Taking On the Tea Party: It's Our Time Now

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On July 28, 2012, IREHR's Devin Burghart gave a keynote speech at the Western States Center's annual training and skills conference, AMP, an event that drew over 400 activists and organizers from states across the west. Devin used the occasion to remind the attendees of lessons past and to talk about the tasks everyone faces today. This speech is a most powerful indictment of the Tea Party movement, and a call for people of good will—no matter what their principal issue of concern—to understand that the Tea Party movement must be actively opposed by us all.

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IREHR Training on Tea Party movement in Kansas City

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On Saturday, August 18, IREHR conducted a three-hour training on the Tea Parties for over twenty members of Kansas City 99, an organization that grew out of the Occupy movement. The training covered the size and structure of the Tea Party movement, the racism and bigotry embedded in it, and productive ways to counter the movement. Hand-outs included a chart on Tea Party numbers in the two-state area: Kansas has 4,126 enrolled Tea Party members with eleven Tea Party Patriots chapters; Missouri has 9,177 enrolled members with 35 Tea Party Patriot chapters.

The training can be duplicated in other regions and around specific issue areas. If you would like a training in your area, please notify IREHR.

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The Tea Party Impact in Indiana

The resounding victory of Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock over six-term Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary resurrected the Tea Party movement as a potent force in much of the public mind. Yet some regarded Mourdock's victory as a re-affirmation of their belief that "Big Money" determines all outcomes, and that the Tea Parties had little to do with it.

In IREHR's analysis of these recent events, by contrast, three factors were relevant: the Tea Parties' unanimous choice to support Mourdock; a decision by the Tea Party to begin campaigning more than twelve months before the election date; and the movement's choice of a ground game rather than an air war significantly impacted the low-turnout election. In short, a year of coordinated efforts between national and local Tea Party groups organizing around a set of Tea Party ideas led to a primary victory and put them back into the center of the national conversation.

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A Nation Dispossessed: The Tea Party Movement and Race

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The following article was written last summer for the academic journal Critical Sociology, and it will appear in print later this year. It describes the specific form of racism that manifests itself in the Tea Parties, a belief by white people that social gains for black people are, in fact, attacks on the standards for white people. Thus Tea Partiers subjectively believe that they are an oppressed or exploited social grouping. This article also warns against the mistake of prematurely counting the Tea Parties down and out. There is, of course, more. You, dear reader, will find that yourself in the reading.

 If the article isn't displayed below, you can click here to download it.



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Tea Partiers Launch Birther Super PAC

Believe it or not, the so-called birthers are back. As if the post Citizens United world of campaign finance wasn't sketchy enough, along comes a new super PAC created specifically to regurgitate racist conspiracy theories claiming President Obama is not a natural-born American, and thereby supposedly barred from holding the presidency.

The group has already started running ads.

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Second Tea Party Super PAC Formed

National Tea Party groups are gearing up for an influx of unregulated campaign cash this year. On Monday, January 23, the Tea Party Express became the second national Tea Party faction to dive into the big money world of super PACs with the formation of the Tea Party Express Presidential Campaign PAC. The Tea Party Express joins FreedomWorks, which formed its super PAC last summer.

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More Evidence for Beyond FAIR

While all eyes were focused on the Republican Party primary in South Carolina, and commentators were proclaiming the Tea Party movement finished because it had not yet picked a single presidential candidate to act as its standard-bearer, five hundred Tea Partiers gathered in Myrtle Beach on January 15 and 16, as if to prove its naysayers wrong. They came from 23 local Tea Party and "constitutionalist" organizations. The speakers' list was a who's who and what is what among the Tea Partiers and Republican politicians. And anti-immigrant fever ran high.

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About IREHR

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) is a national organization with an international outlook examining racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist, and far-right social movements, analyzing their intersection with civil society and social policy, educating the public, and assisting in the protection and extension of human rights through organization and informed mobilization.

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