It Takes a Tribe! 12

Spot on analysis of the Tea Parties from Andrew Yeoman at AltRight.

What’s most surprised me about the Tea Party phenomenon is the vitriolic manner in which prominent social commentators have attacked the protestors. Noam Chomsky, for instance, recently dismissed the Tea Party as a “fascist” movement. Though unlike the current President in office, the Tea Party isn’t demanding more government control over healthcare, the economy, and our daily lives.

Politically speaking, it would be far wiser for libertarian-minded and antiwar people to get behind the Tea Party. Same for Left wing anarchists who — despite what they call themselves — are against the Tea Party’s call for less taxes and less government.

At any rate, the best thing the Tea Party has done has been to provoke the “culture warriors” of the Establishment to show their true partisan colors. Eventually, Tea Party activists will notice who is consistently on their side and who is against them.

12 comments

  1. Tea Party members hate big government but LOVE their social security and medicare benefits! Hypocrisy at it’s finest!

  2. The Teabaggers equate the term “big government” with the welfare state, and are either ignorant of or think nothing of the empire, the corporate state, and the sundry something bad industrial complexes.

  3. There are numerous problems with the Tea Partiers. First, they seem to be a fairly geriatric crowd (most of their participants are over the age of 45). Movements that fail to generate excitement among younger people have no sustainability. Many of their participants are dependent on the very government programs they say they oppose, e.g. social security, medicare, etc. I saw one poll that showed the only thing a majority of them agreed should be cut from the federal budget is foreign aid (about 1 percent of federal spending).

    Also, the majority of them are supportive of the military-industrial complex and imperialist war, which means their goal of “fiscal conservatism” is dead in the water and they can be easily co-opted by the Republican establishment. It looks like they already have been, and most of them are probably just GOP-loyalists anyway. Where were they during the Bush era of record deficits?

    Besides, even if they were serious, things are too far gone, anyway. The U.S. at present is a totally bankrupt nation that depends on permanent loans from China, Japan, Russian, and Saudi banks to keep running. America is like a household that has debts of $500,000 and an income of $1500 a month. There’s no way out of a situation like that and other than default and bankruptcy. There’s not going to be any economic “change” in the U.S. until the American economy begins resemble that of the Weimar Republic or present day Zimbabwe.

    I’ve seen all this Tea Party-model stuff before with the Ross Perot movement. Nothing ever came of that and nothing will come of this either. The Perot people raised most of the same issues as the Tea Partiers, and that was almost twenty years ago. Things are even worse today.

  4. “The Teabaggers equate the term “big government” with the welfare state, and are either ignorant of or think nothing of the empire, the corporate state, and the sundry something bad industrial complexes.”

    Yeah, a lot of them are folks who, like Ayn Rand, think the military-industrial complex is a myth and that Big Business is America’s most persecuted minority. They think the prison-industrial complex is leftist propaganda, and probably think the police state is not extensive enough.

  5. Keith,

    Which shows the obvious transparency if their anti-“big government” rhetoric. Honestly, I’ve grown quite weary of faux news conservatives who speak gloomily about “creeping socialism”, as if our presently existing economic and governmental system was already fine as is. Also, when they talk about “destroying the free market capitalist system that made America great” oblivious to the fact a free market has never truly existed in this country and that the misidentified economic arrangement they’re referring to has never had a positive effect on America.

    Basically, if you think the greatest threat to our country’s well-being is welfare checks and entitlement programs (which, as Glenn Beck has brilliantly made clear, is part of a secret Marxist plot to turn us into the U.S.S.A.) then your movement is going to be dead in the water. And if you think America is being controlled by a motley crue of historically marginalized left-wing radicals then god help you.

    These folks constant, mindless use of the term “socialism” is irritating, partially because they talk about it as if it was fascism and partially because they grossly misuse it. Apparently, “socialism” is to be used interchangably with liberalism, and the center-left welfare state is the ultimate example of this sinister “socialism.” Bu these people have never heard of the idea of communal ownership of property and the means of production. A great number of libertarians also make the same error.

    Perhaps the teapartiers will at some point educate themselves and see the error in their ways, and come to see Obama’s alleged socialism for what it is: non-existent.
    They can then echo the immortal words of Ozzy Osbourne-“I was looking for something that just isn’t there!”

  6. Chomsky is right. (er… correct.) The tea parties are GOP astro turf and the GOP is an imperialist, “fascist” organization. It drives me nuts to hear tea partiers identify as “libertarians”. The tea party is the new face of the republican party. These guys have great PR people. “libertarians” my butt.

  7. Charles,

    You’ve raised an interesting point. There are indeed similarities between the Republicans and classical fascism in the militarism that both espoused extreme militarism, the corporatist state, and the police state, though there are important differences as well. I wrote a bit about that in this essay from years ago:

    https://attackthesystem.com/canning-reactionary-leftism/

    Also, some distinction needs to be made between the actual policies/agenda of the Republican Party leadership itself and the beliefs of its grassroots dupes. I discussed that a bit here:

    http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/left-right/the-failure-of-conservatism/

  8. The American Right seems to have swapped places with the radical left circa 1968: forming ‘new tribes’ like the hippies (what next: communes?), engaging in street protests, wearing elaborate, fanciful costumes (usually of 18th century revolutionaries). They’ll be burning flags and smoking dope shortly (and maybe a new Right Weatherman – bombing empty government tax offices at night – or Symbionese Liberation Army style outfit will form. The White Panthers? It’s the eternal recurrence all right) The Old Right would have looked in horror upon such behaviour. Politics was an activity carried on in the smoking room of the country club, not on the public highway.

  9. Interesting reading. Admittedly, a bit of it is over my head. I wonder then, what becomes of the Tea Parties at the time of the next major GOP victory. Is this “grassroots activism” swept under the carpet like the “useful idiots” they might be? Or do they have a cohesive enough ideology to actually force the Republican hand back toward real conservatism?

    Further, if you prescribe that libertarian minded people get behind the Tea Party, then do we optimistically assume that there is a large enough portion of these activists that truly don’t see their movement as GOP astro turf, and who vehemently fight to keep it as such? Is there hope that they can do anything but spout Palin-esque gibberish and say that they “don’t align themselves with a particular party”?

  10. Fellow Traveler,

    “The American Right seems to have swapped places with the radical left circa 1968: forming ‘new tribes’ like the hippies…”

    Exactly! Back in the 90s I started noticed a “radical right” underground developing that was in many ways the mirror image of the 60s. It’s only now just beginning to blossom a bit, just like 60s radicalism was an outgrowth of the beatnik culture and Frankfurt School Marxism that preceded it. Hopefully, things are just getting started.

    “…engaging in street protests, wearing elaborate, fanciful costumes (usually of 18th century revolutionaries). ”

    Jerry Rubin of the Yippies actually testified in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee wearing a Revolutionary War-era costume in the 60s. He went back a 2nd time wearing a Vietcong outfit.

    “They’ll be burning flags and smoking dope shortly….”

    Anti-American sentiment and opposition to the War on drugs is now just as prevalent on the Right as the Left, often more so and more vehemently so.

    “and maybe a new Right Weatherman – bombing empty government tax offices at night – or Symbionese Liberation Army style outfit will form.”

    Joe Stack?

    “The White Panthers? It’s the eternal recurrence all right)”

    There really was a White Panther group in the 60s. They were conceived of as a white auxiliary to the Black Panthers and they were based Detroit. Their leader was a guy named John Sinclair, and the MC5 rock group was associated with them.

    “The Old Right would have looked in horror upon such behaviour. Politics was an activity carried on in the smoking room of the country club, not on the public highway.”

    That’s no doubt true of the Main Street Republican Chamber of Commerce types found in the Old Right. But I suspect Mencken and Nock would have had at least a grudging or passing sympathy. I recall reading somewhere that during the 60s, Father Charles Coughlin said of the student radicals that he regretted being too old to go out and join them.

  11. “I wonder then, what becomes of the Tea Parties at the time of the next major GOP victory. Is this “grassroots activism” swept under the carpet like the “useful idiots” they might be? Or do they have a cohesive enough ideology to actually force the Republican hand back toward real conservatism?”

    My guess is they’ll go the same way as the Goldwater, Reagan, Perot, and Gingrich movements. They’ll simply be a GOP loyalist and cheerleading squad. Gottfried has a good piece on this:

    http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2010/04/24/revolutionary-phoniness/

    “Further, if you prescribe that libertarian minded people get behind the Tea Party, then do we optimistically assume that there is a large enough portion of these activists that truly don’t see their movement as GOP astro turf, and who vehemently fight to keep it as such? Is there hope that they can do anything but spout Palin-esque gibberish and say that they “don’t align themselves with a particular party”?”

    I think the most optimistic assessment of the Tea Partiers is that some of them may someday be recruited into something more radical. For instance, the way the Goldwater movement produced recruits for Murray Rothbard’s anarcho-capitalism at one point.

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