is the tea party the latest incarnation of the kkk?

Updated below

No, I don’t think so. Mostly because they don’t wear white robes and hoods and they don’t burn crosses. Otherwise, I think its safe to say that the modern day Tea Party movement draws much of its sustenance from the same well as the KKK did, particularly the 1920’s version, except that this time, overt racism is delivered in a plain generic package with the exception that most of their vitriol is directed personally  at America’s first  African American president, Barack Obama.  On almost every political and tactical point the Tea Party mirrors the KKK, with the all important exception of actually embracing the unabashed racism of white supremacy. This is why they so emphatically try to dispel  the charges that they are essentially a racist inspired movement. The problem is of course, that the Tea Party is itself, a super saturated predominately white populated movement that heralds itself under the “Take Our Country Back” banner.  How could that mean anything other than “we white people have lost a whole bunch of our power, influence and most favored people status, and we want it back – because that’s what made America great and the most exceptional country in the world.”

If we look back at the map in the previous post, we might make the analogy that the Klan back in the 20’s functioned for the Democratic party in much the same way that the Tea Party works for the Republican party today. What so striking about the map is how geographically widespread, and deep the influence of the Klan was within the party. And while it’s not known exactly how many Democrats were sympathetic to the Klan’s agenda (they were too secretive to leave a traceable record), it’s amazing still that so may state representatives were unwilling to remove the anti-Klan plank from the party platform. Evidently then, we can assume that Klan rhetoric and popular sentiment was used by the Democratic party so long as it helped ally votes and kept itself removed enough from becoming a threat to the party itself. This is very similar to how the Tea Party is working for the Republican party, hoping to capitalize on the same popular sentiments, as long as the movement remain subordinate and in line with party objectives.

There are also  parallels in how the the Klan and the Tea Party were/are underwritten, and how its adherents were/are being used and abused. Because of the ad-hoc internal structure and secretiveness of the Klan, its hard to uncover any direct funding schemes between big business interests, or direct political patronage between the Democratic party and the Klan. However, due to the wide breath of the influence it’s probably safe to assume there were many interconnections that went well beyond simple membership funding. This would be especially true considering the Klan often partook in anti-union, anti-immigrant, and proto-fascist activities that were rampant in this time period, and beneficial to business interests. Internally, the Klan was notoriously populated with a wide range of salesman, huckster, charlatan, and criminal types and often had ulterior motives for their activities, that were often used in the service of political infighting, embezzlement, and misuse of funds for personal gain. For instance, Luther Powell, the Klan leader in the Pacific Northwest was constantly embroiled in internal competitive political struggles and scandals, eventually slinking off to join up with a group called the “Khaki Shirts” in Louisiana, and after he was booted from there, went on to join the proto-fascist group “Silver Shirts”.  We see a lot of the same kind of murky, questionable funding, infighting, and possible fraud scenarios within the Tea Party movement today. From the Fox news crowd, to Dick Army, to various other hidden from view shell organizations, no one is really sure who is funding the Tea Party and for what purpose. Mix in the support from all manner of other right wing fringe individuals and groups, such as Richard Mack from the 90’s militia Patriot Party group and we have a boiling pot of many cross referenced interests merging and capitalizing upon the condensed fear of big government, immigration, and loss of white privilege brought to a head by the election of the first black president.

And then there is the simple political ploy of creating a popular and media oriented controversy in order to to squeeze out a greater constituency from a mollified population. The KKK did this by dressing up as ghosts of  dead confederate soldiers and marching on main street. Fox news does the same thing by having the likes of Glenn Beck act out a martyrs pantomime as the death of America – if no one comes to her in  outspoken and public defense. Its a way to push, if not shove people into to the cause. And if this should be proven to be inadequate, then there’s always the KKK’s back up plan of suggestively or openly threatening intimidation, ritual defamation, and ultimately,  violence against any who don’t heed the calling.

Another quote from Imperial Wizard Evans to consider:

“We in the lead found ourselves with a following inspired in many ways beyond our understanding, with beliefs and purposes which they themselves only vaguely understood and could not express, but for the fulfillment of which they depended on us. We found ourselves, too, at the head of an army with an unguessable influence to produce results for which the responsibility would rest on us — the leaders — but which we had not foreseen and for which we were not prepared. As the solemn responsibility to give right leadership to these millions, and to make right use of this influence, was brought home to us, we were compelled to analyze, put into definite words, and give purpose to these half conscious impulses.”


Came across this quote today in an op-ed by H Brandt in the Anniston Star. The quote is by Reagan administration member Lee Atwater, and is about how the “Southern Strategy” works its magic – and says in a few brief sentences what I’ve spent three or four long posts trying to explain:


“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

“And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.'”

h/t Dennis G. at ballonjuice

7 Responses to “is the tea party the latest incarnation of the kkk?”

  1. anna missed » Blog Archive » tea party and arizona anti-immigration Says:

    […] supremacist and pro-eugenics groups.  This comes as a confirmation (of sorts) outlined in the kkk posts below, in that the teabag movement is both harmonic (if not beholden) to the ideology of white supremacy […]

  2. minority scholarship Says:

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  3. Matthew C. Kriner Says:

    Very nice site, I found this site interesting as well.

  4. anna missed » Blog Archive » teabag zombie Says:

    […] I tried to illustrate in the KKK/teabag series, the only thing really similar to the teabag insurrection of today, was the KKK insurrection on the […]

  5. anna missed » Blog Archive » the it girl,the bubble, and the kkk Says:

    […] in April I made several posts (HERE, HERE, and HERE) on how  widespread and politically entrenched the kkk had become in America […]

  6. Deanna Allums Says:

    I too was wrong about the tea party movement until I joined a great site that made me understand it better. I met alot of people on the site and must say I was impressed with the way they think. I thought they were all crazy people then I found out why they are the tea party movement. It is because they care about the United States and the constitution.

  7. Kelsey Handler Says:

    Although fantastic all-day news channels such as MSNBC and CNN portray those rallying at TEA parties as bigoted racist homophobes, it is not true. The TEA is an acronym for TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY which does not imply in any way ‘racist’. The KKK hid behind the ideals of patriotism and Americanism to incite violence and execute terrorist acts and it is to my understanding that the TEA party has not doen so thusfar.

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