We have entered a new phase of the endless Occupy Wall Street sleepover. After a month of provoking the police, generating mounds of trash, begging for free WiFi, port-o-potties, and food, teaching each other Kamp Alinsky hand signals, railing against Jews while holding up “Nazi Bankers” signs, grappling with pervs and rapists and thieves in their ranks, and hobnobbing with 1 percent-er celebrities donning 99 percent-er costumes, the Occupiers are rallying around a new mascot:
From the Canadian magazine “Adbusters” that helped launch the protests comes a call for an October 29 “Robin Hood soak-the-rich tax” parade:
Alright you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,
We’re living through a magical moment … #OCCUPYWALLSTREET has catalyzed into an international insurgency for democracy … the mood at our assemblies is electric … people who go there are drawn into a Gandhian spirit of camaraderie and hope for a new kind of future. Across the globe the 99% are marching! You have inspired more than you know. People are digging into Act One of the long Spring.
Its now time to amp up the edgy theatrics … deviant pranks, subversive performances and playful détournements of all kinds. Open your insurrectionary imagination. Anything, from a bottom-up transformation of the global economy to changing the way we eat, the way we get around, the way we live, love and communicate … be the spark that sustains a global revolution of everyday life!
As the movement matures, lets consider a response to our critics. Lets occupy the core of our global system. Lets dethrone the greed that defines this new century. Lets work to define our one great demand.
OCTOBER 29 – #ROBINHOOD GLOBAL MARCH
This is a proposal for the general assemblies of the Occupy movement.
Eight years ago, on February 15, 2003, upwards of 15 million people in sixty countries marched together to stop President Bush from invading Iraq … a huge chunk of humanity lived for one day without dead time and glimpsed the power of a united people’s movement. Now we have an opportunity to repeat that performance on an even larger scale.
On October 29, on the eve of the G20 Leaders Summit in France, let’s the people of the world rise up and demand that our G20 leaders immediately impose a 1% #ROBINHOOD tax on all financial transactions and currency trades. Let’s send them a clear message: We want you to slow down some of that $1.3-trillion easy money that’s sloshing around the global casino each day – enough cash to fund every social program and environmental initiative in the world.
Take this idea to your local general assembly and join your comrades in the streets on October 29.
Rest assured, the text of this manifesto will be chanted in that zombie human mic way in dingy occupier camps from NYC to San Francisco to every blue dot in between.
As for coopting Robin Hood, I remind you of how the progs have his legacy upside down.
Of course, liberals prefer to see themselves as moral descendents of Robin Hood, rather than intellectual heirs of Hooverism. Democrats are frequently heard making the Robin Hood analogy in reverse, claiming that the Bush administration’s budget, including tax cuts and social spending restraint, would take from the poor and give to the rich. Leaving aside the detail that a tax cut allowing someone to keep more of his earnings is not “giving” him anything that is not already his, the adoption of Robin Hood as the patron saint of liberalism cries out for correction. To the contrary, it is conservatives who should extol Mr. Hood as one of their own. All one has to do is to consult the Disney films’ animated version of Robin Hood—as I did with my two small children last weekend—to find at least four reasons why one would not find Robin Hood voting for Al Gore or John Kerry if his feathered hat depended on it.
1. As one wag perceptively pointed out some time ago, Robin Hood’s claim to fame was not that he took from the rich to give to the poor, but that he took from the tax collector and gave back to the people their own money. The central issue was overtaxation, and Robin Hood was most emphatically not on the side of the bureaucracy. The ultimate bad guy was Prince John, the very caricature of greedy, arrogant government; the proximate bad guy was the Sheriff of Nottingham, the ruthless enforcer whose audit strategy was even more intimidating than that of the IRS. The victims were the taxpayers whose property was confiscated to feed John’s insatiable lust for higher revenues. As Robin Hood speeds to its exciting conclusion, Friar Tuck adopts as his battle cry, “Praise the Lord and pass the tax rebate!”
2. Robin Hood was waging a struggle not only against overtaxation but against illegitimate, unconstitutional government. As the characters ridicule “Prince John, the phony king of England,” they are staking their fight on the view that John has overstepped his legal and constitutional bounds. He had, in other words, gone beyond the exercise of powers rightfully his. Unimpressed with Prince John’s living constitution, which bore a disturbing resemblance to a regime of raw, unconstrained power, Robin Hood and his merry band seem to prefer a stricter construction.
3. At the same time, they are emboldened to resist John’s usurpation by a sense that acts of government must be tested not only against the written law but against natural law. John has violated not only the law of England, he has waged war against the law of God. The disrespect held by John and his minions for the law of God—or, to put it another way, their attempt to elevate his rule above any sort of limit, human or divine—is epitomized when the Sheriff of Nottingham robs even Friar Tuck’s church to pad the revenues. The idea of natural law can, of course, be put to a variety of uses, not all of which conservatives find agreeable, but one of the most distinct features of the modern left is a moral nihilism which denies the possibility of higher objective truth, and consequently denies the possibility of inherent limits on the ambitions of the state. To the extent that Robin Hood sought to hold John’s regime to an unwritten standard of limitation and accountability, modern liberals can hardly claim him as one of their own…
“Praise the Lord and pass the tax rebate!” Can’t wait to see that on some giant banners at the Occupiers Oct. 29 event:
Since they are such champions of robbing from the rich and redistributing to the poor, all those Occupier robbery victims in Zuccotti Park should stop complaining, yes?