As a long time progressive, I have been quite fascinated to discover that I agree with the Tea Party movement in many areas. In fact a number of people on the so-called "left" have been following Ron Paul, one of the Tea Party's founders, quite closely since he first raised the alarm about the systematic destruction of the Bill of Rights under the Bush administration.
I use the term progressive quite loosely because I have always found it quite difficult to attach a label to my political views. In fact I have only recently discovered there are two kinds of libertarians "free market" libertarians like Ron Paul and "left" libertarians like MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky. However given that we don't really have a "free market" economic system in the US and haven't had one since the federal government began selectively subsidizing corporations over a century ago I sometimes wonder if the two wings of libertarianism are as far apart as we are led to believe. This month I am feeling like a green left libertarian feminist, though this may change later in the year.
It appears that that the free market and left libertarians are in fundamental agreement that the root cause of the current economic and political crisis relates to the loss of popular control over our government. Where we seem to part ways is in our analysis of exactly how the American people lost control of the democratic process though in many cases the solutions we propose are surprisingly similar.
Points of agreement
- Like the Teabaggers, I believe the trillions of dollars of debt the US is amassing will result in the destruction of the US economy and its replacement (most likely by China) as the world's superpower.
- Like the Teabaggers, I am totally opposed to the two trillion bailout Bush and Obama awarded to the Wall Street speculators, many of who engaged in outright fraud, responsible for the October 2008 economic collapse. The word for this is crony capitalism, not free market capitalism .
- Like the Teabaggers, I support the concept of limited government. I believe in the absolute freedom of conscience, expression and association guaranteed in the Constitution, as well as the protections the Bill of Rights guarantees against unlawful detention and (heaven forbid) extrajudicial murder by federal authorities that Obama has just authorized by executive order. The right to habeas corpus, which dates back to the 13th century Magna Carta, must be restored now. I also oppose federal interference with local and state authority because I feel participatory democracy is that absolute best model of government and the current corporate stranglehold on our federal government means the only place Americans can have any voice in government is at the local and state level. Over the last 30 years I have watched how the centralization of economic and political control in the European Union has systematically stripped Europeans of their democratic rights by placing de facto political control with European banks and corporations.
Is There Bipartisan Support for Ron Paul?
Would I vote for Ron Paul as the Republican presidential candidate? There is a strong possibility I would. Especially after his pronouncement at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference that Obama isn't really a socialist, but a corporatist. Did Ron Paul's willingness to make such a bold statement have something to do with the fact his Campaign for Liberty is drawing bipartisan (I prefer the word nonpartisan actually) support? With the fact that prominent leftists such as Naomi Wolf are making supportive statements regarding his campaign to restore Constitutional freedoms? You bettcha.
Wolf, of course, has come under heavy attack by the liberal establishment for siding with the Tea Party and Patriot movement in regards their stance on Constitutional and states' rights. Some of the criticism has been quite extreme, with some progressive followers threatening to throw Wolf's books away.
The Need for Nonpartisan Movements
The obvious question that comes to mind is what's so terrible about a nonpartisan civil liberties or better still anti-corporate movement in this country? It's becoming increasingly apparent that the divisions between the so-called right and left and between conservatives and liberals are really very artificial ones imposed on us bythe corporate controlled media, the two major political parties and whatever government propaganda agencies (CIA, FBI, Pentagon and others we probably haven't heard of) are at work to control public access to information.
They seem to want all Americans to believe that they are destined to belong to one of two opposing camps, depending on the state they are born in. Because heaven forbid that Red and Blue states should discover that they share some common ground and mobilize to revoke the corporate charters of Wall Street banks that caused the October 2008 financial collapse by knowingly engaging in mortgage fraud, concealing their deficits from investors and bribing credit rating agencies.
Clever Distractions by the Media and Major Party Leadership
One way I feel the media and the major political parties do this is by systematically distracting the public and even members of populist reform groups (of which the Tea Party movement is a prime example) away from the root cause of America's present difficulties namely the total political control banks and corporations have over Congress and the presidency.
An excellent example is frenzy the right wing talk show hosts have whipped up over various inane conspiracies most recently ones involving Obama's birth certificate and the alleged Cloward-Piven strategy the American left hatched in 1966. I have no particular problem, in theory, with the notion that the government and their corporate cronies hatch conspiracies powerful (mainly) men have been sitting in dark smoke filled rooms since the American Revolution. However in my experience you have to be pretty rich and powerful to hatch a successful conspiracy. Poor people don't seem to be very good at it.
What bothers me is the underserved prominence these two particular conspiracies have received in the mainstream media (Fox News in particular). It appears to me to be a deliberate effort to distract the American public from the much more dangerous actions of Wall Street banks and their so-called government regulators.
The Appeal to Ugly Prejudices