Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The American Spectator: Occupiers "only one or two steps away from becoming the Brown Shirts of our era."

Busy day indeed. One of the greatest scourges of politics in American today is plain old laziness. When it be politicians being lazy to actually look up the facts about the topic they are speaking about (aka talking out of one's ass) or writers and commentators making historical references without actually READING a history book. The later is the target today and sadly I can't even name the offending author since he goes by the pen name of "The Green Lantern"..So apparently I am clashing with a superhero..

As the title of my pieces suggests, this author writing for "The American Spectator" has attempted rather stupidly to compare the Occupy Wall Street protesters to Sturmabteilung or SA of the Nazi Party that arose in the 1920's. The SA or "Brown Shirts" as they were called (for their brown uniforms, and in reference to their Italian counterparts the "Black shirts"), were formed by the early Nazi Party (at the time called the DAP or German Worker's Party) to act as "hall defenders" for the party members. In other words, when Adolf Hitler or other major party members were giving speeches it was their job to remove any hecklers or dissenters in the audience. They also served as bodyguards against the DAP/Nazi party's political enemies, the Social Democrats and Communists. They were by all definitions of the word, thugs who kept political dissenters at a distance from the Nazi Party leadership. They were by modern terms a paramilitary organization (an organisation with military-like characteristics but not active members of the armed forces).

So why exactly does the author think there are parallels to the Brown Shirts and the Occupiers?
He/she believes the Occupiers clashes with police (and occasionally clashing with the media in the case of Occupy Oakland) is equivalent to the actions of the Brown Shirts during those early years of the DAP/Nazi party. He/she also seems to think there are parallels between the message of the Occupy Wall street movement and that of the Brown Shirts.

Now as a graduate of history in college, I was appalled and greatly irritated by the author's rather pathetic and moronic attempt to compare the Occupy movement with the fascist brown shirts of Germany in the 1920's. Sadly, comparing one's political opponents of being Nazis is hardly new in American politics, but it's something that truly makes my blood boil. Such petty and pathetic tactics are reserved solely for small-minded individuals. Of course the author is welcomed to his opinion but that doesn't entitle him/her to distort facts.

The main point of comparison the author seems to make is in reference to the Occupy Iowa protesters claiming they plan to "occupy" the Iowa Caucus. Not quite. The hacker group Anonymous did sent out a video calling on Iowa protesters to occupy the Caucus but the Occupy Iowa movement denounced the video and stated that while they will be protesting that day of the caucus, they have no intention of disrupting those taking part. Based on this erroneous belief, the author is attempting to compare the intimidation tactics of the Brown shirts to people protesting outside Caucus sites here in Iowa. Now even IF the Occupiers here in Iowa decided to more actively protest the Caucus (such as blocking the entrances or conducting a sit-in), such tactics are NOTHING compared to the tactics of the Brown shirts in the 1920's. In addition to keeping political dissenters away from the party leadership, the Brown shirts also harassed and routinely attacked their political rivals with deaths often the result. They also would provoke clashes with their political rivals in hope of either having them arrested and therefore removing them from the streets allowing the Brown shirts to move about more freely.

So what exactly is the author trying to get at? The main point the author seems to be trying to make is the Occupy Wall Street movement preference for "occupying" city parks and other public areas instead of "occupying" politicians offices in D.C. is similar to the actions of the many political factions of post-WWI Germany who took to the streets with their political messages instead of solely relying on the political structure that existed at the time. However his error is the specific reference to the Brown shirts. The Brown shirts were the storm troopers of the Nazi party whose job was keeping dissenters away from the Nazi leadership and attacking its political rivals and no comparison can be made between their tactics and current tactics of the Occupy movement. While both movements choose to operate outside the traditional political system, the Occupy movement has remained large non-violent while the Brown shirt's very start was rooted in violently shutting up those who heckled Adolf Hitler.

So I would strongly suggest the anonymous author this piece to actually pick up and OPEN a history book next time he/she tries to make a historical comparison between political groups because not doing so makes it rather hard to take the article as whole seriously and not just the work of some partisan hack.


The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.


  1. I haven't read the referenced post (will do so shortly) but I'm not following the analysis indicating that OWS isn't a SA-like private militia movement. As of tonight, CNN and other sources are reporting that the White House is on lockdown as smoke bombs have been lobbed by Occupy DC militia. This follows protests associated with the charging of Oscar Ortega-Hernandez with attempted assassination of the president. Given Rep. Pelosi and Sen Reid's pronouncements of allegiance with OWS, along with the President's own support and the underlying funding by the President's campaign champions, it would seem that it would be no more difficult to construct OWS as a DNC private army than it would be to construe the SA as the German workers social progressives.

    Instead of apologies or denials, those who want to see reform against the monopoly of the 1% need to call out thuggish behavior for what it is, or be comfortable with its use. Perhaps a better question is what it means to have a modern day SA, particularly when it too is funded by powerful private global capitalists. If this association is undesirable, the first step is helping occupiers find solidarity in a more authentic movement and stop advancing one of the two forms of globalist totalitarianism.

  2. First off, what "Occupy DC Militia"? A militia would indicate a group of armed individuals (see the US Militia movement). Even the use of smoke bombs doesn't make the protesters a militia. If they used real bombs (even some as simply at M80s), then we'll talk. Further if this was an act of an individual and not ordered by the OWS leadership (unlikely since no leadership exists), then one can't honestly call the entire movement a militia over the actions of one person.

    Second, there is a HUGE flaw in your argument. If the OWS is just the basis for a Private Army for the DNC/Obama..why throw a smoke bomb towards the White House?? How much sense does it make for a supposedly DNC-backed group to effectively threaten the President by such an action? What are they, a DNC backed "militia" who are against arguably the most liberal president in recent history?

    And to be fair, there are major global corporations that have funded both OWS and Tea Party events so both movements are guilty of taking money from corporate interests at some level.

    And correct me if I am wrong, but are you trying to say the smoke bomb incident is in RESPONSE to that puke who fired a rifle at the WH (and who admitted to trying to kill the President) being charged with attempting to kill the President?? Again, if they are supposedly a militia in the making for Obama, why throw a smoke bomb at the WHITE HOUSE in which he occupies??

    Further, it seems pretty clear you didn't bother to read my post because I very clearly laid out why the OWS is NOTHING like the SA. The SA started as enforcers (aka thugs), drawn from Germany's criminal class, and used at proto-Nazi political rallies to keep political dissenters at arms-length and normally taking them outback and beating them(or just killing them depending on how LOUD they were in their dissent). To date, the OWS has done nothing even close to such things and I challenge anyone to provide evidence to the contrary.

    Overall, the SA primary job was intimidation of political opponents. The OWS to date has not engaged in any such activity and instead has largley focused on getting their face on the news and therefore bringing more attention to their cause(s). They have used questionable tactics to achieve this but their actions to date are nothing like what the SA EVER did in their entire history and until they commit such, any comparison to the SA can only be made by those with simple minds and hateful agendas. Put simply the SA were nothing but violent thugs, the OWS is at worse a bunch of attention whores...HUGE DIFFERENCE.

    Now IF the smoke bombs thrown over the fence today was done by the Occupy DC movement, it is a rather troublesome development since while not overtly violent (though could cause unintended violence the chaos caused by them in the right place), it shows that some in the movement are willing to go to greater extremes to get attention for their cause.

  3. Which is quite different from the SA whose purpose it was to remove and eliminate political opponents, not get their course on the front page of the local papers.