Think of the faces of OWS and the Tea Party and you have two seemingly very different groups. OWS is young, and if you read the more recent media accounts, slovenly and prone to the goofy, odd behavior exemplified by the younger generation. On the other hand, those who identified themselves as Tea Partiers are typically middle-aged or older and notable for their self-control and law-abiding approach. I suspect that if you were to randomly pluck two hundred individuals from each group and ask them to gather in an open area, the OWS group’s outline would resemble a pulsing amoeba while the Tea Partiers would assume a shape with defined corners. As different as they are however, these two groups are akin to a coin. Each side of the coin has a different image and label. But each is minted from the same material so that beneath the disparate images facing in seemingly opposite directions, the core substance is the same. In this matter, the substance is composed of disagreement with, and opposition to, a power structure that is now functionally fascist.
Fascist is a term that’s been bandied around for decades as protestors proclaim one person or another as a fascist, akin to a jackbooted thug who’s happier with a trudgeon than a pen. But fascism is actually a political structure in which the interests of big business – controlled by a small group of individuals – are allied closely with big government, also controlled by a small coterie of people. Each element provides the other with the wherewithal to prosper and that prosperity generally comes at the expense of the large majority of the society. Any democratic nation is predicated upon the notion that the various elements are able to compromise in such a fashion that the setting exists for the majority to prosper. In the fascist state however, the two minorities are so self-absorbed that they wish only to further themselves and the remainder be damned; in the extreme cases, if it takes a jackbooted thug to cow and subdue the remainder for the benefit of the minority, so be it.
America’s present power structure is ostensibly democratic, but the interconnectedness of the corporations and government as shown by their actions is functionally fascist. At the end of his second term, then-President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the potential dangers of what is referred to as the "military/industrial complex". His concern was predicated on the idea that the rewards of power and money would corrupt the political system to the benefit of these two groups alone. We’ve outsourced much of our manufacturing, but the industrial faction has since been joined by the financiers, who’ve demonstrated their willingness to spend huge amounts lobbying to curry the favor and votes needed to build their parasitic fiefdoms. The end result is that corporations, benefitting only a few shareholders and senior executives, retain outsized profits while the control of our currency has been effectively turned over to a private entity that enables and defends the foolish, short-term actions of its banking wards.
Here’s where the two nascent political groups are both alike and differ. Each opposes a separate head of this two-headed creature, Orthrus, which exists in a body that cannot prosper and function outside of its present form. Think of the prototypical Tea-Partier and what comes to mind is a middle-aged middle class causcasian, who is aghast at the out-of-control spending of an intrusive government that exists simply to grow. If the average American reaches some form of political consciousness during their late teens and early twenties, then these folks awoke to Ronald Reagan, who famously stated that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. Reagan’s ability to effectively communicate and encapsulate ideas laid the cornerstone of today’s Tea Party and fostered their antipathy to Orthrus’ governmental head. OWS is comprised of the Tea-Party’s children, who awakened to find that their hopes for a decent, prosperous future had been outsourced by Orthrus’ corporate head. They’d bought into the premise that there were jobs available to help pay off the permanent debt that they accepted for the ticket that gave entrance to the middle-class life. Frankly, if I’d hocked my next decade of earnings for a World Series ticket and found myself watching sandlot ball, I’d be upset, too. But don’t be fooled by the photos of the group members; in the instances in which I’ve gone past the OWS encampment in my local city, the graybeards (and graybeardlesses as well) have been present.
Each of these groups has arisen – regardless of who’s purportedly funding it – because the citizenry is looking around and finding that Orthrus’ foes are either broken or co-opted. The unions that arose to challenge the industrial order in the early 20th century are broken, a shadow of their former selves. Even the public unions are on the retreat as the populace wonders why they should continue to receive top-tier benefits while they, the taxpayers, take it in the teeth. Likewise, the media that portrays the OWS members as unkempt, lazy kids is principally controlled by a handful of major corporations who are part of the group being protested by OWS. Consider the verbiage coming from FoxNews, controlled by one Rupert Murdoch, whose minions were turned out in England when it was found that they were actually hacking the phones of public figures. Even if this – hopefully – isn’t occurring here, do you believe that similar beyond-the-reach attitudes aren’t occurring here just because we’re across the pond? So why are they separated, despite their similarities? They’re separated because the image is manipulated into the classic left/right standoff, when the reality is that it really is an upper/lower conflict in the offing. When you hear the commentary about the youngsters, ask yourself who’s talking and more importantly, who’s paying the speaker’s salary?
While we’re functionally fascist, this isn’t the first time in our history that we’ve been in this situation and I’m not certain that the jackboots will march down Main Street and Constitution Avenue. But the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which throws open the prospect of the open-ended confinement of American citizens, does show that Orthrus is aware of its enemies and is willing to act to defend itself accordingly. In that case, we’ll all be better off if we’re not isolated in our own small encampments wishing the plague upon one another.