The state of the progressive movement in America today is the strongest it has been since FDR saved this country from the Great Depression. This is almost entirely due to the independent Senator from Vermont, Bernard “Bernie” Sanders. Bernie has thrust progressive ideals and policies into mainstream American politics and we progressives owe him more gratitude then any of us can possibly express. As Clinton’s delegate lead continues to rise and Bernie has begun to reduce both his staff and rhetoric against Clinton many of us are starting to realize that we cannot allow what Bernie has done for the progressive movement to be in vein. Those of us who say #NeverHillary are justified in doing so. Both parties are beholden to those powers Bernie is out there every day speaking about and fighting against. Many of us now recognize that the next phase in the fight against establishment politics must be a “Progressive Tea Party.” We must infiltrate the Democratic Party and elect an army of progressives who will fight corporate and political corruption long after Bernie Sanders retires from politics. We are the sons and daughters of liberty and it is we the people who must take back our government from the special interests.
There are so many aspects of the “Tea Bagger” movement that made my brain feel like it was going to explode. The “Tea Party” of recent history was funded and fueled by Koch brother’s money led by the blustery and ridiculous Dick Armey. The original idea was to reduce government spending to reduce taxes. Although there was many different conservative ideologies intermingled into the movement initially, the “Tea Party” really became focused on reducing entitlements to lower taxes. What struck me so hard when the movement was actually originally occurring was that the “Tea Partiers” didn’t seem to understand what the actual Boston Tea Party was all about. While silly white folks wearing tea bags on their heads ironically grabbed on to the phrase “no taxation without representation” they failed to acknowledge those ideals of “lower taxes” were already well represented in the previous thirty years of American politics and they were really just whining about mythological “welfare queens” getting food stamps to go shopping with in their Hummers in Beverly Hills.
History is clear. The colonies at the time of the original Boston Tea Party had no parliamentary representation and the British crown continued to raise taxes and enact laws on the colonists to support their occupation and military adventures. At the time the people of the colonies created black markets to get around all the various taxes in order to pay lower costs on goods for the things they both enjoyed and needed like tea. However there were two laws that were passed by the British Parliament which led to the “acts of terror” known as the Boston Tea Party: The Stamp Act of 1765 and the Tea Act of 1773.
The Stamp Act of 1765 was a direct tax on the colonies and required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp on most printed materials in the colonies. This did not sit well with the colonists due to the fact that this tax was enacted to support British soldiers in the colonies supposedly to defend the colonists from attack. However the colonists had no foreign enemies other then Native Americans, which they felt they were already defending themselves against. Enraged by this new tax the discussion of “no taxation without representation” really began to form and take shape. The colonists sent petitions and held protests, which sometimes turned violent, to fight back against the Stamp Act. It was out of those protests that the secret organization known as The Sons of Liberty spouted and whispers of revolution soon began to spring up.
As this movement grew and the British pressed back harder and harder it was the Tea Act of 1773 that prefaced the entire American Revolution. The Tea Act was a law enacted by the British Parliament whose main objective was to prop back up the struggling East India Trading Company who was currently sitting on a massive surplus of tea in London. Essentially the East India Trading Company was grated a duty-free status in order to undercut the price of black-market tea in the colonies because of the political power that massive shipping corporation held in Britain. The same forces that opposed the Stamp Act rallied to fight against the Tea Act leading to the famous Boston Tea Party, which then led almost directly to the American Revolution and the founding of this greatest of nations.
To put this in a modern perspective you had unfair taxes put on the colonists that went directly to supporting British Governors and other loyalist politicians and military interventions coupled with what were essentially tax waivers for the biggest corporation in the world at that time. The colonists recognized these injustices and took action led by the Sons of Liberty. Now I do not condone the violent tactics sometimes used by the Sons of Liberty but those were different times. How that history led to white conservative Americans bitching about food stamps while literally tea bagging themselves I will never understand.
Regardless of whether Senator Sanders wins the Democratic primary, if we are to create a progressive tea party movement to infiltrate the DNC we must create something to rally around as Bernie Sanders considers the necessary maneuvers to help our country avoid the “Business Plot” styled candidacy of Donald J. Trump. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot) While us progressives as a whole accept that the modern “Business Plot” took place with the election of Ronald “Ray-gun” and was cemented by the Clinton years, the blatant fascist shift of a Trump Presidency is not something Bernie will allow himself to enable in anyway. So it is up to us to create a deep and lasting progressive movement that will resonate louder then the failed right’s silly Tea Bagger movement, which regardless of its effectiveness in taking control of the RNC will be turned on its head by the Trumpeters.
We are the Sons & Daughters of Liberty. We will no longer accept the status quo “incrementalism” of taking one step forward until the next Republican or Democratic president sweeps in again and walks us ten steps back. We must create a strong enough movement built on the back of what Senator Sanders has started that will enable us in the next eight years to put forward a truly progressive agenda that will take one hundred steps forward for the people and by the people for the foreseeable future and beyond.
We are the Sons & Daughters of Liberty. We are the 99%. We are Black Lives Matter. We are the Occupy Movement. We are Anonymous. We are WikiLeaks. We are The People. We will use our voices and our votes to take back our republic from the billionaire class through non-violent protest and political action. We will:
- End corporate corruption by repealing Citizens United
- Make corporations pay their fair share of taxes to the benefit of the people
- Enact public funded elections
- Reform public education
- Enact Universal healthcare