To the Right March
Co-sponsors: Critical Sociology and Logos Online
To the Right March
The Tea Party in America
In early 2009, following the crash and government bail outs, an astro turf right populist mobilization appeared that would question the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate and disrupt town hall meetings concerned with health care. By 2010, they garnered enough political support to elect about 60 representatives to the House. How and why did this "movement" emerge. How can the left understand this current expression of anger, rage and perhaps paranoia. What is its future. What can the left do-if anything to challenge this movement.
Chip Berlet - Crashing the Tea Party? Not!: The Tea Party is the most recent iteration of right populism in the US an enduring anti statist, ideology that "explains" the "victimhood of the ordinary people at the hands of an "evil" collectivist elite. Key elements of this ideology include "producerism," the elites would tax the "hard working" decent people and transfer that income to the poor, lazy parasitic classes, conspiracy theories, xenophobic nationalism and demonization of "enemies" as fascists or socialists.
Lauren Langman - The Return of the Rage of the Right: The mobilization of right populist, xenophobic nationalisms is a complex process in which segments of the lower middle classes become the bearers of the politics of rage and ressentiment. Theorizing these mobilizations started with the Frankfurt School attempt to understand how and why the authoritarian character structure disposed the embrace of fascism. Today, almost 100 year later, this framework still offers insights as to why groups like the tea party emerge, embrace various kinds of extremist ideologies, designate various enemies. In its current form, the Tea Party can be understood as a reactionary mobilization to defend a certain kind of White, Protestant, racist, patriarchal, homophobic, identity under assault from above by nefarious elites such as Obama, and from below by African Americans, undocumented Mexicans and Muslim terrorists.
Laura Flanders - At the Tea Party: The tea party has been a major news event for the past two years. But that said, there have been major differences between the main stream press and the alternative progressive press that have not shied away from serious critique of these anti democratic, often racist, sexist and homophobic movements. What has been the impact of media coverage on the rise and perhaps demise of the Tea Party.
Michael Thompson - Megamalls, Mega Churches & The Suburban Roots of the Tea Party: As has been evident, most of the elected Tea Party leaders, Michel Bachmann, Eric Cantor, Joe Walch etc, hail from the large, sprawling suburbs and exurbs. Why is that? Suburbs in general, and swub developments within tend to be homogeneous, culturally isolated and socially fragmented, that together with property ownership, promote various shades of conservatism of which the tea party is its current instantiation. Suburban and exurban spaces tend to provide a context for new conservative world-views as a result of the ways that social interaction shapes the moral-cognitive style of individuals. What I call dogmatic moral cognition is shaped by constrained forms of socialization that can affect the ways individuals conceive of their world and also distort or constrain certain epistemic capacities.
Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, is co-author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. He has studied and written about the Political Right for close to 40 years.
Laura Flanders of Grit-TV has been one of the major voices of alternative, progressive journalism. Her show provides an alternative to the main stream," conventional wisdom" She is the editor of At the Tea Party.
Lauren Langman, Professor of Sociology, is the co-editor of "Critical Perspectives on the Tea Party", a special issue of Critical Sociology.
Michael Thompson is an Associate Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University, He is the the author of Confronting the New Conservatism and the editor of Logos, one of the most widely read on line academic journals.
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