Lawrence Lessig, major activist of clean government and founder of Change Congress, on the reformist impulse of the Tea Party and why the left should work towards the same goals.
Many of my friends have been puzzled that I have not been a strong critic of the Tea Party. Indeed, quite the opposite, I stand as a critical admirer. That means that while I don’t share most of the substantive ends of many in that movement, and I strongly object to the extremism of some, I am a genuine admirer of the urge to reform that is at the heart of the grassroots part of this, perhaps the most important political movement in the current political context.
But if that movement is to be as central to the restoration of the American Republic as its most passionate supporters believe, then it needs to recognize that while we don’t share common ends, we do face a common enemy. Special-interest-government is anathema to both the true Right and the limping Left. Progress would be to work together to end it.
That doesn’t mean we have to be pals or even speak to each other much. Hey, Martin Luther King and Malcom X only met once, but they certainly worked towards mostly the same goals. Karl Denninger, who co-founded the Tea Party specifically to oppose the bailouts of the banksters, says:
The Tea Party was initiated as a political protest against the unlawful and in fact unconstitutional usurpation of power from the Congress and The People in the form of extortion-led bailouts of enterprises that had engaged in acts that I, and many others, believe were at least civilly actionable and in many cases crossed the line into criminal activity.
The Tea Party was and is about the the corruption of American Politics and the blatant and outrageous theft from all Americans that has resulted.
Works for me, how about you? Lessig is correct. The Tea Party is an important political movement. So rather than singling out their extremist fringe then painting it as being typical (just like the Right did during anti-Iraq war protests) instead the Left should seriously embrace their anti-corruption stance.
“The limping Left”, indeed. Liberals seem in thrall to Obama, waiting for him to do the right thing. So they don’t substantially criticize the Obama Adminstration or get in the faces of Democratic politicians who support the banksters the way the Tea Party does with Republicans. And they need to.
As for the hard Left, well, just look at Pacifica. They own five radio stations in major metro areas and used to be a genuine voice of the Left but are now disintegrating into Loony Land, at time when such a voice is most needed. The Marxist Left, now that they finally have a real life capitalist crisis to organize on, has mostly disappeared from public view. Go figure.
The Left and the Right does indeed face a common enemy. Let’s focus on that.