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The Occupation Movement: Grand Alliance or Anti-Tea Party?

The Occupy Wall Street Movement, which began on September 17, continues on with no signs of slowing down. Many on the right contend that there’s little credibility to the movement: that it’s simply unwashed lazy kids who don’t want to work [1], according to Bill O’Reilly; or as Ann Coulter says, the protesters are an unruly mob [2]. Not so, says TAC contributor Michael Tracey, in a piece for Reason [3]:

“The banks got bailed out / we got sold out” is probably the most common chant I’ve heard at Liberty Plaza, and I think it best encapsulates the protest’s overriding sentiment: that regardless of political persuasion, people are sick and tired of a select few billionaires, in collusion with government, making decisions that hurt the rest of us behind closed conference-room doors. The feeling is fundamentally post-partisan.

Tracey spoke to a number of protesters in New York, including a fully uniformed Marine, John Cortes, who told Tracey his purpose in being there was to protect the right of citizens to peaceably assemble:

“We’re supposed to defend our fellowmen, right? So if you see somebody, whether it’s the police or not, abusing somebody—you’re going to do something about it, right?”


Could there be common ground between the Tea Party and OWS movements? Tracey recently wrote for TAC about another possible left-right alliance [4], one between consumer advocate Ralph Nader and libertarian Republican Ron Paul.

Unfortunately for post-partisan cooperation, there’s also been animosity on left-right battle lines as well. The Daily Caller reports that there was a lot of anti-Tea Party sentiment at the recent Occupy march in Freedom Plaza [5].

Later this week, I’ll be heading down to McPherson Square to see the D.C. occupation for myself — and to report on it for TAC.

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#1 Comment By Tony J On October 10, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

“Could there be common ground between the Tea Party and OWS movements?”

Not really.

One is a corporate-funded rebranding of a far-right Republican voter base that led to gridlock in Congress via the election of ‘Tea Party Republicans’ who oppose any increase in taxation on the 1% for ideological reasons.

The other is a genuinely spontaneous movement of American citizens who think that taxing the 1% fairly would help to rebuild the national economy and create jobs.

Where’s the compatability in interests?

#2 Comment By educatedowl On October 10, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

Spontaneous? Not quite. I’m sure it is for some, just as it was for some of the Tea Partiers. Have you seen buses of these people come in? I have. Who paid for the buses? Who organized it? And then there’s the inconvenient evidence of “protesters” being paid (There’s anecdotal evidence of individuals paying groups of people who can’t even speak English to march and carry signs, and The Working Families Party actually ran an ad on CraigsList for protesters!). And increasing taxes, no matter how you feel about them, is such a small part of the answer. Increase taxes above $250,000 to 100% and you could run the government for about 5 months. Cuts must come because the basic, boiled-down-to-the-bones truth is that this country has been spending a great deal more than it has been taking in for years. In fact, it’s a systemic problem that I daresay few politicians are willing to face head-on. I believe that the Wall Street occupation should spread to the White House and every Federal Reserve installation in the country! But for that, the occupiers would have to see the larger picture.

#3 Comment By educatedowl On October 10, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

To come together, these two sides should focus on this – THE GOVERNMENT, BANKS AND BUSINESSES SHOULD FOLLOW THE RULES!! *no exceptions. no loopholes. no fine print!

#4 Comment By c matt On October 10, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

Gglad to see you aren’t wearing any ideological blinders.

#5 Comment By Erica Brigid On October 10, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

Occupy Wall Street is a more focused form of Tea Party. The central part of it is The Message, with no brass bands and political celebrities to distract from it.

It’s a lot more like the independence movements that freed Eastern Europe from Communism, than the “color” revolutions of the more recent decades.

#6 Comment By Don Yarish On October 10, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

Compatability? Well not for Tony J and his biased opinion of the Tea Party which was before being taken over by the Republican establishment was started by Ron Paul, the same Ron Paul that gets along with Ralph Nader on say anti-war, pro-civil liberties etc.

What the occupy Wall Street crowd don’t understand is that socialism is what was responsible for all this mess, America is run by a small elite in total partneship with government, please understand that corporatism rules America and corporatism is socialism. By the way taxing will only make the economy worse. Tony read some Austrian economics and you may learn how the world really works. Hey you could move to Europe; Euro socialism is working out real well there isn’t it.Neo-Con right and Marxist left are both socialist/fascist in nature is Obmama doing much different than Bush? No he is taking orders from the same crowd that runs America for their benefit.

#7 Comment By educatedowl On October 10, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

Corporatism is what we have now, as Don pointed out. However, a disturbing majority of these protesters seem to want MORE of it (Mussolini said that Fascism should be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of Business and The State). I know that anyone with a handheld camera can take a cross section of a group and make them look crazy, but from what I’ve seen, they seem to want…well, Europe. Hate to break it, but the only free cheese is found in a mousetrap. Are they angry with Obama for his Neo-
Con foreign policy? His dependence on lobbyists? His furthered bailouts of these evil banks and corporations? Doesn’t seem like it.

#8 Comment By wall street tea party On October 10, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

The Occupy Wall Street people are fine with me. The Tea Party should approve, and vice versa. What the neocons did to foreign policy, the big banks did to finance. I get the feeling that the media and other powers-that-be are trying to drive a wedge between them, lest their combined power actually accomplish something.

The Occupy Wall Street folks need to understand that both parties in government helped create the economic disaster. Neither one has been adequately punished at the polls. They ought to be picketing Barney Frank, Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, Chuck Schumer, the great, corrupt enablers.

#9 Comment By Tony J On October 10, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

Don & educatedowl,

Please, just stop. If you can’t see the very clear difference between Corporations undermining the democratic system to exploit society for profit, and Government regulating the economic system to encourage prosperity across society, where do we even start talking about what’s happening in the real world?

I like alternate history, but I keep that in my Alt Hist tab, and AmCon is is in my Politics tab. There’s a difference.

#10 Comment By educatedowl On October 10, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

Maybe if I simplify (I wish I could upload a pie chart or timeline or crudely drawn sign)…The corporation, in essence, derives its power from The State. To not look to The State for at least some of the blame (or most) for our current situation is naive, lazy, blind and partisan. Don’t augment the stereotype of the protesters/occupiers as zombies with upturned palms (instead of “Braaaaains” their mantra is “Stuuuuuuuff”). Reign in the corporations, by all means. Make them play by the rules. But Sweet Spanish Jesus, you have to at least see the role that the government has played in this mess. Promising more than it can deliver, shifting the blame to anyone and everyone except itself, bailouts of the evil banks and corporations, kicking the can down the road, dusting off old cliches like “kicking the can down the road”…it goes on and on.

#11 Comment By Jimbo On October 11, 2011 @ 2:47 am

Divide & Rule

The tactic of elites everywhere.

Don’t fall for it.

Notice it is the elite establishment pundits that are attempting to demonize the Occupy Wall Street protesters like Bill O’ Reilly.

As Benjamin Franklin said, we need to hang together or we will surely hang separately.

#12 Comment By Jimbo On October 11, 2011 @ 10:12 am

Sadly, while my above statement had validity at the start of the protests… it now appears the Democratic Party has taken over the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The global elite have successfully manipulated the OWS movement.

Another set of elite tactics:

Control the opposition.

Pressure from above — pressure from below.

The twin of monopoly, crony capitalism or other side of the coin:


Both rely on an elite that does not want competition. Whether competition to government or competition to monopoly, cartel capitalism.

#13 Comment By educatedowl On October 12, 2011 @ 6:14 am

If you’ll indulge a quote from a speaker at a podium at the Occupy L.A. “Gandhi, Gandhi today is, with respect to all of you, Gandhi today is a tumor that the ruling class is using constantly to mislead us. French Revolution made fundamental transformation. But it was bloody. India, the result of Gandhi, is 600 million people living in maximum poverty. So, ultimately, the bourgeosie won’t go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class. Long live revolution! Long live socialism!”
This quote, of course, was met with rousing cheers across the board. Taking that into account, along with the tons of trash left behind by these oh-so-noble protesters…You know, maybe the detractors are correct. The differences may be too much.

#14 Comment By Sean Scallon On October 12, 2011 @ 11:05 am

They’re could be areas of common ground if everyone just focused on what they agreed on instead of what they didn’t. Unfortunately today’s professional Right and Left make it impossible to venture out of one’s kraal or ghetto or klug without being ostracized. If Occupy Wall Street focused only on economic issues instead of clutting their meesage with a lot of Cultural Marxist junk, they would find many sympathetic ears even among Tea Partiers. They also still have to figure out how differentiate between the ordinary small businessman just trying to earn a living and the very people they are demonstrating against. Capitalism isn’t their enemy, corpratism is. It’s our common foe.

I’m coming to think Roe vs. Wade was the establishment’s way of keeping the masses apart. Maybe Ron Paul can somehow bring them together.

#15 Comment By Thomas On October 13, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

2 points:
1. As a couple commenters have pointed out, some Tea Partiers and some OWSers are genuine, some of the promoters and leadership are not. I think everyone who can agree with THAT forms a basis for common ground. It will take a coalition of socialists, libertarians, nationalists, progressives, paleoconservatives, and just regular anti-corruption folk to shut down the Fed and private banksters.

2. Corporatism is everything educatedowl says it is, but that does not mean what we refer to corporatism is quite the same. In fascist corporatism, the State plays the leading role and forms the corporations. This can be seen as a sort of interpretation of Catholic Social Thought. In more liberal corporatism, real private corporations are involved in quasi-governmental decisions, but so are trade unions.

It was neither the Catholic Church’s, Mussolini’s, nor European Christian Democrats’ idea, whatever you think of them, that we should have a government run by corporations, doling them out tax money taken from producers while making them exempt from most regulations.