Recently, there are countless examples of liberal writers wringing their hands about the upcoming elections in November. Tea Party candidates have won a few nominations and republicans threaten the balance of one or more houses of congress as well as a number of governorships across the US.
So it makes sense for traditional liberals to be worried about all these things. But I’m not a liberal at all. I’ve just gotten used to siding with liberals because we agree on most social issues (except gay marriage, fuck marriage in general and fuck the State’s role in people’s love lives). This has made me somewhat conflicted regarding the Tea Party movement. They are the largest (maybe?), most vocal (definitely.) disorganized group of Americans to get angry about federal power since the civil war. However, there’s a whole range of social issues that are worrying to an anarchist: restricting reproductive rights & gender equality, racism & religion spring to mind. Can these be addressed? How would the landscape for dealing with these issues change in a Tea Party world? I don’t know, but tendencies toward limited government interference among Tea Partiers are super handy regarding social issues. This sphere should absolutely be outside of government influence. In exactly the same vein of separation of church and state.
Here is what I propose for anarchists who are unsure what to make of anti-government sentiment among white middle class baby boomers:
Stop voting defensively. (Stop voting entirely?) Don’t vote for liberals just because of their stance on social issues. This is the same as Kansas conservatives voting against their economic interests.
We are not part of the Tea Party movement. We are what it should have been. An anti-government movement emboldened by the bailout. Disgusted by collusion between the State and Capitalism, but not living in fear of “the other.” We can stand alongside middle class whites as well as lower class blacks and people of color. We know better than to look down on someone based on their statistics: anarchists don’t have any more right to look down on white middle class Tea Partiers than any other group of Americans.
However, we must stand against them when they are wrong. For example, if Tea Partiers ever forget the bailout and start supporting laissez-faire expansion of corporate power, we must stand against them. We must be vocal and stand against them when they use hate of the ‘other’ as an organizing tool. Unless that other is a non-human entity such as BP, Exxon, Enron, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield.
We should stand with them against monumental collusion by government and capitalist forces. We should remind them that government intrusions such as the Patriot act in our lives should be fought by citizens such as ourselves.
Rally up some crust-punks, radical cheerleading squad, drum core, anarcho-queers, manarchists and whoever else you can find. Go to the nearest-tea-party-rally-near-you™ with your awesomest get-ups, signs, flags and street theater teams and make a joyful noise. Talk with Tea Baggers. The middle class can be radical. (If you haven’t guessed, I grew up middle class white & suburban. I like to think I am still capable of bringing shit down and causing a ruckus as well as the next radical anarchoqueer.) Capitalism benefits so few people in this country that its opponents are of all stripes. While fewer oppose the State, it’s time for liberals to start thinking hard about what it is they’re defending. It could bring together the same people that opposed one another in the 60s. It’s the 60s in reverse. A chance for the 60s as they should have been.