A Plea for Political Independence from the Parties of the 1%

There is an inspiring amount of third party and independent political activity happening at the occupation protests in New York and Washington DC.  Consider, for example, the case of the Greens.  In New York, Green party activists have been involved at Occupy Wall Street from the very first days of the protest.  A number of weeks ago a liaison from the party made an announcement at a general assembly pledging the full support of Green party activists all over the country and asking how Greens could help the movement.  A number of high profile Greens were present at the Freedom Plaza protests in Washington DC over the weekend, including Cheri Honkala, Howie Hawkins and Ralph Nader.  Now, it appears that Jill Stein, a former Green party candidate for governor of Massachusetts who is seeking the party's nomination for president in 2012, has been visiting Occupy Boston in recent days and campaigning in support of the 99%. 

It is not difficult to understand why third party and independent activists would be attracted to the Occupy Everything protests spreading across the country.  A simple explanation is embedded in the movement's most prominent slogan: We are the 99%.  The Democratic and Republican parties do not represent the interests of 99% of the American people.  They are the parties of the ruling financial oligarchy and political class.  They are the parties of the 1%. 

Democrats, obviously, are attempting to hijack this movement the same way the Republicans hijacked the Tea Party movement in 2009-2010 and the same way the Democrats hijacked the anti-war movement in 2005-2006.  At present, many participants in these protests appear to be vehemently intent upon maintaining their political independence.  Yet the same was true of Tea Party activists in the spring of 2009, and we know how that turned out.  The question is whether this movement will suffer the same fate.  The more important question is: what can be done to avert that outcome?

As someone who was active in the Tea Party movement until it was infiltrated and destroyed by the Republican party, I urge all Tea Party activists who have maintained at least a semblance of political independence to become involved in the occupation protests.  As an Independent, I urge all Independents to become active in this movement.  As an advocate of third party alternatives to the Democrat-Republican duopoly, I urge all third party activists to become involved in this movement.

Perhaps some may say they do not agree with the direction this movement is heading and refuse to become involved.  The funny thing is, if you become involved you can change its direction.  It is really that simple.   


Samuel Wilson said...

No disrespect intended, but that's a futile request you've urged on Tea Partiers. Even those who don't identify with the GOP identify even less with "left," and "left" is how the occupations have been labelled. If anything, the TP attitude is what belies the 99% vs 1% opposition the occupiers assert. There may well be fewer people in the "1%" who disagree with the occupation agenda than there are in whatever percentile the TPs and GOP draw from.

TiradeFaction said...


I wouldn't be so quick to say that. While most Tea Partiers obviously would have much to disagree with the OWSers, I think it's been confirmed a number of libertarians have already joined the protests, and you see quite a bit of "Ron Paul 2012" (or something similar) shirts being worn at these protests. I forget where, but there was an article I remember reading yesterday that talked about tea partiers joining the OWS protests. I'll try to find it.

TiradeFaction said...

As for D.eris plea to get involved, I believe I may take that up now. I've been skeptical of OWS, but it seems to continue to be growing, and satellite protests are everywhere in the US now, even in my county (which almost never gets this kind of activity). If I can in my small way contribute to maintain its independence from the Democratic (or any other party) Party, I will.

d.eris said...

I think, Sam, there is probably a non-trivial number of people out there who became involved with the tea party movement early on, who did not like the way it was hijacked by the GOP, though they may have went along with the flow of things.

One of the TP movement's first gripes was with the bank bailouts. Same can be said of OWS. There is some overlap there. And as I've half jokingly said before, there is probably more overlap between left anarchists and anti-government conservatives than either group would like to admit.

I see another glimmer of possibility, for instance, in the fact that Ralph Nader and Sarah Palin, of all people, recently came to agreement on the subject of crony capitalism.

The TPers and the OWSers agree at least on the problem, even if they place different emphasis. But a majority of Americans think the collusion of big government and big business is a threat, at least according to the polls.

d.eris said...

I'm glad you're going to get involved TF. It's definitely worth checking out, but then again I've always found protests fascinating whatever their subject/object. I think it's especially important for Independents to get involved to maintain the movement's independence and resist the party hijackers. One independent voice can break a consensus in favor of settling for the lesser of two evils.