What OWS Can Learn from the Tea Party Movement

It is not often that one can find Rush Limbaugh singing the praises of the New York Times.  Yet, a transcript of a segment from the radio entertainer's talk show from late last week finds El Rushbo doing just that.  Excerpt:
Ladies and gentlemen, there's a big piece in the New York Times Magazine coming this weekend.  It is entitled:  "Does Anyone Have a Grip on the GOP?"  The subhead:  "The Republican Elite Tries to Take Its Party Back."  This article prints like 24 pages.  It is a major, major New York Times Magazine piece.  It confirms everything that I have thought, everything I have speculated, everything I have said about the battle between the Republican elite and the Tea Party.
Has hell frozen over?  Have pigs grown wings and taken off for more comfortable sties?  The segment is entitled "GOP Elite Declares War on Tea Party."  Apparently, Limbaugh is concerned that the Republican party establishment is intent on destroying the Tea Party movement now that it is firmly entrenched within the party's ruling apparatus.  Excerpt:
I can't read the whole thing on the program; I don't intend to.  I've got some highlights or quotes that are illustrative here, but this is an open declaration of war from the GOP elites to the Tea Party, and it's right there in the New York Times.  And these Republican establishment types are more than willing to be quoted by name, and what I think it all means is they think that they've beaten the Tea Party hordes back.
Of course, those of us who are not blinded by an irrational allegiance to the parties of the ruling political class understand that the GOP's war against the Tea Party movement began over two years ago in the spring and summer of 2009 shortly after the Tea Party movement burst onto the national scene.  Republican party hacks infiltrated the movement and destroyed it from the inside by wedding it to the apparatus of the GOP.  Cooptation was their stated strategy from the very beginning.  By the time Tea Party groups began endorsing Republican party candidates, the Tea Party movement had already lost its war for political independence.  Ironically, the Republican party elite were aided in this effort by the likes of Rush Limbaugh himself who, time and again, argued against third party and independent political activism within the Tea Party movement.  This is a cautionary tale for the OWS protest movement spreading across the country and around the globe.

This discussion couldn't be any more timely, given the current danger posed to the Occupy Wall Street movement by the Democratic party and its deluded activists.  Via Tirade Faction comes a link to a recent article by Matt Taibbi warning that OWS is in danger of being coopted and castrated by the ruling political class and the corporate media in precisely the same way the Tea Party movement was.  Excerpt:
There is going to be a fusillade of attempts from many different corners to force these demonstrations into the liberal-conservative blue-red narrative.

This will be an effort to transform OWS from a populist and wholly non-partisan protest against bailouts, theft, insider trading, self-dealing, regulatory capture and the market-perverting effect of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks into something a little more familiar and less threatening, i.e. a captive "liberal" uprising that the right will use to whip up support and the Democrats will try to turn into electoral energy for 2012.

Tactically, what we'll see here will be a) people firmly on the traditional Democratic side claiming to speak for OWS, and b) people on the right-Republican side attempting to portray OWS as a puppet of well-known liberals and other Democratic interests . . .

What nobody is comfortable with is a movement in which virtually the entire spectrum of middle class and poor Americans is on the same page, railing against incestuous political and financial corruption on Wall Street and in Washington. The reality is that Occupy Wall Street and the millions of middle Americans who make up the Tea Party are natural allies and should be on the same page about most of the key issues, and that's a story our media won't want to or know how to handle . . .

Take, for instance, the matter of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks . . . This is an issue for the traditional "left" because it's a classic instance of overweening corporate power -- but it's an issue for the traditional "right" because these same institutions are also the biggest welfare bums of all time, de facto wards of the state who sucked trillions of dollars of public treasure from the pockets of patriotic taxpayers from coast to coast.

Both traditional constituencies want these companies off the public teat and back swimming on their own in the cruel seas of the free market, where they will inevitably be drowned in their corruption and greed, if they don't reform immediately. This is a major implicit complaint of the OWS protests and it should absolutely strike a nerve with Tea Partiers . . . .
Once again, as someone who was active in the Tea Party movement until it was hijacked and castrated by the GOP, I urge all Tea Party activists who have not yet sold their souls to the ruling political class to become active in this burgeoning opposition movement against the two-party state.  As an Independent and a supporter of third party and Independent alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats, I urge all Independents and third party supporters to do the same.  It is not a question of whether the forces of the ruling political class will attempt to destroy this movement.  It is a question of whether we will allow them to do so.  


Samuel Wilson said...

Taxes remain the biggest potential stumbling block to the transpartisan collaboration you hope for, but rather than argue again that it's an inherent deal-breaker, I'll ask exactly how important the tax question actually is to the occupiers and to interested observers. The assumption is that tax increases, at least for the wealthiest, are an unconditonal demand of the occupiers. More to the point, tax increases are defined ahead of time as a "Democratic" agenda to which not just "Republicans" but "conservatives" must be opposed. One's attitude toward taxes may, more than anything else, define your place in the Bipolarchy. In that case, a readiness across the board to open the subject of taxation to discussion while rejecting absolute positions on either side may be a precondition for the Occupations' evolution beyond the alienating stereotype of a "left" movement.

d.eris said...

I agree with your basic description of the prepackaged bipolarization of the tax issue between the duopoly parties. But many of the polls I've seen out there find that a majority of Democrats, Independents and even Republicans support tax increases on the wealthiest households. One thing I've heard a lot of people talking about at OWS is a financial transactions tax. Could something like that, rather than a tax on household income, be a potential compromise position?

Another interesting thing I've heard a fair number of folks down at OWS saying in regard to strategy is to make the strongest demands possible, that way they are not beginning from an already compromised position. Which would seem to presuppose that they are open to compromise.

TiradeFaction said...

I think, one of the problems in terms of perceptions of "taxes" is, people seem to think "Higher taxes on the rich", equates to "Higher taxes on me", when really, that usually isn't the case. Unless we're talking about an actual millionaire, but for the sake of discussion, I'm limiting it to "average joe's" If the Occupiers can get that across effectively, that might help reduce the divide. And as D.eris pointed out earlier, a lot of Republicans are in fact, for higher taxes on the wealthy.

TiradeFaction said...

>One thing I've heard a lot of people talking about at OWS is a financial transactions tax. Could something like that, rather than a tax on household income, be a potential compromise position?<

Probably. There's in fact many different types of taxation that can be just as (more or less) effective on bridging the wealth gap that the tea party folk *may* be open to. Financial transaction taxes, resource taxes, LVT (Land Value Taxation), etc.