What the Tea Party has in common with the rest of us By Nikki Alexander

By Nikki Alexander
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
August 1, 2010

Once again, an artificial wedge is being driven between the Left and Right as media spinners harp on Tea Party racism, deflecting attention from the critical issues that united the Left and Right under the Bush-Cheney reign of terror: authoritarian fascism, destruction of civil liberties, neoliberal deregulation and privatization, corporate globalization, Pentagon war crimes and monetary despotism. A national movement based on shared perceptions brought together Labor, environmentalists, monetary reformers and social justice activists spanning the political spectrum. Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s effort to impeach Bush-Cheney war criminals drew over a million petition signatures from conservatives and liberals alike. What became of this momentum for deep systemic reform when Obama was elected?

Social activism atrophied on the Left as ‘hope for change you can believe in’ paralyzed Reason. Solidarity with the Right fractured when neoliberals hijacked conservative populists with the phrases “free markets” and “limited government.” Libertarian Tea Party populists have a completely different understanding of these phrases but fail to recognize critical distinctions because the same words are cleverly used by neoliberal robber barons to mask anti-populist objectives.

Legal defenders of civil liberties have a great deal more in common with Tea Party activists than perception controllers would have us believe. Spend a few days at www.topsecretamerica.com, the Washington Post’s superb interactive website that catalogues the mind-boggling government surveillance apparatus constructed post 9/11 (at taxpayer expense). Throughout the United States thousands of private corporations and 45 government agencies are gathering intelligence on individuals and organizations. Libertarian fears of unconstitutional federal intrusion into private lives are not irrational. Their clarion call for restoration of Constitutional restraints on “limited government” parallels alarm expressed by the ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The critical but invisible issue that unites seemingly different populist perspectives is the relationship between the individual and the state. We are all strikingly aligned upon closer inspection. Our nation’s founding documents assert that We the People create government to secure our individual rights.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness ~ That to secure these Rights governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Government does not grant us rights or privileges. On the contrary, our rights are natural, inherent and inalienable. We grant certain privileges to government, limited powers. The Constitution is very specific about which powers are granted by the people to each branch of government and which individual rights may never be infringed by the state. Unlike totalitarian dictatorships in which the state seizes power over the individual, our nation is founded on the supremacy of individual rights over “limited government.” In the American political system this is the proper relationship between the state and the individual. The primary purpose of government is NOT to keep us safe, despite false claims made by promoters of the multi-trillion dollar terrorism industry. The primary purpose of government is to secure our rights – to protect our Liberty.

Within the populist rank and file, Liberals are trained to perceive the federal government as a provider of social benefits through pooled taxes that are redistributed in the public interest and as the sole protector of the People from antisocial business practices, through pro-social regulations. Conservatives are trained to perceive government as an enemy of business that creates anti-business regulations; an intruder that levies taxes unfairly and steals from winners to provide welfare for losers and which poses a constant threat to personal freedom. This conservative view of government is framed by perception controllers on the Left, as reflecting paranoid, mean-spirited and stingy “haves” lacking compassion for “have-nots” who resist regulations for selfish reasons. The Liberal perception of government is reframed by perception controllers on the Right as reflecting dependency on the welfare state to take care of unproductive people at taxpayer expense. Neither perception is correct. The federal government is an instrument of antisocial financial interests that funnels taxpayer revenue and awards privileges to the well-connected.

Notice that the monetary system itself is missing from both equations. Both paradigms of government focus on how the state should spend money but neither political group is trained to ask who should control the privilege of creating credit and who should receive that credit ~ even in the face of massive collapse as states, counties and cities shrivel up in the shrinking, credit-starved economy. Neither the Left nor the Right asks how it is even possible that the federal government amassed a 14 trillion dollar debt when the state has the authority and capacity to issue its own currency and credit. Why does the state need to borrow money and credit?

Governments have abdicated their authority to create money and borrow instead from transnational bankers, passing the burden of interest payments to taxpayers. In our privately-owned system of credit and debt, the public is caught in perpetual scarcity arguing about who should be left behind. Neither end of the political spectrum understands that the state can create its own currency and credit and spend it into circulation, finance its own operations, underwrite public education and infrastructure, create jobs and thereby alleviate the need for taxes altogether. Sound like a radical new idea? In fact, the Constitution declares that (only) Congress has the authority to coin money and regulate its value (Article 1, Section 8). That authority was unlawfully transferred to private bankers in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act. One of the key concerns of conservative populists is restoring the Constitutional function of money creation to the federal government.

The economic relationship between the individual and the state does not begin with taxation and how that revenue should be spent. It begins with how legal tender is created as a public utility to facilitate the free flow of goods and services. Awarding this critical function to private bankers puts the public at the mercy of private interests that control the nation’s economy by expanding or withholding credit at will and that drain national resources with interest payments. Framers of the Constitution understood that it is not simply the individual whose liberty must be protected from state tyranny, but the sovereignty of the state that must be protected from the tyranny of supranational banking monopolies that control the internal affairs of nation states.

A recurring theme among Tea Party populists is reverence for “free markets.” Their understanding is derived from the classical definition of free enterprise: “freedom of private business to organize and operate for profit in a competitive system without interference by government beyond regulation necessary to protect public interest and keep the national economy in balance.” Has the public interest been protected? Is the economy in balance? We do not have a free enterprise system. Small businesses may function as free enterprise units but transnational capital, multinational corporations, government contractors and lobbyists operate within a completely different economic model. What is meant by “free markets” to the neoliberal affiliate organizations now steering the Tea Party, is systematic dismantling of government and the removal of regulations that protect public assets. Neoliberal deregulation and privatization removes the legal barriers to theft of public assets, utilities, pensions, education and social services financed by taxpayers, shifting ownership of public interests to private corporations ~ “limiting government” to serve the interests of the wealthy. Conservative populists believe they are protecting the doctrine of free enterprise ~ the economic freedom of individuals to compete in a fair market and to benefit from their own small businesses. Unbeknownst to them, neoliberal use of the phrase “free market” connotes organized piracy.

Misunderstanding the neoliberal meaning of “free markets” conservative populists have been trained to fear collectivism – socialism, Marxism and communism – in which the state entirely controls the economy, depriving individuals of private property and the right to profit from private enterprise. They are terrified of tyrannical, authoritarian government that glorifies the state and persecutes the individual. Using examples of collectivist state tyranny such as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the (Nazi) National Socialist Workers Party, this fear was skillfully exploited by neoliberal “free market” propagandists who successfully reframed Obama’s corporate health insurance bill as a “socialist” government takeover of health care. Seen correctly, it is an expansion of corporate control of health care.

The legislation did nothing to reduce the exorbitant cost of health care or place any caps on premiums and pharmaceutical drugs through government regulation. What it did deliver was 35 million new captive customers for Wall Street, taxpayer subsidies for over-priced premiums and an unconstitutional mandate requiring all Americans to buy defective corporate products or pay IRS penalties. This legislation does not provide government-run health care nor does it provide government health insurance such as Medicare. The White House defeated the public insurance option (with congressional consent) which would have provided competition in a genuinely free market to naturally lower costs. This compulsory corporate health insurance legislation is just one example of ongoing federal complicity with price-fixing monopolies and cartels that exploit taxpayers and consumers in a rigged market ~ the opposite of free enterprise and the opposite of state intervention to protect public interest. Forcing consumers to be fleeced by private corporations is not socialism. It is state-sponsored predatory capitalism, also known as neoliberal “free market” economics ~ meaning free to exploit without restraints.

Conservative and Progressive populists are successfully pitted against each other because they both fail to understand that our economic system is designed to benefit an anti-populist global financial empire overtly enforced by NATO and the US military and covertly enforced by paramilitary death squads and economic warfare. A snapshot of this pathocracy is captured instantly by observing that the Pentagon is awarded trillion of dollars for killing civilians in foreign countries to capture their assets while Social Security is characterized as a burdensome welfare “entitlement” rather than a retirement trust fund paid for by workers. The antisocial priorities of the state are visible in concrete numbers. The federal government is a financial engine that facilitates the extraction of labor and wealth from the productive economy and exploits the workers and natural resources of foreign countries to enrich unproductive parasites known as Wall Street, or more precisely, organized crime.

The Left has been taught to fear big business while the Right is taught to fear big government. It’s the combination, the marriage of both, that Mussolini defined as fascism – which is the political/economic system we have in the US. The “revolving door” and “regulatory capture” are phrases that acknowledge this relationship. The federal government is structured to benefit the wealthy with contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, franchises, cartels and monopolies. There is nothing free about the market. It is controlled by the state to serve Big Capital. Lobbyists write congressional legislation to benefit the industries that hire them; regulators protect capital interests and the courts ensure that profits are never threatened by populist demands.

If the market were free, the Wall Street investment banks that fraudulently amassed a 600 trillion dollar gambling debt would have collapsed and been dispersed to the winds. Instead, taxpayers were fleeced for 24 trillion dollars in loan guarantees to save swindlers from bankruptcy, after which they splurged on bonuses, expanded their monopolies, withheld and contracted the credit supply, catalyzing nationwide state deficits, millions of residential foreclosures and 15 million lost jobs – all with the approval and consent of the White House, Federal Reserve, Treasury Secretary and Congress.

Proposed nationalization of failed megabanks to protect the economy was reframed by conservative spinners as socialism – big government takeover of free enterprise. The doctrine of free enterprise dictates that institutions should succeed or fail in a free market without government intervention. Yet, reckless investment banks and Wall Street traders were rescued with working class wages, an exercise in state socialism for the rich, giving trillions of taxpayer dollars to criminal Wall Street parasites that eviscerated hard-earned middle class pensions, retirement savings and real estate values and who completely destroyed the productive economy ~ real jobs, real goods and legitimate services. This orgy of greed and fraud was set in motion by neoliberal “free market” deregulation thugs at the Clinton White House, Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve and Robert Rubin’s Treasury Department, all of whom, with congressional approval destroyed the Depression-era banking regulations that protected the public for the past sixty five years.

What is not mentioned by either the Left or the Right official media is that the 1999 WTO Financial Services Agreement mandated this financial holocaust and forbade Congress to roll back destructive WTO banking laws. Reinstating the Glass Steagall Act to separate commercial banking from gambling with public money and dismantling the global banking monopolies that collapsed the global economy was not an option in the so-called financial reform bill. Faux financial reform left state welfare for the rich in place, the derivatives casino intact, expanded the authority of the Federal Reserve and acquiesced to the sovereignty of the World Trade Organization over the United States.

Have you wondered how Wall Street bankers could have turned relatively harmless subprime mortgages into global weapons of mass destruction? WTO rules obligate 105 nations to implement extreme financial deregulation policies. The repeal of strategic banking laws under the Bush-Clinton administrations guaranteed that derivatives would link the entire global banking system in a way that GAO said in 1994 could collapse the system.

The WTO Financial Services Agreement:

  • Forbids governments from limiting the size of banking, insurance and other financial service firms;
  • Forbids governments from establishing “firewalls” that prevent firms involved in commercial banking or in providing insurance from gambling peoples’ savings on risky investment businesses;
  • Forbids establishment of new regulation or reinstatement of regulations removed to comply with the WTO. The WTO FSA “standstill rule” agreed to by the United States and other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries explicitly forbids countries from establishing any new regulatory policies that might roll back their deregulatory commitments;
  • Limits the degree of government oversight. Under current rules, domestic regulations are subject to review by WTO tribunals.

Money and credit are the lifeblood of every economy, yet control of this vital public necessity has been outsourced to supranational private banking corporations that are indifferent to public well-being. There is a big hole in both the Left’s and the Right’s education in the domain of economics. (no accident) That ignorance is skillfully exploited to pit one group against the other while the “invisible hand of the market” extracts wealth, exploits labor and plunders the whole world. We live in an antisocial plutocracy obsessed with greed. 10% of the population owns 70% of the wealth. Middle class wages have stagnated since 1970. American industries have been exported to cheap labor sweatshops overseas. Social services and public education have been slashed and privatized, pension funds gutted and government functions outsourced. The middle class is vanishing. Every aspect of the productive economy is contracting. This is the ugly face of neoliberal “free market” ideology, the sordid legacy of John D. Rockefeller’s Chicago School of Economics. All this economic wreckage, as the surveillance state mushrooms, the Pentagon sucks in trillions of taxpayer dollars for permanent war and banking cartels consolidate global power.

Running parallel to conservative populist fear of economic state tyranny is an existential terror of police state brutality and evisceration of civil liberties. In this regard, Tea party populists are in alignment with the ACLU, BORDC, CCR and civil liberties watchdogs tracking the flagrant US kidnapping and torture of harmless civilians, illegal war and military occupation, the destruction of FISA restrictions, habeas corpus and posse Comitatus and the massive intelligence surveillance state that has been constructed post 9/11 under the pretext of keeping us safe. Incremental usurpation of unconstitutional executive authority and police state constructs does not keep us safe. It puts us at risk for authoritarian despotism and demonstrates that conservative fears of state tyranny are legitimate. What is the proper Constitutional relationship between the individual and the state in this country? Our founding documents assert that government’s primary function is to secure our inalienable rights – to protect our liberty.

There is not a terrorist organization on this earth that could possibly inflict the massive social, economic and constitutional damage perpetrated against Americans in recent decades by our own federal government. At this critical turning point in our history we will either collaborate in our own demise or band together with our fellow citizens, Left and Right, to reclaim our national sovereignty and reestablish the proper relationship between the state and the individual. That process must include a monetary system in which the public creates and controls its own money and credit. Political freedom without economic sovereignty is meaningless. Working together from the same definitions, principles and pro-social values, we have enough common ground to create a decent government that protects individual liberty, regulates commerce in the public interest, invests in the well-being of its citizens and obeys international law.


Video: Progressive, pro-regulation, consumer advocate Ralph Nader finds common ground with anti-regulation, Libertarian Judge, Andrew Napolitano in this lively interview.

[1] “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness ~ That to secure these Rights governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ~ That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Government long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind is more disposed to suffer than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

~ Preamble to the Declaration of Independence – 1776


Bill Arkin: “Top Secret America” + Tim Shorrock: Why did it take them 7 years to do this story?

Book TV: In Depth: Ralph Nader

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Kucinich, Conyers, Sanders Renew Call for National Single Payer on Medicare’s Birthday

Webster Tarpley: The Collapse of Europe As the Second Phase In Two World Depressions

Noam Chomsky: Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error

We Are All in this Together By Timothy V. Gatto

Three Cheers for the Tea Party! by Sean Fenley

Tea-Parties and Progressives, Maybe We Should Listen to Each Other By Timothy V. Gatto

Noam Chomsky: The Tea Party is a Sign of the Failure of the Left

Common Ground Between Tea Parties and the Left

Open the Debates Rally Speech Uncut + Ron Paul Press Conference featuring Ralph Nader

This Is What Democracy Looks Like (2000)

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

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27 thoughts on “What the Tea Party has in common with the rest of us By Nikki Alexander

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  6. “There is not a terrorist organization on this earth that could possibly inflict the massive social, economic and constitutional damage perpetrated against Americans in recent decades by our own federal government. ”

    Too true!!

    And isn’t “Natureboy’s” contention that The People are to blame for their own predicament somewhat akin to blaming women for being subjected to domestic abuse

    Being scared, propogandised, brutalised, brainwashed, and terrorised by their governments actually has more to do with their subjugation, I reckon

    • It’s called state-sponsored terrorism. That’s what these wars are.

      People are responsible for what they allow themselves to believe. The body has a head.

      Victims are certainly not always to be blamed, of course, but now we ALL know better. There is a difference now. The scene has changed.

      Until these deficit hawk social conservatives get it together that THEIR wars are not about defense; until they understand the budget, where their money is really going, they are not thinking people. They’re just reactionary redneck cowboys who can’t get over their fear of a black president.

      Where were all these ‘anti-tax activists’ when Botch was blowing the budget on tax-cuts for fatcats and wars to finance his friends?
      They were voting for Botch.
      They are to blame and deserve what they get.

      What really is the matter with Kansas?
      This place deserves to go down & didn’t deserve its ill-gotten racist abusive affluence. Slaveholding ignorant fat white men, vile culture from the start.

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  11. Great article, great insight. It is funny how some people just can’t get beyond the artificial left right divide. There are some many more things that actually unite us.

  12. right on . the race card is used on the tea party , against the arizona law , and a whole host of other things so that corporations can rob this country . and people fall for it .
    the tea party people have aot in commen with my leftists paradigmn .

    • ‘People’ fell for Glen Beck in record numbers.
      Glen Beck is a corporatist to his core and spiritual leader of the Tea Party & the only reason they’re on the map.

      The Tea Party never resisted obomba based on policy, instead they MADE UP talking points like ‘DEATH PANELS’. They are only anti-obomba, and ONLY on racist grounds.

      Your Tea-birther party claim to be deficit hawks yet have not an anti-war bone in their bodies, for them target-practice on Muslims is obviously patriotism.
      Your Teabirther party & ‘Papers please’ party are racist corporatist republicans, fat white men. Period, the end.

      Until YOU and your tea-birthers move your confederate minds around to resisting the WARS instead of harassing hard-working Mexicans there will never be an excuse for your supporting them, mr. humanist.

      • Let’s stop with the name calling. Rocket isn’t a member of the Tea Party, he is a Socialist (not international Socialism, though).

        Did you read this article? Nikki Alexander is talking about the real Tea Party (read: Ron Paul Revolution). While I disagree with Paul on most all of his domestic agenda, his foreign policy is the same as Ralph Nader’s. These folks in the real Tea Party (before Obama) were anti-Bush, anti-war, and spoke out on the erosion of our civil liberties. We, on the left can learn from their activism.

        • There is no old tea party. Whatever it was is corrupted, implanted and co-opted. This Tea Party has no interest in Ron Paul’s foreign policy.

          I find the article noble but vague. Libertarianism can be either left (Chomsky) or right. Same with decentralization advocates, right Libertarians, Anarchists. Political theory is always vague, it’s where your heart is.

          Business is not all one thing, corporatism/banksterism is completely different than business. There are plenty of dem fatcats, they are supposed to be liberals but before were dixie-dem racists.

          Calling Rocket a socialist (why because he says so?) is like calling neocons conservative. I don’t buy isms & schisms. Political parties are absurd and say nothing about left nor right.

          When you mention racism in the first paragraph of anything, you’re setting the debate. In that debate, there are ONLY two types of minds, those who are racists & closed-minded, and those who are compassionate & open-minded.

          Therein lies the rub, there is a real difference between left & right, and it’s likely not ideological but biological. It could be the two shall never twain. The balance of power lies in who can socialize the moderates to their side.

          Evangelical Christians have a millennial history of suckering people to their side through blind belief & fear. This country was settled and founded by evangelical Christians. Therefore liberals (open-minded people) were never meant to compete with the conservative, fearful blind-beliers (closed-minded people) and likely can’t.

          Real right wingers are likely born brain-damaged and can’t be fixed:


          This nation get’s EXACTLY what it deserves. It’s the PEOPLE’S FAULT, not the oligarchs.

        • Nikki Alexander is taking on the mainstream media in the first paragraph.

          Liberals and Socialists can be believers in Jesus, too. Let’s try not to over generalize people, especially when this article is attempting to bring us together.

        • As I said the piece is noble, & additionally well done. It is a good post worthy of debate.
          I just don’t think it’s the media’s fault nor the politics nor the powers that be.

          The people of the USA have adopted an ideology of utter idiocy, selfishness, xenophobia, ignorance & greed. It’s their fault, they had every option, they chose this one.

    • Let’s focus on what we agree with. Why bring up issues that divide the workers of this country?

      The new Tea Party has many people as members who are in fact racists.

      • But there IS a division among the workers and it’s self-made, it’s the people’s fault!

        When the workers of the midwest and south were coopted by the right wing through their addiction to evangelical megachurches, those workers became ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas’, continually voting against their own interest, wholly responsible for electing the Neocons and thus for the wars, to this day never reformed.

        ‘There’s No Cure for Stupid’

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  14. PLEASE do not single out our corrupt, unprincipled government alone. Corporations RUN the government, and the ruling class RUNS the corporations. Read Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon S. Wolin.

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