Tea Party and / or Occupy?

[ cross-posted from Zenpundit — parallels, opppositions, analysis, games, coincidentia oppositorum ]



My friend Cath Styles, who has been developing an iPad playable version of my HipBone Games under the name Sembl for the National Museum of Australia, made a point I’ve been trying to make for a while now, with sweet lucidity, in a recent blog post:

A general principle can be distilled from this. Perhaps: In the very moment we identify a similarity between two objects, we recognise their difference. In other words, the process of drawing two things together creates an equal opposite force that draws attention to their natural distance. So the act of seeking resemblance – consistency, or patterns – simultaneously renders visible the inconsistencies, the structures and textures of our social world. And the greater the conceptual distance between the two likened objects, the more interesting the likening – and the greater the understanding to be found.

That’s absolutely right, and it gets to the heart of my games and analytic practice — to see and acknowledge both parallelisms and differences, oppositions…

Oxford is the polar opposite of Cambridge as anyone at the annual boat race between them will tell you — yet they’re so similar that the term Oxbridge exists to distinguish them as a dyad from all else the wide world round…

Similarly, in the example illustrated above, Cath shows two items from the Museum collection that were juxtaposed by players of an early version of her game, and writes:

the Sembl players who linked the above branding iron to the breastplate – because both are tools for labeling bodies – cast new light on the colonial practice of giving metal breastplates to Aboriginal people.

* *

Since the essence of my own analytic style (and that of HipBone and Sembl games) is the recognition of parallelisms and oppositions, I was particularly interested to see one group of early Tea Party folk reaching out to the emerging Occupy movement. Here, then, are two posts in which we can see the beginnings of recognition that there may be a kinship between the two…

Occupy Wall Street: Another View:

You know what the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is?
It is all the things that were in the original Tea Party, but were steadily ignored as the TP became a Republican booster club.

That comes from a post on FedUpUSA, a site with the Gadsden flag as its web-logo that was [as “Market Ticker”], one of the founding orgs behind the TP. It’s from someone who identified as a Libertarian Party activist.

Here’s another post from FedUpUSA, not so identified:

An Open Letter From FedUpUSA To Occupy Wall Street Protestors All Over The Country:

This is a letter to OWS from FedUpUSA, one of the original Tea Parties:
We support you in exercising your First Amendment Right. We are outraged that any peaceful demonstrator would be assaulted or abused by any authorities.
If you are protesting because there are no jobs— We stand with you.
We are for a free economy and recognize that what we have now is NOT a free economy; it is not capitalism what we have is a fascist state or crony-capitalism. There is nothing free about doing business with Countries that manipulate their currencies to attract cheap labor. We agree that these jobs need to come back to America.
If you are protesting because no one has gone to jail— We stand with you.
Regardless of what is being said from the white house and media, we know that there are many in the financial district and the banks that have committed fraud and outright theft and we too want to see them prosecuted. We support the stop looting and start prosecuting.
If you are protesting because everything costs more— We stand with you.
We see prices rise in our food, gas, clothes yet our wages have stayed the same or have decreased. The Federal Reserve has bailed everyone out but us and not only are we going to have to pay for that, those bailouts make the price of everything else go up because it devalues our currency. We support monetary reform.
If you are protesting because you are tired of our bought and paid for government on both sides— We stand with you.
We are also against the banks and big corporations buying our politicians and writing laws that favor their special interests. We understand that our economy is broken BECAUSE of this and that all of our other issues will never be addressed as long as the financial elite control OUR government.
We understand that these issues cross party lines and ideologies and effect each and every one of us. We also understand that these issues will never get fixed as long as we continue to let the media, the elite, and members of the government separate us by our differing ideologies.
Only Together, can we Implement Change
It is time, We Americans, put our ideologies in our back pocket and not let them separate us so that we can work together for this ONE COMMON GOAL: to get the special interest money and elite out of OUR Government and return it to US — the people.
As long as the banks, largest corporations, and wealthy elite control our government, we will never have a representative republic and laws will continue to be passed that only benefit the few 1% at the expense of us 99
Demand that NOT ONE MORE LAW gets passed until they pass:
Lobby reform:
It is a Federal Offense punishable by a minimum 5 years in prison to:
Lobby any member of the US Congress outside of the district you live, work, or own a business.
Lobby a member of congress while they are physically outside the district they represent.
Campaign Reform:
It is a Federal Offense punishable by a minimum 5 years in prison to:
For any one person, corporation, enterprise, group, union or the like, to donate more than $2,000 to any one candidate during one campaign period.
For any member of the media to deny equal access to competing candidates.
These two laws will cut the control the Financial elite have on our government by leveling the playing field. You will have just as big as a voice with your representative as the big box retailer that resides in your town. Simply, it will end the Crony-Capitalism that is strangling our economy.
I encourage all my fellow Tea Partiers to join Occupy Wall Street protesters in their non-violent, peaceful protests and together demand that the Government be returned to the people. After all, this is precisely what the Tea Party was intended to be before it was taken over and marginalized by the establishment politicians.

* *

And we’re deep into John Robb territory…

What do you think? Do the parallelisms strike you, or the oppositions — or, perhaps, both?

FWIW, Cath’s Sembl version of my game looks like it is going to be a beautiful steampunk affair…

25 thoughts on “Tea Party and / or Occupy?”

  1. Whoever wrote that for FedUpUSA is a useful idiot.
    The OWS mob was organized by Communists such as International ANSWER and the Communist Party. They don’t want a return to Constitutional principles of limited government and self responsibility. They want government to take over and run the economy and give them “free” stuff, like socialized medicine and a “living wage” when they do nothing to earn it.
    Anyone that allies with Communists is my enemy.

  2. Well, except that the Tea Party I belonged to realized quite early on that protests and mass gatherings were just the first step. They were fun, an effective attention-getting device, but there wouldn’t be much happening unless we buckled down and took the next step; figured out how to leverage our numbers and those who felt sympathy for our message.

    The message was pretty simple from day one – fiscal responsibility, strict Constitutionality and free markets. (Real free markets, not the crony capitalism which seems to anger both sides of the political spectrum.) THAT was what united us, anything else was quibbling over details.

    So we looked around, and realized that taking over the local Republican caucus was a good starting place. We did briefly consider the Dem caucus, too, but reluctantly conceeded that the chances were better with the Republicans. And to support candidates running for local offices who supported the basic principles, and to support those running in other districts, or states as well. Get out the vote, talk to friends, blog, try and educate the local media, join email newsletters, contribute what you can, when you can. Essentially, become the ‘kingmakers’- that block who can make or break a political candidate.

    All that was a great deal more effort than a single protest, even one extended over days or weeks. The process was a lot less visible, and took months to achieve. I honestly don’t think you can say that the GOP took over the Tea Party – Tea Party elements have taken over the GOP. To the absolute horror of the long-time establishment GOP, I might add.

    Unless the OWS is willing to buckle down and actually do that work, they’ll be a media spectacle, no more. And taking a dump on a police car is about as much of a spectacle as it gets.

  3. OWS demands more government, more government control, more transfer payments, more debt, more bailouts.

    OWS are not demanding less interference in running their businesses. They are demanding that the government force somebody to hire them and to pay them a middle-class salary, even though they have no marketable skills above the minimum-wage level — and are too narcissistic and entitled to function even at that level, skills or no.

    They do resemble the Tea Party in exactly the same way the cattle brand resembles the award for meritorious pro-social behavior. Shrewd choice of analogy. And it’s no accident that the lefties think the two pieces of metal are identical because they both involve “marking bodies”, forsooth.

  4. Some of the things OWS is protesting are correct.

    Do not assume that everything they say is wrong, so say the opposite. It is not that simple.

    I read their demand list and I found I agreed with about 1/3 of it, but found most of it wrong or stupid.

  5. “Tea Party elements have taken over the GOP.” Here and there, bits and pieces. We need way, way more of that. We are just getting started in Chicago, which is truly the heart of darkness. The GOP in Illinois is among the worst in the nation, and in Chicago itself it is nonexistent, literally. A brownfield building site for the Tea Party. Even so, there are some truly superb people here, and some terrific candidates. I do not see OWS as a political movement. It is a medial phenomenon. Obama’s OFA, which I wrote about here, is a serious political machine. That is more like the Tea Party, centrally directed, but with lots of bottom-up effort and initiative. The GOP has zero in-house equivalent, at least in Illinois.

  6. I think the OWS movement is just the usual leftist astroturf- only with a focus group tested message intended to fool Tea Party friendly people into thinking they’re the same as the Tea Party, except without teh racism and h8.

    This is marketing, not a mass movement.

  7. Make that: Maybe SO.

    Attacking the government banking complex from both flanks (lecture go after the banks, eighties go after the government) may work out.

    Obama gets to pretend to support the protesters while being in the pocket if the banks. What a tough life. Maybe one day some of the lecture will wake up and figure out that their magic super-being in tue White House is, to paraphrase Johnny Rotten, not what he seems.

  8. Funny how the FedUpUSA letter begins by decrying violations of First Amendment rights and ends with a legislative agenda to jail those who exercise those very same rights. Nice, too, how they propose to imprison the wrongful lobbyists while the lobbied go free. It’s as though one who believed in making/keeping drugs illegal advocated for punishing users and letting dealers deal with impunity.

  9. Lexington Green,

    You’re right, of course. This could well be the beginning of a mass movement.

    But I’ve read elsewhere that SEIU is busing in paid protesters. And I see the usual assortment of losers and fools of the sort that always show up at the leftist protest du jour.

    I’m not impressed.

  10. Yeah, it does seem like the usual gang are taking this over.

    But maybe there is something genuine under it that will struggle to assert itself.

    Probably not. But, let’s see what happens.

    Ha. I just noticed this: “(lecture go after the banks, eighties go after the government)”

    That should be: “(lefties go after the banks, righties go after the government)”

    I do think there is a populist Left that is sincere and should be outraged by crony capitalism.

    So far, though, it is like political dark matter. It ought to exist, but it is not detectable with our current equipment.

    instead, it is all still hating on businesses and refusing to make the connection to government.

    That is not going to lead to a mass movement, most likely.

    The proper site for this protest, if it had been real, would be in DC, where various highly placed officials reside.

    If I try to comment through my iPhone, it seems to be particularly difficult to stop it from “correcting” stuff.

  11. I do think there is a populist Left that is sincere and should be outraged by crony capitalism.

    Sure there is. But these people tend to interpret events much differently than conservatives do, and conservatives are often not equipped rhetorically to make a case to such people.

  12. I went to a small gathering representing first Tea Party Tax day rally a couple of years ago. Even then there was someone who took the open mic to blast the Wall Street bailouts. There were subdued rumbles of agreement in the crowd. Encouraged, he then took off on an attack on corporations and the “rich.” Folks around me began to look around uncomfortably and everyone was notably quiet. As he rounded back to the bailout discussion I shouted, “the problem isn’t Wall Street, it’s the Beltway.” Applause.

    To me, that exchange illustrates one of the largest differences between the Occupy folks and the Tea Party. It may be a chicken/egg argument, but while both the Tea Party and the Occupy folks are frustrated by the partnership between corporations and the government, we differ wildly on which part of that partnership we blame or want to change.

    In my mind, the corporation is only dangerous when the government attempts to control the market. The more a government regulates, the more big business will spend trying to control legislation through lobbying, pay for play and influence buying.

    So while the Occupy folks would dismantle the free market to prevent the partnership between business and government (which, of course, would codify the partnership between economy and government they pretend to despise), the Tea Party would want the partnership broken completely by hobbling government.

  13. Lex:

    I do think there is a populist Left that is sincere and should be outraged by crony capitalism.

    So far, though, it is like political dark matter. It ought to exist, but it is not detectable with our current equipment.

    Less like dark matter, and more like an unstable isotope.

    Being a pro-freedom leftist is essentially a contradiction in terms, and it’s a rare individual who can sustain that degree of doublethink for any sustained half-life.

    The folks you describe probably do emerge from the left in significant numbers, but I expect almost all them either fall back to stable-state progressivism, or undergo spontaneous statism-emission to become libertarians.

    I know the latter is possible because it’s what happened to me, albeit with a number of meta-stable conservative configurations in between. (Jiminey Cricket I am a huge nerd.)

    Having spent time in various political camps, I think I have some standing to assert that the left consists almost entirely of three types of people:

    1) Those who have not yet realized that government intervention almost inevitably makes everything worse

    2) Crooks (the political class)

    3) Idiots

    The best thing conservatives and libertarians can do for group number 1 is to avoid being jerks while patiently and repeatedly pointing out the differences between capitalism and crapitalism. Those who don’t find their way out were probably condemned to be lost from the beginning.

  14. Also, a lot of these protesters are basically kids who are not fully formed by exposure to post-school reality.

    If we just pushed to have student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy we could probably peel off half of these people.

    That is an unjust law and we should end it.

  15. It is dishonest for the author of that letter to identify FedUpUSA with the Tea Parties. I checked out their website; consistent with the letter’s demands, FedUpUSA is a single-issue organization, that issue being lobbyist influence. It has a simple quixotic formula: kill the lobby influence, kill the corruption. I think they vastly underestimate the ability of lobbies to get around campaign finance laws, or to find new ways to exert their influence.

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