threat of a good example

Occupy Wall Street–OWS, with its anti-hierarchical structure, communal facilities and socialist ethos is deeply threatening to American elites. It is, to recall a forgotten phrase, the threat of a good example.

During the Cold War the Soviet Union and China were totalitarian monstrosities that skillful US propaganda made into the public face of socialism. However, American planners worried that third world countries such as Cuba, Iran, Guatemala, and Chile were as much of a threat as the communist bloc. Whether permitting socialist parties, nationalizing natural resources, or providing free land to the peasants, these governments offered a middle ground between east and west–a good example.

These countries were attacked covertly by the US using black propaganda, economic sabotage, assassinations and death squads. With the exception of Cuba their governments were violently overthrown and replaced with pliant right-wing juntas.

The threat going forward for OWS is that American planners might see them as a domestic “good example” and embrace tactics used during the Cold War. We’ve already seen  the propaganda and excessive police force used. Can economic sabotage, assassinations and death squads be far behind?

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