How Occupy Wall Street compares to the tea party
Occupy Wall Street protesters demonstrate in New York on Tuesday.
October 13th, 2011
08:45 PM ET

How Occupy Wall Street compares to the tea party

Neither movement wants to be identified with the other, but commonalities between Occupy Wall Street and the tea party - including being born out of anger and frustration - are hard to ignore.

"I think the target is different, but the frustration (among Wall Street protesters) is the same, and the frustration is a sense that these institutions are no longer working for average Americans," said Kate Zernike, a New York Times reporter and author of the book "Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America."

Some of the criticisms being levied against the Occupy Wall Street movement are the same as those made against the tea party in its infancy, according to Zernike.

"The portrayal of the Occupy Wall Street forces, fairly or not, has been people who don't really know what they are there protesting," Zernike said. "You can launch the same criticism about the tea party. Many people who showed up to tea party meetings or rallies didn’t really know what they were there protesting."

Click the audio player to hear the story from CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum:

The tea party is a political movement that became integral to the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives last year. The Occupy Wall Street campaign began in July with the launch of a campaign website calling for a march and a sit-in at the New York Stock Exchange. Protesters have taken up residence in a Lower Manhattan park and have inspired similar protests nationwide.

Much like the Occupy Wall Street protesters, people who attended early tea party events were upset with the economy, and they felt that the system was no longer working for the average American. Zernike said it took a while for the tea party to coalesce around some specific ideas at the start, too.

“They can say that they have different goals. But the spirit is very much the same,” Zernike said.

People affiliated with the tea party vehemently deny any similarities between the two movements.

"The concern here is that they are targeting Wall Street executives, when in fact, really, they should be targeting their message toward the government,” said Deneen Borelli, a fellow with Project 21, a network of black conservatives.

Borelli, a frequent speaker at tea party events, pointed to hundreds of arrests at some early Occupy Wall Street protests and said there were no similar confrontations with authorities in the early days of the tea party.

"This is where I don't see the comparison of Occupy Wall Street to the tea party movement," Borelli said. But she did acknowledge that a sense of frustration with the system is prevalent across many spectra of society today.

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Filed under: Occupy Wall Street • Politics • Protest • Tea Party
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    crazy worded?? do you mean trolled? happens to all of us from time to time dont apologize its not your fault. 🙂

    October 14, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    @ wot all hell is already breaking loose look around you! People are fed up and they have a right to be! They are tired of trying to find work and there are no jobs. And the powers to be dont care!! Their answer, new free trade bills? Has that worked b4?

    October 14, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. WOT

    The Tea Party is for the Rich! Let the KINGS, LORDS, BARRONS, and the UPPER, UPPER CLASS run the USA, in that we have a CLASS SYSTEM NOW !

    October 14, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    regarding Thursday Mornings posts on the (Inmate Firefighters Blog)
    I would like to make a note of how misleading these blogs are!
    While on the surface, these blogs seem to represent our Democratic right to free speech, yet the following was observed;
    While we may not like someones way of bringing forth an issue, the Issues are yet to be the FOCUS of these discussions.
    The ASSULT levied against Philip was pure GANSTA style whoop-A-S-S
    If you notice the man starts out with the ISSUE, yet ends up having to defend himself.... conclusion; issue gets lost.
    I have kept quiet for awhile now, not wanting to associate myself with the dirty atmosphere in here,but hoped that this post could open some eyes to the dozen on 1 ATTACK I read from this mornings blog. undoubtably this will be attacked as well.
    I won't be responding or posting here ever again, just hoped that some how this would get across to some one here.
    Philip nor I are perfect, I don't think that was his intent to prove.
    the man likes a good debate!
    If you all are so smart or righteous, then debate the ISSUE not the person.
    Hope you all get what and why I'm saying this, if not it's a lost cause that only you, yourself change
    take OFF the BLINDERS that people have in regards to this vengeful attack against Philip please and debate the ISSUES

    October 14, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzzz

    Opps, just thought of a response that will be brought up, Child abuse
    A person who believes and states that he knows abuse is happening in someones Family
    Step-back and debate it the issue rather than attacking him.
    It is only natural to feel attack when someone makes those sorta claims, but if ya' all claim to be sooo inteligent, then remove your PERSON BUTTON and install the DEBATE BUTTON
    it's not personal it's, it's what scientists or dabators do the search for the truth, they debate, they depersonalize
    They step back and look at whats being presented in front of them
    they detach themselves to get down to the TRUTH
    get me? get what I'm driving at?
    ok, enough
    hope this helped
    Bye and hey I'm Mary and have been searching for knowledge for all my life, the truth
    Philip is sincere when extending that gift even when it seems to be harsh, its out of true love for others
    No puppet here, just another who is searching as well
    No hard feeling will be felt on my part when the replies come
    🙂 Bye

    October 14, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    trippin again? im sure phillip can speak for himself and im equally sure that was directed @ me. i have nothing against u jazzz nor have i ever. i do however take a big exception to someone getting drunk and calling me names! i have lived that life ty

    October 14, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    and it didnt take place this morning as you implyed, but it has taken place nearly 3 times a week for the past month. im now at a time in my life that i no longer have to take that abuse and never will again. and make no mistake IT IS ABUSE! he has issues

    October 14, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    i hope and pray you do not find out the hard way but the way i see it, the ONLY one with blinders on is YOU! good luck cuz youre gonna need it.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    wow you really are trippin jazz! i just checked out the blog you referenced and NOT ONE PERSON from this blog nor phillip posted anything, and there were no attacks on anyone. i guess i need some of whatever your smokin, unless ur polesmokin then not! eww

    October 14, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jazzzzzzzz

    I stand corrected Chrissy
    "the NBA atand off" Blog
    My apologies
    Tragic Kingdom was on the other Blog I cited, my mistake
    And chrissys assault on me is a PERFECT example of why I won;t be posting any longer
    Enjoy EVIL-DOERS

    October 14, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. michaelfury

    “'But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask."

    October 14, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    I haven't seen any attacks about him; not since he ceased his attacks on *us*.
    There is not debate on child abuse recognition when the allegations are plain *not true*. It then becomes a person trying to defend themselves against horrendous actions that never even occurred.
    Why is it ok for someone to call people w*h*o*r*e*s and child abusers, (amongst other things) but not okay for the people being called that to defend themselves and fight back?

    I didn't see any attacks on Philip.
    I just saw someone saying that she thought it was him.
    Is he denying that it was him?
    If it wasn't even him, then...

    This is ridiculous!
    "Wow, are you tripping?" Isn't any more an attack phrase than "get a clue, dummy".

    Just saying.

    October 14, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Although the polesmoking comment was unecessary.
    Funny,but unecessary.

    Correct in one thing though: verbal assault is also unecessary; perhaps the one who does it the most (notably @Banazi) will take note. It cuts both ways, cupcake.

    October 14, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. fernace

    No the Tea Bags are nothing like the OWS! First let's look at their chosen monikers! The Tea Paaarty wants to know if you take lemon or milk & isn't that young Pastor So&So simply divine & I'm certainly glad we were able to keep that new shoddy upstart/black/brown/gay/mixed/liberal/ family out of our church, don't you, dear? We simply don't wan't those pesky political discussions with our tea, do we!?After all we're right, with God on our side! The OWS are right away saying Americans are hurting! Ow! We are ALL being mariginalized if we don't fit the TP bill! We are not now or ever asking for hand outs, but now that we're home & jobless we could use a bit of that protection we payed into, in cases like this! What happened to the land of the free, home of the brave? We've been that & now, in times of hardship, the well off want to write us off!? I don't think your very specific God would agree with this treatment of your fellow humans! Have another spot of tea,dear then an outing on the yacht! Better now!?

    October 14, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©


    THANK you!
    The writer of this article may have well as compared to OWS with the uprisings in the ME for all the relevance to each other.
    Maybe it was a joke, I don't know...

    October 14, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
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