The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are grass-roots American movements that arose out of concern about economic decline and anger at government bailouts of the Wall Street banks.

Since their concerns overlap, can they got together?  Probably not.

  • The Tea Partiers’ anger and resentment are directed at people below them on the socioeconomic scale.  Occupy Wall Streeters’ anger and resentment are directed at people above them on the socioeconomic scale.
  • Tea Partiers think the root of our problems are in Washington.  Occupy Wall Streeters thinks the root of our problems are on Wall Street.
  • The Tea Partiers’ theme is that the government does not follow the Constitution as they understand it.  The Occupy Wall Street theme is economic injustice.
  • Some Tea Partiers dress up in Revolutionary War costume.  Some Occupy Wall Streeters wear masks inspired by the movie V for Vendetta, which is about a future revolution.
  • The Tea Partiers are proud of American exceptionalism.  The Occupy Wall Streeters join hands with protest movements around the globe.
  • The average Tea Party member is middle-aged.  The average Occupy Wall Street member is young.
  • Tea Partiers are almost all white (which is NOT to say they are racist).  Occupy Wall Street is a rainbow coalition.
  • The Tea Party is a faction of the Republican Party.  Occupy Wall Streeters include more Democrats than Republicans, but the majority are independents, who strongly oppose both major political parties.
  • The Tea Party has an effective strategy, which is to run support candidates reflecting their views in Republican primary elections.  The Occupy Wall Street movement as yet has no strategy, except to hold rallies and bring together like-minded people.

When the Tea Party first emerged, many Americans looked on it favorably, but recent public opinion polls indicate that only 23 percent of Americans look on it favorably now.  In contrast, some 50 percent of Americans look favorably on the Occupy Wall Street movement at present.  It will be interesting to see how many look favorably on it a year from now.

But I think the majority of Americans are justifiably angry, and they will turn to leaders who understand and express their anger—if not the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street, then someone else.

 For the past few decades, economic conditions have worsened for a majority of Americans, while income and wealth have been redistributed upward to the richest 1 percent (and within that group, the richest 1/10 of 1 percent).  We Americans historically have looked upon a continually rising material standard of living as our birthright.  There is bound to be a revolt, sooner or later.  The only questions are who will lead it and what form it will take.

Click on An open letter and warning from a former Tea Party movement adherent to the Occupy Wall Street movement for thoughts of a disillusioned Tea Party supporter.

Click on Why You Shouldn’t Compare Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party for a Time magazine article.

Click on Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party: Do they agree on anything? for an article by Jacob Weisberg in Slate.

Click on Occupy Wall Street the Left’s Tea Party? Maybe, but… for an article by Robert Reich in the Christian Science Monitor.

[Added 10/28/11]  On the other hand, consider this by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone.

What nobody is comfortable with is a movement in which virtually the entire spectrum of middle class and poor Americans is on the same page, railing against incestuous political and financial corruption on Wall Street and in Washington.  The reality is that Occupy Wall Street and the millions of middle Americans who make up the Tea Party are natural allies and should be on the same page about most of the key issues, and that’s a story our media won’t want to or know how to handle.

Take, for instance, the matter of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks, which people like me and Barry Ritholz have focused on as something that could be a key issue for OWS.  These gigantic institutions have put millions of ordinary people out of their homes thanks to a massive fraud scheme for which they were not punished, owing to their enormous influence with government and their capture of the regulators.

This is an issue for the traditional “left” because it’s a classic instance of overweening corporate power—but it’s an issue for the traditional “right” because these same institutions are also the biggest welfare bums of all time, de facto wards of the state who sucked trillions of dollars of public treasure from the pockets of patriotic taxpayers from coast to coast.

Both traditional constituencies want these companies off the public teat and back swimming on their own in the cruel seas of the free market, where they will inevitably be drowned in their corruption and greed, if they don’t reform immediately.  This is a major implicit complaint of the OWS protests and it should absolutely strike a nerve with Tea Partiers, many of whom were talking about some of the same things when they burst onto the scene a few years ago.

Why Occupy Wall Street Is Bigger Than Left vs. Right for Matt Taibbi’s full article.

I am more sympathetic to Occupy Wall Street than I am to the Tea Party, but I have not participated in either group.  I would be interested in hearing from people who have.  What am I missing?

[Added 11/5/11]  Here’s former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal.

The Tea Party was a middle-class uprising that was only too happy to funnel its energy into the democratic process.  They took their central concerns—spending, taxes and regulation—and followed the prescription of Joe Hill: Don’t mourn, organize.  They did.  They entered politics and helped win elections.  They did the Republicans a big favor by not going third-party but working within the GOP—at least for now.

Occupy Wall Street is completely different.  They mean to gain power and sway by going outside the political system.  They are a critique of the political system.  They went to the streets and stayed there.

They are not funneling their energy into the democratic process because there is no market for what they are selling: Capitalism should be overturned, I am angry that my college loan bills are so big, the government is bad, and the answer is more government.  You can’t win elections in America with that kind of message.  So they will stay in the streets, where they can have an impact by stopping traffic, inconveniencing people going to and coming from work, and appearing to be an amorphous force that must be bowed to.

The difference between the occupiers and the Tea Party is the difference between acting out and taking part.

Click on The GOP Wins by Bruising for her full article.

I think she makes a good point.  The anarchists and radicals who launched the Occupy Wall Street movement acted wisely in standing aside and letting ordinary Americans share their experiences and vent their feelings.  This is an important first step.  But it will take more than marching in the streets and camping in public parks to bring about political change.

The Occupy Wall Street organizers talk about building new institutions alongside the old.  I suppose they mean cooperatives and labor unions.  This is something to be accomplished over generations.  The Occupy Wall Street General Assemblies, which decide things by consensus, are good for certain purposes, but not as political action committees.

[Added 12/2/11]  As I reread my comment above, it seems pompous and patronizing, even to me.  I don’t have any basis for saying what will come out of Occupy Wall Street or what method of organizing is best.

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2 Responses to “The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street”

  1. philebersole Says:

    Note by Phil Ebersole: This is a copy of a comment made by Dave Francis to my post on “Immigration is a moral issue”


    There is vast difference between the ‘OCCUPIER’ demonstrators exhibiting their adversity to American society and capitalism and the growing roots of the TEA PARTY. How the leftists newspapers and extremist activists can acquaint the multitudes of ordinary Americans of Senior Citizens and black, white, Hispanic, Latino, Asian people; the blue and white collar American workers is beyond me. The people who are crowding the pillars of Wall Street, think that the wealthy businessman owe them something? These people strumming their stuff are nothing like the TEA PARTY. Members of the Tea Party carry signs with them and congregate for their demonstrations, but don’t leave after departure a disgusting mess and cause the police to react with tear gas and angry retribution. The Tea Party is not George Soros anarchist, communists and people who hate America; they are Americans who want non-violent change.

    The Tea Party agenda is to reduce the size of government, to earlier days, to reinvent the Tax Code, so nobody escapes paying their fair share; whether corporate giants as General Electric, Google, with exceptions, no options. Each new tax plan highlighted by the potential presidential candidates should be scrutinized such as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9. The legislators should dismantling farm subsidies, sugar and ethanol, oil, energy and thousands financial entities carefully crafted loopholes? Renegotiate fair trade agreements with foreign countries, which are deviously engineering, so we get a fair deal from countries as china. Incidentally why in the world would be giving Communist China free money, when we are paying off part of our 15 Trillion debt to their government? It really is a shame that Donald trump is not running for president, as he stated that he would place at least a import tariff of at least 25 percent on every countries products, that are playing us for stooges; like China.

    Out of this internal mess caused by corruption and downright incompetence, all US government agencies that do not conform to the US Constitution, should be returned to the authorities at the state level. Throughout these last decades we have remained indifferent to the expansion of Washington, but the consequences have become unsatisfactory and a fiscal catastrophe. Our schools and education are a dismal failure, as they have been mismanaged by layers of bureaucrats, at the Department of Education.

    The creation of small and large business cannot get off the ground, as America has developed into a country of out of control rules and regulations. Industrial nation as china can file documentation for a new bridge in a day and approved for the engineers to begin construction the same week. While in America to get any approval can take months, that’s if you’re lucky. An example was my Uncles family where they applied for a permit to lay gas lines, for a new construction project in Lancaster, California. The permits were not approved for 9 months by the city of Lancaster; they spent all this time in bureaucratic limbo, waiting to further advance the housing project. The whole construction project ended up in the hands of the bank, which was overshadowed by the real estate bubble bursting.

    One of our greatest problems that have not been resolved yet is illegal immigration. The financial aspect is main concern that must be severed for good, that most prudent people know is costing over 100 billion dollars a year. This is not a static figure as the more people who illegal trespass here, the more money drained from each tier of government. These outlandish sums of money should be going to our old folks, homeless and sick. This welfare assistance should not be appropriated by government agencies for children of illegal families, under the misinterpretation of the 14th amendment.

    Illegal immigration is no longer an issue that can be ignored, as it has literary shown up as an main contention. It’s a fallacy driven by Democratic and Liberal doctrines that these people are here just to work? Go to any Sanctuary City, such as Los Angeles, California or Nevada and determine your own views of the financial situation in those States, or any other state that has assumed these illegal policies. As I repeated many times—it’s all about copious greed and potential votes in future elections. Neither party is without blame for the ramification of this daily immigration problem. Whether it’s another drunken alien, killing a United States citizen or a person of permanent residency the occurrences are rising. Only the rural press or E-media tends to even bother printing about these terrible incidents, which is carefully concealed by the Liberal progressives.

    Criminal aliens have spread across the country, with their gangs and the poison they have spawned through each state. In good stead, President Obama showed great promise, with extending ICE’S authority with a commitment to end the mayhem, but that has slowed under his current directive of Obama and the reticent leftists in the Department of IN-Justice allow these less criminal blemished persons to remain on the streets. To the TEA PARTY all people who unlawfully jump the fence or arrive by airline are criminals. Everybody should be tracked and then deported or leave by their own act. The Tea Party recognizes no path to citizenship, amnesty or immigration reform or the small covert arrangements each year, importing undeserved visa holders that big companies have exploited as cheap inferior labor.

    Perhaps our last chance to close the door on the unwanted poor of other countries is Lamar Smith’s ‘LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT. Bill H.R. 2885 has the empowerment to stop illegal aliens claiming the work of the 24 million American jobless. Legally known as E-Verify it is a strong tool, to disrupt foreigners from seeking work, since they cannot pass the verification barrier that I-9 audits have emplaced. New versions of E-Verify can detect fraudulent documentation, specifically with the assistance of the approval from State Departments of Motor Vehicles nationwide.

    If you want to fax for fee go to NumbersUSA or please call your House Representative at the Congressional Switchboard.202-224-3121

    Before the new session of Congress we need the assistance of patriotic Americans to harass, their Federal and State legislative Ways and Means Committee lead by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to get his fellow House Representatives their reluctant backsides and sponsor Bill H.R. 2885.

    Remember Congress is filled with distended corruption, whose measure of responsibility only is influenced by the wealthy donors and their special interest lobbyists. Unless full sponsorship of Bill 2885 gets to the house floor, there is little chance of success. You can learn more about the ‘Legal Workforce Act’ at the NumbersUSA website.

    America should invest in its people and stop discovering new ways to subsidize foreign wars, foreign governments and make our own sovereign nation less resilient as it once was. We have judges who don’t comply with the letter of the law and interpret their Liberal ideology from the bench. We have been invaded over at least four administrations by extraordinary amounts of poverty, that our country is expected to absorb, that taxpayers are expected to be the benefactor. E-Verify will totally slow the magnitudes who come here, with their palms open. These are ECONOMIC PEOPLE well aware of America’s entitlement programs. They are not the 19th century poor, that were viewed the Statue of Liberty for the first time and expected nothing upon arrival on Ellis Island.

    These new illegal aliens know before arriving here how to work the system. Family and friends are well acquainted how to get their fingers in the taxpayers pies. Supervisor Mike Antonovich stated: “The argument that illegal’s foreigners contribute more than they receive in government services is nonsense Illegal immigration has had a catastrophic economic impact on Los Angeles County Our bankrupt health care delivery system has become an HMO for the world and criminal illegal aliens are overwhelming our criminal justice system.” Nearly 100,000 children of 60,000 undocumented parents receive aid every year. Antonovich released new statistics for 2011 showing social spending for those families in his county rose to $53 million in November, putting the county government on track to spend more than $600 million on related costs for the year — up from $570 million in 2009. Combined with public safety costs and health care costs, the City Supervisor claimed the “total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers” was more than $1.6 billion in 2010. How can taxpayers be so deluded by Democratic Governors, Mayors and officials who are parting these dollars, they should be going to our senior citizens. Many programs have been cut back in Los Angeles, but taxpayers are subsidizing foreign aliens; old people are principally hard hit. “Not including the hundreds of millions of dollars for education,” Undoubtedly this is a astronomical problem from the East to West coast, hat Congress prefers to leave alone, except for a few Stewart lawmakers. The TEA PARTY has a strong commitment to transform this country from a debtor nation, to once again a creditor nation that must start with the illegal alien occupation.

    Remember Illegal aliens have voted in previous elections and overlooked. The Tea Party will be manning the election precincts and investigating forged registrations and irregular absentee ballots in 2012.

    NO copyright, ever. Distribute to all of AMERICA.


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