BEHIND THE SCENES
Journal of 23rd Year
Losing in Afghanistan
Whistleblowers & Court
U.S. Buys Press
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Tea Party Tale
Drones Over America
Paper of Power?
Politics of Genocide
Anatomy of Epidemic
FDR & New Deal
Zaps - 09/10
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
A Tea Party Tale
Current attempts to revive the Boston Tea Party of 1773 are marketing gimmicks to mask conservative interests. A look at the recent history of this faux movement reveals the actors behind the curtain.
One of the earliest revivals of the Tea Party involved 100 people meeting in Seattle to protest the stimulus bill passed by Congress to keep the U.S. from descending into another Great Depression. After bloggers and libertarians issued a call on the Internet for a protest, the media blew it into a major event and right-wing groups poured funding into the nascent movement. These groups include Americans for Prosperity, a pro-tobacco, anti-health-care reform, and anti-tax lobbying organization, and FreedomWorks, a lobbying firm devoted to opposing taxes, immigration, health-care reform, and solutions to global warming. Koch Industries, an oil, mineral, ranching, and securities conglomerate, funds both groups, while the Sarah Mellon Scaife foundation, with interests in oil, industry, and banking, funds FreedomWorks.
After Fox News began promoting the Tea Party as a social movement, their crowds grew. Fox News commentator Glenn Beck invited viewers to "celebrate with Fox News" by attending tax protests in Washington on April 15. A mere 3,000 Tea Party supporters attended the rally, but it grabbed headlines. More people rallied across the country in support of single payer health-care reform, but they received litttle attention. After much smaller groups of Tea Partiers protested in several cities, right-wing commentators—such as Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly—giddily talked about "a growing movement." Soon Republicans Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Ron Paul, Grover Norquist, and Newt Gingrich jumped on board, hoping to revive their failed political careers.
Supporters claimed the Tea Party was "a nonpartisan grassroots movement," but, in reality, it was supported by right-wing money and promoted by the right-wing propaganda mill. In spite of the media hoopla, when asked, 18 percent of Americans replied that they identified with the Tea Party. Only 20 percent of those sent money—about 4 percent of the public—while 78 percent gave nothing in support. Essentially, the Tea Party is a new face of the same old right-wing, reactionary forces that have been working to turn America into a more religious, racist, and militaristic country with an unregulated free enterprise system, weak government, and low taxation.
Analysts predicted midterm elections would reveal large grass-roots support for the Tea Party, but only a handful of their candidates won in the primaries, while two-thirds of registered voters stayed home. Unfortunately, a poor showing at the polls doesn't mean all is well in the U.S.
According to a comprehensive New York Times/CBS News poll, the majority of Tea Party supporters describe themselves as being "very conservative," more conservative than most Republicans on social issues. They almost always vote Republican and 60 percent favored George W. Bush Jr. A majority are white men who claim the government favors the poor. Twice as many of them as the general public feel black people get "too much attention." Almost 50 percent heard about the Tea Party on TV, 80 percent are white, 60 percent are older than 50, 90 percent are pessimistic about the direction of the country, disapprove of Obama, believe America is becoming socialist, and 75 percent want to have smaller government.
Many Tea Partiers live on Social Security, benefit from Medicare, and are frightened. Although they report their personal financial situation as "fairly good" or "very good," 55 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party fear someone in their household will lose their job in the coming year. Two-thirds say the recession caused them economic hardship and forced them to make life changes.
Progressive forces are organizing to promote social change in the interests of working people, minorities, gays and lesbians, young people, and immigrants, but they confront opposition groups with lots of money behind them. These moneyed interests, with help from conservatives from the Baby Boomer generation, are currently holding off real change. Coupled with GOP obstructionism in Congress, America is deadlocked. What catastrophe will come to break the deadlock is anyone's guess.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.