Edmund Stillman "The Holy Terrors of Munster".
I am not sure Edmund Stillman association with the modern totalitarian state is not a prejudice that distorts the lesson we need to learn, but his account of what happened deserves our attention. I see a relationship between what happened in Munster and Occupy.
Anabaptist competed with Lutherans, and eventually became Mennonites and Amish. Something the later faiths might want to deny because they want to distance themselves from what happened at Munster. However, getting back to Occupy, this was not a religious movement, neither was the Russian revolution exactly a religious movement, because the Russian revolution banned religion. What is shared in common is the dying of an old order and beginning of a new order, also the gathering of rootless and discontent people, who want to believe if we lived communally, sharing everything equally, life would be better. These rootless and discontent people reacting against all forms of authority, and reducing their order to anarchy.
As within the walls of Munster, private property of all kinds was made communal property. At Munster monogamony gave way to men having many wives and as conditions deteriorated to no sexual restraints but using sex to make up for all the unmet needs, including the need for food. Today, we seem to be maintain some respect for monogamony, but not gender differences, and not long term faithfulness. Relationships last as long both people feel good. These are not the committed relationships that establish social order. We are living according to our feelings, not according to principles.
Around the city were mercenaries sent to crush the rebellion, and they laid siege on Munster, preventing any supplies from getting in, leading to starvation.
Quote: "At last, in May (1535), when most of the inhabitants had tasted no bread for eight weeks," writes Cohn, "the king agreed that those who wised should leave the town. Even then he cursed the fugitives, promising them that the reward for their infidelity would be everlasting damnation. Their earthly fate was indeed fearful enough. The able bodied men were at once put to the sword; as for the women and old men and children, the Bishop feared- not unreasonably- that if they passed through his lines they would stir up trouble in the rear and accordingly refused to allow them past the blockhouses. These people therefore lingered of for five weeks in the no man's land before the town walls, begging the mercenaries to kill them, crawling about and eating grass like animals and dying in such numbers that the ground was littered with corpses."
Putting able bodied men to the sword, comes from the old testament, to assure loyalty.
Within the city Anabaptist watched from the walls and jeered, acting out the belief so dear to medieval man that the greatest delight of the saved in Paradise was watching the sufferings of the damned in hell. Of course everyone within the city walls, were also starving and the siege ended in them all dying or being killed, and the leaders were hung in cages outside the city wall, where they remained until rather recently.
Occupy Eugene was surrounded by a fence, by city orders. Our story is not as dramatic, but when a man was killed in the camp, and the city counselors felt justified in closing the camp, a news photographer took a picture of the councilors, and they were smiling. I had mixed feelings as we did not get the promised social services, but I was also glad to distance myself from the mayham and human suffering.