OWS Series

Part V: The Right Wing Playbook On Occupy Wall Street

This is the fifth part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street.

A stalwart ally of corporate America, the Religious Right claims that Occupy Wall Street violates the tenets of Christianity.

Strategy Five: Claim Occupy Wall Street Is Anti-Christian

The very same Religious Right organizations that lauded tea party activists for taking to the streets are now attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement for doing the same. The Religious Right’s leadership is a faithful ally of corporate America, regularly helping the Corporate Right promote lower taxes for the wealthy and harsh cuts that impact low-income families. “Tea Party activists and Republican leaders have consistently targeted for cutbacks vital government programs that protect the poor, the elderly, children and other vulnerable Americans,” writes Rev. Richard Cizik, the past vice president for government affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals. “Baptizing as a ‘moral agenda’ tax cuts for the wealthy, steep budget cuts to programs that save lives and deregulation of Wall Street takes a lot of nerve.”

While Occupy Wall Street is not a religiously-based movement, faith leaders and faith-based activists have taken on important roles at protests across the country, denouncing monetary greed, holding services emphasizing justice and advocating policies that focus on the common good.

But to the Religious Right, the movement is unbiblical and un-American. Many Religious Right figures have accused the Occupy Wall Street protesters of coveting and stealing the wealth of the rich, inciting division and even bloodshed.

“Jesus took a whip to the thieves and the covetous in his day,” wrote Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. “If he were to come back and do the same thing today, he just might start in Zuccotti Park.”

Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a group which frequently attacks mainline Protestants, charged that Occupy Wall Street is dominated by feelings of “grievance, entitlement, idealism, and youthful naiveté” and activists who “want an all-powerful state to seize and redistribute wealth according to some imagined just formula.” “It’s a utopian dream, not based on the Gospels, always monstrous when attempted, and premised more on resentment than godly generosity,” writes Tooley. “But it’s a message that will always have an audience in a covetous world.”

When asked whether a Christian can join Occupy Wall Street in good conscience, televangelist Pat Robertson said “no” and, possibly confused on the motives behind the movement, urged that Christians instead should “demonstrate to lift the yoke of oppression” rather than join a movement he called “a rebellion”:

I think this is a rebellion. I think it is atavistic. Nobody knows exactly what it is, they don’t know what they’re doing, why are they there? Well they’re just mad. Well, is it right for a Christian to get involved in a protest of anger? If you’re going to demonstrate, demonstrate for righteousness, demonstrate to lift the yoke of oppression, demonstrate to help those that are poverty stricken. But don’t just go out and mess up a park and just scream and tear up things. Why would you get involved in something like that? It’s formless, it has no purpose, but it could be used for radicals who want to destroy this nation, and that’s the bad part of it.

Perhaps no group has resisted Occupy Wall Street more than the Family Research Council.

In October, the FRC urged its members to pray, “May God prevent these radical organizers from stirring revolution,” and to ask God to have the movement “backfire”, “fizzle” and hamper the efforts of the protests’ “sad collage of people, stirred up by radical ideologues.”

In November the group once again lashed out at the movement again in a prayer alert to members:

The expanded Wall Street Occupation is endorsed by labor unions, liberal mayors, governors, the White House, the American Nazi and Communist parties, ACORN, Hollywood enertainers [sic] and a long list of supra-liberal and liberal groups, not the least of which is the liberal media. Encampments in major cities, including Washington, DC, are not only a nuisance, a health hazard and an embarrassment [sic] to thinking Americans, they are increasingly becoming violent. Ideological anarchists intimidate and abuse bystanders, damage automobiles, jump on and in front of moving vehicles, urinate and defacate [sic] on private and public property, go naked and perform sex acts in public, produce tons of garbage that taxpayers have to collect and haul away, etc. Yet the mainstream press, which villainized [sic] the Tea Party movement, after long ignoring it, flagrantly idealizes the Occupiers and ignores the damage and ugly crimes happening in most places where an occupation is in progress. Fortunately the movement is "losing its bloom," and beginning to die out. The honeymoon among these diverse activists may be coming to an end.

May the movement simply fizzle. May God protect those who live nearby and must encounter these raucus [sic] groups. May God harvest souls for Christ from among them just as He did discontented youth in the Jesus Movment [sic] of the 60's and 70's

Part IV: The Right Wing Playbook On Occupy Wall Street

This is the fourth part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street.

After pillorying activists in Occupy Wall Street as violent Communist bums, the Radical Right resorts to calling Occupy supporters anti-Semites.

Strategy Four: Smear Occupy Wall Street As Anti-Semitic

One of the biggest smears of the Occupy Wall Street movement has been the claim that the activists are anti-Semites motivated by a hatred of Jews. Conservative groups such as the Emergency Committee for Israel have played and replayed footage of a few people who attended one rally making anti-Semitic remarks, and claimed that the despicable comments of a handful of protestors speak for the whole movement.

Michelle Goldberg writes in Tablet that these claims of anti-Semitism are “dishonest and deceptive” and are an attempt to use the words of a few fringe protestors to cast aspersions on a burgeoning and diverse movement: “There are a few Jew-baiters at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, though they are marginal, particularly compared to the large numbers of Jewish activists taking part. Yet the leaderless, diffuse nature of the movement, in some ways its greatest strength, also makes it hard to police bigots, bullies, and cranks.”

In fact, around 700 people participated in a Kol Nidre service across from Zuccotti Park to mark Yom Kippur, which the editor of The Jewish Daily Forward called “a sign of arrival for Jews and a return to the historic place that religion played in the public face of progressive activism.”

While the Anti-Defamation League notes that “anti-Semitism has not gained traction more broadly with the protestors, nor is it representative of the larger movement at this time,” the right-wing noise machine is trying to smear the economic justice movement as anti-Semitic.

The communications director of the Republican National Committee said Democrats who expressed their sympathies with the movement effectively endorsed people “spewing hate against Jewish Americans” and their “extreme anti-Semitic, anti-Israel comments.”

The Emergency Committee for Israel, a right-wing outfit led by conservative leaders Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer that ran ads exclusively against Democratic candidates in the last election cycle, released an ad depicting Occupy protests as drenched in anti-Semitism. The group’s focus on Occupy Wall Street may be related to the fact that two-thirds of the group’s political action committee contributions came from just one hedge fund CEO.

Brent Bozell, the head of the right-wing Media Research Center, sent a letter to major news outlets demanding that they begin “reporting documented evidence of anti-Semitism coming from the OWS crowd,” and Rush Limbaugh even argued that the “We Are The 99%” message is covertly anti-Semitic:

Now, some people think the 99%'s also the 99 weeks of unemployment compensation because that group also calls themselves the 99ers, but the 99% versus the 1% is another angle that the group is talking about here, and Wall Street and bankers, those two terms have been anti-Semitic code for Jews in this country for a long time. Occupier, Occupy Wall Street Now. I've often said, I said last week he who controls the definition of words, the meaning of words, controls the debate. He who controls the language controls the debate. There's a lot of interesting stuff here. Occupy Wall Street Now, 99%, that leaves 1%, roughly the percentage of Jews in the population, too. And Wall Street and bankers have been anti-Semitic code for Jews in this country going back quite a while.

When the chairman of the Michigan-based American Nazi Party released a statement supporting the movement, conservatives claimed that the movement welcomed and championed the Nazi cause. Fox News reported the endorsement as a major story and conservative writers began frequently pointing to the meaningless endorsement to tar the movement as a whole.

“OWS seems to have no problem with Nazis or the Communists,” wrote Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips. “OWS supports forms of totalitarianism that directly killed about 250 million people in the last century and enslaved billions in poverty and tyranny.” Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the American Family Association, said that there is “a lot of anti-Semitism at this Occupy Wall Street movement” and tried to link President Obama, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is Jewish, to the Nazis: “The American Nazi Party now has joined Barack Obama, the American Nazi Party now has joined Nancy Pelosi, the American Nazi Party now has joined Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic Party, to officially endorse the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

Part III: The Right Wing Playbook On Occupy Wall Street

This is the third part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street.

Even though right-wing activists malign Occupy Wall Street demonstrators as both violent mobs and lazy slackers, conservatives contend that the movement is promoting communism in its call for corporate accountability.

Strategy Three: Claim That What Occupy Wall Street Protestors Really Want Is Communism

For many on the Right, calls for corporate accountability and for the country to address the problem of extreme income inequality translate to calls for communism.

Eric Bolling claimed that the Occupy Wall Street protests are composed of “communist, Nazi…pot-smoking, sex-addicted morons,” Erick Erickson dubbed the protesters “damn dirty communists” and Bill O’Reilly called the demonstrators “anarchists” and “loons.” Alan Caruba contended that the “Occupy Wall Street youngsters are the latest foot soldiers of Communism” as a result of being “thoroughly indoctrinated in government schools and by Hollywood and the media.” One conservative writer even tried to link the movement to the violent anarchists ofthe 1920s. WorldNetDaily columnist Erick Rush told his readers not to place “too much emphasis on the OWS protesters’ character and proclivities” and instead to stress that the demonstrators “are following in the footsteps of all communist revolutionaries, dim-witted though they may be in the aggregate.”

Religious Right luminary Pat Buchanan said that tackling concerns about the country’s growing income inequality is an un-American idea that will inevitably incite a communist revolt. “For from the beginning, America was never about equality,” Buchanan writes. “Equality, egalite, was what the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, Mao’s Revolution of 1949, Castro’s Revolution of 1959 and Pol Pot’s revolution of 1975 claimed to be about.”

Another conservative writer, Robert Ringer, suggested that Obama might use the protesters to suspend the 2012 election:

Whether it's the Occupy Wall Street protesters, rioters in Greece, public workers defacing the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., or thugs tearing down the city of Oakland, brick by brick, they are all focused on the same objective: equal distribution of wealth and a classless society. They may not use the word communism, but communism is precisely what they yearn for.



Nevertheless, Obama and his class-warfare pals can win. The more obvious their failure becomes, the more angry and panicked the wealth redistributors, especially in Washington, D.C., will be. Their bull slinging is easy enough to laugh off, but if it doesn't work – if it becomes clear that the Democrats are going down to defeat in 2012 – look for them to go to their weapon of last resort and use brute force to "temporarily" suspend elections.

Today on Faith & Freedom, Liberty Counsel Vice President Shawn Akers and conservative activist Ron Miller argued that the movement is intent on eroding freedom and imposing socialism on America:

Part II: The Right Wing Playbook On Occupy Wall Street

This is the second part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street.

Even as the Right slams Occupy Wall Street as a communist movement bent on revolt, they also claim that the demonstrators are lazy, jobless complainers who don’t have political goals.

Strategy Two: Call The Protesters Bums

The Washington Times mocked the movement, calling the protestors “the Wall Street whiners,” “losers” and “crybabies,” and teasing that “[t]hese products of the most left-wing institutions in America have discovered that expensive degrees in useless fields don’t deliver instant wealth.” Rush Limbaugh slammed the protesters as “perpetually lazy, spoiled rotten, 99 percent white kids who don’t have anything else to do except sit around and be told how rotten their lives are.”

Concerned Women for America president Penny Young Nance said that the protesters are people simply looking “to panhandle,” writing, “It occurs to me that perhaps they would have a better grasp on the American dream if they simply got out of bed.” Star Parker likened the protesters to a “screaming infant” with a “list of demands that wouldn’t pass muster in an average kindergarten class.”

Fox News host Eric Bolling called the demonstrators “petulant little children” and suggested that instead of protesting, “how about going out and trying to find a job instead?” Ann Coulter ridiculed the demonstrators and brushed aside comparisons to the tea party movement, saying, “The tea partiers have jobs, showers and a point.”

The prominent right-wing blog RedState started a counter-movement called “We Are The 53%,” which supposedly amplifies the voices of the 53 percent of Americans who pay income taxes. But the movement conveniently ignores that people who don’t pay income taxes still pay taxes, including sales taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, state and local taxes and property taxes. RedState’s editor Erick Erickson kicked off the 53% movement when he lamented, “I work 3 jobs…But I don’t blame Wall Street, suck it up you whiners, I am the 53% subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain.” Erickson’s three jobs, of course, are as a CNN pundit, radio talk show host and editor of the blog. Erickson has also dubbed the protesters “damn dirty communists” and another RedState blogger called them “a slothful and dirty bunch.”

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain blamed the unemployed for not having jobs and said the Occupy Wall Street protesters were simply resentful of the rich: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” Later, during a Republican presidential debate, Cain stood by his comments, adding that Wall Street was blameless in the financial crisis.

But Newt Gingrich upped the ante with his scorching attack at the Thanksgiving Family Forum, telling demonstrators: “go get a job right after you take a bath.”

Part I: The Right Wing Playbook On Occupy Wall Street

This is the first part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street.

In July, the magazine Adbusters called on readers to set up camp on Wall Street and push for “one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics,” and the Radical Right has been attacking Occupy Wall Street ever since. The economic justice movement has brought attention to not only the issue of the massive influx of corporate money in politics but also the country’s exacerbating income inequality and the continued lack of accountability and oversight on Wall Street.

The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the enormous corporate influence over our political system, have lost confidence in the banking industry, support Wall Street regulations and believe that income inequality is a major problem.

Naturally, the Right sees Occupy Wall Street as a threat not just to their political standing but also their financial interests, and right-wing politicians and media outlets are doing all they can to dismiss and demonize Occupy Wall Street. The right has charged the movement with attempting to spark a violent revolution, dismissed the protesters as non-ideological, lazy whiners…who happen to be anti-Semitic Communists, and even claimed that the movement is anti-Christian.

Strategy One: Paint Occupy Wall Street As A Violent Revolution

After trumpeting and funding tea party protests for over a year, the Radical Right has suddenly lost its appetite for public demonstrations. Many of the advocates who vocally supported the tea party movement now claim that rallies are breeding grounds for violence.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, used his platform at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit to blast Occupy Wall Street as “growing mobs” that are based around “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” Glenn Beck told the Summit that “the violent left is coming to our streets, all of our streets, to smash, to tear down, to kill, to bankrupt, to destroy; it will be global in its nature and global in its scope.” Later that week, the Family Research Council asked members to pray, “May God prevent these radical organizers from stirring revolution.”

Gary Bauer, the prominent Religious Right leader who helps lead the groups American Values and the Emergency Committee for Israel, said that Jared Loughner, who killed six people in his attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, “would fit in well with the Occupy Wall Street movement.” Another Religious Right leader, televangelist Pat Robertson, claimed that President Obama’s positive comments about Occupy Wall Street amounted to putting “the match to the kindling,” and accused the President of “inciting people to revolt.”

Cliff Kincaid of the conservative group Accuracy In Media denounced Occupy Wall Street for promoting “lawlessness and anarchy” and Andrew Breitbart warned that “their desire is once it becomes a large enough group of people, then they will start fomenting the radicalism and the revolution” and said their tactics are “very evocative of the communist era.”

Fox News, unsurprisingly, is also warning that the economic justice movement is involved in violence. Fox’s Greg Gutfeld flatly called the movement “violent,” Charlie Gasparino said the protesters are “anti-American” and “increasingly violent” and Fox News contributor Liz Trotta said that Occupy Wall Street includes “the ravings of what sounds like the Unabomber.” Far-right activist and columnist Star Parker claimed in a Fox News that the movement could “end up in riots.” Fox News most notoriously labeled the deranged White House attacker the “Occupy Shooter.”

Conservative columnist Alan Caruba warned, in a blog post promoted by Tea Party Nation, “Appeals to freedom of speech have their limits when it comes to efforts to undermine and destroy the nation.” Caruba charged:

You don't solve unemployment by embracing tyranny.

Further back in history, one recalls the mobs that brought down the Weimar Republic in Germany and opened the doors to the Nazi movement. Earlier, mobs led by Bolsheviks deposed the Russian czar and imposed some seventy years of Communist control there. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many communist organizations and nations support the Occupy movement or that Wall Street is its target.

In time we shall learn who the organizers of this “spontaneous” movement truly have been, but for now public safety must be asserted to rid Zuccotti Park of this gang of “useful idiots” and wherever else they show up.
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OWS Series Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 11/30/2011, 11:22am
This is the fifth part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street. A stalwart ally of corporate America, the Religious Right claims that Occupy Wall Street violates the tenets of Christianity. Strategy Five: Claim Occupy Wall Street Is Anti-Christian The very same Religious Right organizations that lauded tea party activists for taking to the streets are now attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement for doing the same. The Religious Right’s leadership is a faithful ally of corporate America, regularly helping the Corporate Right promote... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 11/29/2011, 6:42pm
This is the fourth part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street. After pillorying activists in Occupy Wall Street as violent Communist bums, the Radical Right resorts to calling Occupy supporters anti-Semites. Strategy Four: Smear Occupy Wall Street As Anti-Semitic One of the biggest smears of the Occupy Wall Street movement has been the claim that the activists are anti-Semites motivated by a hatred of Jews. Conservative groups such as the Emergency Committee for Israel have played and replayed footage of a few people who attended one rally making... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 11/28/2011, 6:00pm
This is the third part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street. Even though right-wing activists malign Occupy Wall Street demonstrators as both violent mobs and lazy slackers, conservatives contend that the movement is promoting communism in its call for corporate accountability. Strategy Three: Claim That What Occupy Wall Street Protestors Really Want Is Communism For many on the Right, calls for corporate accountability and for the country to address the problem of extreme income inequality translate to calls for communism. Eric Bolling claimed that the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 11/22/2011, 5:35pm
This is the second part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street. Even as the Right slams Occupy Wall Street as a communist movement bent on revolt, they also claim that the demonstrators are lazy, jobless complainers who don’t have political goals. Strategy Two: Call The Protesters Bums The Washington Times mocked the movement, calling the protestors “the Wall Street whiners,” “losers” and “crybabies,” and teasing that “[t]hese products of the most left-wing institutions in America have discovered that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 11/21/2011, 5:30pm
This is the first part of our five-part series on right-wing attacks against Occupy Wall Street. In July, the magazine Adbusters called on readers to set up camp on Wall Street and push for “one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics,” and the Radical Right has been attacking Occupy Wall Street ever since. The economic justice movement has brought attention to not only the issue of the massive influx of corporate money in politics but also the country’s exacerbating income inequality and the continued lack of accountability... MORE