Is Occupy Wall Street the Liberal Tea Party?

Occupy Wall Street is now in its third week of protesting, crowding lower Manhattan with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of protesters who despise the wall street financial system. As the protest only gains momentum we finally are beginning to see some media coverage of the protest; it is hard to ignore 700 people being arrested on a march for blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. It is difficult to recall that many people being arrested on a march since the civil rights movement. The most cynical view of the media blackout (however not necessarily incorrect) is that the big money and banks on Wall Street have a card or two in  the hand the media plays, and are using their clout and leverage to keep any legitimacy from being credited to the protest. Much to their dismay, sister protests of Occupy Wall Street are popping up in cities all over the United States, the movement grows every day. The liberal left is reveling in the protest of the corporations the conservative right love, hoping that this movement becomes as powerful as the civil rights protests were in their generation. Videos of peaceful bystanders being maced and forcefully taken into custody are easy to find, only adding fuel to the fir of the protest. It is hard for the media to ignore any protest which has this much momentum, especially when there are now elected officials endorsing and supporting the protest. Some political commentators and analysts are already trying to label the Occupy Wall Street protests as the left wing version of the tea party because of the grassroots nature of the protest. While the protest certainly compares to the tea party movements in spontaneity and organization, it does not necessarily seem to be the left side of anything.

    As it stands, the protest has no clear goal or demand, every member has a different demand, all of which would be impossible for big money to meet. A quick look at some of the causes pushing the Occupy Wall Street protests show it is not nearly as left wing as liberals would like, and unless it evolves, the Occupy Wall Street protest will probably not be a liberal tea party.

Occupy Wall Street is protesting the “1%” in the United States, claiming that the one percent control ninety nine percent of the money. While the nation’s wealth certainly is top heavy, protesting this means they are opposing one of their most passionate causes: more power to the people. In order for the wealth to be more evenly distributed, one of two things must happen; either the banks must have an unlikely change of heart, and start giving back to the community the way Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have, or the government must step in and impose strict regulations on the banks. None of us, if we were able to trade places with a Wall Street executive, would have a single complaint about the financial system. It seems hypocritical to want it changed just because we are not rich. As patriotslog has previously written, the poor in this country have it comparitavley well off, living with many conveniences and luxuries which middle class families in most other nations do not have. However, many of the protesters on Wall Street seem to by middle class, or children of middle class, and not those in poverty. If they are in poverty, the fact that we see such current technology in the crowd, and that so many can miss work to stage a lengthy protest show exactly how well off the poor are. But i digress, this is not the point. The point is that if the government locked down on big banks and Wall Street, forcing their hand in economic principals, this would, by definition, make government much bigger and more powerful. There is only so much power to go around, and if the bulk of it is concentrated at the central level that leaves little left for the people to have, thereby resulting in a direct opposition to one of Occupy Wall Street’s biggest causes.

Another of the Occupy Wall Street causes being protested is the influence of money in politics. Millionaires and corporations in the pockets of politicians is most definitely not a problem exclusive to the right wing. In fact, of the ten largest political contributors within the corporate world, the majority of the money was given to candidates and incumbents on the left side of the isle. Even private contributors like John Catsimatidis have historically given the bulk of their contributions to Democrats, though he has recently changed wind to give more money to republicans. On top of that, the labor unions are now forming super PACs to give millions more to Democrats. We cannot forget that the largest spending candidate in the history of elections was President Obama in his 2008 Presidential campaign. Big money men like Bernie Madoff  have been left wing contributors. When these dues get paid, the politicians need to repay. It is very seldom done in money, but in legislation. If the large portion of the money is being given to Democrats, if follows that a large portion of the money corrupting politics is influencing he left wing.

Another of the protesting points is the fact that none of the Wall Street executives or bankers which caused this current recession has been criminally prosecuted. This takes time; a lengthy investigation is needed to prosecute on such a large ordeal. However, Occupy Wall Street protesters would be furious to know that the Democratic President, and the Democratic led state department are attempting to put together a pact with all 50 state attorney generals who will waive any ability to criminally prosecute the banks or their employees in exchange for huge checks cut to the federal government. We also cannot forget that pro regulation Democrats favor government hand in large corporations such as Fannie May and Freddy Mack. It was government interference which encouraged those lending giants to start giving mortgages to anyone and their pet in the first place. If the government had not encouraged loans to those who did not have sufficient credit or reliability, the toxic mortgages would never have been created. Now it was not solely Democrats pushing these faulty mortgages, republicans hands are dirty also, but is was in the largest part the Democrats which were so excited to provide homes to the poorer population, one of their biggest voting bases.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are advocating a system where the money is spread out more evenly, not weighted at the top. Democrats feel socialism is the answer. Having lived in a socialist style country for extended time, I can say with confidence that in that system the Wall Street greed and power simply shifts to the government. Taxes will be raised in an unprecedented hike; though patriotslog agrees with raising taxes from our current all-time low rates, taxing at 50% or higher is not a good idea. When this happens, poverty sores, many people are comfortable working 15-20 hour weeks at low paying jobs and allowing the government to pay the rest of their bills. If Occupy Wall Street is protesting injustice, it seems supporting socialism would undermine its own cause. Wall Street protests are not however officially endorsing socialism as you may expect from a liberal tea part movement, labeling them as such is simply a left wings dramatization.

Perhaps the largest cause of protest for the Occupy Wall Street movement is the bailout of so many irrespirable banks. These banks failed, and brought America down with them; these banks which were so greedy and manipulative ought to have been allowed to fail, and the men who devised the financial card house should have blown away with the wind. Let us not forget that despite President Bush initiating the bailouts Republicans are traditionally against bailouts. What President Bush did was the exception for Republicans; bailouts are the preferred method of Democrats. If we stretch our memories back two years ago to the original tea party protests, their root cause was bailout spending. If this Occupy Wall Street movement were a liberal tea party movement, they ought not to be so enraged at the bailout idea. After all, bailouts across the board were the first moves taken by President Obama after he was sworn in.

   We are now seeing Occupy Wall Street protesters holding signs agianst ideas which Wall Street has no control over, such as green energy, imigration, and so forth. These views are unarguably Democratic views, which is the reason there is attempt to lablel this as a Democratic tea party. We even see Democratic candidates endorsing the protests– kind of. Even the Democrats admit that they cannot support everything the protest stands for; they are just capitalizing on a desperate need to balance the polarity of the tea party. Occupy Wall Street may very well evolve into liberal protesting for things like the environment, socialism, and so forth; however, as it is now, and at its root causes, the movement certainly stretches to all factions of political extremism, an all-inclusive protest from all sides against the injustice the American people suffered at the hands of the banks which made of better after mugging America. Occupy Wall Street is not a radical fringe movement as some Republicans are attempting to portray; in fact, it holds more in common with the right wing than it does in opposition to it. Open opposition to the protest could be the very thing which evolves them into a liberal tea party. Occupy Wall Street, as it stands today, is representing the collective anger of the nation toward the situation in Washington and in the financial world. The only real differences that the movement has from the conservative GOP are their belief in higher taxes—which a vast majority of Americans also support—and how to handle the distribution of wealth, a very abstract concept. The Republicans can certainly capitalize on this movement just as much as Democrats; not doing so is solely their own loss.

6 Oct, 2011

-Matt Young

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About patriotslog

I am studying to achieve a double major in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky. I am married to a wonderful woman named Sierra. I am starting this blog because I feel the political climate in Washington is carving deep canyons for our children to climb out of. Our representatives, on both sides of the isle, do not represent us, they represent the lobbyists.This blog is not to give answers, but to make people think. I believe the more we think about our ideas the better they will become; as opposed to becoming more and more intrenched in far left or right wing brainwash, where it seems nobody thinks anymore. I hope y'all enjoy.

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Occupy Wall Street, Patriotslog Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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