main Street as a theme park in Orlando and Anaheim.

Next, and olf guy, Joe, older than me, went up to the mic and spoke of his dad and mom raising him  in the socialist movement in New York City back in the 30s. This fellow had  later gone on to a career in the movies. He worked with Ronald Reagan in the movies, in the movie Hellcats of the Navy. He spoke glowingly of Reagan , and how friendly and charismatic Reagan was (surprise! at Occupy Seattle) but said that Reagan had changed and gone over to the other side, to follow “the money” instead of his heart.
Joe also spoke about F.D. Roosevelt–who has taken on a kind of sainthood in this retro-new-deal environment in which we are now finding ourselves. According to Joe, Franklin sent his wife Eleanor out to scope out the country, shortly after he was elected. She went all over the country and talked to a lot of folks, came back and, according to Joe, reported to her husband FDR that the communists would be taking on a bunch of support among workers during those hard times if something wasn’t done to relieve the desperation  and unemployment and poverty that was so rampant during that time, the “Great” Depression. And that’s where the New Deal came from.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Our present President is in the same predicament, and that’s why this whole Occupy thing is going down now.
And I’m thinking of John Lennon, the working class hero who’s dead,  but really it reminds me of Ringo, in his post-Beatle role. He did a commercial in which he told some young lady “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
This is not your father’s politics either.  This is something new and different. America, get ready. The times they are a polarizin’. And I’m just praying there’s no Kent State thing that’s gonna happen.
These Occupiers may the 99%, and the Republicans may be the 1%.
As for me and my house, we are the 50%ile, and proud of it. As we southerners used to say: Well, shut my mouth.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress