If you strip away the anti-Obama (and sometimes racist) rhetoric of the Tea Party, and the faux Marxist revolution rhetoric of the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd, the essence of both movements is an understandable loss of confidence in the global financial elites and the political establishment.
Indeed, the Tea Party on the right and “Occupy Wall Street” on the left originate from the same place. Both were sparked by the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and the sense that average people were being screwed by powerful elites. “A sense emerged that the financial elite was either stupid or dishonest or both. The idea was that the financial elite had violated all principles of fiduciary, social and moral responsibility in seeking its own personal gain at the expense of society as a whole,” as George Friedman wrote in a Stratfor analysis. The Tea Party movement charged that the financial elite avoided responsibility for their own mistakes by getting government (taxpayers) — establishment Republicans as well as Democrats — to take on massive debt. They also reacted against what they perceived as excessive state power and intervention in the free market.
The Occupy Wall Street crowd are also angry that the financial and political elite have avoided responsibility for their own mistakes. Beyond that, their message is, so far, a bit muddled. It seems they want more involvement by the state, to cap the power of big corporations, and more taxes on the wealthiest 1%.
The Tea Party crowd demands “no new taxes,” a repeal of Obamacare, a much smaller government, made possible by massive cuts in government spending, privatizing Medicare and social security, and a mythical return to reliance on the magical free market.
The video above on RT.com includes a chart showing the similarities between the two movements. Both started as “a joke, an aberration, a bunch of weirdos.” Both expressed anger at elites, both expressed concerns about jobs and the economy. Both were repulsed by the Wall Street bailouts. Both are disenchanted by the death of the American dream. Both feel left out of the system. One directs its fury at government, the other directs its fury at corporate America.