The Tea Party and the Left: Separated at Birth?

by Lorna Salzman

You will ask how anyone could link or confuse these two apparitions, one a recent synthetic creation that has brought together people of disparate opinions and political affiliations, the other a long-standing rigid, conformist and tunnel-visioned ideology of no political importance beyond its fondness for mass rabble-rousing and street theater.

Here's how. Consider what I say carefully.

First, let's look at the substantive issues raised by the Tea Party. Some of their gripes are well founded, notably their opposition to the bailout of Wall St., banks and financial institutions, though their ignorance of the facts and demagoguery has led them to blame the wrong people. Other gripes are absurd, such as health care, given that many Tea Partiers benefit from Medicare themselves. Immigration? Again a valid issue but one that all past administrations have studiously ignored. The deficit? Well, one need not be a Tea Partier to point out the overindulgence in costly, unjustified and unwinnable wars, to the tune of trillions of dollars and the unconscionable federal subsidies and tax breaks bequeathed to industry (including Big Oil) that cost the treasury hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every year and have done so for decades.

What are the important issues that Tea Partiers ignore or don't care about? The environment, climate change and poverty top the list. Many of them are climate deniers parroting what their demagogic leaders tell them. On the other issues they say little because they know little and care less. On these grounds we may rightly dismiss them as ignoramuses being led blindly and striking out randomly against the easiest targets but purposefully as they support extreme conservative and right-wing Republicans.

In this regard they are a lot smarter than liberals, who have yet to launch serious electoral challenges to conservative Democrats, intimidated as they are by the Dems' old refrain that such challenges will bring right-wing control of Congress. This tune works like magic every time.

Now let's move to the left. True, it mustered a union-supported rally in Washington DC recently about joblessness and the failing economy. True, it (mostly) opposes the Afghanistan war but not too loudly since its idol, Pres. Obama and the Democrats are in charge of it. True, it supports "humane", just immigration reform and rejects the racism behind the Arizona law, though it has yet to come up with a just solution.And generally speaking the left takes climate change seriously and supports policies and legislation to combat it, mainly renewable energy, though it failed to see through, much less oppose, the phony, pro-Wall St. energy legislation that the Democrats have presented in the past three years.

So how could the Tea Party and the left possibly have anything in common? Here's how:

The Tea Party has latched onto every manifestation of discontent and has chosen to focus on and blame forces, institutions and individuals who are only marginally or recently responsible for these problems. Bush brought us the deficit and the wars. Both parties in Congress supported these as well as resisting oversight and reforms of federal regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing fiscal and monetary policy. No one would touch the immigration issue.

So the Tea Party is not a movement that is capable of doing WHAT COUNTS, i.e. identifying and focusing on the pressure points that might actually bring them the reforms they claim to seek.

What IS it doing? It is rabble rousing. It is encouraging demagoguery. It is playing on peoples' ignorance. But above all it is playing on their basest emotions, anger and fear, which in turn inflame the worst behavior humans are capable of: scapegoating, bigotry, other words, Extremism. (At least they aren't hypocritical and shouting about "peace and justice").

Now, what has the left done? Has it, unlike the Tea Party, correctly identified the forces, institutions and individuals that are responsible for our present problems, such as war, the economy, poverty, joblessness and immigration? Has it shown itself capable of doing WHAT COUNTS...that is, taking on the issues where it can actually have an impact, such as energy policy, arguably the overriding economic, social, ecological and security issue of our day?
Taking them on within our system, in accordance with our principles of nonviolence, education, free inquiry, tolerance of dissent, and conformity with electoral law?

Not at all. What the left has done is no different from the Tea Party. It is rabble rousing. It is encouraging demagoguery. It is playing on peoples' ignorance. It is playing on their basest emotions and inflaming their worst behavior: bigotry and racism. Except in this case it is anti-Semitism. The American left is now exposed as the most fearsome Extremist and major instigator, outside the middle east, of Jew-hatred since Nazism. It has staked out a territory not against climate change, the survival issue of our day, but against Israel and for totalitarianism, that is, radical Islam and its terrorist delegates, Hamas and Hezbollah. Has it taken pages out of the Nazi notebook?

This anti-Semitic effluvia of the American left functions as a prop of the Islamist campaign of Stealth Jihad to infiltrate and overturn secular democracy, civil liberties and our Constitution. This campaign is being waged by "moderate" Muslims professing to support "harmony and interfaith dialogue". It is a frightening one that most Americans are unaware of, and one that the non-left liberals, including many Jews, refuse to acknowledge or oppose.

But the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic campaign of the left is a precious commodity for Islamists because it provides a sheen of legitimacy and credibility to their work. An example of this has just come to my attention in the mission statement of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy. It boasts of its opposition to all forces and forms of tyranny, violence and oppression, including allies such as Saudi Arabia, the Colombian terrorists (FARC) and "the Israeli army".

Now, let's pause in our foaming at the mouth at this outrageous propaganda and look at who they have left out: Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Ethiopia, for starters. Ponder their selection of tyrants: a violent non-government resistance movement in Colombia—but not the violent terrorist resistance movements called Hamas and Hezbollah. And it indicts a legitimate army of the sovereign state of Israel that is duty-bound to protect its citizens and territory.

Let me move back to a earlier posting about the Caipirinha Foundation, the funding arm of Iara Lee's Cultures of Resistance (COR), whose most recent project is her filming of the Turkish flotilla incident, and who is making a film about and supported by the Turkish "NGO" organization called IHH, which has ties to proven terrorist groups.

If you look at the COR web site, they announce their support for a whole slew of leftist and revolutionary organizations, a large chunk of which are dedicated to destroying Jews and Israel: Al Awda (Palestine Right of Return); International Solidarity Movement (responsible for the martyrdom of Rachel Corrie); Electronic Intifada (Palestine mouthpiece and propaganda site); Free Gaza; Global Exchange; Norman Finkelstein; US Campaign to End the Occupation; UNITED, and many more of this ilk.

What you have is a list of the usual suspects: organizations that have chosen to focus primarily (and in many cases solely) on whipping up anger, hate, and anti-Semitism in order to support their life's work of demonizing and destroying Israel and American "imperialism". A more accurate characterization of neo-fascism cannot be found.

I submit that the American left has become not just Lenin's "useful idiots" but an intricate part of the Islamist terrorist apparatus, and that its methodology is no less ignorant and no less virulent and ugly than that of the Tea Party. In fact it is far more dangerous and a far greater threat to democracy and freedom than the Tea Party. Its positions and acts speak for themselves.

Finally, the Tea Party is so far working within our electoral system, for better or worse. The American left has chosen to work outside the system and alongside violent forces who oppose democracy, freedom, and equality—the very things that the left purports to support. In this respect they have shown themselves to be as adept at taqquiya (deception) as the Muslims.

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.