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The Tea Party Movement

Program #BERC006. Recorded in Boulder, CO on April 08, 2010.

Taking its name from the famous pre-Revolutionary action of colonists in Boston, the Tea Party movement has made a political impact. For example, Bob Bennett, three-term conservative senator from Utah was stripped of the Republican nomination by the Tea Party. What sparks their activism? There is the rage of those tossed overboard as they watch helplessly as their savings, pensions, investments and homes are just so much collateral damage in an economic system that takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. At the same time they watch the fat cats get bailed out and get fatter. Opportunistic politicians and electronic demagogues stoke the fires of resentment making for a volatile cocktail of demonization and scapegoating. History is full of negative examples where people's inchoate anger, deep fears, racism and frustrations, are mobilized. False solutions are offered to solve false problems.

Speaker(s):

Chip Berlet

Chip Berlet is senior analyst with Political Research Associates, an organization which monitors and reports on right-wing movements. His articles appear in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Progressive magazine. He is the editor of Eyes Right: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash and co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America.

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