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Forum Post: learning from the Tea Party

Posted 9 years ago on Feb. 22, 2012, 12:48 p.m. EST by buik6 (18)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

the lesson to be learned from the tea party debacle is that political revolutions never really work if they first are not based on social change.

64 Comments

64 Comments


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[-] 3 points by systemicdisorder (15) from New York, NY 9 years ago

The tea party made such headway because it was lavishly funded by the Koch Brothers and other corporate interests, and advanced corporate and right-wing objectives. Of course it was welcomed in the corporate media! The Occupy movement challenged corporate interests and it should be no surprise that it was subjected to ruthless attack.

That is why the tea party could brandish weapons and threaten people and be praised, while the Occupy movement was peaceful and yet called violent. The tea party did what its corporate masters want; the Occupy Movement still has to figure out what it wants, but at least it is aimed at the right targets. We'll have to be strong to brave the attacks, but the tremendous grassroots response tells us we are on the right track.

[-] 0 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

the tea party had candidates, money, and a specific message, and failed

because thats just not the way to do it

[-] 1 points by systemicdisorder (15) from New York, NY 9 years ago

I also believe the Occupy movement has to remain outside the system. If there is a big enough movement, the rulers will be forced to act. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency and pulled the U.S. out of Vietnam because a strong movement forced him to — believe me, Nixon was the George W. Bush of his day and didn't do those things because he wanted to.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 9 years ago

Nixon created the EPA because elected representatives in Congress voted for it, and he was so despised, even within his own party, that had he vetoed the legislation, he would have been overwritten.

Nixon himself insisted that protests about the Vietnam war created no pressure on him whatsoever. Kissinger agreed. Soldiers were refusing to fight. The economy was being dragged down. The Congress, elected by the people, was making demands. It was for all of those reasons, not protests alone, that he ended the war there.

What's more, the protesters themselves, in abandoning Hubert Humphrey 5 years earlier (who was anti-war) stayed away from the election booth and gave Nixon, who extended the war, the presidency on a silver platter. And the aftermath of the protests created deep divisions in the country, which Reagan used effectively to regain the presidency.

So, while protests and occupations do the necessary, real and important job of raising consciousness, they can be a mixed bad, and the electoral process is what puts that new consciousness into action and creates results.

[-] 1 points by systemicdisorder (15) from New York, NY 9 years ago

Actually, Hubert Humphrey was pro-war, which was why he was abandoned as a candidate. (He only switched at the very last minute because he had lost support.) That indeed did give Nixon the presidency on a silver platter. Democrats has already escalated the war and Humphrey was not going to end it quickly.

Soldiers refusing to fight is pressure, and don't think Nixon and Kissinger didn't feel that, no matter what they said in public. And Congress was "making demands" and "voted for" the EPA because of public pressure. These were among the components of a movement, a successful one. As to Reagan, a backlash is inevitable -- that is no reason not to build a movement, it is a reason to strengthen the movement. And Jimmy Carter had already implemented many of the policies that Reagan codified; he increasingly governed from the right, so there was little incentive for people to re-elect Carter.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 9 years ago

Actually, Humphrey was adamantly anti war, but Johnson refused to allow him to talk about the strategies for getting out, and threatened to destroy him if he did. The left didn't realize this was going on, but if one listened to Humphrey's speeches he was consistently anti war. The left didn't believe him only because he had been in Johnson's White House, not because he was pro-war in any way.

I am not saying there was no public pressure. But without legislation, that public pressure would have never been resolved into law or official action. It is not one or the other. Pressure often precedes government action, but voting in the people who will yield to that pressure, who will do what the people want, is necessary as well. Can't have one without the other.

[-] -1 points by skylar (-441) 9 years ago

you must have missed the 2010 elections that gave the republicans control of the house.

[-] 3 points by ARod1993 (2420) 9 years ago

As far as I'm concerned, the lesson to be learned from the Tea Party is that movements of any sort need proper organization, clear objectives, diversity of tactics, and skill at soliciting money and power. If you look at what the Tea Party did (irrespective of what their goals are; I'll discuss what I think of that further down) then from a purely objective, amoral standpoint it was brilliantly planned and has been fairly well-executed so far.

They started off with protests much the way we did, but they kept a far better handle on those protests than we did. They were mad as hell, but somehow they weren't mad enough to step on the toes of local authorities or behave in a manner that would engender ill will among locals in the areas in which they were protesting. Now, some degree of ill will was going to be unavoidable when your targets are big and powerful instead of the sick, the poor, women, and minorities, but there was certainly a lot more of that than we should have had.

Second, they knew when to get off the streets and onto the ballots. They knew what their message was, they knew which of the two parties tended to hold a platform closer to that message, and they promptly proceeded to take over good chunks of the party from the bottom up to run their people in primaries. They also hauled themselves out en masse to vote for the candidates they ran, and the result was a fundamental shift in the discourse on America's finances and a fairly united House of Representatives (united in bigotry and obstructionism, but united nonetheless).

The problem with the Tea Party wasn't so much with their means as with their ends. They were great at stirring up popular fervor and seizing power, but since (and in many cases even before) they got it they've been pushing in exactly the wrong direction on both the state and national levels. I trust Occupy not to make that mistake, but the cold truth is that we don't have enough strength for that mistake because we didn't run a tight enough ship when we had the money and the numbers.

[-] 3 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago

Agree. Also interesting is that the rise of the Tea Party wasn't as grassroots or 'organic' as it appeared to have been. When you have 25 minutes, check out this quick doc about its rise and the evolution of the republican party. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2011/10/2011102683719370179.html

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 9 years ago

I figured as much; the Tea Party started out with legitimate but misdirected anger by ordinary people, and then a particular group of wealthy billionaires and large corporations realized that their anger had potential if it was channeled properly. They then put as much money behind it as possible in the hopes that it would do exactly what it's been doing over the past couple of years. That also definitely explains why the Tea Party was a bit too efficient at getting into power...

[-] -1 points by skylar (-441) 9 years ago

aljazeera?.................................too funny.

[-] 1 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago

oh right now aljazeera is favorably talking about OWS right now. go ahead take a look. http://www.aljazeera.com/watch_now/

[-] 1 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago

oops nevermind, it ended at the top of the hour

[-] 1 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago

too funny as in you weren't expecting this from aljazeera or too funny as in you only watch US mainstream media so when you viewed aljazeera you were overwhelmed by their objectivity and professional journalism standards so you wanted your fox news back?

[-] -1 points by skylar (-441) 9 years ago

aljazeera objective? just the the MSM is objective.

[-] 1 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago

Oh and just yesterday Aljazeera English was named news channel of the year by the Royal Television Society, beating esteemed networks like the BBC. You don't suppose this has anything to do with objectivity, ethics or anything related to professional journalism do you?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/feb/23/al-jazeera-english-rts-news-channel

[-] 0 points by skylar (-441) 9 years ago

the bbc swings so far to left it make the u.s. msm seem conservative.

[-] 1 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

i am not sure i feel like reading that much text but thank you for your participation in my thread

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

Wow.

[-] 1 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

yep. you gotta have a good topic sentence when you write to me : )

how i'm gonna read "As far as I'm concerned, the lesson to be learned from the Tea Party is that movements of any sort need proper organization, clear objectives, diversity of tactics, and skill at soliciting money and power" and want to read on.

fuck that

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 9 years ago

I don't see why I'm responding to this, but that was a perfectly valid thesis statement, and I proceeded to make my point for the next three full paragraphs. I admit that I can be a bit verbose at times, but most people on here can quite clearly see what I'm driving at, and if you bothered expending the effort you would as well.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

Yes! All of that is very true. That's what I've been trying to say since October.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/vote-or-else-this-will-all-be-a-pointless-exercise/

I think that the opportunity window has closed and it's too late now to translate the energy into making government more responsive to our concerns.

[-] 1 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

lol

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 9 years ago

I just feel like this whole thing would have been a lot easier if the organizers had kept a copy of The Prince on hand when they were putting this together.

[-] 2 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

buik6 in this thread illustrates my point here. You posted rationally about organization and objectives, and he simply said, "fuck that". And because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics he wins. Because entropy is on his side. It's much easier for an anarchist to fight for chaos than for a leader to fight for order.

[-] 0 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

fuck your point, too. whatever the hell it is.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

Don't worry, I expect you to illustrate my point but I don't expect you to understand it.

You almost seem like a Stephen-Colbert-esque parody of an Occupier, rather than a real Occupier.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

Another book that was apparently missing from the People's Library was Animal Farm.

The fundamental problem when people like you and I point out the successes of the Tea Party at making government more responsive to their concerns, is that there has been no consensus that making government more responsive to anybody's concerns was even desirable. So many people have been so caught up in the idea that clashing with law enforcement was the goal that the anarchists ended up having some fun and then nothing else got accomplished. I've seen dozens of people post very rational and well-reasoned suggestions for how to go about translating the energy into concrete accomplishments, but there are too many people who aren't convinced that concrete accomplishments are a good thing in the first place. The first step toward accomplishing a goal is focusing on a goal, and so those forces of chaos prevailed by nipping functionality in the bud from the very start. Any time that anybody tried to rally people toward doing something tangible, they were shouted down. Now it's all essentially over.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Right on everything but the last point. It isn't over. You were saying it was over in October, but for some reason 4 months later, you still find it necessary to say it's over. You'll be saying it's over a year from now as well, I assume.

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

If this site is still around a year from noe and it's still full of liberal extremists who are convinced that they're accomplishing something while accomplishing nothing as the traffic continues to dwindle, then maybe so.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Ah . . . "Liberal Extremists," an ozymoron . . . well, I know what's grinding your gizzard. It's not that the movement's failing, but that you're failing to win the movement to your side. Sorry, but this movement is made up of "liberal extremists," as you call them, and we're not going away until we fix the disaster that you right-wingers have brought us to. Never thought you'd see it did you, the decent people rise up and retake this country from the insane?

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

There are plenty of "right-wingers" in the 99%. Do you want to represent the 99%, or do you want Occupy to be a social club for liberals? You're preaching a self-defeatist gospel if you claim to represent "the 99%", while excoriating 'right-wingers'. If you really want to unify the 99% then you're going to have to learn to embrace Republican conservatives. If you can't manage to do that then you're dooming yourself to failure.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Like we could embrace Republican conservatives? We could embrace conservatives if they could allign with our agenda of re-takeing our democracy, but the Republican party is the political arm of those in power, whom we are resisting. Embracing that would be pretty silly, now wouldn't it?

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

You're dividing and conquering yourself, saving your opponents from the trouble. You're openly admitting that you're partisan and polarized against half of the 99%. There is not much more to discuss because you're defeating your own objective of unifying the 99%. You are your own worst enemy. Your polarized attitude helps your 1% opponents, not you. If you're determined to treat half of the 99% as your enemy then you'll never succeed in unifying the 99% toward a common goal. You will simply turn Occupy into a social club for liberals. Is that what this was supposed to be?

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

No, I'm not. I'm just stating the obvious. The Republican Party is the political arm of the 1%. Therefore, of what use is it to try to try to allign ourselves with Republicans? Conservatives . . . well, that may be another issue. But Republicans? That would simply be rediculous. It would be like trying to convince the communists to help us conquer Stalin.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) 9 years ago

I have to agree that falling for the party illusion and offending others that are under the same illusion is of no benefit to us or the movement. It's divisive and counterproductive, ie... waste of time.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Well than, they should NOT BE HERE TRYING TO DIVIDE US, should they?

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) 9 years ago

They who? Fellow Americans with similar yet not exactly the same grievances we have, trying to help empower the voice of Occupy? How many protesters on the street with signs do you think are registered Republicans? 10%? 20%? Maybe even 30%? I personally would rather have them with us, helping to drive the point of Occupy than supporting any other group. If they have a beef, they are going to speak up. What would you rather them support? If they come here, even in angst, they may like what they see. If they aren't run off.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Are you willing to acknowledge that the ruling elite have a political establishment, and use it with the intention of keeping themselves in power, or not?

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

Then don't claim to represent the 99%. You represent less than half of the 99%. Your aim is to divide, not to unite. You're dooming yourself to failure by being too weak to embrace other people within the 99% with differing views. You can't look beyond your own polarized ideology to see the bigger picture of the 99%, and therefore you're working against the goal of unifying the 99%.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Well, that is only true if half the 99% continue to be duped by the Republicans. If, on the other hand, they wake up and see that they are being used, there will be no end to our potential!

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

If you can't stop talking about "they" and "them", then you have failed to unite. You're falling for the polarization trap and you're excluding half of your potential supporters. You're forcing Republicans like myself to go on the defensive to justify our own existence instead of accepting us as part of the 99%. You're failing to unite. You're too weak to succeed because you can't look past your political ideology to see the bigger picture. Most of the people who you're demonizing don't have the patience to explain this to you, they simply write you off and they leave. I'm trying to do you a favor by pointing out that you're working against your own objectives by alienating half of the 99%.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

No, you are simply unwilling to address anything I say, but simply go on beating the same stupid drum, over and over again, as if you could make lies into truths simply through repetition. But that is exactly what you believe, isn't it?

[Removed]

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 9 years ago

I see no reason why Occupy couldn't take a few pages from the Tea Party, while learning from the mistakes of the Tea Party.

Such as recognize that there are some important changes that are best accomplished through government. That would be helpful in the short term and longer term. Such as ending government corruption.

This is best accomplished working through politicians and government. Putting focused effort towards that would be something that would have an enormous amount of popular support and would help the most people in the (relatively) short term. It may not be necessary to run candidates for office like the Tea Party. Even just developing a single or few focused goals and objectives towards this would be tremendously helpful.

Change can be made incrementally. It doesn't have to wait for a generation or two for the revolution to be complete.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 9 years ago

When the Tea Party hit there were so many issues presented simply because people did not how government worked. I do have to say this, I have never seen states put together better websites to access information as quickly as they did. You can lead a horse to water.............

The second mistake that they made was putting together questionnaires that were completely and totally not relevant to any of the candidates running in any office. The message that this sent to those up for election is that they really didn't have to answer any questions. They could feed people a line of shit and nobody is going to know the difference.

But, once word was out about the Pledge, they were pretty much done. You don't send in your elected officials to act like four year olds. You send them into to reach a consensus.

When it was realized who funded them...it was over. But, yeah, screwing the public over is unwise.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 9 years ago

The pledge thing works for Grover though. No?

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 9 years ago

Now see! This is what I'm talkin' about. I did not know this! You're good.

It worked long enough though. I want my Representative to sign a pledge that he will make campaign finance reform his number one priority. He must develop a strategy and action plan to accomplish this goal. The action plan may be updated if major events or circumstances present themselves, so long as the plan continues to move forward. And he must give regularly monthly updates to his constituents on his actions and progress.

Hey, if they act like dogs, we need to treat them like dogs. And keep them on a very short leash. They have proven that they are not trustworthy left to their own devices. They just dug up and destroyed the whole yard and then shit all over the house!

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 9 years ago

Well, the Republicans have to disengage themselves from crazy.

I disagree. I am not going to treat them as children. I expect them to act like adults. I do want to see strategies and action plans. I do want to know why they voted a certain way. I think that there needs to be something far more solid than what is currently on their little political blogs.

[-] 0 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

me, i just wasnt feeling the outfits. i can find much better trannies at the gay parade

[+] -5 points by KochRocks (-70) 9 years ago

OWS was and still is very jealous of the Tea Party and even tried to mimic the OWS fad to be like them. But it failed because OWS is about nothing but violence and is made up of mostly by folks that want the World handed to them

[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 9 years ago

What is there to be jealous of?

The Tea Party is/was a waste of time. Faux privatization which will steal from the public coffers. They offer nothing but the same while shooting themselves in the foot.

[+] -5 points by KochRocks (-70) 9 years ago

What has the OWS ever done that was beneficial??? beside rape, murder, arrest, destruction of private property and litter and loot

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 9 years ago

Not true. OWS has helped to make wealth inequality and government corruption part of the national conversation. There are at least 4 pieces of legislation in Congress for campaign reform that are a direct result of Occupy.

But I will agree partially about the Tea Party. OWS could do more if it would be willing to work with and through government to affect change. Or at least focus on a few key objectives, like the Tea Party did. The Tea Party has plenty of faults though that Occupy could learn from. But it would also do better to take a few pages from the Tea Party.

[-] -2 points by skylar (-441) 9 years ago

ows people are pawns of soros and the current administration to promote civil unrest .

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 9 years ago

That is a lie.

[-] -2 points by skylar (-441) 9 years ago

it's the truth, you're being used and when your " usefulness" has served it's purpose , you'll be discarded.

[-] 1 points by OHF (2) 9 years ago
[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 9 years ago

Joining the Duopoly and expecting change is the dumbest thing they did.

Occupy hasnt joined the Dems, but hasnt done anything on their own, so their results will be the same.

Nilch.

[-] 1 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago

I wouldn't say that just yet. Also they think they're address a moral issue and causing social change with 'entitlement reforms.' In their distorted reasoning, if the government stops giving out foodstamps and unemployment, these people will have to stop being lazy and go get a job. So they believe that in order to curb the government spending i.e. stop funding social programs, they want to pay even lower taxes to deprive the government of the cash flow AND cut up the credit card (see debt ceiling crisis of summer 2011).

Though polls show most Americans have a negative view of the Tea Party, that 'debacle' is by no means dead. They hijacked the Republican party and took it from the right to the far right. Now in order to 'compromise' and pass any legislation, the Democratic party has to move from the left to the right/center right. There's a rift in the Republican party between the establishment and tea party. We'll see how Congressional elections go in November before we can see if its losing steam though polls suggest it is.

[-] -1 points by buik6 (18) 9 years ago

it failed. its over. its because they tried to use politics to change things and that never works. change comes far, far before politics in this country. our political system merely reacts to sentiment

i am not in the habit of repeating myself but i made a special exception for you

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 9 years ago

As far as I'm concerned, trying to change the country without getting into politics is like trying to replace a pipe without a wrench or a bucket. Ten to one you're not going to succeed one bit, and even if you do you're going to take so long and make such a mess that it may well not have been worth it.

[-] 1 points by kjack (48) 9 years ago