In late March and early April, various members of the Tea Party movement announced plans to hold rallies on Tax Day, April 15. The date didn’t surprise anyone who’d been following the smaller-government, lower-tax focus of the Tea Parties. But it bothered some cement heads on the statist Left. A lot. Here’s what a contributor to the anarchist-friendly website Infoshop had to say:
“On April 15th thousands of right-wingers will attend rallies in cities and towns across the United States. The organizers of this nationwide day of protest call it a tea party. This tea party movement that emerged only a year ago is a coalition of conservatives, anti-Semites, fascists, libertarians, racists, constitutionalists, militia men, gun freaks, homophobes, Ron Paul supporters, Alex Jones conspiracy types and American flag wavers. . . . If the tea party movement takes over this country they will really hurt poor people by getting rid of social pro- grams like food stamps, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, student aid, free health care, etc. The tea party movement will say these programs must be gotten rid of because hard-working taxpayers cannot afford to pay for these things especially when the economy is in a depression.”
The contributor (or contributors) went on to advocate that so-called anarchists take various steps to blunt the Tea Parties’ growing popularity, including mounting counter- demonstrations.
Several commentators have noted the irony of “anarchists” shilling for big-government programs such as food stamps and “free” health care. One internet wag called the modern anarchist movement “the bastion of idiot college students.” Another internet tough guy, sympathetic to Infoshop, confirmed that characterization (at least the “idiot” part), by writing:
“Some anarchists, as I would assume of the person who wrote this call, would like to see government programs that kill, and maim erased before basic social programs. For instance, why strengthen military spending, and cut health care fund- ing? . . . Tea Party people claim to be in favor of a small state, or be anti-statist, yet they constantly espouse the virtues of the constitution! The constitution is a document for a state, hence it has not validity, and any exponent of it is a statist by definition. . . . From 99 till 01 anarchist organizing, protests, and actions were remarkably successful and were gaining some ground. However, the media ignored absolutely every- thing that was going on. …The media can also lay ridiculous claims against anarchists, because anarchists have no corporate, or state power, and will obviously not sue for slander. . . . [C]apitalism creates greedy and selfish social relations, which is an obvious fact. Only a moron would argue otherwise; it is the basis of capitalist theory.”
The Tea Party activists were hip to the Alinskyite tactics that these ersatz “anarchists” proposed. Some talked about coming to the rallies armed with guns to discourage any political theater that might turn violent; others talked about coming armed with video cameras to document bad behavior in the fullest possible context. The widespread availability of cheap, high-quality video cameras may be as useful — and democratic — a development as any we’ve had in the last generation. Which is saying a lot.