Occupy Wall Street: The New Tea Party Movement?

Some on the right are trying to portray the Occupy Wall Street movement as just a bunch of hippies and trust-fund babies who have nothing better to do with their time than smear the good names of all those Wall Street investment bankers who get the fat bonuses at the end of the year while millions of American families struggle to put food on the table.

For many Tea Party supporters, our economic system isn’t about fairness so everyone should suck it up and manage on their own.  They’d really like the “have nots” to quit whining about the “haves.”

But try to compare the Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party movement in terms of a populist uprising, and you’ll really see their eyes roll back in their heads and steam come out of their ears.  For them, Tea Party supporters are the backbone of middle America while those who are at the end of their financial rope should stop making such a fuss.

There is clearly a class war going on in this country.  Whether the poor get poorer, go hungrier and stay out of work longer is not much of a concern to some extreme conservatives.   But for those on the right who are scoffing at the protestors, but who also often like to tout their “Christian” values, I’ll just take a line from FDR:

Whether O.W.S. can sustain momentum is hard to say right now, but those Tea Party people started out exactly the same way — holding a few rallies and finding support from others who also felt alienated and cut-off from any way to change their lives.  Sounds like Occupy Wall Street is headed down that same path to me.

Image by Joanne Bamberger.  All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to “Occupy Wall Street: The New Tea Party Movement?”

  1. Brando Says:

    The two movements are really different sides of teh same coin–both fueled by justified anger over how things have gotten this way as well as fear and failure to understand it. Tea Partiers tend to be older, but also people who are frightened at teh prospect of losing everything before retirement, and OWSers are mostly younger, frightened at the prospect of having no job and plenty of student debt. But both are also light on solutions that might actually do some good. The sad truth is if the Tea Party or the OWSers actually got what they want (in terms of public policy) it’d at best do nothing to fix our problems and and maybe make it worse.

  2. PunditMom Says:

    That is so true. I find it so sad that the Tea Party supporters are claiming that this movement is in no way like their own and that protestors who are out of work are only out of work because they don’t want to find jobs, not because the economy is so damn bad. The propaganda surrounding the narrative of the tea party being wholesome hard-working Americans and O.W.S. protestors being lazy, shiftless, margarita-drinking freeloaders is appalling to me.

  3. Clark Kent's Lunchbox Says:

    I could be way off base here, but I’ve always gotten the feeling that the Tea Party was something of a catalyst that the Republicans pointed to as justification for their lack of bipartisanship while at the same time, the Tea Party, in it’s early days. used Republican leaders to endorse the movement’s legitimacy in the eye of the general public. In other words, the two groups fed off of each other to achieve a snowball effect in gaining support for their own aims. (And I know they both resorted to some underhanded tricks in order to make that happen)

    In that context, it would seem logical that Democrats would be quick to side with OWS (and indeed they are). However, the cynic in me rolls his eyes when Congressman John Larson refers to as the “American Autumn.” My first thought is, “Oh crap, here come the politicians to screw it up.” Yet, I’m also not naive enough to think that the movement doesn’t need some strong political backing.

    At this stage, I know that sentiment behind OWS is rooted in the same general frustrations, but to prevent fizzling out, I think their platform needs to be distilled to a level that the logic of it can’t be denied by the general public. I also hope that as more Democrats support OWS, the movement’s message doesn’t become convoluted by Democrats grasping at a live preserver to save their party.

  4. No Drama Mama Says:

    Occupy Wall Street is now occupying Freedom Plaza, right where I work. They do have a wide range of issues, but so did the Tea Party (who, BTW, were not even close to as polite when they held their protest here). I have to say that I don’t think it is as effective; remember, the Tea Party did have a main issue–lower taxes and lower the deficit. Also, they need a leader. Nothing ever gets done without a leader; this is true of France, Egypt, and the U.S. But to say that they are just hippies, or that their gripes are not as legit as the Tea Party, is complete crap.

  5. Michael Says:

    I would like to think that OWS could be a counter movement to the Tea party, but upon closer inspection they don’t seem to be asking for much. You can read their manifesto at: http://occupywallst.org/about/

    I can’t find any information on specific goals or requests! Failure to seek specific goals results in one thing: absolute failure. Why not start with the following:

    1. Repeal the ability of corporations to contribute to political campaigns (allowed for the first time in US history in 2009).

    2. Raise capital gains back to 35%.

    3. Repeal tax loopholes for the top .01%.

    4. Repeal tax loopholes for offshoring income and make a law disallowing another offshore tax amnesty.

  6. PunditMom Says:

    Michael, while there might not be many bullet points, it seems like that’s a pretty big agenda! To get the Congress and the Supreme Court to back away from corporate campaign contributions would be a massive undertaking that would have far reaching effects!

  7. Michael Says:

    True, that’s a big list, but they need to ask for specific changes. OWS’s manifesto is something along the lines of “We want fairness”. That’s great, but they’re not going to change anything unless they seek concrete goals.

    They don’t have to ask for the things I listed, but I was disappointed when I couldn’t find any specific requests from OWS.

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