President Obama’s shock troops are marching in the streets. Occupy Wall Street - a movement composed of communists, anarchists, socialists and anti-globalization student radicals - is spreading. Protests have swelled in cities including New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia. The protesters are gaining influence and numbers. A ragtag group of hippie students has turned into a potent political force.
Occupy Wall Street seeks to demonize big banks, large corporations and capitalism. Its goal is to overturn America’s economic structure. The protesters are calling for wealth redistribution, fees on bank profits and massive tax increases on the rich. Many are demanding a socialist revolution - the confiscation of private property and nationalization of the economy. They are the heirs of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin. Their aim is to impose the hammer and sickle upon America.
Leftist radicals, such as Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, have endorsed the anti-capitalist movement. Both men have glorified authoritarian communist regimes - Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and the old Soviet Union. Their hatred for America has found expression in the rabble on the streets of New York and Washington. Actress Roseanne Barr even has called for the return of the “guillotine.” She wants bankers to be sent to “re-education camps,” and if they still refuse to hand over their profits, they should be beheaded, she says. This is the language of revolutionary terror and Marxist violence.
Mr. Obama has said he “sympathizes” with the protesters - especially their anger at Wall Street and “fat-cat” bankers. For years, he has demonized billionaires and millionaires, jet owners and corporate America. His divisive, irresponsible rhetoric has laid the groundwork for Occupy Wall Street.
The White House connection is even deeper. The protest’s main players all have ties to the Obama administration. Its primary organizer is former Obama “green-jobs czar” Van Jones. Mr. Jones is a self-avowed communist and follower of Saul Alinsky, the radical community organizer who also was Mr. Obama’s intellectual mentor. Mr. Jones said October is the month of the long-awaited “progressive offensive” - the watershed moment when students, labor unions, socialists and civil rights activists coalesce into an anti-Tea Party to blunt Middle America’s growing opposition to Mr. Obama.
Occupy Wall Street also is being supported by MoveOn.org. The group was one of the first to back Mr. Obama’s presidential candidacy when he was still an obscure senator from Illinois. The protests are being funded by socialist billionaire George Soros - a key Obama ally. And the protesters are being joined by big labor, the administration’s most powerful constituency.
Hence, Occupy Wall Street is not a spontaneous uprising of disenchanted citizens frustrated with corporate plutocracy and capitalist excess. Rather, it is a planned, manufactured attempt to prop up Mr. Obama’s failed presidency. It is a page taken straight from the Alinsky playbook: Demonize bankers and businessmen in order to divert attention from the real source of our economic woes, Mr. Obama’s policies.
The president inherited a recession, and he has deepened it. His out-of-control spending and trillion-dollar deficits have brought us to the brink of bankruptcy. America’s debt credit rating has been downgraded. Growth has slowed to less than 1 percent. Unemployment has risen above 9 percent. Inflation is rising as consumer confidence declines. Obamacare is strangling job creation and business investment. Mr. Obama has waged war upon the private sector. If those students are truly angry about joblessness and a bleak future, they should direct their fury at the president.
Instead, they mouth leftist pieties. They are a spoiled, dependent and illiterate generation that believes it is entitled to government handouts, state coddling and permanent prosperity. They don’t wish to be self-reliant and make their own way; rather, they want others - successful, productive members of society - to transfer their hard-earned money to subsidize their indolence. They are the kind of deadbeats the welfare state eventually produces - lazy, whining and shameless.
Alinsky argued that an economic crisis inevitably fosters a political crisis. The key for the hard left was to take advantage of our misery to seize power and impose a socialist regime. By sowing street mayhem, Occupy Wall Street is hoping to demoralize and distract Middle America into believing big business is the evil culprit for the financial collapse. The very opposite, however, is true. Meddlesome government intervention caused the housing bubble, the subprime mortgage debacle and the reckless bank lending practices that triggered the Great Recession. The way out is not more statism; it is less. Only a vibrant free market can restore economic recovery and stimulate job growth.
The protesters are not interested in real solutions. They are political activists masquerading as concerned citizens. Progressives are desperate to keep Mr. Obama in office. This is why the president is deliberately encouraging Occupy Wall Street. He hopes to create enough bedlam and then target Republicans, the Tea Party and the rich. He is pursuing the Alinsky strategy of divide and conquer, pitting interest groups and different classes against each other.
Mr. Obama has unleashed class hatred and racial hostility in the pursuit of state socialism. It is clear that his 2008 campaign slogan of “hope and change” was really a thinly veiled rallying cry, not to save the nation, but to precipitate the downfall of American capitalism.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.