I'm taking time to write this because it may have some applicability to other Occupy situations and because I'm taking some time off, having personally achieved the remarkable technological achievement of a hot water shower in the rehab we're doing--and living in. Warning: the reasoning may be affected by all that PVC cement I've been exposed to.
At the IWW meeting tonight, we had a discussion about our local Occupy movement and whether the Paulites who are showing up constitute a major threat to its future.
One Wob felt that a burgeoning focus on the Fed, pushed in part by Paulites and InfoWarsmen, foretold a plunge into reactionary politics for our local Occupy, and that the IWW should therefore remain aloof.
I doubt if the experience in our city is unique. It would not surprise me to see genuine Zero Hedge type Propertarians and Alex Jones aficionados attracted to an Occupy site because they do share some of the same anti-Establishment, anti status quo views as Wobs, Anarchists, socialists, etc. It would surprise me even less if Koch-style astroturfers were being hired to disrupt Occupy sites with an attempt to turn it in a reactionary direction, just as my comrade fears.
My response was that we should not fear a Fed focus or anything that comports with the general view that things are fucked up.
I see a lot of the Zero Hedge commenters/writers undergoing a severe challenge to their worldview. The best analogy is someone living in a defeated nation (like Israel in the 6th century BCE) in the Ancient Near East. You have a national god who provides you with everything: victory in war against other nations with other gods, rain, fertility for your livestock and your women (that's the way they viewed it and a lot of ZH-ers still do). Everything was great until things went sour, and you had a drought or a famine. Maybe you even lost a war and the enemy even came into town and knocked down your god's house/temple. That's a serious challenge to your worldview.
There are two basic responses. One is what we find in most of the historical sections of the bible. "We must have done something wrong to offend our god." The way to set things right was to increase your offerings, change the way you make sacrifices, change your priesthood or wear sackcloth and ashes for a year or two. Maybe that way, your god would like you again, the rains would return or your enemies would drop dead of some plague.
That's what the Paulites and the ZH folks sound like to me. Their god, Capitalism, is on the ropes. Maybe if we offered it gold instead of paper or we got rid of the lousy Fed priesthood, then Capitalism would love us again, and "Leave It to Beaver" days would return.
Understanding Paulites and ZH-ers that way (sincere ones, not astroturfers), they seem more like an opportunity for conversion than enemies. There is, of course, a different response than the "we must have done something wrong" one. The truth may be that our "god"--whether he be the YHWH of the Israelites or our Late Stage Capitalism--sucks, and we should get rid of him.
One final and perhaps unpopular point: I view "progressives" who wish for a return to New Deal laws and remedies in much the same way. It would take a white shoe Wall Street lawyer about ten minutes to figure a way around Glass Steagall today or, failing that, to buy the regulator who would enforce it. Technology and corruption have combined to make regulating Capitalism a completely impossible task, and as long as we allow the rich to be the decision-makers for the rest of us, we are screwed.
Not only are we the 99 Percenters. We are all leaders.