A couple of years ago, swarms of people with some truly confused understandings about law, economics, politics, and basic human nature decided it was time to go for a camp-out. In downtown New York City. Yes, we refer Gentle Reader to recollections of those days of THC-laden fumes, bull-horns, vandalism, sexual assault, attempted terrorist bombings, bodily functions and sweat, and sordid ordinary greed that called itself the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the weeks and months after their initial attempted colonization of the city’s financial district, they spawned numerous copy-cat “occupations” in other cities around the world.
For those still interested (both of you), they’re still around, and even have a website and everything. It’s here. To get a true flavor of what passes for thinking over there, Gentle Reader can click on the “Action” tab on the banner and then go around the pinwheel chart on the page. I looked for a “blow up bridges” link in the “tactics” portion of the wheel, but didn’t find one.
Let’s ignore the movement depositing its money into Amalgamated Bank, which as of fall, 2011 was controlled by an SEIU affiliate and was
circling the toilet bowl operating under an FDIC consent order, largely as the result of having invested $800 million in Countrywide Home Loans mortgages. You’ll remember Countrywide, won’t you, Gentle Reader? Countrywide was by a wide margin the leading private originator of subprime home loans — loans to people who had little likelihood of being able to repay them. Loans that are now characterized as exploitative and conclusive evidence of the “1%” plundering The Working Man. And shit. Seems the SEIU was just jim-dandy getting in on a slice of that plunder, and the Occupyistas were happy to send them their business. By the way, Amalgamated was rescued by the sale of roughly 40% of its shares to Ron Burkle (billionaire and Big Time Democrat) and Wilbur Ross (another billionaire, although he backed Romney in 2012). Amalgamated became the Democrat National Committee’s sole lender in 2012. And so on and so forth. In short, business is business, even for outfits whose stated mission is “world revolution.”
At the risk of understatement, the Occupy loonies having served their purpose of re-electing America’s first explicitly anti-American president, they’re about as relevant today as the Wobblies. So why am I devoting bandwidth to them?
Because today is June 17, after all.
On June 17, 1953, in the Worker’s and Peasant’s Paradise, more formally known as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik — the German Democratic Republic: East Germany in round numbers — and more informally among West Germans of a certain generation as the Sowjetische Besatzungszone or the SBZ — the “Soviet Occupation Zone” — the rest of the world got to see how movements like the Occupy Wall Street outfit get treated post-revolution. The preceding day in East Berlin construction workers had finally had enough of the privations, oppressions, and exactions of Sovietization. As happens with dreary predictability, the government had announced forthcoming increases in “work norms” with no corresponding increase in pay. Work more, same income. So on June 16, they went on strike. The next day they were joined by other groups of workers. For 1953 in still-devastated Central Europe, news of the goings-on spread amazingly rapidly throughout most of East Germany.
On the morning of June 17, the workers began to march towards downtown East Berlin. The government pretty quickly decided to use force to deal with the protests and, the times being what they were, they turned to their Soviet occupiers for help. Roughly 20,000 troops and 8,000 police, complete with tanks and so forth, turned out, and the fun began. The total numbers of killed and wounded is somewhat vague, as are all numbers of victims of communist oppressions. When you add in the subsequent executions it appears to have been north of 500.
From the 1950s until actual German reunification, June 17 was the Tag der deutschen Einheit — Day of German Unity. Beginning in 1990 the newly-reunified country moved it to October 3 (the formal Reunification Day, instead of November 9, the day the Wall fell . . . too many unfortunate associations with that day (e.g., Kristallnacht)). A principal consequence of the June 17 Uprising and its brutal suppression was to heighten the exodus of every East German who had the gumption, prompting the 1961 construction of the Berlin Wall.
I’ll make a humble suggestion, for the benefit of those three or four dozen remaining true believer Occupiers. I think they need their very own holiday. I think they need a holiday that will serve as their inspiration to World Revolution, and provide them a glimpse of their Paradise on Earth.
We’ll have it on June 17 (now that day’s free of prior claims), and we can call it Fools and Tools Day.