A tea party of the left

Since the middle of September, some 1000 protesters have been demonstrating on Wall Street, denouncing big business and high finance, calling for more regulations on banks and corporations, an end to housing foreclosures, and more taxes on the rich. The protest movement is called Occupy Wall Street.

The protests have been growing.  This weekend 700 demonstrators were arrested on Brooklyn Bridge.  The movement has spread to Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and other cities.  Celebrities from Roseanne Barr to Michael Moore are supporting the cause.  So are intellectuals such as Salman Rushdie, Noam Chomsky,  and Cornell West.   Reportedly, some labor unions are considering getting involved.

Occupy Wall Street is claiming kinship with the Arab Spring.

See Occupy Wall Street – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Is this potentially the tea party of the left that liberals have been calling for?  Do you think this will bring new life to political liberalism?  Is there actually an underlying kinship between those who protest big government and those who protest big business?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    This is the same old, same old. Michael Moore? Cornell West? Noam Chomsky? If this was a “new Tea party of the Left” these people wouldn’t be anywhere near it – they would be the targets of such a group as much as the state-supported Friends of Bill who occupy much of Wall Street (Rubin, Corzine, and Soros for example). We already have a semi-socialist banking sector, and these protesters want it more so. Yawn.

  • SKPeterson

    This is the same old, same old. Michael Moore? Cornell West? Noam Chomsky? If this was a “new Tea party of the Left” these people wouldn’t be anywhere near it – they would be the targets of such a group as much as the state-supported Friends of Bill who occupy much of Wall Street (Rubin, Corzine, and Soros for example). We already have a semi-socialist banking sector, and these protesters want it more so. Yawn.

  • Eric Brown

    I thought that was supposed to be the coffee party…

  • Eric Brown

    I thought that was supposed to be the coffee party…

  • Cincinnatus

    Except for the call for higher taxes, this group (which is actually very small) shares the same grievances as the original Tea Party, which, as you will recall, began as a protest against the bank bailouts.

  • Cincinnatus

    Except for the call for higher taxes, this group (which is actually very small) shares the same grievances as the original Tea Party, which, as you will recall, began as a protest against the bank bailouts.

  • SAL

    I heard interviews of the protestors on NPR and surprisingly the protestors didn’t come off favorably. I’m surprised because I thought NPR would have scoured the 1,000 folks to find some who might be sympathetic to ordinary Americans.

    Instead you get typical professional protestors, street theater and counter culture types.

    I certainly can understand the reason for protests of Wall Street. However now that this has gotten the Left’s attention it will be co-opted and lose whatever was organic and authentic about it.

  • SAL

    I heard interviews of the protestors on NPR and surprisingly the protestors didn’t come off favorably. I’m surprised because I thought NPR would have scoured the 1,000 folks to find some who might be sympathetic to ordinary Americans.

    Instead you get typical professional protestors, street theater and counter culture types.

    I certainly can understand the reason for protests of Wall Street. However now that this has gotten the Left’s attention it will be co-opted and lose whatever was organic and authentic about it.

  • Jerry

    These protests are absolutely nothing more than President Obama mobilizing his forces for 2012

  • Jerry

    These protests are absolutely nothing more than President Obama mobilizing his forces for 2012

  • Bob

    A tea party of the left? I think that’s a gross mischaracterization of what’s going on. It sounds good in a headline, but it’s not the reality.

    Sure, there’s a shared strong dissatisfaction with the political and business Establishment. But I think after that, the comparison ends.

    I don’t know any of my liberal friends who would identify with the Tea Partiers. They’re just a variant of the Republicans,
    (the GOT), and they’ve (sadly) been manipulated by Big Business.

    The authors of American Grace, sociologist Robert Putnam (author of “Bowling Alone”) and David Campbell (Notre Dame), have published one of the most the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America.When asked about their opinions of 24 social groups, the Tea Leakers finished dead last — below atheists, the Religious Right, way below Democrats, Mormons, gays and lesbians, and liberals. In fact, below everyone. If they’re so despised among the religious, just think what secularists think of them.

    Tea Party of the Left? No, thanks.

    http://www.americangrace.org/FT%20scores2.pdf

    http://www.americangrace.org

  • Bob

    A tea party of the left? I think that’s a gross mischaracterization of what’s going on. It sounds good in a headline, but it’s not the reality.

    Sure, there’s a shared strong dissatisfaction with the political and business Establishment. But I think after that, the comparison ends.

    I don’t know any of my liberal friends who would identify with the Tea Partiers. They’re just a variant of the Republicans,
    (the GOT), and they’ve (sadly) been manipulated by Big Business.

    The authors of American Grace, sociologist Robert Putnam (author of “Bowling Alone”) and David Campbell (Notre Dame), have published one of the most the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America.When asked about their opinions of 24 social groups, the Tea Leakers finished dead last — below atheists, the Religious Right, way below Democrats, Mormons, gays and lesbians, and liberals. In fact, below everyone. If they’re so despised among the religious, just think what secularists think of them.

    Tea Party of the Left? No, thanks.

    http://www.americangrace.org/FT%20scores2.pdf

    http://www.americangrace.org

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Some group called called the New York City General Assembly has posted a manifesto, titled Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.

    Some of the points I can agree with, but most seem like typical socialist agitator talking points.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Some group called called the New York City General Assembly has posted a manifesto, titled Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.

    Some of the points I can agree with, but most seem like typical socialist agitator talking points.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is no real left in American politics. There is no people’s party. Both parties are big business crony capitalists. They just pander to different groups. The so-called liberals want to silence opposition, and the so-called small gov’t folks are fine with the government assassinating US citizens. I read one guy who remarked that Marx discussed capital v. workers. He discussed the economics of workers v. capital. Both the very top and very bottom are less productive than the middle and they just transfer value from the productive middle to the unproductive bottom and the productive but overcompensated top. A true Left would want more of the value to remain with those who produced it and less of it transferred up or down.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is no real left in American politics. There is no people’s party. Both parties are big business crony capitalists. They just pander to different groups. The so-called liberals want to silence opposition, and the so-called small gov’t folks are fine with the government assassinating US citizens. I read one guy who remarked that Marx discussed capital v. workers. He discussed the economics of workers v. capital. Both the very top and very bottom are less productive than the middle and they just transfer value from the productive middle to the unproductive bottom and the productive but overcompensated top. A true Left would want more of the value to remain with those who produced it and less of it transferred up or down.

  • Bob

    Ooooooooooh, Mike.

    Great name calling.

    Watch Fox/NewsMax/Drudge much?

    LOL.

  • Bob

    Ooooooooooh, Mike.

    Great name calling.

    Watch Fox/NewsMax/Drudge much?

    LOL.

  • The Jones

    Occupy Wall Street? I can think of a good nick-name: The OWLS

    I’ve seen them protesting, but I can’t exactly understand what they’re protesting about. Apparently, they don’t think the banks and traders have been punished enough for their contribution to the financial crisis of 2008. The law has let them off and they’re there for blood (right now that language is only figurative). However, they also seem to be very devoted to a big government. This means that the crony capitalism connection of big government and big business (hence the law letting them off with bailouts and whatnot) is not pursued. Instead, they call for more government to take down business, or at least sap it for money. Personally, I think it is unwittingly incoherent.

    But as a local TEA Party guy myself (that means I do a local TEA Party, but don’t get involved in big groups like AFP, FreedomWorks, LI, or anything like that), I would be happy to be first compared to this group and then distinguished. The TEA Party had a Glenn Beck rally where they picked up their own trash afterward. Maybe the OWLS will have a Michael Moore rally where they set the grass on fire.

  • The Jones

    Occupy Wall Street? I can think of a good nick-name: The OWLS

    I’ve seen them protesting, but I can’t exactly understand what they’re protesting about. Apparently, they don’t think the banks and traders have been punished enough for their contribution to the financial crisis of 2008. The law has let them off and they’re there for blood (right now that language is only figurative). However, they also seem to be very devoted to a big government. This means that the crony capitalism connection of big government and big business (hence the law letting them off with bailouts and whatnot) is not pursued. Instead, they call for more government to take down business, or at least sap it for money. Personally, I think it is unwittingly incoherent.

    But as a local TEA Party guy myself (that means I do a local TEA Party, but don’t get involved in big groups like AFP, FreedomWorks, LI, or anything like that), I would be happy to be first compared to this group and then distinguished. The TEA Party had a Glenn Beck rally where they picked up their own trash afterward. Maybe the OWLS will have a Michael Moore rally where they set the grass on fire.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    These are the fruits of a leftist, government/union controlled public school system.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    These are the fruits of a leftist, government/union controlled public school system.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg’s comment@8 bears repeating.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg’s comment@8 bears repeating.

  • DonS

    As Cincinnatus said, sg @ 8 makes a good point. The banking industry was in the pocket of Obama in 2008, and big business and the Democrats often combine forces to increase regulation and thereby keep small business competitors out of the market. Big government union pensions are prioritized over benefits for the genuine needy.

    But this kind of thing is always the outcome in so-called socialist countries, as it is the middle class, not the rich or the poor, which disappears in those regimes.

  • DonS

    As Cincinnatus said, sg @ 8 makes a good point. The banking industry was in the pocket of Obama in 2008, and big business and the Democrats often combine forces to increase regulation and thereby keep small business competitors out of the market. Big government union pensions are prioritized over benefits for the genuine needy.

    But this kind of thing is always the outcome in so-called socialist countries, as it is the middle class, not the rich or the poor, which disappears in those regimes.

  • steve

    At least the Tea Partiers were addressing grievances with the federal government. Who the heck is Wall Street? What are “they” supposed to do? What can “they” do? These people bring their laptops, iPads, and cell phones to protest the very system that brought them those things. It seems they have vague complaints but no real answers. This all just seems so mislead and foolish to me.

  • steve

    At least the Tea Partiers were addressing grievances with the federal government. Who the heck is Wall Street? What are “they” supposed to do? What can “they” do? These people bring their laptops, iPads, and cell phones to protest the very system that brought them those things. It seems they have vague complaints but no real answers. This all just seems so mislead and foolish to me.

  • JunkerGeorg

    It would appear that the protesters have no idea of who is really ripping them off. If they did, they would “occupy” the FED, the White House and Goldman Sachs. They would demand a return to real money instead of worthless fiat money. It’s hard to tell what they’re demanding or from whom, other than seeing stock socialist slogans displayed, and a bunch of ridiculous demands that have nothing to do with Wall Street. Would that the protesters would understand that we can’t fix our economic woes by replacing our currently bloated, centrally-planned government with a Marxist version of the same thing.

  • JunkerGeorg

    It would appear that the protesters have no idea of who is really ripping them off. If they did, they would “occupy” the FED, the White House and Goldman Sachs. They would demand a return to real money instead of worthless fiat money. It’s hard to tell what they’re demanding or from whom, other than seeing stock socialist slogans displayed, and a bunch of ridiculous demands that have nothing to do with Wall Street. Would that the protesters would understand that we can’t fix our economic woes by replacing our currently bloated, centrally-planned government with a Marxist version of the same thing.

  • –helen

    DonS @13
    The banking industry was in the pocket of Obama in 2008,

    Rather, wasn’t the banking industry in all our pockets, and Obama was in cahoots with them?

  • –helen

    DonS @13
    The banking industry was in the pocket of Obama in 2008,

    Rather, wasn’t the banking industry in all our pockets, and Obama was in cahoots with them?

  • steve

    Furthermore, to compare this in any way with the Arab Spring is ridiculous. They know nothing of living under a totalitarian regime and the extent to which they think they do proves just how out of touch the movement really is.

  • steve

    Furthermore, to compare this in any way with the Arab Spring is ridiculous. They know nothing of living under a totalitarian regime and the extent to which they think they do proves just how out of touch the movement really is.

  • Gary

    @SAL, #4: “typical professional protestors, street theater and counter culture types”

    Exactly. Hence, the natural comparison to the Tea Partiers.

    What? You think TP folks don’st see themselves as a force of counter culture? Of course they do! And while their protests may not be professional, they most certainly are doing theater.

  • Gary

    @SAL, #4: “typical professional protestors, street theater and counter culture types”

    Exactly. Hence, the natural comparison to the Tea Partiers.

    What? You think TP folks don’st see themselves as a force of counter culture? Of course they do! And while their protests may not be professional, they most certainly are doing theater.

  • Bob

    Gary,

    The TPers that came to Wisconsin this spring on buses during the protests were from out of state.

    The only street theatre they were doing was marching to the orders of the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey’s backup groups who funded their guided tours.

  • Bob

    Gary,

    The TPers that came to Wisconsin this spring on buses during the protests were from out of state.

    The only street theatre they were doing was marching to the orders of the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey’s backup groups who funded their guided tours.

  • Pingback: Top 5 Reasons Why The Occupy Wall Street Protests Embody Values Of The Real Boston Tea Party « The Fifth Column

  • Pingback: Top 5 Reasons Why The Occupy Wall Street Protests Embody Values Of The Real Boston Tea Party « The Fifth Column

  • Cincinnatus

    Bob@19: So? A substantial number, if not proportion, of the pro-union/anti-Walker protesters were also imported from out of state. What’s your point? That doesn’t prove that there wasn’t an “authentic” and organic element to the protests, just as you can’t smear the entire Tea Party movement by pointing out that some elements of it are bankrolled by corporate/media interest.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bob@19: So? A substantial number, if not proportion, of the pro-union/anti-Walker protesters were also imported from out of state. What’s your point? That doesn’t prove that there wasn’t an “authentic” and organic element to the protests, just as you can’t smear the entire Tea Party movement by pointing out that some elements of it are bankrolled by corporate/media interest.


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