The tea party movement’s backward march


After watching the Nashville convention of the tea party movement, it is clear that they continue to be a racist, red-baiting movement against health care reform, jobs for all, an end to war, and economic and social justice.

They are out to bring down Barack Obama because they see him as a force for progressive change and they are against progressive change. They are a movement to take our country back to the policies of Reagan, Bush or worse.

As the conference showed, they have few people of color in their ranks. That is because, while they say they are "color blind," they are against any measures for racial equality and inclusion.

The opening speaker at the conference was none other than the notorious right wing bigot, former Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Tancredo told the nearly all-white gathering that the reason Obama was elected was because people voted for him "who could not even spell the word ‘vote' or say it in English." Tancredo went on to call for bringing back literacy tests.

Tancredo's despicable proposal would bring back what was a vicious method of denying the franchise to Black voters and is now illegal, as a way to prevent the election of an Obama type candidate in the future. Looking at his audience, it wasn't a surprise that his remarks were greeted with cheers and loud applause.

Tancredo went on to blame the election of Obama on "the cult of multiculturalism," whatever that is. Tancredo would no doubt prefer to go back to a time when the cult of segregation dominated our national life.

And by the way, in response to Tancredo's ridiculous claims, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree made the point on the Rachel Maddow Show that most of Obama's votes came from whites.

But the tea party conference was keynoted by a racist speech and no one there objected.

This was a meeting of people who do not believe that the last presidential election was legitimate. They don't even believe that the president is a U.S. citizen. They are opposed to any government spending to help the massive numbers of unemployed, impoverished, foreclosed and evicted - all victims of the Republican-initiated Wall Street ripoff that brought down the nation's economy.

Concern for the 40,000 people who annually die needlessly because they don't have health insurance is not their cup of tea. The 30 million still uninsured should just perish if their coverage is by a government-run program. "Smaller government" is more important.

The tea party notion of "pro-life" does not extend to those who have died because of U.S. pre-emptive wars, and military spending is exempt from their opposition to big government spending.

The conference was an orgy of racist hate aimed mainly against blacks, Latinos, immigrants and the nation's first African American president.

Sarah Palin, the $100,000 speaker, is making hay on the backs of this movement. She thinks she is presidential timber (2012). I doubt it, but for sure she will come out of this a very rich racist, red-baiting demagogue.

It clear to most observers that most of the tea party participants, as shown by their signs and slogans, are opposed to the president mainly because he is black.

Just like the old southern racist hypocrites that for decades ruled the South and had a big sway in Congress, the tea party movement is using red-baiting and anti-terrorist hysteria to rationalize their support for the most reactionary section of the U.S. capitalist class: the powerful insurance monopolies, the armaments industry, the anti-union labor corporate elite.

Sarah Palin has jumped in front of this backward march. She is part of the new McCarthyism combined with racist contempt for the first black president.

Her notion that Obama is more like a college professor and what we need is a commander in chief is another version of calling him "uppity."

To attack Obama for being too smart after eight years of supporting a one-sentence president is ridiculous and racist. This all coming from a politician who has to write crib notes on her hand because she obviously can't retain the most elementary parts of her own program.

Palin knows full well when she attacks Obama that she is furthering racial division in the country, which is an especially dangerous game to play during hard economic times. Her racist attacks on immigrants, that they are bringing the country down; her opposition to any government spending to help working families survive the crisis - all of these attacks give encouragement to the racist lunatic fringe.

Former President Jimmy Carter said the tea party movement reminded him of the pro-segregationist movement he knew growing up in the South.

Television commentator Lawrence O'Donnell said it reminded him of the racist movement that was organized in South Boston in opposition to school integration. O'Donnell said, "These people are more opposed to the president then they are to health care reform." He recounted how the Republican opposition did not treat Hillary Clinton like that when she presented health care reform in the 90s.

Progressive activist and actor Jeanine Garofalo described the tea party movement as the rebirth of the White Citizens Councils.

This movement Palin has jumped in front of is really a movement that hates change and wants to go backward. Their aim is to help the extreme right take back the Congress in November and the presidency in 2012.

Whether they succeed depends on the level of activity of the broad democratic, multiracial, labor and people's coalition that defeated Bush and his right-wing Congress. If they are activated on the issues of jobs, health care and peace the right will suffer another setback.

This fight cannot be won by Obama alone. This fight cannot be won by the Democratic majority in Congress alone.

Without street heat, without real grassroots organizing, we could loss the fight for change and be pushed back to the Bush era or worse. We dare not let that happen.

Consider the Nashville tea party meeting and the elections in New Jersy, Virginia and Massachusetts a wakeup call.

Like Obama did in his State of the Union speech and his confrontation with the Republicans at their caucus, it's time for the anti-racist majority, for the majority that wants health reform, a clean environment, massive job creation, peace, and economic and social justice, to take the offensive.

Photo: Sarah Palin addresses the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Feb. 6. On her hand, her crib notes are visible. (AP/Ed Reinke)


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  • gee thanks brandy (rush) oops brandy for enlightening us all i didn't no pres obama was responsible for undermining affirmative action i always thought it was the radical right wing and i didn't realize the cpusa was in power in 2001when we invaded iraq, or in 2008 when we started losing our jobs. i always thought it was bush cheney as for the afl cio jobs program it has been endorsed by over 50 organizations including network a national catholic social justice lobby, naacp, jobs with justice, urban league, national womens law center, national council on la raza, united states student association and many more. it gives us in the working class in alliance with our allies to get us back to work and defeat this god awful right wing us senate filibuster that has held up progress for all of 2009.but thanks again rush oops brandy. in solidarity jim

    Posted by jim, 02/13/2010 2:27pm (6 years ago)

  • Brothers Tyner and Chapman are to be thanked for their thoughts and warnings on this danger to all the people who work.
    At the State of the Union,President Obama confronted the attack of the Supreme Court on peoples'liberties as voters in the national electoral arena,and was insulted and lied on by the Mr. Justice,as brother Tyner points out.
    We all must unify with President Obama,against this attack by the Supreme Court along with this Tea Party movement,these"races to the bottom".
    These are volatile,dangerous times and those who work at destroying the unity of the communists, are enemies of the great movements of peace,democracy and progress,as brother Chapman writes,so brilliantly-"We are very familiar with the phoney left whose primary aim is to serve the enemies of the working class and democracy."

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 02/13/2010 12:46pm (6 years ago)

  • Extremism and political lunacy is not just a characteristic of the right. Many of the comments on Jarvis' article are nothing but thinly disguised attacks against the Communist Party and vain attempts to sow seeds of disunity. We are very familiar with the phoney left whose primary aim is to serve the enemies of the working class and democracy.
    And for those of you would invoke the names of Gus Hall, Henry Winston and Marxism-Leninism to try and give credence to your ultra leftist nonsense, shame on you. But if you are so fascinated with the political marsh of leftist militantcy and dialectics freed from the controls of reality then exercise your freedom and be on your way, just quit clinging to our party and trying to take us with you.

    Posted by Frank Chapman, 02/13/2010 11:23am (6 years ago)

  • In keeping with the title of your article I forgot to mention Barack Obama and the Democrats lead this backward march. They have been out in front of the Tea Party movement leading this backward march ever since they refused to enforce affirmative action on all the job creating programs spun by "stimulus funding."

    You and the Communist Party leadership followed along in silence as these funds have all been spent without the enforcement of affirmative action attached to how these funds would be spent.

    The result is the very real increase in racist poverty in communities of people of color.

    Now you are promoting a jobs program advanced by the AFL-CIO that doesn't include support for affirmative action.

    This is a big part of the "backward march." A "backward march" begun by Barack Obama and the Democrats and now the racists in the Tea Party movement smell fresh blood and they are sniffing out the trail of this "backward march" led by Barack Obama who you claim is a leader of the democratic people's movement.

    Posted by Brandy Rivers, 02/12/2010 10:55am (6 years ago)

  • Obama and the Democrats are for the rich and all the bad things you oppose just like the Republicans.

    You don't offer solutions.

    No mention of lack of enforcement of affirmative action by Obama and the Democrats.

    Here in Minnesota we are projecting a public healthcare system as the best job creating program around reinforced with affirmative action paid for with funds saved by ending the wars and militarism.

    If I recall, Bush wasn't defeated as you claim. He couldn't run for re-election. The Democrats gave Bush everything he wanted without opposition including his wars.

    You make it sound like Obama and the Democrats are just waiting for people to rise up demanding change. This is not an accurate portrayal of the real situation because Obama and the Democrats are as opposed to progressive change just like the Republicans.

    Now that labor is talking about sitting out the 2010 Election in protest of not getting what was expected from Obama and the Democrats shouldn't you be calling for building a new worker based political party as part of the struggle for change?

    The Tea Party movement is a racist movement but Obama and the Democrats are defenders of institutionalized racism because they have refused to enforce affirmative action. In essence Obama and the Democrats are providing what the Tea Party movement wants even though they say nothing. You don't point any of this out because you are so infatuated with Barack Obama and the Democrats.

    You strongly insinuate Obama wants to stand up for what most people in this country want which you correctly identify as peace, jobs and healthcare. Where is your evidence Obama is for any of this?

    Like I said, here in Minnesota people view healthcare reform as a job creating program. Is it too much to expect Obama to put forward a national public healthcare program as a job creating program? Why aren't you and the national leadership of the CPUSA bringing this kind of thinking to the labor and people's movements? Will you bring forward this kind of program at your national convention?

    The time has come for a clear Marxist-Leninist working class analysis of Barack Obama and the Democrats with details about building this massive coalition you only seem to talk about.

    Where is the very clear and insightful scientific analysis we used to get from Gus Hall and Henry Winston?

    People have a right to expect a clear analysis from the CPUSA not this confused thinking you offer continuing to suggest that Obama is some kind of friend and ally of the people when life has proven this incorrect.

    Posted by Brandy Rivers, 02/12/2010 10:42am (6 years ago)

  • Sorry, 71% say she's not fit. dammit

    Posted by grytpype, 02/11/2010 11:19pm (6 years ago)

  • The tea-tards are not nearly as popular or influential as you might figure, given all the attention they get.

    71% of the American people think their queen Palin is fit to be president. Even majority of Repubilcants think she's not fit.

    Posted by grytpype, 02/11/2010 11:18pm (6 years ago)

  • +1

    Posted by grytpype, 02/11/2010 11:16pm (6 years ago)

  • Lets look at Healthcare Reform for a moment. This farce is not universal. It exempts all of the Washington Elites in both parties, all government workers and military retires so if it is not good enough for the Elites, why should I be forced to pay for it?
    2000 pages of Government legal nonsense no one in Washington bothered to read before Ms Nancy tried to ram it and jam it down the throats of the American public. I have never had an Insurance Contract over 2 pages to explain in simple English the services I was provided so why 2000 pages?
    If one looks closely at the group most affected by Healthcare it is the over 55 worker ,without a GOVERNMENT RETIREMENT Plan,who has placed his/her money into a system promising a Medicare Service and Social Security Retirement plan that is bankrupct because of Washington's Mismanagement and ineptness with Social Security and Medicare policies.
    Add to the already bankrupt policy an influx of foreign nationals receiving the same benefits as American WORKERS who have paid into the ponzi scheme all their life and this group should be concerned.
    As to Multiculturalism. Europe is now paying the price of allowing immigration of foreign born nationals and accepting their CULTURE and RELIGION without assimilation into a European Culture and Language. Ditto in America when American workers are being replaced with foreign workers who cannot speak English and Americans are being forced to accept the foreign culture and language with their TAXES used to pay for Foreigners free medical services, aid and unemployment benefits. Along with the FREE stuff the foreign Nationals are placed on disability,medicaid and medicare and SOCIAL SECURITY. None of which came out of their pockets.
    I am sure many of our American Workers prefer to have up to 50% of their wages taken out of their pay check so Foreigners can have an equal life style to all workers but some of us do not see it that way. One can bet the bank our Washington Managers(Repubilcan and Democrat) Life style will not change one bit but the American workers certainly will.
    The best Change we can have is throwing the current crowd out of Washington and replace them with people concerned with the American Worker,regardless of race,FIRST and foremost.

    Posted by chuckie2u, 02/11/2010 9:16pm (6 years ago)

  • very good article exposing this 21st century brand of racism they (as was aptly pointed out) exposed themselves by having key note speaker tancredo (an immigrant bashing bum) maybe there will b some follow up stories about what sections of the ruling class r financing this movement. i think i remember dick armey being a leader of this and what was behind the move to have this suddenly b a very expensive meeting which eliminated the possiblity of many tea baggers being able to participate? i think there was a lot of their folks upset about this in solidarity jim

    Posted by jim, 02/11/2010 4:55pm (6 years ago)

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