Occupy Wall Street looked like the real thing; then it just fizzled out.
The revolutionary heroes of the Bundy saga are not the cadre of evangelical anarchists who occupied the ranger’s office in some small federal park in Oregon; the heroes are the jury who acquitted them. The Bundys took over some federal property for a while; the Bundy jury infiltrated the legal system and planted a revolutionary precedent: there is nothing criminal about an armed takeover of Federal Property as a political protest, as long as no one gets hurt.
A dear friend of mine pointed out if it had been five armed black men, they’d have been sentenced to life in prison. True. The miasma of intrinsic racism that engulfs us is not likely to lift soon.
However, imagine this:
A second Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Zuccotti Park, earlier this year. One fired-up coterie particularly objects to the federal government charging entrance fees to national parks which are, after all, owned by everyone, and profiting from the exploitation of third world workers through its Park Service gift shops. This group has a charismatic, articulate leader who eventually gets the whole Occupy Wall Street crowd so riled up that the Castle Clinton National Monument, only half a mile from Zucotti Park, is shut and its staff sent home.
There is a march to the Monument. (Beforehand, the leader of the anti-fee faction actually phones the police and notifies them that he is about to occupy property to which the federal government has illegally restricted access to its owners, the citizens of America.) The leader and seven stalwarts, good-looking, articulate – including a black couple and a Latina – dressed in a sort of modified steam-punk that brings to mind Hollywood’s romanticized version of the working class, break into the building and set up their headquarters in the gift shop. They occupy the Castle Clinton Monument for an entire month, under the spotlight of national press attention. Although it is difficult to do, for the sake of the parallel, you also must imagine them armed and calling themselves a militia.
Now imagine the trial: Claiming that they would never have used the arms they carried, the charismatic leader testifies for three days, ten hours in all. Clearly, simply, matter-of-factly, he speaks to the jury about the Constitution, the federal government, and what one’s personal duties and responsibilities are. On the other side? Typical government bureaucrats in suits. Given the aura of unreality that the Trump candidacy has cast over the country, in the glow of which political norms and mores dissolve, it is not difficult to imagine a jury of mixed New Yorkers, aware that the world is watching, take the opportunity to thumb their noses at the government lackeys of the rich and join the struggle against the establishment.
It really is too bad that it is the right wing that has the revolutionary momentum. While the left wing has busied itself with culling the language of anything that might upset anyone and accommodating itself to a whiny generation of gender-free narcissists, the right has taken over state capitals, crushed the establishment candidates in the Republican Primary, possibly destroyed the Republican Party, and just won itself the right to occupy federal property. I only hope, as the revolution proceeds, that there is more good will on the right toward the left than there is on the left toward the right.
I only hope, also, that people like Aamon Bundy are smart enough, if Trump loses (the preposition is used as a talisman), to throw him to the dogs, instead of risking the whole project on a premature and, considering its object, idiotic, uprising protesting a “rigged” election.