CodePink’s Medea Benjamin recently stirred up controversy by offering an “olive branch” to tea party movement activists.
Benjamin’s editorial reads, “We are not naïve to think that it would be easy for the Tea Party and the peace movement to work together… But building peace means reaching out to the other side and trying to find common ground even with those people whose beliefs contradict so many of our own. If the Tea Party is really against runaway government spending, then certainly we can work together to cut a slice out of the military pork that is bankrupting our nation.”
Is her move brilliant politics or little more than a Hitler-Stalin Pact?
To be clear, lots of the left have wrangled over how to win over elements of the tea party crowd to things progressives/radicals can agree on, while others have blanched at such suggestions, most notably currents in the radical left.
For people of color, such proposed alliances are incredibly relevant. The tea party movement has long been accused of racism. And there are plenty of examples of same that concerned people point to — Birther conspiracy theorists, bigots, etc.
Right-wingers counter racist (and leftist) infiltrators are being kicked out of events these days, and that the tea party movement is seeking moderation. Don’t count T-Pain as a person of color supporting the tea party movement faithful though.
The perceptions of Benjamin and others are being criticized as misreading tea party movement activists, often well-off and essentially libertarian, for potential recruits. “I don’t think the left has much to offer upper middle class white guys who mostly want to cut taxes, balance budgets, and destroy the last vestiges of the welfare state,” says Chris Maisano. ” The Tea Party ranks don’t seem to be a very fertile ground for left organizing, and anyone who thinks the teabaggers can be brought over to our side is engaging in wishful thinking.”
However, there are no shortage of people considering a coalition of tea party activists and anti-war forces to press for change. Among them, conservatives are debating the left-right alliance that Medea Benjamin suggests. Can such a united front be successful? Is it even possible?