OCW Primer: Avoiding Tea Party Burnout

"I'm Melting"

"I'm Melting"

How Occupy Wall Street Can Succeed By Avoiding The Failures Of The Tea Party, The Minuteman Movement And Other Well Intended But Failed Movements.

By Mike Harris


The momentum of the OWS movement is spectacular, something that has been needed in the good ole USA for some time. I am here to offer a word of caution to the participants, how to avoid being hijacked in the manner that the Republican Party hijacked the Tea Party.

I have been politically active most of my adult life. Once I figured out the importance of politics, my life changed. Politics may seem boring to the young, it is not. The effects of politics can be productive for all, or the results can be a disaster for the entire country. What we are currently experiencing as a nation is the abject failure of politics, and it is dreadful, and it is by design.

I became involved with the Arizona Republican Party in 1993; I was considering a run for what was Congressional District 6. I decided to run because I realized the damage that was being done to the American economy and industrial base by the free trade treaties signed by President Bill Clinton, NAFTA, GATT, and admitting China into the WTO. Upon filing with the Federal Election Commission I was summoned by the Party Chairwoman Mrs. Dodie London. 

A brilliant woman by any measure, educated, hard working and highly ethical. Mrs. London explained to me that although I had enough money to run, I was going to lose. Another candidate was a local sportscaster, who was on the news every night at 6:00 pm and again at 10:00 pm. Mrs. London explained to me that no matter how much money I spent I could not buy the name recognition that the sportscaster had.

Instead  she offered me a booby prize, I served the Party as the Finance Chairman, and I raised enough money for Republicans to successfully win 5 of 6 congressional seats, elect a freshman US Senator, return a sitting Governor, and totally dominate the State Senate and House of Representatives,  all in all a successful term of service to my party.

My next direct political endeavor was to seek the Republican Nomination for Governor of Arizona in 2006. I was again actively discouraged by the then Republican Party Chairman; it seems that another nominee had been pre-selected. I was not going to defer my political goals again. The reason I wanted to run was because I saw the field of candidates as weak, inept, and in certain cases openly crooked.

It was then that I learned the hard way what political operatives are and what they do for a living. In a nutshell, they are the people who destroy lives and hard won reputations. I encountered dirty tricks of all sort, from the obvious to the subtle and nuanced, and in every case underhanded, but all intended to destroy and diminish everything human and humane about anyone in the race.

I can speak with some real life experience about what operatives can do to a candidate and to a political movement. I choose to write for VT because this is one of the very few media outlets that actually tells the truth, warts and all. I would rather have an ugly truth, than a beautiful lie. I can deal with an ugly truth; I cannot deal with a beautiful lie. No one can.

Most recently we got to observe the hijacking of the Tea Party by various politicians, most blatantly Sarah Palin. The Tea Party was going strong, gaining both traction and momentum. The Tea Party was being successful. That is when the trouble begins. OWS has entered the danger zone for being hijacked.

OWS has gained both traction and is daily gaining momentum. In the case of the Tea Party, suddenly there were multiple Tea Party organizations; all competing with each other. 501-C3/C4 Charitable Corporations were formed and names were copyrighted and trademarked.  Suddenly the grass roots Tea Party had official and registered rivals for the name of the movement.

Official rivals that could and did take funding for political agendas of those who were writing big checks, the billionaire Koch Brother being the most prominent, although there were others as well. Once the official Tea Party was created the Major News Media began following only the Official funded Tea Party groups spokesmen, and the grass roots people who started the movement were once again, shut out of the political process that they started. The same thing happened with the Minuteman Project, like this is a script to derail any popular movement that threatens the powers that be, AKA the status quo, the elites..

The next thing to happen was many of the Republican Party politicians who did not share some common beliefs with the Tea Party grass roots began to appear as uninvited guests. Then the talk radio announcements about Tea Party events began, sponsored of course by the official Tea Parties, the grass roots died, and the Official Tea Party is all that remains.

In just a few short weeks Sarah Palin went from has been politician, to the key note speaker all across the country at every Tea Party event. Well meaning people expended time and energy trying to change the system were stuck in an orchestrated dead end. These same protocols were applied to the minuteman movement to stop illegal immigration. The effect was the movement was stopped cold in a very short time.

Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and many other republican politicians who had no connection to the real grass roots of the Tea Party hijacked the movement. Palin, Bachman and many others were being interviewed on Fox News and other news outlets as the spokesmen for the movement. Nothing could be further from the truth behind the real grass roots Tea Party. After the Tea Party was hijacked the message was changed. The Tea Party became 9-11 denialists, and no longer sought the ugly truth about the treason that was committed against the USA.

Never forget that politicians by nature are opportunists. They will glom onto any issue or movement to attract voters and money. Successful movements will attract politicians like shit attracts flies. Politicians will flip and flop on any issue if they believe that it will get them elected. They are chameleons and will change their stripes and colors to suit any situation that will get them elected again, and again.

My advice to Occupy Wall Street to avoid being hijacked in the manner the Tea Party was hijacked is:

  1. Do not remain leaderless; find your leaders from within the movement. Do not allow public figures (established politicians and celebrities are your enemies), to appear and attach themselves like parasites to suck the life from your movement. Expel them from your events, make no exceptions. Michael Moore just appeared at Occupy Oakland and demanded a microphone and time on the stage, he was graciously accommodated. Kick him and all other faux celebrities like him, who wish to exploit, and hijack the movement to the curb. Give him a sign and make him march and face the police and tear-gas like everyone else, his faux celebrity should buy him nothing at these events.
  2. Unite around a simple set of common principles. The simpler the better. More people can understand a simple and principled message.
  3. Beware of those who seek to register the name of the movement. This happened to the Tea Party and the Minute Man Movement. Do not let it happen to Occupy Wall Street or Occupy America or Occupy (insert: your city here). Once the name is registered, the grass roots no longer own the name!!! By grass roots, I mean the real people who really want to change this dysfunctional system of government.
  4. Reject all formally incorporated organizations, no matter how closely the name resembles the name of the original grass roots movement. They are here to hijack the movement, to focus media attention on an “Official” spokesman, (think Palin and Bachman et al.). They wish to protect the status quo, they do not want change, they are your enemies. They are here to thwart the movement and to derail your efforts, just like they did to the Tea Party and Minuteman movements. Formally incorporated groups are created to become the tool of the big money interests who wish to hijack the OWS movement.
  5. Reject establishment politicians and all celebrity type personalities, they are here to prevent you from succeeding. Politicians and celebrities will attract the mainstream news media, shutting out those who created the OWS movement and the message. This must be prevented at every opportunity. Do not allow the news media to interview them on behalf of the OWS movement. Provide your own spokesman to deal with the media; if you fail at this one thing, the movement will fail. In fact renounce the news media if they attempt to put established politicians or celebrities in place of OWS spokespeople from within the movement. It is far better to have a sincere amateur represent the movement than a celebrity pro who will change or manipulate the message of the movement.
  6. Find an effective even outrageous manner to dis-avow, renounce  and embarrass any established politician or celebrity who claims to speak for the people. Do it loudly and do it publicly, they do not belong in the movement, they are not of the grass roots, they are the elite and they want to hijack the movement.
  7. Develop your own talking points, provide copies to every media outlet, reject anyone who wishes to change the core message of the OWS movement.
  8. Reach out to the grass roots members of the failed Tea Party. They intended the same goals as Occupy Wall Street.  You share a common enemy, who wishes to keep you down with no future.  No jobs, no money and no prospects, what do you have left to lose? Only your right to free speech. The differences of approach will make the movement stronger.  Find the common ground that everyone can agree on first. Disagree on the smaller issues later.
  9. Weed out and reject any agent provocateurs and rabble rousers who wish to incite violence or commit vandalism. Do not allow them to set the agenda, isolate and shun them from the movement. There are paid operatives who have been hired to ruin the movement and the perception that the public has of the movement. Always be vigilant for agent provocateurs, like it or not they are real. If unchecked they will derail OWS like they did the Tea Party. The other type of saboteur to be wary of are those who obstruct meetings, by wasting time and energy arguing about nonsense. Good and productive people will go home after hours of accomplishing nothing, then quit from frustration, these are movement killing people. Politely invite them to leave. Keep only people who can get things done.
  10. Stay within the law, go to extraordinary measures to remain lawful, do not be abused, defend yourself if necessary, but never start trouble or  resort to violence, but do not be afraid to defy illegitimate authority of the illegal and corrupt government and institutions, the Federal Reserve and the too big to fail banks comes to mind

Right now our country has a chance to reform, and reclaim itself, from decades of corruption, neglect, and mismanagement. Today is the day to right the wrongs of the past.

Equal Justice for all is a good place to start. We have many issues to address, from the treason of 9-11 to the financial terrorism perpetrated by the Federal Reserve and Wall Street Bankers, to the off shoring of American jobs, the open border and the illegal aliens and drugs that flood our country. There is a great deal we can agree on.

Equal justice for all is where I would like to start. Make today the beginning of first successful regime change in the USA since 1776. God Bless America, and God Damn the corrupt treasonous bastards who did this to our wonderful nation…




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Mr. Harris has enjoyed 30+ yrs in the manufacturing, financial, and technology sectors. He’s been core to numerous domestic and international start-ups, acquisitions, and mergers, skyrocketing profit margins through a highly cooperative/collaborative team approach. His sharp intellect and a fluid intuition was significant boon during his 2005/6 run for the Governor of Arizona where he emphasized the need to initiate immediate, practical, working solutions to the issues at hand. From 1995 to 2000 Mr. Harris served as a technical advisor to the Committee on Science and Technology of the US Congress, as well as sitting as Chairman of various boards over the years. With an MBA in finance, from a foundation of Applied Physics and Economics, he has proven an exceptional ability to function well above and beyond “the box”. Dubbed “Iron Mike” through his many years as a martial artist, Mr. Harris has clearly demonstrated the resiliency to take blows and to come back fighting. This extraordinary skill-set he now brings to his ultimate Vision for a free, abundant, and prosperous society.