Protesters and the Political Class
by Tim Swanson
by Tim Swanson
When was the
last time you looked up the Falun Gong, Tiananmen Square or the
history of Tibet? Iím assuming itís hourly.
In fact, your
homepage is the Wikipedia entry on one of these, right?
As I previously
anti-China rhetoric reaches louder decibels every day. And while
I donít condone government-mandated and funded censorship of any
kind, the question remains, are you practicing what you have preached?
Have you done
your patriotic duty and talked to a member of the Taiwanese Independence
movement lately? Did you reenact the Tank Man scene with your American
Legion compatriots last weekend? Every morning you unfold and hang
Old Glory along with the Tibetan colors from you balcony, right?
If you didnít
march against the Iraq war, against warrantless wiretapping, against
the persecution of the polygamist sect in Texas, or against the
millions of other coercive actions enacted by the state each year,
then you probably shouldnít trot around on your midget pony.
the real machine
So youíre out
of school for summer break and donít want to work. A person youíve
never met invites you to an event on Facebook. Itís an anti-dumping
campaign targeted at Chinese manufactures who are selling products
for prices that make you blush. Itís also a rallying call to inform
Americans that Chinese laborers work more than you would ever want
to. What a grave injustice! Something must be done to prevent consumers
from paying too little for products you will never buy.
And so you
climb into your Honda hybrid, whose parts were forged
in Changchun and Guangzhou China.
On the way
you stop by Wal-Mart (Chinaís 8th largest trading partner)
and purchase a megaphone (assembled in China) and an American flag
(stitched in China).
arrive with your compatriots and are quickly shuffled behind some
chain-link fences by riot police. You pull out your cell phone (assembled
in China) to send a status update to your Twitter and Facebook accounts
(which reside on hardware assembled in China). You feel proud that
youíre telling everyone how evil and anti-human the Chi-Coms are
while you fumble around your pocket to find your camera (made
you fight the elements underneath your umbrella (made in China)
all afternoon long. And after an energetic day of screaming about
Chinaís responsibility for ungreen environmentalism (1/3 of Chinaís
carbon emissions are purportedly tied
to creating exports: your productive tanning bed and cappuccino
machine) you call it a day and declare a win for human rights activism.
So my question
is: did you have a fun time hanging out in the government-restricted
suburban activist with a lot of time on their hand doesnít know
this but there were more than 20,000 documented
protests in China in 2006 alone. Take that NED!
One of the
reasons why these huge numbers donít make the headlines of the Worker
Weekly is because why the Chinese are protesting. The vast
majority are farmers upset over land confiscation, families fighting
over eminent domain, and business owners frustrated with kleptocratic
officials. Or in other words, against property violations by the
coercive actions of the state.
ignorance and political suppression could certainly be key factors
as to why more Chinese donít have the opportunity of being a professional
protestor, perhaps another reason so many residents arenít filling
the streets protesting is that they are preoccupied
working Ė you know, making money and stuff Ė so they can feed
their families. Because after decades of living in socialistic subsistence
the vast majority of the population is finally (relatively) free
to actually accumulate wealth, property and even become rich.
Do as we
say, not as we do
act of peaceably assembling in the West began as a means to redress
the government for injustices such as any taxation, property confiscation
and ex post facto laws. It is dead and has been wholly replaced
by a throng of tax consumers who rally for more government intervention,
regulation and omnipotence.
ever increasing series of injustices conducted by the government,
the vast majority of organized protests in the West are designed
as bully pulpits, to rail against globalization, against trade,
against companies, against working as many hours as you want to.
They are led by what Joseph Schumpeter referred to as a "leisured-class"
of student council wash outs, most of whom have never worked an
honest day in their life.
chants, body odor and stitched pieces of flair are synthesized into
a cacophonous chorus of hate. Hating individual decision-making
and responsibility. Hating the capitalist factory owners. Hating
the factory employees for not unionizing. Hating the factory productsÖ
such as the megaphone which is used to spew the kvetchy chants.
And this anti-capitalistic
mentality is selective. After all, where are the rallying cries
"Free the Lower East Side" to protest the past actions
of then-Governor LaGuardia and President Roosevelt who condemned
apartments and forcefully removed thousands of New Yorkers in Manhattan
to make way for public works projects?
"Free Hawaii?" After all, it was colonized by the American
military who forcefully dethroned its monarchs. And unfortunately
this list continues (e.g. Native Indians) and takes forever to read
so letís ignore it and move on.
continental Europe and even much of North America also own the dubious
distinction of wanting to legally limit the maximum amount of working
hours. Yes, instead of negotiating hours individually with your
boss, sycophants of Big Labor have effectively politicized how much
your neighbor can work each week.
millions of Chinese factory workers seek and desire overtime, so
they can make sure their children wonít ever have to work in a factory.
And oddly enough, many Chinese factory owners actually have to limit
the hours of their employees, not out of a malevolent desire to
repress them, but because they just donít have the product demand
to warrant overtime.
It is these
same Chinese laborers that have been unwittingly duped into handing
over at least $4000 of their own money to prop
up the US dollar. Yes, that is right, Chinaís $1.8 trillion
reserve helps the Jonesí at the expense of the Wang family. Might
want to add them to your Christmas card list for this year (and
thank them for the American
Yet as Lew
out last year, both Sinophobic politician and professional protestor
alike have called for increased government intrusion and intervention
in the germinating enterprises, in the Chinese factories that are
the lifeblood of the Western consumer who scream incessantly about
phantom menaces from afar. Didnít China just try socialism en
And this deafening
temper tantrum has reached cyberspace as well. Instead of investigations
of Cisco, RSA and Sun Ė companies that actually built the Great
Firewall of China Google executives faced a congressional
two years ago.
This was done
despite the fact that Google does not actually remove information
at all. Eric Schmidt has noted, in the event a user searches for
non grata sites Google does not upload a doctored webpage.
Rather, Google simply displays an error message noting that the
page the user is looking for has been blocked due to political restrictions.
Schmidt rightly says that this approach will plant a seed of desire,
a desire to find out what is on that page. As a consequence,
years of information holes could easily cascade and snowball into
a grassroots effort to have the blacklists wholly expunged.
add insult to injury: this is the same bellicose congress that has
spent billions in taxpayer funds to secretly design and deploy NSA
wiretapping surveillance stations across the country. It is the
same congress that passed a slew of anti-civil liberties laws including
FISA immunity. It is the same congress that has borrowed tens of
billions from the Peopleís Bank of China to fund an invasion of
Iraq which has killed 1.2 million Iraqis. And donít even get started
with the funding
Thus, the next
time you feel like yelling, screaming and chanting about how evil
the Chinese are, make sure you have exacted the same amount of energy
and animosity towards the FCC, towards public schools, public libraries,
IP law firms and other agencies that use taxpayers money to censor
speech and block search results domestically.
Swanson [send him mail]
is a graduate of Texas A&M University. He currently lives in
South Korea and protested the Iraqi invasion on February 16, 2003
in Dallas. Visit his blog.
© 2008 LewRockwell.com