When we see the pictures of tea parties on the news or in newspapers across the country, all of the attendees at the events seem to be arguing the same thing. Most of them are middle-aged white Americans who are against Obama and all he stands for. However, when we take a close look at the individuals or certain groups within the tea parties we see that there is actually many differing viewpoints within the movement and it is beginning to lose stability.
On October 31, a branch of the white nationalist organization, Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), joined a tea party protest in Ripley, Mississippi. The CoCC stressed that “We as conservatives must come together for the good of the America Republic and our Sovereign States. We are fighting to unite the right wing. Stand With The Conservative Movement!” A day later at a tea party in Roanoke County, Virginia, home to notorious white supremacist Bill White, the Council of Conservative Citizens put fliers on cars promoting its organization. This prompted the Roanoke Tea Party to publicly disavow the Council of Conservative Citizens on its website.
Tea Party officials said they wanted “to publicly disavow the Council of Conservative Citizens’ focus on racial separatism and ‘white rights'”. Here we see a clear split within the tea party movement with one rally embracing the white nationalist organization and the other publicly disavowing it.
Another major split seems to be taking place around the issue of immigration. William Gheen of the anti-immigrant organization Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), has attempted to jump on the tea party bandwagon by announcing that on November 14 of this year his group will be having “tea party rallies against amnesty and illegal immigration.” The tea party organization, FreedomWorks, also announced that it will have its own party on the same day and in the same city. Another anti-immigrant group in the area, NC Listen, has announced that they will support the ALIPAC rally.
It is clear that the ‘patriots’ who attend these rallies are not united on major ideological issues. Some folks have no problem joining forces with openly white nationalist organizations like CofCC, whereas others shun them in an attempt to salvage the legitimacy of the group. The tea party movement has grown tremendously in the United States over the past 10 months, but growth is not necessarily a sign of success. Continued intrusion by white nationalist groups spells disaster for this movement.