What I saw at the Occupy DC rally

A Photo of Protesters with a Sign That Reads "Occupy D.C. Now"

Protestors love sunny weather. Yesterday there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so there were a lot of protesters in Freedom Plaza for the Occupy DC rally.

As I walked up the first thing I saw was a girl holding a sign that said “Love not hate.” OK, I’m for love, I can definitely go with that. I crossed the street to the main shindig.

At the end of the plaza a stage had been erected where people who seemed more inclined toward hanging out in sociology department lounges than working ranted about Wall Street and it’s greed, the wars, and the death penalty.

Frankly, the beefs most of the people had seemed at least somewhat legitimate. But almost all of the speakers I heard identified “capitalism” as the cause of their problems. It was to be expected but was nonetheless frustrating. As Michael Moore said earlier this week, and I am paraphrasing, “We don’t need to end the Fed, we need to end capitalism.”

Most of the people I saw yesterday probably agreed with that statement.

I never really had much hope for the Occupy Wall Street protests, but I did have a sliver after seeing a few Ron Paul signs mixed in with the protesters back in mid-September. Sadly the libertarian element was no where to be seen yesterday.

The unions, the teachers unions, the AFL-CIO, and others were out in force however. Moveon.org was there. Code Pink. The movement which was not even a month old already looked co-opted by the establishment left, the statist left.

As I stood there in the sun, occasionally clapping at the odd piece of rhetoric that fit my personal world view to be polite, an older woman tapped me on the shoulder.

“I see you here in your dark suit and bow tie, yet you just clapped at that last statement.” I nodded.

“Who are you?” She asked with just the slightest bit of contempt, AFL-CIO sticker prominently placed on her lapel.

I smiled. “I’m just here on my lunch break.”

She left me alone.

One particularly interesting part of the rally for me was when David Rovics, kind of a modern day Woodie Guthrie took the stage.

I had actually met Rovics years ago in college, and spent an evening drinking coffee and talking politics with him.

As I remember he completely disagreed with almost every point I brought up, but he was very respectful and funny. It was a kick to see him so many years later and completely unexpectedly.

He also provided the most interesting part of the rally.

His set was three songs. The first was a classic protest song, but the second, an anti-war song called “You Don’t Fool Me” was particularly interesting.

The song was about Obama and how he is a tool of the war machine.

The crowd which had been rocking and rolling just 3 minutes before suddenly was subdued. Most of the younger people still seemed to be smiling, but the AFL-CIO folks, mostly older, kind of looked bewildered. The song ended with polite applause.

I scanned the sizable crowd for one, just one “End the Fed” sign. Nope. Nothing. Time to go. I had a meeting to get to.

Darn it. I was hoping for something, anything, that showed me that people understood, or at least had an incling as to why the economy is the way it is. But the crowd looked primarily concerned with getting their piece of the fiat currency pie, or keeping it, rather than understanding what was really going on.

They raged against “corporate greed.” But they had no idea, or didn’t care, that the most egregious examples of fraud and theft by Wall Street were facilitated by the state.

Why were we waging wars around the world? Was it to defend the dollar as the reserve currency? Well, er…Reserve currency? What’s that?

The “useful idiots” as Lenin referred to them were in full effect.

End the Fed and you end the wars, and the bailouts. Expand the state and get more war, more bailouts, more crony capitalism.

But that was a message no one wanted to hear yesterday.

Nick Sorrentino 10-7-2011

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