Tea Partying: When Protest Movements Defend the Interests of the Ultra-Rich

Business • Views: 26,032

Four years ago, the modern tea party seemed to emerge from nowhere, leaving journalists bewildered and the public with few reference points to understand seemingly spontaneous rallies by middle-class people seeking lower tax rates. A search for the phrase “tea party” in connection with “politics” in major newspapers yielded fewer than 100 mentions in 2008 — and when the words did appear linked together, they suggested studied formality and decorum. The next year, they appeared more than 1,500 times, often connected to “protest demonstration.”

But little was spontaneous about the new party. “Social movements that explicitly defend the interests of the rich and the almost-rich have been a recurring feature of American politics,” Isaac William Martin, a sociologist at the University of California, San Diego, reminds us in his new book, Rich People’s Movements: Grassroots Campaigns to Untax the One Percent. “Such movements shook the American polity before the Obama era, before the Reagan era and before Barry Goldwater ran for president — before, even, the New Deal.”

With meticulous research, Martin shows how the modern tea party grew from decades of efforts by American oligarchs to de-tax themselves. They relied on cranks, rogues and a few scholars to polish the most effective ideological marketing pitches. Their goal was selling the notion that if the rich bear less of the burden of government, all of us will somehow end up better off. These pitches have worked best when some newly proposed government initiative — like President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — arrives to pose the threat of major policy change. They have depended on diverting attention from obvious questions, such as just how does a smaller tax bill for the Koch brothers benefit us?

Spanning decades, the residue of relationships, movement-building skills and organizations from past enlistments of the affluent many to agitate for the interests of the super-elite few could be seen merely as an example of what Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab called “cultural baggage” in their 1971 book The Politics of Unreason: Right-Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970. Instead, Martin says, these movements bequeathed to us “not just a suitcase we drag along behind us” but “a toolkit” to remake American public policy. Martin also concurs with historian Richard Hofstadter, who pointed out a half-century ago how many practitioners of his famous theory — the paranoid style in American politics — found their roots in the arrival, in 1913, of the 16th Amendment. That amendment, ratified on the eve of World War I, resolved disputes over the meaning of the phrase “direct taxes shall be apportioned,” and in doing so ushered in the modern income tax.

More: Tea Partying: When Protest Movements Defend the Interests of the Ultra-Rich

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
‘Women Are Just Better at This Stuff’: Is Emotional Labor Feminism’s Next Frontier? We remember children’s allergies, we design the shopping list, we know where the spare set of keys is. We multi-task. We know when we’re almost out of Q-tips, and plan on buying more. We are just better at remembering ...
Birth Control Works
13 hours, 10 minutes ago
Views: 135 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Micki Piperno- La Zingara - Live at Auditorium Parco Della Musica La Zingara is a piece from Micki's latest record "Guitar Story"; you can listen to the preview on I-Tunes itunes.apple.com The video clip was filmed and produced by Tommaso Cassinis at Boogie studio in Rome. In this video Micki ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 1 hour ago
Views: 117 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Stranger Things 2017 : Set to Drop on Halloween 99 out of a hundred times, the missing kid is with a parent or relative. What about the other time? A love letter to the supernatural classics of the 80's, Stranger Things is the story of a young boy ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 14 hours ago
Views: 169 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ash vs Evil Dead 2nd Season in 2017 Just days before the October 31 debut of the 10-episode series based on the Evil Dead movie franchise, the premium cabler today said the show will be back for another round. "One season isn't enough to satisfy the fans' ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 14 hours ago
Views: 174 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves After a decades-long quest, The MIT-Caltech collaboration LIGO Laboratories has detected gravitational waves, opening a new era in our exploration of the universe. Read more: news.mit.edu Produced by MIT Video Productions and MIT News OfficeProducer/Editor: Bill Lattanzi Footage courtesy ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 15 hours ago
Views: 194 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
While We’re Watching the Scandals, Trump Is Dismantling the Federal Government. The rage felt by the president’s critics is real, and understandable, but it also plays into Trump’s broader agenda. His chief strategist Steve Bannon outlined that strategy this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, describing it as nothing ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 591 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 70 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Criticized by Peers, White House Counterterrorism Adviser Returns Fire "The statements made from the very beginning led me to believe that it was a prank call," Smith tells NPR. "Because he's calling me from a cellphone suggesting that he wants to talk about official business — specifically, elevating ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 17 hours ago
Views: 366 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Russian Defense Minister Says His Military Has Tested 162 Weapons in Syria Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his way to the Duma, the lower house of parliament, on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The Feb. 23 national holiday was once known as Soviet Army and Navy Day, ...
Tarkloon
1 day, 17 hours ago
Views: 576 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Scares Way to No. 1 at Box Office During his Sundance post-screening Q&A, Peele added that Get Out “was a missing piece in the genre. One of my favorite movies is the Stepford Wives and the way it dealt with social issues in regards to gender. I ...
Tarkloon
2 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 904 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Democratic Victory in Delaware Special ElectionMore of this, please: In the most expensive special election in Delaware history ― a contest to decide which party controls the state Senate ― Democrat Stephanie Hansen was on track to annihilate her Republican rival on the back of ...
jhncsy
2 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 953 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0