As the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to spread—with massive arrests Monday night in Boston—the tea party wants you to know that the progressive protests have nothing in common with its own grass-roots effort.
First, the arrests: About 100 people were arrested by police Monday evening in Boston, according to local news affiliates, after they refused to leave an off-limits area outside of the Dewey Square section of the city. Local representatives of the intentionally disorganized movement said the police overreacted. The police claimed that “anarchists” had seized control of the demonstrations. (Watch video below.)
The protests to date have largely been confined to Lower Manhattan, but the demonstrations, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, will mark a thrust into Midtown. (It also won’t be a great time for non-protesters to take the subway.)
On Monday, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the protesters could remain camped in the park near Wall Street, where they have been stationed for weeks, as long as they wanted. But it remains to be seen how the city reacts to the Midtown march.
Conservatives continue to assail the movement and dispute a building media narrative that has likened it to the rise of the tea party. The group Tea Party Patriots released a statement Tuesday contrasting the grass-roots effort it represents with the liberal protests.
Tea party adherents, said the group’s co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, “don’t believe corporations are inherently evil, nor should bankers be beheaded. They do not believe this country should be divided by class, but united in a return to the principles that undergird our nation’s success. In fact, they want more of what made America great: more Constitutional restraint on government so that the people have more freedom to achieve the good things the country offers.
“By contrast, those occupying Wall Street and other cities, when they are intelligible, want less of what made America great and more of what is damaging to America: a bigger, more powerful government to come in and take care of them so they don’t have to work like the rest of us who pay our bills.”
They also contended that tea party rallies have been “safe and clean,” they said, unlike civil unrest caused by “lawbreaking troublemakers.”
The goals of Occupy Wall Street remain somewhat amorphous, but Jesse LaGreca, a blogger for Daily Kos, attempted to articulate them on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
“The working class people in America, the 99% of Americans who aren’t wealthy who aren’t prospering in this economy have been entirely ignored by the media. Our political leaders pander to us but they don’t take action. They stand in the way of change. They filibuster on behalf of the wealthiest 1 percent. They fold on behalf of the wealthiest 1 percent,” he said. “They conversation we need to have is about the future, about what kind of country we want to be.”