Why I Didn’t Participate in “Occupy vs. Tea Party”

I was initially very excited to participate in “Occupy vs. Tea Party” because I viewed it as a platform to bring the two political movements together through dialogue.  The confrontational framing of the “debate” seemed like an obstacle that could be overcome by focusing on problems upon which both “sides” seem to agree: the central banking cartel, the destruction of civil liberties, the disempowerment of the general public, etc.

The first indication that this would be a misadventure was the so called “tea partiers” that were selected to participate.  As one liberty blogger noted “this should be called ‘Occupy vs. NeoCons”.  While one or two of the so called “tea partiers” are liberty-oriented activists, most of them seem to be 2nd wave Tea Party who are more aligned with neocon ideology than the liberty ideology upon which the Tea Party was founded.  One particularly unpleasant participant is a racist shock-jock whose built a career by spreading fear of Islam.  I attempted to bring a liberty-focused tea party organizer onto the show and he was given the run around and then rejected.

The second indication that this would be a misadventure was that Gordon, the show’s producer, gave us no information about his intentions.  Despite a brief phone call, I had no information about the show: no idea what the format was, how the video would be distributed, whether we were receiving any compensation (or free tickets) or if we had rights to footage.  No doubt it was a sloppy operation.  Then, four days before “Occupy vs. Tea Party” was supposed to take place and after numerous attempts to contact Gordon, the Occupy team received an email with the format of the show.  The so-called “debate” would involve each team voting its own members out of the debate.  This extra dimension turned what could have been a fruitful debate into a circus, and that was the idea.  Gordon suggested we “roll with” the other surprises he had in store for us.  I’m not interested in being involved in a circus-style reality show.  If I were, I’d make sure to find one that was offering prizes.

In my short political history, I’ve been involved in both occupy and liberty movement organizing, and I believe that substantial political change is impossible in this country until those two movements come together.  I didn’t believe “Occupy vs. Tea Party” would provide a platform for that type of work to take place, and thus, didn’t participate in the event.

The experience of planning to debate tea partiers has inspired me to commit to doing more organizing that brings the two groups together.  Stay tuned for that.

A little coverage

I received three Google alerts involving my name this week.  All were related to my work with Occupy Wall Street.  Here they are, with a little commentary added by myself:

New Protest Apps Crowd-Sourced From Occupy Wall Street Hackers” by Tyler Kingkade.

Communities In Space: How Re-Framing Our Spaces Can Reshape Our Future” by Matt Cynamon.

Then we have “BLOG: Creating an alternative currency for the #globalrevolution ‘alternative world’ borg” by Brenda J. Elliott.  The article is somewhat inaccurate so I’ve written the following response.  I’d have posted in the comment section of the article but it’s too long, so here it is.


I’d like to applaud you on the most thoroughly researched post on my work with OWS to date.  There are a few inaccuracies I’d like to clear up:

First, the p2pfoundation isn’t involved in permabank.  At first we were using their wiki to document our efforts because they have a solid platform and community managers but we’ve since moved our documentation to wiki.occupyeverywhere.org.  It’s still very much incomplete and should greatly improve over the next 2-3 weeks.

Second, PermaBank is being written in Python/Django.  We were going to use Drupal to create a working demo but talented Python developers emerged so we’re going straight to the main event.

Third, FLO Solutions Working Group has no connection to the p2pfoundation except that we wrote up a page on their wiki.

Fourth, I don’t have any real connection to floEarth except that I’m friends with it’s creator.  If the project develops I might get more involved.

Fifth, it’s ‘Sarapis’ not ‘Serapis.’  Greek spelling.  I don’t know if you looked too deeply into who/what Sarapis is/was but I think you’ll find it interesting.

The tone of this piece makes it sound as if you’re describing some nefarious plot to take over the world when, if fact, my efforts are simply to help people use information technologies to create their own capital so they no longer have to rely on the currency politburo at the Federal Reserve.

Let me know if you’d like to discuss these issues further.