The V Party

The move from T to V is short, alphabetically.

Metaphorically, it is huge; from the Tea Party to the Vote Party suggests a major political shift. The Occupy Wall Street Movement has traveled across American cities, attracted national attention, and is ready to move from gaining attention to influencing social action.

If the movement — I’d call it the embryonic V Party — uses its social media network to advance a national agenda focused on curing our excessive economic disparity, it could generate important social reforms, like the Tea Party did for its agenda. Recent press reports noted that the Occupy Wall Street movement has morphed into YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, wiki and Web presences with millions of followers and thousands of activists.

The protesters have been challenged to speak out, rather than camp out. But they have an agenda, as author Naomi Wolf reported in The Guardian after meeting with groups at Wall Street. The people she spoke with advocated diminishing the influence of money in politics, and modifying the Citizens United opinion, which exacerbated the influence of big money in elections. They were critical of lobbyists in and out of government and the conflicts of interest they represent; and they called for regulating investment banks. They DO have specific things in mind which warrant reform, and it is time they went to work promoting their agenda.

As suggested in my last blog, it is time for the occupiers to move to the next phase. Go home. Organize. Work in their cities and states to elect politicians who will work for the ends they highlighted by their presence. Flexing their operational muscles will demonstrate their power, as the Tea Party did.

They should organize themselves and move to Massachusetts to assist Elizabeth Warren win her Senate campaign. They should have a list of candidates in their own states who will support their issues, and work for their election. They should advance a Bill of Economic Rights and ask candidates to sign commitments to it, as Grover Norquist did to push protections of tax breaks for the rich.

That these protesters reflect negative class warfare is something of a media creation. (Wolf saw judges, teachers, students and clean-cut protesters among the scruffier participants.) The crackdown against them by excessive police force, the harassment of reporters who were covering the protests, the role of Homeland Security and highly paid lobbyists funding the crackdowns, all suggest that if there is class warfare, it is the classic (remember the civil rights movement, and the labor wars of years ago?) revolt of the challenged interests against their critics.

Paul Krugman has pointed out the 1 percent that the 99 percent criticizes is really a super-elite of .01 percent that has disproportionate after-tax, as well as pre-tax, income. He also points out that the .01 percent is not made up of job creators and innovators, but rather “wheeler-dealers” and corporate bigwigs from the world of finance, real estate and law — not groups known for generating income to others than their equals. They are threatened by the public protests, and can be expected to marshal forces to quell them.

The Tea Party set an important precedent by demonstrating how activist citizens can get their way by organizing and pushing politicians in directions they desire. The V Party should follow that model, and get to work in this upcoming national election year.

This is getting interesting.