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Hey! we have a common cause
October 23, 2011 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Though seemingly worlds apart, the Occupy folks and the Tea party people find they have shared concerns The far Right and the far Left might just discover that they have reason to band together and expand their demands for some basic changes in the way things are done in our country.
posted by Postroad (110 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course they have shared concerns. The thing keeping them apart is that Fox News loves one and hates the other. And why shouldn't they love it, they basically started it!
posted by JHarris at 1:57 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Lawrence Lessig has the same idea:

When asked by someone in the crowd if he thinks it's really possible for the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers to work together, given all the differences — cultural and political — between them, Lessig said he thinks cooperation is possible so long as the Occupy protesters are willing to look toward their and the Tea Party's mutual goals: the divorce of undue corporate influence from the political system and giving ordinary Americans a voice in politics.

The open question is: Can the Tea Party divorce itself from dollars and airtime from FOX News and Koch to make this happen? That's a pretty big If.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:59 PM on October 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Coalitions to be Feared from Time Kreider's The Pain - When Will It End?
posted by munchingzombie at 2:00 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Most of the tea partyists that aren't bought and paid for or who aren't actually rich folks who want to use the tea party movement are just as fed up with money in politics as any of the OWS people. The problem is that most tea partyist fellow travelers who claim to be tea partyists don't actually care about that. They only "support" the tea party because of their stance on taxation.
posted by wierdo at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Astroturf and grass are both green-- how amazing!
posted by jamjam at 2:10 PM on October 23, 2011 [60 favorites]


Welp, if you were looking for a thing that's going to erode the casual support of the people on both sidelines, we've found it for you.
posted by penduluum at 2:11 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lessig said he thinks cooperation is possible so long as the Occupy protesters are willing to look toward their and the Tea Party's mutual goals: the divorce of undue corporate influence from the political system and giving ordinary Americans a voice in politics.


So, it is required that the OWS folks do all the work?
posted by edgeways at 2:11 PM on October 23, 2011 [31 favorites]


Of course they have shared concerns. The thing keeping them apart is that Fox News loves one and hates the other.

You could replace Fox News with NYT and the point would be just as valid.
posted by gyc at 2:17 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


No spokesperson for any so-called tea party mobilization is willing to admit that there's even an iota of commonality between themselves and OWSers, whom they spend most of the time (that is, the time that they aren't already spending on trying to revive their lost moment in the sun) bashing as dirty, unsanitary, lazy hippies bent on world destruction.
posted by blucevalo at 2:18 PM on October 23, 2011


I liked that article, Postroad. Thanks. I also liked this onethis op ed in the Washington Post by a historian; it discusses this with some reflection on historical precedent.
posted by koeselitz at 2:19 PM on October 23, 2011


this one
posted by koeselitz at 2:20 PM on October 23, 2011


I keep seeing this "commonality" argument, and I have to say I think it's a bunch of hogwash.

There are two TOTALLY different endgames envisioned here. The area where the aims of OWS and the aims of the Tea Party overlap are so small as to be insignficant.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:24 PM on October 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Hm. When I try to read the third page of this I get blocked by a "Please register". That's fairly irritating.
posted by DRMacIver at 2:25 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I think it's possible, if volatile. And I also think it is ultimately necessary. Economic interests must be determinative in the last instance, to paraphrase someone or other (and no I won't bring Gramsci up again in an OWS thread I promise), but the fog of culture war has to lift at some point in the US for there to be any hope of reversing the accelerating downward slide that comes from endless inaction.

A hell of a lot of blue collar middle Americans, for lack of a better stereotype, identify at some level with the tea party, or did at some point. Things have gotten much more evidently scary for many of those folks since those halcyon days of 2009-10. Their movement, such as it was and to the extent it had grass roots support (and come on, it did, or the house would not be the obstacle to any progress it has become) has obviously been co-opted. The house's nay-saying ways are evidence enough of that.

Hardhats and hippies. It could happen. What we need is a little Willie Nelson action.
posted by spitbull at 2:26 PM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


They have the same concerns. The problem is that they deeply disagree about the solution.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:29 PM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


2001...

Republicans: These terrorist attacks are an outrage!
Everyone else: You're damn right! We've got to take action against Al Qaeda!
Republicans: Let's invade Iraq!
Everyone else: Yeah! ... wait, what?

2008...

Republicans: This financial meltdown is an outrage!
Everyone else: You're damn right! We've got to take action against unchecked corporate greed!
Republicans: Let's remove all government regulations!
Everyone else: Yeah! ... wait, what?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:30 PM on October 23, 2011 [172 favorites]


You could replace Fox News with NYT and the point would be just as valid.

OWS gets grief from the NYT and NPR (and other so-called "left" media outlets) for being an unkempt, disorganized bunch of hippies (recent example). They don't really get the same love that TPers get from FOX News.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:33 PM on October 23, 2011 [23 favorites]


spitbull: "Hardhats and hippies. It could happen. What we need is a little Willie Nelson action."

Willy just wrote a poem to Occupy.
posted by octothorpe at 2:33 PM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


They both started opposite sides of the same coin, ideologically. TP quickly morphed into becoming a hippie punching movement, unofficial wing of the GOP, the demographic that represents the GOP id, and must not crossed.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:35 PM on October 23, 2011


"OWS = Tea Party" is one of the memes being spread to discredit OWS. So I was not surprised to see it appear in the Washington Post.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:35 PM on October 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


The area where the aims of OWS and the aims of the Tea Party overlap are so small as to be insignficant.

It depends on how you define the tea party. If you forget about the leadership, the actual rank and file aren't nearly as doctrinaire (that goes for OWS, too). Populism is populism is populism.
posted by empath at 2:36 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


OWS is "the far Left"?
posted by anthill at 2:37 PM on October 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


"OWS = Tea Party" is one of the memes being spread to discredit OWS.

OWS = Tea Party should scare the shit out of the powers that be. I don't think either party would benefit particularly by encouraging it.
posted by empath at 2:37 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


are just as fed up with money in politics as any of the OWS people

Are they? It seems to me that they're fed up with any politics/government involvement in money/business, rather than the other way around.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but the gestalt of the Tea Party suggests that most of it would believe there isn't anything wrong you can do with *your* money, including funneling as much as you'd like into supporting whichever candidate you please.
posted by weston at 2:38 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


You could replace Fox News with NYT and the point would be just as valid.

It really wouldn't. The Right likes to say the NYT is the equivalent of Fox, but regardless of whether that's general true, it just plain isn't in this case.

The Times basically ignored the early movement, and then when it did report on it the articles were extremely condescending, basically portraying them as a bunch of aimless hippies. There was a lot of controversy about that at the time.

On the other hand, Fox from the beginning ate up the Tea Party stuff and promoted it as a grass-roots movement of "Real Americans".

They're just not equivalent at all here.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:39 PM on October 23, 2011 [30 favorites]


Here's another example of the NYTimes being critical of the OWS, in a way that FOX News would never be of the Tea Party. Again, any kind of common ground between the two populist movements would come about only when the Tea Party organization severs its troubling affiliation with the conservative and corporate machinery that sponsors it, and that seems very unlikely.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


1708...

Republicans: This combustion is an outrage!
Everyone else: You're damn right! We've got to take action to prevent the further oxidization of our precious forests!
Republicans: Let's remove all the Phlogiston!
Everyone else: Yeah! ... wait, what?
posted by Seiten Taisei at 2:50 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fox News sponsored the Tea Party. Is the NYT sponsoring OWS? If not, take your false equivalences elsewhere, please.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2011 [30 favorites]


OWS has nothing in common with the Tea Party beyond both being correct that the country's current course is insane. The Tea Party is diametrically opposed to what people who are OWS want though and vice versa.

Every single time someone says let's end the culture wars, that is a person who is (currently) losing the culture wars. The gap between conservative and progressive thought on culture, what it is, means, and should be, is not and never has been anything but a near bottomless chasm strewn with the wreckage of every single bridge attempted across, cut from both ends. We are fighting the same battles we have fought since the dawn of time, and will continue to fight until the last two humans die.

If your vision of tomorrow involves the end of the culture wars then it is a mirage.
posted by Peztopiary at 2:55 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fox News did indeed sponsor the Tea Party. They gave out lists of Tea Party gatherings, and websites to visit for more information, during news shows. Not opinion shows, news shows, with an anchor taking a break from the top stories to promote specific political rallies. They have not done with this OWS, and nor has anyone else, because OWS doesn't benefit any major corporations.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:59 PM on October 23, 2011 [27 favorites]


Though seemingly worlds apart, the Occupy folks and the Tea party people find they have shared concerns

Of course they have shared concerns. That doesn't mean they have shared solutions though. Both groups want the government to be changed or thrown out, in some form or fashion. The problem is what they want to replace it with

At best, they'll join forces for an issue or two, but make no mistake, they're enemies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:01 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


You could replace Fox News with NYT and the point would be just as valid.

This is delusional.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2011 [26 favorites]


At best, they'll join forces for an issue or two, but make no mistake, they're enemies.

And of course what lies between is the other 99% of the country.
posted by jonmc at 3:04 PM on October 23, 2011


The thing that struck about the Tea Party fellow is that his family had an ethic of "well, we don't get rich, but we make our own way". I think that's the crux of the disagreement.

I'd argue (and I think most OWS people would agree) that there was tons of governmental investment and social organized action that lead to him having the job, the hours, and the salary rate that he did. Sure, he worked hard at it, and earned it, but it wasn't completely on his own.

I don't see how the two camps paper over this difference.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Surely these groups can find common cause?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:10 PM on October 23, 2011 [37 favorites]


The same way the Muslim Brotherhood and secular liberals in Egypt did. You agree the system is broken and needs to come down. And that it's so bad that it literally cannot get worse, no matter who wins in the aftermath.
posted by empath at 3:11 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She went on Google Plus to debate the Occupiers, “and they started saying things that clicked with me,” she said. “This was deja vu with how I got into the tea party.”

My impression of the Tea Party has always been that it is a vehicle that the right-wing moneyed interests created to get out in front of the eventual Occupy Wall Streeters. Those attracted to the TP were the naïfs unfamiliar with how things worked, but plenty pissed off that the government had bailed the bad guys out. The AstroTurfers swooped in to tell them it was the big bad liberal government that was to blame and they swallowed it. Now they are hearing a different story told by knowledgeable people who are actually taking the time to demonstrate without the support of corporate money, buses, and advertising, and, I hope, it is resonating anew.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:11 PM on October 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


Surely these groups can find common cause?

That's just nut-picking. It's possible to pick off tea-party supporters, even if you don't get the hardest of the hard-core.
posted by empath at 3:13 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


You could replace Fox News with NYT and the point would be just as valid.

You obviously are utterly unaware of the coverage OWS in the Times and the other "liberal" media.
Oh, and you better get some ice on that forehead. It's starting to swell bad, after that wicked knee jerk.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:13 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's not hard to find commonalities -- the economy is fucked up, and the government doesn't seem to be doing anything/the correct things to fix the problem. People are losing their jobs, losing hope, losing their homes. Everything is getting shittier. It does not take a really perceptive mind to see that, and it's happening everywhere. So the Tea Party and OWS agree, to some degree that this is true. Their suggestions for how to fix this (as decentralized as they are), however, seem pretty far afield to me...
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:15 PM on October 23, 2011


1.
OWS: "Our government has been hijacked to serve corporate profit while millions are without healthcare and losing homes and jobs"

Mainstream media: "They clearly have no message"

2.
Tea Party: "OMG black man in white house black man in white house! Our negros government has gotten too much power. We need to take our plantations country back!"

Mainstream media: "The Tea Party is concerned about government abuse of power and how money is being spent.

I'm guessing the commonality is that both of their real messages are dangerous, the question of course, is to whom.
posted by yeloson at 3:15 PM on October 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


2001...

Republicans: These terrorist attacks are an outrage!
Everyone else: You're damn right! We've got to take action against Al Qaeda!
Republicans: Let's invade Iraq!
Everyone else: Yeah! ... wait, what?

2008...

Republicans: This financial meltdown is an outrage!
Everyone else: You're damn right! We've got to take action against unchecked corporate greed!
Republicans: Let's remove all government regulations!
Everyone else: Yeah! ... wait, what?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94



Now, see, this is yet another textbook example of why I should be allowed to favorite a comment at least twelve times.
posted by darkstar at 3:22 PM on October 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm just going to say this: we're at a point where there's a chance for genuine cooperation between opposite ends of the political spectrum, and for it to happen at a grass roots level independent of, and contrary to the interests of, the major parties. If your only reaction is "HURF DURF ASTROTURF REDNECKS", I'm going to go ahead and say that you're part of the problem.
posted by auto-correct at 3:29 PM on October 23, 2011 [29 favorites]


That isn't the only reaction though. What will happen is the sane Tea Party people (assuming any exist) will join OWS. They won't be TP any more though, because the national organization is going to be against the OWS people and the TP groups are hierarchical enough that the leaders being against OWS will keep the rank and file in line. So the entire premise of "OWS and the TP have stuff in common, OMG guys they can be besties!" is worthless.
posted by Peztopiary at 3:39 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What would normally happen in a multi-party system is that a new party would be founded that shared the common values of the tea party and OWS people and focused entirely on those. Power would be created and things would change. They could call it the "Tea Street".

Instead the old Republican and Democratic parties are supposed to change course because some people disagree with them? That's not going to work.
posted by niccolo at 4:04 PM on October 23, 2011


What would normally happen in a multi-party system is that a new party would be founded that shared the common values of the tea party and OWS people and focused entirely on those. Power would be created and things would change. They could call it the "Tea Street".

So, this new party? would it vote on gay marriage? Abortion rights? military actions? or any of a dozen other things that currently fracture the idiotic American public? Because once it does the party would splinter and be no more
posted by edgeways at 4:18 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Tea Party doesn't have anything other than short sighted self interest in mind.
Notice how the world didn't join in on Tea Party protests like they have with OWS.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:26 PM on October 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


One has a vision it works for, one has vision it dreams about. I think I know which will succed.
posted by Mblue at 4:29 PM on October 23, 2011


It's interesting to see people squirm about this entirely reasonable equivocation. You realize that on right-leaning blogs, OWS is being called astroturf, media-endorsed, and so forth?
posted by shii at 5:04 PM on October 23, 2011


I know there's nuance here, but nonetheless if these two groups can find one thing they agree on, I am pretty sure I will be adamantly opposed to it.
posted by zvs at 5:06 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


If your only reaction is "HURF DURF ASTROTURF REDNECKS", I'm going to go ahead and say that you're part of the problem.

No, I don't think so, not this time. If the moments merged, they'd just split themselves apart again. The Tea Party has other items on their agenda than reining in corporations, including lowering taxes, reducing taxes and eliminating taxes. The OWS guys are saying nothing about that.

It's interesting to see people squirm about this entirely reasonable equivocation. You realize that on right-leaning blogs, OWS is being called astroturf, media-endorsed, and so forth?

A popular tactic on the right is to stand away from something they don't like, point, and accuse it of doing exactly what they've done in the recent past. Go on then, who is sponsoring them? (Adbusters? HA.) As for media endorsements, have you read this thread? That observation has been obliterated multiple times now.
posted by JHarris at 5:27 PM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


You realize that on right-leaning blogs, OWS is being called astroturf, media-endorsed, and so forth?

On right-leaning blogs, Obama was called a Kenyan Secret Muslim, too. Right-leaning blogs and reality are not bosom friends.
posted by smoke at 5:43 PM on October 23, 2011 [31 favorites]


Surely these groups can find common cause?

This is what I was talking about above. You're willfully taking the best of OWS and comparing it to the worst of the Tea Party. I'm not saying that OWS equivalent to the Tea Party at all. Just that maybe it would be nice to accept the fact that there exist people in the right wing who share a lot of our concerns about the financial sector and it might be a good idea to engage them instead of insulting them.
posted by auto-correct at 5:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The reality is that the number of people in this country who care about political philosophy is tiny. No one really cares how they get their stuff, whether it’s thanks to the government or private enterprise. No one chooses the Post Office over FedEx for ideological reasons. Everyone does what they need to do to get the job done. But the only people I know who really feel like they have a political party fighting on their behalf are rich people who care about nothing other than tax cuts and poor people who live off of government services. Everyone else feels totally lost, or totally screwed, and the flavor of their arguments reflect nothing other than where they live and who their friends are.

The cultural differences between the Tea Party and OWS would melt away if both groups were well served by a political party that was capable of promoting the interests of, and expanding the size of, the middle class. In other words, what both the Tea Partiers and OWS need is an effective Democratic Party. Unfortunately the Democratic Party is absolutely awful.

There may be a few effective Democratic politicians. And there are tons of wonderful Democratic supporters and volunteers. But the Party itself simply fails, over and over again, to even define its goals, let alone achieve them. The only reason it receives any support at all is because some people rely on it for survival, and for everyone else the alternative is a religious organization run by used car salesmen. Revive the Democratic party, make it ruthless in its pursuit of middle class constituents and their interests, and both the Tea Party and OWS become redundant.
posted by ivanosky at 5:57 PM on October 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Tea Party, Tea Baggers- Occupy Wall Street - Only Want Something.... whatevere each side calls it.... the reason this can be done IS we are in America. It's funny to see comments that Fox funds Tea partiers and NTY funds OWS. Do a good ol Lexus Nexis of the media stats and you can see WHO dedicates the most coverage. AND neither FOX nor NYT cares who is who, they just care it GETS VIEWERS AND READERS. So, they will shift if they find out something controversial like "LaToya gave Michael his sleeping milk?" Media is Media and no matter the media, its a business of whores and whores need customers.
posted by Tech Historian at 6:29 PM on October 23, 2011


The main stream media and the political (corporate) establishment relies on the simple "left-right" dichotomy to keep us fighting while the oligarchs rob us blind. Some media personalities are too simple minded to think beyond the left-right dichotomy. For others, a different way of thinking that lies off of our one-dimensional political discourse is a threat to their very existence. I sincerely hope these two movements can merge and fight the common enemy, which is the corporate takeover of our government. If they don't merge, this country may be permanently ripped apart.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:50 PM on October 23, 2011


This article didn't rise much above something I'd expect to find in a People magazine.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:01 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There may be a few effective Democratic politicians. And there are tons of wonderful Democratic supporters and volunteers. But the Party itself simply fails, over and over again, to even define its goals, let alone achieve them.

I think it might do well to assume the Democratic Party has as much tension between its corporate funding and progressive "goals" as the Republicans do between their corporate funding and socially conservative "goals" - it might explain why pursuit of those "goals" in both cases become philosophically convoluted and legislatively fumbled or ignored over and over

Are the Democrats really the party of the middle class, or just the socially liberal? They don't get much of fuck all done or said in the economic interests of the common man these days

And to hear someone like Elizabeth Warren or Alan Grayson describe the problems and unfairness in American society simple, powerful words that anyone can understand, it kinda makes you wonder why all the other elected Democrats find that the gross inequalities and unfairness in our society and the corrosive, corrupting influence of corporate wealth are just very, very hard to do or say or whisper anything about, ever
posted by crayz at 7:26 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


They're both populist movements composed of people with grievances who feel betrayed by the established power structure. Of course they're similar. I think it's truly remarkable that neither group is antisemitic; this would have been inconceivable a hundred years ago, and would still be inconceivable in much of the rest of the world.

And yes, that word means what I think it means.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:35 PM on October 23, 2011


#occupyteaparty #OTP

You can have that for free.
posted by univac at 7:39 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's truly remarkable that neither group is antisemitic

The tea party, or at least purported members of it, have been plenty anti-Semitic, as well as more generally racist.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:46 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


#Occupy: Beyond Left vs. Right:
Schwingel, 53, a neatly dressed copywriter and father of two, made it clear that he doesn’t like labels. Nonetheless, he identifies as a pro-life Christian conservative. He’s been a Republican most of his life, though now he leans toward libertarianism.

...At the “Occupy Gainesville” general assemblies, Schwingel made friends with atheists and socialists. “We all shared a common cause — social, economic, and environmental justice,” he said. “It may never be reached 100 percent, but a peaceful dialogue will help us get there.”
posted by overglow at 7:48 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


The tea party, or at least purported members of it, have been plenty anti-Semitic, as well as more generally racist.


In case you didn't catch it, OWS members have been plenty anti-Semitic too.
posted by shii at 7:51 PM on October 23, 2011


Trying to identify one group with another is, in this case, just a way to make it easier to dismiss them both - they're nothing alike at all. Not even close.

The Tea Party is backed by religious fervor - they have a twisted sort of religious justification for every thing they want ("twisted" because lying, cheating and stealing are okay, but homosexuality and abortion are no-no's) - the OWS movement has no religious angle at all. Most OWS protestors would sneer at the Tea Party's hypocrisy - but the OWS movement as a whole doesn't support NOR reject religion of any kind.

Completely ignoring the religiosity when comparing the two instantly identifies the ones blurring the two together as having a clear agenda all their own, and only one agenda would cover both - the elimination of both the OWS and the Tea Party.

Everyone is fed up with the way things are going; that doesn't make them a member, or even an "almost" member, of either group.

This is just a cheap trick, undertaken because the OWS movement is getting stronger every day; that makes those with an interest in maintaining the status quo very nervous indeed. As well it should.

I support the OWS movement completely.
posted by aryma at 7:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was having a discussion about OWS and tea party commonalities on G+ the other day and someone mentioned that the Tea Party had been hijacked by the Republicans. I found this notion somewhat startling since I'd been used to thinking it was the other way around.
posted by Loudmax at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2011


In case you didn't catch it, OWS members have been plenty anti-Semitic too.

Well, that's sad. I'm hoping as the movement matures and clarifies their issues (if they manage to do so), that the crazypants tinfoil hat brigade will be edged out. This, of course, is highly unlikely. No one has more staying power than the tinfoil hat crew.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2011


aryma: The Tea Party is backed by religious fervor - they have a twisted sort of religious justification for every thing they want

Let's see...going to Wikipedia first, I see mentioned "reduced government spending", "opposition to taxes", "reduced national debt", "adherence to originalist interpretation of the Constitution". I don't see any wacky ideas that can only be derived from religious motivation. But that's Wikipedia.

Let's go to the Tea Party Patriots site. They list the core values of "fiscal responsibility", "Constitutionally limited government", and "free markets". Again, nothing wacky here. Except that as an organization, they support members acting on their own beliefs concerning "social issues".

Seems like you're missing the forest for a couple of trees. I guess it would be ok for people outside the OWS movement to classify everyone in the movement based on the most extreme fringe elements?

His thoughts were red thoughts: This, of course, is highly unlikely. No one has more staying power than the tinfoil hat crew.

If you can admit that the nut-jobs in OWS can generate bad press and admit it's hard to get rid of them, why so quick with the "Tea Party = racists" stuff? Does OWS get some free pass for attracting the kooks, while the Tea Party must be held to a higher standard?
posted by timfinnie at 8:13 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It depends which Tea Party you're talking about. I've met Ron Paul supporters who have the same opinion as myself about the Koch-sposord astroturf campaign. We disagree on a lot of things, but there's some common ground. With actual Tea Party candidates, on the other hand, I have nothing to say.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 8:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crashing the Tea Party: "Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek 'deeply religious' elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government."
posted by homunculus at 8:33 PM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fully three-quarters (75%) of those who identify with the Tea Party movement describe themselves as “a Christian conservative.”

Tea Party Overwhelmingly Christian And Socially Conservative. 81% identify as Christian, and nearly half (47%) say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement.
posted by mek at 8:33 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does OWS get some free pass for attracting the kooks, while the Tea Party must be held to a higher standard?

No. But a recent study reports that "In addition to conservatism, however, both racial resentment and dislike for Barack Obama had significant effects on support for the Tea Party. These two variables had much stronger effects than party identification."

Another survey of Tea Party members found that:

63 percent believes that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against minority groups.
66 percent believes that the values of Islam are at odds with American values.
54 percent believes that American Muslims are trying to establish Sharia law in the U.S.
56 percent believes that newcomers from other countries threaten traditional American customs and values.

Those aren't "isolated kooks." They're the base of the movement.
posted by mcmile at 8:34 PM on October 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


What I Learned in Two Years at the Tea Party: "Two years of Tea Party functions later, and I finally know what the Tea Party wants: A Christian nation."
posted by homunculus at 8:41 PM on October 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


I wrote this out to get clear in my own head why OWS is a bit socialist and a bit anarchist and why that's not a bad thing.

---

I thought there was a danger that OWS would start to get derailed by ideological infighting but the thing that makes me fairly optimistic that this won't happen is the General Assembly.

The General Assembly is the process of decision making and agenda setting that OWS has been using from the very start to make the occupation more of a demonstration than a protest. They are demonstrating how you get things done using anarcho-socialist principles. There is a skill in bringing strangers together and finding common causes and then using consensus to build solidarity. From all accounts it is a tedious and time consuming process and yet I think the results so far are good.

However I can see Libertarians being put off by the way OWS is self-organised in a Socialist fashion, but what I would like Libertarians to consider is that there really is no other way to do it when you consider the situation that is being faced.

How would you organise a bunch of strangers on public land, with no power, no voice, no media, no representation and grow that group while instilling and maintaining an essential and yet very strict self-discipline that in a lot of ways requires an abdication of certain freedoms. Make no mistake about it, people at OWS are not FREE to do whatever the hell they want. There are rules to keep the camp in order and if you go around breaking them, or antagonising the cops at the wrong time or trying to start a riot, the collective will smack you down because their success depends just as much on you as it does on them conforming to the requirements of the moment.

I put it to you that abdicating freedoms and conforming is not something Libertarians are very good at and yet it has been neccessary to operate the occupation with this type of social discipline, because a riot would shut the whole thing down before it has even started.

This is why it is socialist anarchists who are running the first attempted occupation of wall street. Their system is the right system for the job at hand.

I'm sure Libertarians could undertake some action that is suited to their methods of organisation. If the first OWS fails then maybe Libertarians will get their turn to occupy wall street, in their own way.

I do not know what form that would take.
posted by vicx at 9:07 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


mcmile: Those aren't "isolated kooks." They're the base of the movement.

Don't hand me cherry-picked data on MJ (used by a writer with a clear anti-Tea Party stance) to support some difference in "correctness" of beliefs. Here's the full report (big PDF). Whatever X comes after "pro-X" for you, there's not a lot to be proud of in that document.

I went to the "survey" (again, NOT the survey) first. I'm not even bothering with the "study".

But that only detracts. I ask a question, and I get a "No. But..." as if "they do something that's worse than what we do" is an acceptable viewpoint.

You also seem to come at it from the approach that what the Tea Party supporters think is actually wrong, in whatever sense you want to take "wrong".

I can't even put my thoughts into effective words on how backwards this whole Tea Party vs OWS issue is. In the long run, though, I think a solution will be found to the disagreements. It may be silencing one side completely or sucking up all the hoity-toity airs people want to put on and just compromising.

In the short run, it comes down to this: both groups seem to have strong support but it won't matter as long as the "debate" is initiated on either side that theirs can be the only correct position. It ceases to be debate and just becomes dismissals, denials, and useless rhetoric.
posted by timfinnie at 9:13 PM on October 23, 2011


If you can admit that the nut-jobs in OWS can generate bad press and admit it's hard to get rid of them, why so quick with the "Tea Party = racists" stuff?

The Tea Party have been around for, comparatively, a long time. They've had the time to work out their message, what they stand for, and their membership. Their candidates for political office say and do racist things. There is also a reasonable amount of documentation on their attitudes and actions, such as the NAACP/Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights report, Tea Party Nationalism, that I previously linked to. Accordingly, I feel like I've seen enough evidence to draw a conclusion as to whether they, as a movement, are racist.

OWS has been around, what, five weeks? I doubt they themselves have worked out what they are really about.

tl;dr, I'm reserving judgement on whether OWS is racist, or has racist elements. But, in my experience, whenever there is a protest of any sort, there are always a few nutters with their own agendas that have nothing to do with the core purpose of the protest.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:26 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The tea party, or at least purported members of it, have been plenty anti-Semitic ...

I don't dispute that there are antisemites who are members of the Tea Party (and, apparently, OWS). None the less, it's not an antisemitic movement as such. It doesn't have a policy of preventing Jewish involvement in public life; it doesn't obsess over whether particular ideas are "Jewish" in nature; it doesn't postulate a Jewish conspiracy as the cause of the nation's ills.

I emphasise that this is a remarkable thing. To the best of my knowledge it is unprecedented in recent history. Jews were heretofore the standard whipping-boy for populist movements. It wasn't even a question: if you were a populist it meant that you stood up to the Jewish conspiracy (whatever that meant to your audience). It didn't even matter if there were no Jews around - I've seen pictures of Gaddafi defaced with magen-davids even though there is not a single Jew in Libya! But in the USA, despite the fact that there are many Jews in political office, despite the fact that there are many Jewish bankers, neither populist movement uses the traditional and demonstrably-successful tactic of blaming the Jews. You guys should be very proud.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:47 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Don't hand me cherry-picked data on MJ (used by a writer with a clear anti-Tea Party stance) to support some difference in "correctness" of beliefs.

Not cherry-picked. The MJ article cuts-and-pastes a figure straight out of the larger piece you just implied was good.

I'm not even bothering with the "study".

It's not a "study." It's a study, without scare quotes, based on a supplemental 2010 ANES survey. It's a quite straightforward study, too.

You can pull the data yourself from electionstudies.org and run your own model if you think Abramowitz got it wrong. The data is free, and its codebook is online. You can analyze the data in R, which is free.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:13 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


RU_Xenophobe:

I put them in "scare quotes" because the post actually said the words 'study' and 'survey', but did not link to either actual source. Just to MJ. I tracked down one on my own. I was not willing to do so for both.

It's a stupid tactic to use a derivative of an actual scientific piece to support an argument, when the derivative is not scientific or balanced.

And I don't think you understand what "cherry-picked" means (The MJ article cuts-and-pastes a figure).
posted by timfinnie at 11:24 PM on October 23, 2011


when the derivative is not scientific or balanced

You've offered no analysis of said study that backs up your assertion that it is invalid. In lieu of this analysis, please furnish your credentials, which might help explain why someone should take your claim seriously and investigate more deeply. Thank you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 PM on October 23, 2011


You guys should be very proud.

Meh. Our Tea Party traded Jews and bankers, for Muslims and the caliphate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


And I don't think you understand what "cherry-picked" means

I'm pretty sure he does. Like vrilly sure.
posted by Wolof at 11:41 PM on October 23, 2011


Blazecock Pileon:

I'm not analyzing the actual results. I'm criticizing the use of very selective data in order to paint a negative picture of one group.

Let's take the study I linked to... There are no hard data points. Without actual access to the collection records, compilation, and adjustment algorithms used, it's hard to say anything of value. However, the data was adjusted for multiple factors, as stated in the methodology section, but none of those sources seem to adjust for political views (is one affiliation more represented in the sample than another?). Not having hard data points isn't really an issue, so long as the methodology is sound...however, in this case it isn't apparent how they adjusted for "Tea Party" vs "Democrats". Or "Fox News" vs "CNN". I see no mention of adjustment for these populations.

And I don't need to provide you with some magical credentials that enable me to be skeptical of a poor presentation where it is apparent that the poor presentation was thoughtfully and willfully concocted.
posted by timfinnie at 11:56 PM on October 23, 2011


timfinnie, plenty of people have presented evidence that self-identiified members of the Tea Party are also, by a significant majority, Christian conservatives. If you want to dispute that fact, either put up or shut up. Attacking the messenger will only take you so far.
posted by mek at 12:38 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's see...going to Wikipedia first, I see mentioned ..., "opposition to taxes", ..., "adherence to originalist interpretation of the Constitution". I don't see any wacky ideas that can only be derived from religious motivation. But that's Wikipedia.

So you don't see the idea that there should be no taxes at all as something wacky? And you don't see the idea that the Founding Fathers got everything right in 1776 including the three fifths compromise and society hasn't changed over time requring a document that had room in it to be updated being updated to be wacky?
posted by Francis at 12:54 AM on October 24, 2011


Re: OWS and racism

First, when your source to this story is reporters from GBTV (which stands for Glenn Beck TV), I remain skeptical.

Also, the anti-semitism angle is being pushed very hard on Fox News. This also increases my skepticism.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:30 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


timfinnie: Let's take the study I linked to... There are no hard data points. Without actual access to the collection records, compilation, and adjustment algorithms used, it's hard to say anything of value.

Oh, and maybe I'm a brain in a jar too! Maybe nothing is real, man!

And I don't need to provide you with some magical credentials that enable me to be skeptical of a poor presentation where it is apparent that the poor presentation was thoughtfully and willfully concocted.

It isn't hard for an expert to tell that you don't have knowledge in this area when you say things like "Not having hard data points isn't really an issue, so long as the methodology is sound" and 'it isn't apparent how they adjusted for "Tea Party" vs "Democrats". Or "Fox News" vs "CNN".' 'Credentials' aren't the issue here. You're throwing around terms like 'hard data point' and 'adjustment for populations' as if you know something about statistical methodology. It isn't even clear what your point is. You picked up some vague ideas somewhere, and you're using them to be a 'skeptic'.

Don't do that. It's kind of like trying to use theoretical physics to show why climate change is bunk, and you keep talking about "particle-make-faster-thingies".
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:58 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Saturday, two sisters were called Niggers by two of the volunteers at Occupy Philadelphia at the cell-phone charging stations. They were also told to go back to Africa, and that each white man should own a slave."
posted by shii at 4:23 AM on October 24, 2011


I put them in "scare quotes" because the post actually said the words 'study' and 'survey', but did not link to either actual source. Just to MJ. I tracked down one on my own. I was not willing to do so for both.

Tracked them down? The MJ articles linked directly to them, for God's sake. That's good tracking there, Lou.

Let's take the study I linked to...

Okay...

There are no hard data points.

Oh. *sad face* That bit there, where they note that 63% of tea party supporters think that discrimination against whites is a serious concern, but only 36% of Democrats do? That's what you call hard data points. They actually state quite clearly how and why the sample was adjusted -- first against response bias with a probability weight, then for basic demographic variables. I'm not sure why you think they would want to adjust for attitudes, or what problems exist that such weighting would solve.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:07 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"By adjusting the data to account for the data, we determined that all men are, in fact, created equal."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:30 AM on October 24, 2011


The only people that might switch are TP folks who decide the OWS message correlates better with their anger about the status quo. The groups themselves would never unite.
posted by snofoam at 5:34 AM on October 24, 2011


shii, when I went to OWS there was a guy with a huge sign that said "HANG THE 1980 TURKISH JUNTA" but I'm pretty sure the majority of OWS does not find that dude's cause to be germane to the OWS movement. Even if there are a few examples of racism and zionist banking conspiracy nuts, overall the participants were very diverse in age, race, etc. and primarily concerned with ending corporate influence in government and policies that would help the working class rather than big business. Also, I don't think Cornell West and Amiri Baraka would be down there if it was actually a racist movement.
posted by snofoam at 5:49 AM on October 24, 2011


A lot of tea party sympathizers, if not activists, are "low information voters," as they say.

OWS needs to inform them.
posted by spitbull at 7:30 AM on October 24, 2011


Human rights issues (racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance) are going to be a pivotal disjunction that prevents the Tea Party from building majority support, or even a sizable plurality outside of WASP/Casperistan. These are also the issues where the 9/11 Truthers show themselves to be suffering from severe cranio-rectal inversion, as well.

The hard fact is that exclusionary politics are a tactic for minority rule, usually by assholes.
posted by warbaby at 7:37 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I keep seeing this "commonality" argument, and I have to say I think it's a bunch of hogwash.
>
> There are two TOTALLY different endgames envisioned here.

I have tried, but cannot figure out what OWS's endgame is or even might be. Anyone willing to understand that to me?
posted by jfuller at 7:37 AM on October 24, 2011


I've seen a good number of alternative conservatives looking at the OWS movement and saying, "hey, we've got stuff in common! The collusion of corporations and government are hurting the country!" The problem is that the Tea Party sees government as being the main problem in the equation and the OWS people (I think) see the corporations as being the primary problem. "Reduce government" vs. "Reduce corporate power".
posted by charred husk at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


What those folks need to understand, I think, is that it's not government that's necessarily the problem, but government that isn't responsive to the interests and the will of its people. The reason our government has become such a failure over the last 30 years or so is that corporate lobbyists pushed for and got new laws and regulations designed to make our republic more responsive to private, corporate interests than to the public.

They've also engaged in relentless media campaigns to alienate us (the people) from our own government, the only big organizational tool the public has to protect itself from the oppressive and anti-democratic forces of big monied private interests that want to exploit them for labor to increase their own wealth.

The state is an indispensable tool of modern human society--not inherently good or bad--but it makes all the differences in the world who's controlling that tool and for what ends. When control of a republic slips away from the people who need it most to protect their rights and freedoms, that's when you get the kind of problems we have today.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:24 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


REG: Listen. If you wanted to join the P.F.J., you'd have to really hate the Romans.

BRIAN: I do!

REG: Oh, yeah? How much?

BRIAN: A lot!

REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah...

JUDITH: Splitters.

P.F.J.: Splitters...

FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

REG: What?

LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.

REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!

LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.

REG: People's Front! C-huh.

FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?

REG: He's over there.

P.F.J.: Splitter!
posted by banshee at 10:14 AM on October 24, 2011


The hard fact is that exclusionary politics are a tactic for minority rule, usually by assholes.

Unfortunately, inclusionary politics are prone to the "tyranny of the minority" as I have come to discover in my local OWS group. All points of view must be heard before consensus can be reached. So people trying to ram through minority points of view can filibuster until the General Assembly is tired and will consent to anything, just to move on. For example, last night, a 16 year old kid tied up a GA for 20 minutes with a discussion of the difference between "gender identity" and "gender expression."

And then there are the drunks and mentally ill who wander into meetings in the park and insist their points of view must be heard. One mentally ill person comes primarily for the free food, and then stays for the GA and ties up meetings with irrational objections that must be heard until they are ruled down by "Point of Process." That wastes about 20 minutes of each meeting, time that could be spent dealing with sane ideas.

And this all combines to drive away participants from the GAs. Now the group is dominated by a faction of homeless, mentally ill veterans, who have driven off almost everyone else. Rules implemented to try to reduce any one person's domination of meetings have only had the unintended consequence of increasing domination by minority points of view.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:38 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


While I won't speak to the "racist" label, the Tea Party is deeply anti-immigration and they blame immigrants for stealing the jobs in their communities. How can this square with the OWS notion that immigrants are in over their heads and are just as systematically victimized as everyone else in the 99%? How inclusive and friendly would the movement remain if we allow this toxic anti-immigration, "electric border fence" mentality to seep into OWS? This is just for starters. Have we already forgotten about the "let him die" shout at the Tea Party debate just a month ago? How can this health care stance possibly square with the OWS message?

Dilute and compromise your message enough and the movement will wither away. The people suggesting that OWS and the Tea Party are one and the same? They're probably hoping for that.
posted by naju at 10:44 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people suggesting that OWS and the Tea Party are one and the same?

I haven't seen anyone do that. You can say both groups have common characteristics (which they do) without equating them.

Don't be silly.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:30 PM on October 24, 2011


Also, the anti-semitism angle is being pushed very hard on Fox News. This also increases my skepticism.

Eliot Spitzer: Bill Kristol’s Appalling Attack on Occupy Wall Street
posted by homunculus at 3:13 PM on October 24, 2011


New York Post Finally Compares Occupy Wall Street to Nazis
posted by gwint at 5:22 PM on October 24, 2011


Matt Taibbi: OWS's Beef: Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating

posted by zarq at 8:20 AM on October 26, 2011


Lefty journalism professor tries to discredit the Tea Party by passing along sensational footage to his buddies at the Times!!!
posted by homunculus at 2:09 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


last night, a 16 year old kid tied up a GA for 20 minutes with a discussion of the difference between "gender identity" and "gender expression."

Quick, get that kid a MeFi membership!!!! S/he/it'll feel so right at home!
posted by spitbull at 6:09 AM on October 29, 2011


Matt Taibbi: OWS's Beef: Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating

As usual, Matt succinctly guts the bullshit spouting apologists.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:10 PM on October 29, 2011


Elizabeth Warren Heckled By Tea Party Supporter
posted by homunculus at 3:35 PM on November 3, 2011


The Tea party is FREAKING OUT about Occupy Wall Street
posted by homunculus at 11:42 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quick, get that kid a MeFi membership!!!! S/he/it'll feel so right at home!

Doesn't use enough exclamation points.
posted by JHarris at 12:46 PM on November 5, 2011


The Tea party is FREAKING OUT about Occupy Wall Street

The irony of an astroturf-based political org named after the Boston Tea Party getting its panties all in a twist because of political action is awfully delicious.

I will bathe in that irony, luxuriously. It will nourish me on those cold nights when I can't sleep and darkness looms like death's pillow.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:34 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


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