For reasons that will never make sense to me, many on the political left don’t like leaders. What’s more, many of them go so far as to say that their groups don’t even have leaders. The various “Occupy” groups around the country claim that they make decisions by consensus and that none of the groups has leaders.
I don’t know whether they actually believe this, but I do know it’s not true. Unless you have a very limited variety of people, opinions are going to diverge quickly in any group. When a group is new and goals are fuzzy and everybody is happy with everybody, consensus might be easy. Pretty quickly, though, things can turn ugly. For instance:
- At the original Occupy group — the one on Wall Street — the issue has become drums. That’s right, drums. Some of the protesters have brought in drums and beat on them incessantly. It attracts attention, but it would get irritating very, very quickly. (Here’s a short video to give you an idea of what it’s like.) Because it was annoying so many people (and preventing some protesters from sleeping and preventing kids from studying at a nearby school), the group decided — allegedly by consensus — to limit drumming to two hours a day. However, if you read the details, the people who wanted unlimited drumming say they were prevented from bringing up their own proposal. That’s clearly not consensus. It’s clearly a matter of the majority forcing its will on the nuts who wanted to beat on drums all day. (I have no sympathy with the drummers, but the actions make it clear that “consensus” is a lie.)
- In Portland, Ore., the Occupy group there is in an uproar — and at least one person received death threats — because the finance committee registered with the state as a non-profit corporation. (Isn’t that ironic?) The group’s PayPal account had something like $20,000 go missing because there was no accountability, so the finance committee took steps to protect the money. The rest of the group is apoplectic. At least one member of the finance committee has received death threats. It certainly sounds as though consensus is working there, huh?
- In Charlotte, N.C., one of the organizers of the Occupy group there was kicked out of what he started after he admitted to media that, yes, he was indeed a leader of the group. That didn’t go over very well with people who were blinded by their “no leader” ideology.
I don’t follow orders very well, so I understand the desire not to be forced to follow a leader. But the difference between a libertarian or anarchist who doesn’t like leaders and one of the Occupy types who don’t like leaders is simple. We believe that everyone has the private right to go his own way. The basic flaw of the ideology of the Occupy types is that they don’t believe people do (or should) have a choice. They believe everyone must follow the “consensus” — which they will happily enforce, since it’s ultimately their own will. And they will happily use coercion to force you to obey them in the end.
All of the communist dictatorships that took control of dozens of countries last century followed the same plan. They took over in the name of “the people.” It just so happened that “the people” wanted what the people with control wanted. It always ended up strongly dictatorial, but the rhetoric was always about everyone. This is the way leftist dictatorships work. The Occupy people have the same basic flaw in their ideology. They believe there can be One True Way that everyone must follow — but they believe it’s their way that must be followed. As groups such as this splinter and fight, someone always takes control over the long run, but the fiction is maintained that he’s just a “comrade” making decisions and sacrificing for the group.
The entire Occupy “movement” is ultimately nothing but a continuation of collectivist ideology. It was originally organized by the Canadian anti-market group called AdBusters, and some of the Wall Street organizers are now from the NYC office of the disbanded and discredited “community activist” group, ACORN.
If the radical left wants to pursue its collectivist goals, it certainly has that right, but what it’s doing now is dishonest. This isn’t a leader-less outpouring that’s spontaneously springing up. This is an orchestrated campaign by leaders on the organized political left. It needs to be seen for what it is.
If you favor a socialist system, that’s your business. But if you don’t favor a socialist or collectivist system, these people are not your friends. They are not fighting for liberty. They’re fighting to take away even more of our liberty.