Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Occupy Compared to Our Revolutionary Heroes

I apologize in advance for coming off as more incoherent and writing in a more blurred style than usual, but I am positively seething with anger.

Frances Fox-Piven, the co-founder of the intentional wreck-America-by-overloading-the welfare system-Cloward-Piven Strategy, and one of the few old-guard Marxists who have found a place with the New Left, has stepped so far over the line that I am left with no other option than to write while in a rage.

" 'So let me say something about why I think Occupy belongs in a serious history of the United States. In the United States we call this very sophisticated study of American political history “American political development.” And now it isn’t just a study of great men, and they are all men– Betsy Ross just made the flag.”

“There‘s another history of the United States and it’s much more erratic, and much less easily described or explained by American institutions, and it’s much more important, and it gets much less attention– and that’s the history of protest movements, and the way protest movements impact on the existing constellation of institutions and interest groups and voter coalitions and alignments.”
[Bolding is mine]

“It’s a history that tells the story of the American Revolution and the War of Independence not as a war fought by the merchant and land-owning elites– actually they didn’t fight the war, you know, rich men don’t go to war–but it’s a history, rather, of the Revolutionary War as compounded not only of elite influence in gaining political independence from the British Crown and the British merchant class, but it’s a history also of the popular uprisings which generated enormous popular energy.' "

Piven has taken the well-traveled path of the Left; she lied.

This claim is a travesty from so many angles; many rich men, including merchants, not only fought in the war, they also, while having the most material wealth to lose, were prime movers in standing against Britain. Most of those who actually participated in the Continental Congress were also men of wealth and standing. These were the men who pledged their lives, fortunes and their sacred honor. All of them that put their names to the Declaration of Independence became marked men by the very performance of this act.

I am not claiming that regular people were not involved. Many people whose names never made the history books were fervent revolutionaries. They were not, though, Marxists.

Thomas Jefferson was the target of an unsuccessful British raid to capture him.

George Washington, especially in the battles in New York City and Monmouth, exposed himself more than once to enemy fire. He once had put himself to within a hundred yards or less of the enemy as he tried to rally his retreating soldiers.

General/Lord (Our only titled American officer) William Stirling was performed an incredibly brave rear guard action on Long Island and was subsequently captured

John Adams not only
, like Benjamin Franklin, risked capture by crossing the sea to negotiate a treaty with France, but his name was also conspicuously absent from a preapproved list of members of the Congress that were allowed to be given pardons in the unlikely event that the US would step back from "Independency". 

Henry Laurens, another wealthy man, was captured at seas while en route to the Netherlands to negotiate a treaty with the Dutch Republic. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and was kept in unhealthy conditions until his release in a prisoner-swap. His house in Charleston was destroyed when the British took Charleston.

Laurens' son, John, as an aid-de-camp for Washington and served so bravely in numerous battles that Lafayette remarked in a letter to Henry that his son had essentially done all that he could to procure either death or glory. John died in a brief skirmish with British troops after Yorktown and while the Treaty of Paris was being negotiated.

Robert Morris, while himself not a soldier or required to do business overseas, also put the bulk of his private business as a wealthy merchant aside to run the financing of the fledgling nation on less than a shoestring. It was only due to his well-established personal credit and reputation that he was able to beg and borrow enough money to keep our army in the field. At one point in the war, he actually utilized his own personal credit to finance the nation. (They were called Morris Notes). In a rush to bring his finances back on track to make up for what he lost while putting most of his own moneymaking aside during the war, he overextended himself, became bankrupt, and was thrown into prison as a debtor.

John Hancock, a wealthy merchant , who was a prime mover in the early days of our protests against Britain and the move towards independence; also put his life on the line by his involvement.

There are far more examples of rich men, many of them American military officers, who risked their lives and fortunes but I have no more time to list them

Her claim that women were not involved is also a dastardly lie. The wives, daughters had to remain home and often suffered tremendous financial difficulties trying to work farms while the men were off. Timothy Bigelow, a blacksmith from Worchester Mass., the hotbed of revolutionary activity, could not run his business while away and his family was dependent on his officer pay, which was also often nonexistent and in Continental Dollars. There was in fact an actual woman whose actions gave rise to the legend of Molly Pitcher.

While there are more than sufficient examples to prove Piven a liar on the "Rich man's war and poor mans fight" claim, what I find even more intolerable is her comparison of the Occupy pukes to our Continental Soldiers and Militia. The Continentals, unlike the fat, dumb and happy Occupiers, well-fed on donated food and snuggly supplied with sleeping bags and tents, were woefully undersupplied. Joseph Plumb Martin, who started out as a Private in the early days of the war, left shortly after the debacle in New York, returned in the campaign after Trenton and served in and after Yorktown, wrote memoirs years after the war.

*Private Yankee Doodle, as the book was named and later published after being found by a US Park Service employee in the 60's, contains gut-wrenching accounts of what the enlisted soldiers had to suffer. At one point in the terribly harsh winter in Morristown (In my County), Martin went four full days with nothing to eat but some birch bark on which he gnawed. This was not isolated event; the Congress, having no ability at all to tax (Unlike ours that taxes us with reckless abandon) simply could not drum up enough money to supply the troops with blankets, uniforms, and other necessities. Blood trails in the snow from want of shoes is not a made-up romantic story. Even when they were able to get food through the impassible snows to the troops, it was often rancid by the time it arrived. They went months without pay, and when it finally came it was often in grossly inflated Continental Dollars (Kind of like Obama bucks). He endured massive shelling, unbearable heat in woolen uniforms, nights under the "canopy of heaven" with no blanket in the cold, broken bones, fevers, and other hardships that make me, a former active duty Marine and National Guardsman, ashamed for the comforts that I had while serving.

He stoically suffered through these events and wrote about them without a hint of hard feelings for those days other than complaining that many, when the war was over, had no concern for the veterans and indeed were against the awarding of pensions to our troops. His writing also puts our educational system to shame. It is wry, witty, and full of latent and patent sarcasm. Many of the soldiers were authorized land in the West, but having no way to actually locate their plots, they sold off their shares to speculators for pennies on the dollar. His pension only came after he had thrown himself on the mercy of the authorities, being broke and with one of this children being mentally retarded.

*Used copies are very cheap. New Paperbacks are around $10. Please spend a few bucks, read the book, and come back and tell me if Piven should be given a Revolutionary-era ride out of the nation on a rail or not for deigning to compare Occupiers to out soldiers who won us a nation.
-Note that when Martin refers to "Cowboys", he means Loyalists.

The Occupy pukes not only have no concept about sacrifice, they don't want to have any idea of the sort. What they want is free everything. Our Continental Soldiers and Militiamen never wanted other people's property. What they wanted was a chance to be free, to have their own property protected from seizures and oppressive taxation, and to have a chance to build their lives for themselves and their children. To suggest that the Marxist mentality of Occupy is akin to that of those who won our nation for us is disgusting.

1 comment:

  1. Following is a quotation from the diary of Johann Ewald, a Hessian officer who fought the entire war from Bunker HIll to Yorktown. In this particular chapter he was assessing the different armies, officers, and strategies.

    "...But I can assert with much truth that the American officer, like his soldier, hates his foes more than we do. They admit this openly, and claim as the reason that they want more freedom than we, on our side, wish to give them. I think too, that it is as much a kind of policy as a strategem of General Washington to prevent quarrels that he separated the armies of the French and Americans so far apart during the winter quarters" [because the French were not exactly lovers of freedom]..

    So much for the officers. Here is another interesting tidbit about the common soldiers that did my heart good:

    "Since the American nation consists of slender and well-formed people, it is an easily recognizable fact that the regiments of this army consist of handsome, and for the soldier's profession, well-built men whose appearance suffers very much indeed from a lack of clothing, hats, and shoes. For I have seen many soldiers of this army with out shoes, whit tattered breeches and uniforms patched with all sorts of colored cloth, without neckband and only the lid of a hat, who marched and stood their guard as proudly as the best uniformed solder in the world, despite the raw weather and hard rain in October. But he keeps his piece clean and shining, and powders his hair as white as possible with provisions flour when on grand parades."

    "with what soldiers in the world could one do what was done by these men, who go about nearly naked and in the greatest privation? Deny the best-disciplined soldiers of Europe, what is due them and they will run away in droves, and the general will soon be alone. But from this one can perceive what an enthusiasm - which these poor fellows call "Liberty:--can do!"

    From Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal by Captain Johann Ewald, 1979, Yale University Press, New Haven and London

    Ms. Piven's ideas of history bely this account. They are distorted and incorrect. I suspect that they are deliberate lies. She needs to remember that ultimately the tories left for Canada and England. I wonder if that was because they were outnumbered, had bankrupt ideas, or both. Ms. Piven should follow them immediately.

    By the way, the book is is a great read if you want to read eye witness accounts of Bunker Hill, Washingoton's Attack on Trenton, chasing the "rebels" through New Jersey, wintering in Philadelphia, the Carolina battles, and Yorktown... from the other side.