Occupy Wall Street: “Aus jeder nach seiner Bereitschaft zu arbeiten, jedem nach seinem Willen zu nehmen.”

Thanks to Sharon, I found this one:

Occupy Group Faults Church, a Onetime Ally

By Matt Flegenheimer
Published: December 16, 2011

For months, they were the best of neighbors: the slapdash champions of economic equality, putting down stakes in an outdoor plaza, and the venerable Episcopal parish next door, whose munificence helped sustain the growing protest.

But in the weeks since Occupy Wall Street was evicted from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, relations between the demonstrators and Trinity Wall Street, a church barely one block from the New York Stock Exchange, have reached a crossroads.

The displaced occupiers had asked the church, one of the city’s largest landholders, to hand over a gravel lot, near Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas, for use as an alternate campsite and organizing hub. The church declined, calling the proposed encampment “wrong, unsafe, unhealthy and potentially injurious.”

And now the Occupy movement, after weeks of targeting big banks and large corporations, has chosen Trinity, one of the nation’s most prominent Episcopal parishes, as its latest antagonist.

“We need more; you have more,” one protester, Amin Husain, 36, told a Trinity official on Thursday, during an impromptu sidewalk exchange between clergy members and demonstrators. “We are coming to you for sanctuary.”

Much more at the link. But Mr Husain’s comment in the final quoted paragraph, “We need more; you have more,” pretty much describes the entire Occupy movement: if someone has more, he is obligated to give it to those who have less. Or, as Karl Marx put it, “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!”1 Mr Husain is arguing that Trinity Church just flat owes them.

Trinity’s rector, the Rev. James H. Cooper, noted that the church had provided the Occupy protesters with all sorts of assistance, from meeting rooms to “resting areas, pastoral services, electricity, bathrooms, even blankets and hot chocolate.” But the church parking lot had no services, would be an unsafe and eventually unsanitary area for the Occupy campers. What I found telling in the story was the comment of the Rev. Milind Sojwal, the rector of All Angels Church, an Episcopal parish on the Upper West Side.

Trinity Church had a fantastic opportunity to be a Christlike presence by openings its doors to the protesters, and I believe Trinity blew it.

Of course, the Occupiers aren’t really interested in camping out at a church on the Upper West Side; All Angels Church is located at 251 West 80th Street, while Trinity Wall Street, between Trinity Place and Broadway on Wall Street, is right where the great unwashed wish to encamp.2 It’s easy to say that someone else’s church “blew it,” when you know that your facility wouldn’t be the next one to house the dirt and the lice and the stench and the crime; it’s easy enough to say that someone else should be physically charitable, in having to provide utilities, food, electricity, bathrooms and the like, and clean up after the protesters, when you know that the most you will have to do is contribute money, and that you are the arbiter of just how much money you can or will contribute.

The Occupy protesters have truly developed a welfare state of mind. The Rev Cooper and his church, in the spirit of Christian charity, helped provide for the Occupiers when they were camped out in Zuccotti Park,3 but, rather than being grateful for the charity received, the Occupiers have developed a sense of entitlement: now Trinity Wall Street owes them charity.

Herr Marx’ expression, “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen,”, has been replaced among the Occupiers with “Aus jeder nach seiner Bereitschaft zu arbeiten, jedem nach seinem Willen zu nehmen.4


  1. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” Critique of the Gotha Program Part 1 Herr Marx argued that:

    But one man is superior to another physically, or mentally, and supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a natural privilege. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right. Right, by its very nature, can consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are measurable only by an equal standard insofar as they are brought under an equal point of view, are taken from one definite side only — for instance, in the present case, are regarded only as workers and nothing more is seen in them, everything else being ignored. Further, one worker is married, another is not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all these defects, right, instead of being equal, would have to be unequal.

  2. To give you some perspective, West 80th Street is slightly less than half way up the length of Central Park, to the west side of the park.
  3. Zuccotti Park is also private property.
  4. From each according to his willingness to work, to each according to his desire to take.

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