Friday, October 22, 2010

What is the Tea Party Nation?

The Tea Party Nation (TPN) has become very vocal in the United States since the capitalist depression. The Tea Party Nation emanates from a number of conservative, white supremacist movements. Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, they have taken to the street, calling Obama a socialist, saying that he is an illegitimate president, and that he was not born in the US. The Tea Party Nation has tapped into the angry populism of ordinary citizens who are now insecure because of the economic crisis. This insecurity has been reinforced by conspiracy theorists, who claim that the Obama administration will take away the liberty of the ordinary citizen.

The US is the only advanced capitalist country without a public healthcare system. When the Obama administration tabled a healthcare bill, followers of the Tea Party Nation showed up at town hall meetings and declared that the administration was setting up 'death panels'. They used confusion and misinformation to compound the insecurity and fears of the people who were losing their homes and jobs. Conservatives and white supremacists had a field day, and one of the persons who had been promoted as a spokesperson for this movement is the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Speaking at the Tea Party convention on 7 February 2010, she declared: 'America is ready for another revolution.' At the same convention, Tom Tancredo, who had made his reputation as a politician who has mobilised on the basis of anti-immigration, said that Barack Obama won because 'we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote.' This was in reference to the era of white supremacist domination when African-Americans did not have the right to vote.

It is important for readers of Pambazuka to understand that the white supremacists in America want to bring back the period of Jim Crow when African-Americans were denied civil rights and did not have the right to vote. These same conservatives are the ones who promote militarism abroad and foment scare tactics about Islamic terrorists. At the Tea Party convention, Tom Tancredo said, 'people who could not even spell the word "vote" or say it English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.' This was the same politician who had compared the civil rights organisation La Raza to the Ku Klux Klan. He had called this organisation 'a Latino KKK without the hood or the nooses.'

Besides this racist rhetoric, we have had white supremacist groups arming themselves and turning up at meetings with weapons. There are now numerous conservative formations such as the John Birch Society and racists who openly proclaim a rabid conservatism. They have been organising under 'respectable’ fronts such as the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). At the CPAC convention, Tim Pawlenty, in a bid to whip up conservative hysteria, said that America should be like the wife of Tiger Woods: 'We should take a page out of her playbook and take a 9-iron and smash the window out of big government.' Those who can read the subtext could decipher the racist undertone and the inspiration toward violence behind those words.

In the same week, another conservative, Joseph Andrew Stack, flew his plane into a government building (the IRS building) in Texas. What should we call this? If one followed the logic of the Bush–Cheney period, then the US government should have launched a war on terror to arrest every angry white male such as Joe Srack. Should everyone who had links with him be arrested as a terrorist? We are not suggesting such a course; we are highlighting the lunacy of the US global war on terror and the justification for the Africa Command (AFRICOM).

These conservative and Tea Party rumblings must be followed very carefully by Africans because the conservative, Christian fundamentalists in the US who were against the rights of women and the rights of people with the same sexual orientation are very active as 'missionaries’ in Africa. We have seen the influence of these elements in Uganda, where American conservatives have allies in the Ugandan government who believe that gays and lesbians should be put to death.

The rise of the militarist forces, the white supremacist forces, the sexist forces, and the homophobic forces have sharpened the divide in the US. More and more, the conservative white supremacists are exposing liberals who support institutionalised racism, sexism and US military expansion. There are many liberals who believe in Social Darwinism and the hierarchy of human beings, who are silent in the face of this new right-wing insurgency.

Big capitalists are behind the Tea Party Nation. Tea Party leaders are putting measures in place to avoid the disclosure of their capitalist sponsors. According to news reports from the National Public Radio, the head of the Memphis Tea Party is a capitalist named Mark Skoda. During the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Skoda announced the party’s plans to establish a fundraising machine known as the Ensuring Liberty Corp. The Ensuring Liberty Corp., and a follow-up action committee to be known as the Ensuring Liberty Political Action Committee, will be coordinated to not only raise funds but protect the Tea Party’s behind-the-scenes capitalist financiers.

One section of the media is outlining how certain capitalists are financing the Tea Party movement. These behind-the-scenes operations of the capitalists are reminiscent of the activities of big capitalists in Germany when Adolf Hitler was whipping up racist, anti-Semitic sentiments. The capitalist class in Germany wanted to manipulate the scared German worker who had become insecure because of the capitalist depression and capitalist crisis.

Millions of citizens in the US are now insecure because of the capitalist crisis. Millions are losing their homes because of foreclosure. Unemployment is officially at 10 per cent, but unofficially at 17 per cent. In the midst of this crisis, the US government is spending trillions of dollars to bail out the banks and save the capitalist system. These capitalists are integrated through the Wall Street–IMF–Treasury complex into the military–industrial complex. Militarism in the US is promoted by the system. When there are cuts in everything else in America, the military budget is increased. This militarism, racism and capitalist crisis sharpens the line between revolution and counter-revolution in America.

Barack Obama became president at a revolutionary moment, and counter-revolution has reared its head. Obama, trained as a liberal, is trying to walk in the middle to save capitalism. But the middle ground is being removed by conservative right-wing forces. The reparations, peace and justice movements are the forces who understand the fundamental contradictions of American society. It was this movement that de-legitimised the Bush global war on terror. This movement is daily exposing the militarism at home and abroad, developing new tactics and strategies to fight back against war, racism and repression. So, when Palin says America is ready for another revolution, the Right should be careful what they are calling for.