This Saturday, February 27th, a group of local Tea Party groups are sponsoring a rally downtown along San Diego Harbor. And San Diego progressives will be there to stand witness to this rally of tea baggers.
Nearly one hundred San Diego progressives have committed to being present at this non-violent counter-demonstration. The counter protest – really more of a show of strength than an actual protest or counter-demonstration – has been organized solely via emails and word of mouth.
This blog website the OB RAG, in conjunction with a number of other San Diego progressive and peace groups have put out the call for the counter effort; we went to cyberspace for the medium of our message. And just over a week’s time, San Diego progressives have stepped up to be witnesses to our local movement of reaction – even if it rains. We’ll be gathering at the corner of Grape Street and Harbor Drive, from 11am to 1pm. Join us. (In fact, let me know if you’d like to attend with a comment or an email to the blog.)
Why Demonstrate Against the Tea Partiers?
The counter rally is being organized by people tired of all the attention that the Tea Baggers are getting. We no longer want to give Tea Partiers a pass and now will let them know that they can no longer monopolize the grassroots political landscape.
We want the Tea Partiers to know they aren’t the only ones angry at what’s going on in this country. Yet even while some of us somewhat sympathize with them – or with at least some of their gripes, others of us see them as part of the problem.
For many of us, we believe it is very important to stand up to the Tea Baggers – not in violent or confrontational terms – but to bear witness to them and what they do and say. Some of us want to educate them, while others have given up in trying to convince them they are misguided. That they are misdirecting their anger and energy.
Many of us see dangerous elements within the Tea Party umbrella. Their leaders harbor, condone and allow racist signs, symbols, and speeches. Not all of them are racist, but the movement as a whole – disparate as it is – has allowed itself to be the incubator for public displays of racism – the white faced Obama, the Birthers, those who can’t accept a Black man as President.
It is important not to allow racists to gather anywhere in San Diego without some show of opposition. That’s why we will be there Saturday. Again, some of us want to talk to them, and not all of them are racists.
Yet, within the Tea Party movement there are some frightening elements. There’s the underlying threats of violence, the aggressiveness, the confrontational nature of their movement. The anger that comes out at their events – is directed at favorite targets and scapegoats.
There’s the lies and deceptions – the lies about Obama, liberals, czars, Death Panels, socialist health care, and its enabling deceptions. And there’s the manipulations, intentionally confusing symbols of “evil” and equating them with the White House, Congress and their policies, taxes, … screams about government-take over of health care while not acknowledging their reliance on Medical, Veterans benefits, Social Security ….
There’s the corporate media support – FOX news loves them, and look at what the Union-Tribune did just last weekend: it reported that the El Cajon Tea Party event was attended by a 1,000 people, whereas Tea party blogs and other media reported much lower numbers, like 500, 300, even just “dozens.”
Plus there’s clear ties to large corporations or other organizers from the ruling elites. Factions within their movement deny this, but it’s well documented the bankroll from FreedomWorks, the oil baron Koch brothers.
There’s the connections to an established electoral party and its machinery – the Republicans. At any one time, it seems the GOP is trying to capture the Tea Party activists, and at other times, it looks like Tea Baggers are attempting to take over the Republican Party at its ground level. Each is trying to take over the other. Again, other libertarian factions abhor these ties.
But, together these factions can draw upon hundreds and potentially thousands of supporters. There definitely is a mass element to the Tea Party movement.
(Anna Daniels in a recent post broke down the factions of the local Tea Baggers.)
Throw all this together, the threats of violence and open aggression, the lies, deception, and manipulation, the scapegoating, the mainstream media support, the corporate money and connections (and control), the Republican Party interlocking relations, the “mass” aspect of their movement, – then throw in the racist elements, the Birthers, those who will not accept a Black man as President – and you have an extremely dangerous political development – the development of an American brand of fascism.
Whether people accept this analysis or not, and whether progressives agree about the racist nature of at least part of the Tea Party movement or not, enough San Diegans feel it is important to come out and witness their rally on the 27th.
The counter to the Tea Party event that is being organized is totally non-violent, non -confrontational, there will be no provoking the other side from our side, no scenario of shouting and yelling. We will have our signs, our banners, graphs, flags, and… we will be singing.
Come join us.