Friday, October 21, 2011

More on Occupying Wall Street, Quoting Henry Ford

Since my previous post on Henry Ford's "banking and monetary system" quote has garnered a fair bit of attention, I thought I'd respond to some of the points made here.  (I've already answered a couple of these in the comments, but hope to go into a bit more detail for this post).

First, Nutty Professor said:
I agree. But we don't need distractions and tribal bickering in these times. Press forward for others to remain focused. Use spiritual energy to raise the vibration. This is something that everyone can do, irrespective of what they think of Henry Ford or whomever-the-fuck.
I am not sure we should be ignoring this particular "distraction." Right now Occupy Wall Street is a nascent and nebulous movement. There are many voices striving to be heard. There are also many people seeking to reshape OWS and use it to their desired ends, and many others who would like to discredit the protestors altogether.  Ignoring or glossing over intolerable behavior for the cause is not a viable option: look how well it worked for the Communist Party in postwar Europe and the Roman Catholic Church in contemporary America.  

I appreciate that OWS is a decentralized movement which is united mainly by frustration with economic inequality in America. I realize that when nobody is in charge there's nobody to say what is and is not Official OWS doctrine.  But I also recognize that this means OWS protestors - and sympathizers - have the responsibility to stand up and speak out: this is a consensus movement and silence will be treated as consent.  

Then V.V.F. opined: 
I don't know what exactly has breathed new life into this pseudo-Illuminati anti-Zionist Satanic Conspiracy stuff, but for some reason it seems like it's hit fever pitch. People are spouting this stuff everywhere you look, and I find it pretty disturbing.
I think there are several factors at play. One is that people are presently not feeling particularly charitable toward corporations and plutocrats: they'll happily beat bankers with any stick they can find.  A second is that the Internet has provided us much greater access to data but has done very little to improve our critical faculties.  (Indeed, I'd argue that the "information wants to be free" ethos of many OWS protestors might make them more likely to take seriously long-discredited crapola like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  Since people have censored it for decades, there must be some truth they are trying desperately to hide... or so the reasoning goes). 

A third, alas, is that for several decades Zionist organizations - real Zionist organizations like AIPAC and B'nai Brith, not the shadowy world leaders found in Nazi fapfest pamphlets - have equated criticism of Israeli foreign and domestic policy with anti-Semitism.  And while this has been an extremely effective political tool, it's also led to a great deal of skepticism about the term.  When you classify criticism of Israeli cluster bombs and Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as "anti-Semitism," you water down the term until it becomes meaningless.  

Because these are interesting times, many folks on the fringe are hoping to move closer to the center.  Their response to the current ill feeling about "international bankers" is a time-honored one. And because many Zionist and Jewish organizations have wasted moral capital attacking honest critics and defending the indefensible (remember what I said about the Catholic Church and the European communist party?), they are likely to have trouble getting many OWS protestors to take them seriously. 

Finally, Mad Fishmonger responded with several comments: I hope to respond to him in more detail in a future post (after I've done a bit more research), but I wanted to clarify one thing.  I have no problem with people quoting Henry Ford on automobile manufacture, on workplace conditions, or on just about any other topic.  I realize that genius and execrable politics are not mutually exclusive: given that I'm currently reading Martin Heidegger, I'd be hard-pressed to argue otherwise.  

My issue here is that, for Ford, the problems with "our banking and monetary system" could be laid squarely at the feet of the Jew: when he used the words "international banker," he meant "international Jew."  And so when it comes to quotes about banking Ford is not a reliable source for anyone who rejects his ideas about a powerful Jewish conspiracy seeking global domination.