What is missing is that puff of fresh, oxygenated air to permeate the mass

Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

***This information was not penned by myself. I received a request from a reader to consider placing this viewpoint as another approach in analyzing the OWS Movement. As one can see, this is more than a comment and poses serious analytical consideration.***

I’ve noticed a very worrisome trend in the ongoing “Occupy <X>” movement taking place in the major metropolitan centers. I’m not the first to point out the participation of military veterans such as Veterans for Peace, Oath Keepers, and Iraq Veterans Against the War in the various protests. For the right side of the political spectrum, it is easy to dismiss them as seditious turncoats. Given what passes for the current state of lawful authority, such an opinion may not be unreasonable in the eyes of the right wingers. Meanwhile the left side of the political spectrum continues to eye such participation warily since the veterans represent mercenarius de facto; the hounds leashed by the machine. Again, such an observation may not be without merit. It is not for these reasons, however valid they may be, that I believe such participation by veterans are harbingers of a political paradigm shift.

History is replete with examples of economic turmoil, social discontent, and repression. It is amazing not how often structural change occurs as a result, but rather how rarely such conditions yield a radical change. The rare occasions require a nexus of opportunity, resources, and action. Such a nexus is not unlike the “fire triangle” that children learn about in primary school. In order to sustain a fire, there needs to be sufficient fuel, heat, and oxygen. This trinity must exist simultaneously and in sufficient quantity and form for combustion to occur. Truly, the “Occupy <X>” movement has the fuel, masses of people from a variety of walks of life who have suffered in reality, or in their own mind, inequities at the hands of the elites who run the countries institutions.

Politicians and organizers (community, labor, or otherwise) are never ones to pass up the opportunity to turn of the heat of rhetoric, and for the want of themselves cannot stop themselves from doing so now. What is missing is that puff of fresh, oxygenated air to permeate the masses. It is that puff which I worry is embodied by Veteran participation in this movement. The masters at the end of the leashes, the legal authorities to which they have been condition to respond to, has produced a cadre of individuals capable (unlike the Twitterites and couch potatoes) of assessing situations, developing tactics, and inspiring those around them to their leadership. In normal times, this is no big deal as such skills are ultimately employed by the machine in a different capacity.

To quote Mark Twain, “History does not repeat itself, at best it rhymes.” If you hear a lyrical theme in the protests, then it might be because the country has been here before.

To wit, I would point out the conditions that led to the rise of Captain Job Shattuck. As a Minuteman who answered the call at Lexington and Concord, he engaged the enemies of Liberty at Breeds Hill and Saratoga. He is the least likely person to engage in his own little Occupation in October of 1781 at the Groton Courthouse in support of his neighbors who were suffering under unjust taxation by a distant authority wielded by those in those in the mercantile class and bankers who had invested badly during the revolution. His neighbors and relatives were being foreclosed on during severe economic turmoil just after what would be our country’s longest Declared war. Yet just such event happened. The “mob” coalesced and would continue to do so and build for the next several years. The action, largely dismissed by the money masters at their own peril, would ultimately lead to open rebellion some five years later.

When playing with fire, it is always important to remember the risk of being burned.