Three weeks into #occupywallst the movement is receiving a major boost with American Unions joining the call of the protesters. With demonstrations spreading across state lines media outlets are wondering if this could be a left wing version of the Tea Party on the horizon.
With CEO to workers pay at a whopping 475:1 ratio and 1% of the country owning over 60% of the wealth, the other 99% of America are hurting. The main message of the protest that resonates with the rest of America is that 99% of the country is suffering, how can it be correct that the 1% is not.
Yet the ability to connect with the rest of the population stops there. The “leaderless resistance movement” as it describes itself sets the average middle class American back on their heels and treats the rest of the truly popular message as highly suspicious.
The true success of the Tea Party was packaging an extreme conservative policy agenda into a movement that many middle class American families across America could feel like they could be a part of. Scott Browns senate win demonstrated how the movement had moved to the heart of the North East Liberal establishment.
Even with the help of the labor unions the very non-American packaging of resistance and attacking the system will remind people of the 1968 demonstrations against the man rather than the 1963 movement for the everyman. Instead of focusing on occupation why not on the 99%, why not name the movement – the 99%, who would not see themselves as part of that agenda?
Learning from the lessons of the Arab Spring seems to be the demonstrator’s main inspiration. Yet even at the worst times of the great depression, social security was still pillared as the imposition of foreign ideas, and went against the trope of American uniqueness. This demand to overthrow the establishment ignores the fact that to change American you need to organize within it.
Compare this with the Tea Party that by its very name is steeped in American mythology. The same anger was pushed into political organizing that has led to one of the most disciplined and organized freshman class of congress in history.
The real message of the protest groups is something that everyone could get on board with, and with President Obama’s current rhetoric towards taxing millionaires, could have real political traction. Yet unless it can organize itself politically, get involved in primaries to support candidates who will not take money from Wall Street, it will remain more of a public disorder problem then a political revolution.
If the passion of the street protesters can be turned into political activists than the left in American could really elect a caucus into Congress that could rival the Tea Party and support the tax increases that they are seeking. American is not the Middle East, if you wish to change the status quo you need to fix the political system rather than try and overthrow it. Electing those who will represent you and relay on you for their reelection is the way the Tea Party has changed the conversation in the country. Those on the barricades need to adopt the lessons of the right and move beyond their own comfort zone of street protest.