The Original 99% Movement

Top Military Man Invokes the Occupy Movement in 1933

Smedley Butler was one of the most highly-decorated military men of all time. He is also the guy who – literally – stopped a coup against FDR. See this, this, this and this.

General Butler addressed the Bonus Army in Washington D.C. in 1933, as they “occupied” D.C. to demand compensation for their service to the country:

General Butler invoked the 99% movement, telling the veterans:

We are divided, in America, into two classes: The Tories on one side, a class of citizens who were raised to believe that the whole of this country was created for their sole benefit, and on the other side, the other 99 per cent of us, the soldier class, the class from which all of you soldiers came. That class hasn’t any privileges except to die when the Tories tell them. Every war that we have ever had was gotten, up by that class. They do all the beating of the drums. Away the rest of us go. When we leave, you know what happens. We march down the street with all the Sears-Roebuck soldiers standing on the sidewalk, all the dollar-a-year men with spurs, all the patriots who call themselves patriots, square-legged women in uniforms making Liberty Loan speeches. They promise you. You go down the street and they ring all the church bells. Promise you the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth,–anything to save them. Off you go. Then the looting commences while you are doing the fighting. This last war made over 6,000 millionaires. Today those fellows won’t help pay the bill.

Indeed, veterans today support the 99% movement. They understand … just as General Butler understood.

As Butler wrote:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [i.e. WWI] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few — the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

(Watch an actor read Butler’s dramatic speech.)

No wonder the 1% persecute pacifists: they threaten the world’s most profitable game.

No wonder – as Nazi leader Hermann Goering noted – the war profiteers are always trying to trick the people into supporting war:

Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

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  • Barnetnetdotnet

    Try and find Smedley Butler in American History books sometime. Nuff said.

  • Great post.

    Sounds like faux news is a racket for sure, not really understanding the 99% movement.

    More of the faux news were just arrested.

  • Great work, GW! Yes, I invite our military to lead in the future of our nation having justice under law rather than the 1% killing and looting.

    The 1% kill American soldiers by sending them to die in unlawful wars of invasion.

    The 1% lie to American soldiers by telling them Wars of Aggression that are not even close to lawful are somehow honorable. The 1% attack American soldiers mentally, emotionally, and put them in harm’s way.

    The 1% then loot all Americans for war profits.

    The 1% murdered Dr. King for his attempt to Occupy DC in the summer of 1968, as proved in the King Family civil trial that I wrote about, among many.

    The answer is to arrest the 1% for the easy-to-prove crimes of criminal war and the lies they used to start them.

  • It’s amazing to hear these voices from the past that we never knew about. Here’s some more info on Mr. Butler.

  • Wrong Opinion

    But first you have to stop bowing to the imaginary money hoax system they created to control and rip you off. Then give them back their own medicine and simply loot the richest 1% in all the possible ways and there will be plenty for everyone – as long as you won’t become the new 1%. Really simple.

  • Stunned

    So who’s Nuff?

  • Lakecabs

    Google Bonus Army. Look at the generals who attacked our own soldiers. When WWII broke out. Who was rewarded.

  • EV

    Some valid points but an unbalanced post. Isn’t the USA military still an all-volunteer army? WWII had a draft but that was acceptable while Democrats JFK and, especially LBJ, led us into the Vietnam War, a divisive draft, and a Republican (Nixon) ended it!

    The soliders also weren’t fighting for free but were salaried fighters who also received extra hazard pay. Soliders such as Harry Truman (WWI), George H.W. Bush (WWII), Eisenhower (WWII), JFK (WWII), James Webb (Vietnam), etc not only were paid for fighting but also made it to the highest levels of politics in part due to their military service.

    Anyway, just trying to bring some balance to the original blog post and those who made superficial comments following it.