El Marco, one of the best citizen photojournalists in the country, this morning published an outstanding photo-essay about the Occupy Denver protests over the weekend, and in it he makes this highly disturbing observation:
“An Occupy Denver community organizer leads the bizarre chanting ritual. Never have I seen anything that comes as close to a mind-control exercise in a free society. The orange tape insignia on this woman’s arm indicates that she is a leader. I was told that any questions I had could be addressed to someone with this type of insignia. When I first saw this militant-looking marking, it reminded me of the Order of the Double-Cross, made famous in the Charlie Chaplin movie, The Great Dictator.”
“Charlie Chaplin, with raised fist. comically portrays a famous mid-20th century socialist dictator speaking out against Jewish bankers and capitalists in general.”
Various people throughout the crowd were wearing the symbol:
Note also how when the “leaders” put the symbol on their sleeves (as in the first and third photos), it is rotated 45 degrees just like the Nazi swastika was.
Don’t these people see an echo of the swastika in their new power symbol? Don’t they realize that the early Nazi Party was (among other things, obviously) also overtly anti-capitalist? (“Hitler began to make the [Nazi] party much more public, and he organised the party’s biggest meeting yet of two thousand people, for 24 February 1920 in the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München. … It was in this speech that Hitler, for the first time, enunciated the twenty-five points of the German Worker’s Party’s manifesto… In general, the manifesto was anti-Semitic, anti-capitalist, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, and anti-liberal.”) Don’t they know that the early Nazis tried to garner sympathy with street rallies and marches?
The human fascination with not just power but also the symbols of power is well-documented — as are the many times that new attempts at populist movements get co-opted and sidetracked into totalitarianism. The OWS’ endless obsession with unanimity and 100% “consensus” in their organizational meetings only adds to my concern.
As a commenter notes, the symbol may have derived originally from the Twitter “hashtag,” but that in no way diminishes its creepiness. It may “just” be a rotated hashtag, but that doesn’t lessen its significance as a power symbol. The swastika, after all, was “just” a Buddhist good luck marking before the Nazis adopted it and started using it to indicate something else. And how did the Nazis alter it for their purposes? They rotated the Buddhist swastika 45 degrees, to give it a new association. Just as the hashtag sleeve marking has been rotated here.
In fact, pointing out that the symbol may have originally had a different association, and then was later rotated to give it a new purpose, only makes it echo the swastika (or the Great Dictator “double cross”) even more.
Have you seen this “leader symbol” being used at any other “occupations” around the country? If so, feel free to post in the comments section links to any pictures showing people wearing it.