April 14, 2010

The Tea Party, the tea party and the "tea party"

Happy Tea Party Day!

OK, I'll admit a more succinct title would have been "The Many Faces of the Tea Party."

In response to the monopolistic power of the East India Company, incorporated by Britain, Bostonians took matters into their own hands... a foreshadowing of the American Revolution. As Thom Hartmann likes to say, the 1773 Boston Tea Party was a strike against the Wal-Mart of the colonial era.

Today, the "tea party" term has been adopted by anti-tax proponents. But the title of this post uses the term "tea party" three times. That's because the modern day "tea party" movement is of two faces. One face is of sincere, frustrated ordinary people who are looking for answers to explain why hard working people who play by the rules are suffering economic woes.

The other face of the "movemment", call it Tea Party 2, is summed up by "Americans for Prosperity (AFP)," the corporate-funded group that has been leading the cross-country tea party bus tour. Historically, AFP's "grass roots" organizing has been are paid for by cigarette corporations, climate change denying corporations and most recently by health industry corporations.

The relationship between Tea Party 1, the sincere Americans concerned with a corrupted government, and Tea Party 2, the corporate-sponsored part, is simple on one level, complex on another. It's simple in as much as I've just laid it out; corporations pay organizations like AFP to generate "grass roots" pressure on the Washington bureaucracy to maintain their interests.

But it's also complex. Tea Party 1 (the people), for the most part, is not aware of the role of Tea Party 2 (AFP). Many, I'd guess most, of the people of the movement don't realize that AFP, a Washington-based lobbying firm, is cut from the cloth of the Washington corruption they despise (click on the link to AFP above). Further, the people in Tea Party 1 don't realize that it was corporate abuse of power in 1773, as it is today, that is the root of the problem today; the movement's goal should not be so much about "less government," but more about "less corporate power." True, we want to maintain our privacy from prying government eyes, and other abuses of power, but if we could elect a government that represents we the people, rather than the corporate interests, we could make a more perfect union.

Of course, that goal is at odds with the interests of Tea Party 2 which operates on behalf of the corporations. So, part of the solution is for the "Tea Party" movement to evolve and attain its freedom from the corporate masters; the movement needs to secure it's independence as a movement of, by and for the people.



libhom said...

I think "Tea Party 1" is fueled by anger misdirected by its corporate overseers. What baffles me is that the left is leading oposition based on anger about real issues.

libhom said...

I meant to type "the left is not leading opposition" there. Commenting from my cell phone always is a bit iffy.