Wall Street Protests Will be Killed by the Left
On one level it makes the blood flow to see demonstrations against Wall Street. Even to imagine a rejuvenation of old fashioned American liberalism, a roughing up of corporations after the abuses that blighted the lives of ordinary families. The protest could be a voice for the unemployed and those who lost homes.
But US conservatives need not worry. Nor should conservatives in Europe or Australia at their copy-cat protests.
Anti-corporate greed as a political movement will be wrecked by the left itself.
It happens every time.
First, an anarchist fringe will attach itself to demonstrations. We saw this last year when extremists started hurling Molotov cocktails in Athens and in London when demonstrators attacked the vehicle carrying Prince Charles. This discredits the whole protest and produces public revulsion.
It happens in Australia. A demonstration here is an invitation to anarchists to fulfil fantasies of clawing out cobblestones and flinging them at the mounted Cossacks. They fasten on a serious cause – like opposition to the war in Iraq – and discredit it with violence and extremism.
Second, the Trotskyites will perform their normal mischief. Their biggest enemies are not the capitalists but other telephone box minorities. Other Trots. They would rather see the demonstration and the cause behind it defeated than see a rival sect get credit for advancing the revolution. Besides, they can rationalise that a setback will only make protests bigger and angrier next time.
Third, the more responsible demonstrators will start to formulate demands. When inchoate protest becomes a program it loses its romantic appeal. In America these demands are likely to include nationalisation of banking and more comprehensive healthcare. At that point it’s all over. They are propositions that will die in the full light of American politics.
Then the greedy incompetents on Wall Street who won bailouts will enter and leave their towers unmolested. They have to work with new regulatory controls in the Dodd-Frank legislation, which were served up, not by street protests, left wing chants and Marxist fantasists but by parliamentary politics.