When Each “Side” sees the Other as “Brainwashed”

When Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was still in Zuccotti Park, I became close friends with a woman named Ashley. She shared a thought-provoking anecdote with me. But first, some context:

Firstly, as some of you may know, there was always a massive police presence surrounding the park at all times. The vibe was mutually confrontational and the NYPD used any pretense to exercise violence upon the occupiers.

Still, some protestors carried signs like this:

I never felt any such solidarity with the mercenaries who were menacing a peaceful and lawful occupation but I understood the point. Even so, when the conversation came up amongst the people I knew in the park, we essentially viewed the rank-and-file cops as cult-like drones — devoid of nuanced thinking and brainwashed by higher-ups to act out brutality upon anyone who challenged their insular worldview.

Well, Ashley told me about a conversation she had with an NYC cop in a completely different setting — but during the time of the occupation. Her cousin was dating a cop who often policed Zuccotti and he was present at a big family dinner. Ashley excitedly talked about OWS and the cop called her naive.

She retorted: “Don’t you believe in freedom of speech and the right to protest?”

The cop replied: “Those people in the park have the right to protest but the truth is that they are brainwashed by a few leaders. I can’t respect a group that is more like a cult.”

“Wait, that’s exactly how we see the cops,” a stunned Ashley replied.

I think about this conversation today because I can now more clearly see that neither Ashley nor the cop was totally wrong. Also, such a dynamic still widely exists today. For example, those who trust the Covid narrative and those who rebel against it mostly view each other as pathetic sheep — unable to activate their faculties for critical thought.

In some ways, yes, both sides are subsumed in varying levels of groupthink. Meanwhile, social media algorithms are actively designed to deepen this divide.

But, as with those who reminded the NYPD that they were indeed part of the vaunted 99%, I know I have WAY more in common with a working-class person who keeps wearing masks and getting boosters than I do with the power brokers behind the Great Reset.

The age-old lesson remains unlearned: As long as we let the Parasite Class™ keep us divided, the best we can hope for is crumbs from their table.

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.