Posted by: Debby Durkee | September 30, 2010

The American Insurgency.

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The American Insurgency.

This is part two of a brilliant post that looks back to other major uprisings from the American people and gleans some valid and useful information for what the Tea Party should and shouldn’t do. The writer calls this awakening and uprising from the American people the “insurgency.”

If you want to know why the left is so vehemently opposed to the Tea Party movement, it’s because they recognize it as a force that can (and will) compete with their own movement for the future direction of the country. It’s a tug of war between an old movement that is fading (at least in its attraction for the American people) and one that is new and growing and is gaining the interest of Americans. This is from Michael J. Lotus, a Chicago lawyer who blogs at This is from his post at the website Lotus says today’s American revolt could go either way—fade away or gain strength and with it a new way of governing the country.

The movement that elected Andrew Jackson, against the vicious opposition of the existing establishment, swept through all levels of American government, rewriting state constitutions and extending the franchise to all adult White males. Jacksonian democracy caused a permanent and irreversible change in American life.  

The Populist movement looked like it would have a similar impact.  Led by the charismatic outsider William Jennings Bryan, this movement held gigantic rallies and seemed like a revolution in the making. It provoked fear and a hostile response from the establishment of its day, in both political parties. Yet the Populists ultimately failed to make a significant impact on national policy, and were absorbed into the Democratic Party. Snip –

Whether you believe the Anti-War movement was a good thing or a bad thing, it undeniably had a massive impact on American life and politics. The original Anti-War movement arose from growing outrage over tens of thousands of young Americans, mostly draftees, being killed and wounded in the Vietnam War. In its early stages, the opposition led to a Constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age nationwide to 18—draft age…the biggest impact of the Anti-War movement was ending the military draft. This was a major, permanent, and probably irreversible success for the Movement. 

It took a while before the anti-war movement caught on with people other than the long-haired hippy freaks, but it did.

…The basic message, over time, came to command a majority of voters. The public turned against the war, and the public supported ending the draft. Notably, while the main political home for the Anti-War movement was on the Democrat side, it was Republican President Nixon who seized the political opportunity to end the unpopular draft.

The Anti-War movement helped to elect a generation of Democrat politicians who permanently changed the course of their party. The Anti-War movement was not a top-down organization, but a loose confederation of like-minded people and groups. The connections and experience from the Anti-War movement created a permanent community of activists who could be mobilized for other causes, such as opposition to the Iraq War, four decades later. People who were intellectually and politically formed in the Anti-War movement went on to have a large impact on American culture and politics for decades after its initial goals were accomplished.

Like I said earlier, this is why the left is so frightened by the Tea Party. They see it as something that has formed similarly to the way their dominance over the country and culture was formed. A “loose confederation of like-minded people and groups.” They see themselves 50 years ago, and they aren’t willing to go quietly while the “fundamental transformation” of America is taken away from them. Lotus has a seven-point list of things we can learn from the success of the anti-war movement. I’m just including a few of them. Make sure you go to the link for the rest.

1) Take advantage of troubled times to push major reforms through; these reforms will take some issues off the table forever.

2) Select concrete goals that will be acceptable to a large number of people. Advocate those goals, and stay focused on them.

3) Turn enthusiasm into political power by picking one political party as the primary vehicle–then take that party over, and change it from within.

4) Do not become completely incorporated into either party. Rather, try to influence both of them by changing the terms of the political debate: Move the center permanently. Snip –

Mass political movements, when they are effective, generally signal the end of politics as usual. They mobilize citizens who would not ordinarily get involved in politics. Mass political movements are a self-corrective mechanism in our democracy. History shows that mass movements such as the Insurgency are the natural way for Americans to impose reform on themselves. They are the legitimate response to major failures in how we govern ourselves.  Snip –

The United States is now in the midst of a political and economic crisis.  Our basic institutions are failing before our eyes; we are on the cusp of major changes. The leviathan state is in its final years of life.  It will either be eliminated in an equitable and coherent fashion and replaced by institutions that work, or its defenders will prop it up with one “emergency” measure after another, until it falls catastrophically. Either way, the end of the political and economic world we have long known is unavoidable.  It is not a question of “if,” but rather one of “when” and “how.” 

My prediction is that we are in for a rough ride, but a happy outcome.  The country is making a course correction, reinventing itself.  No one else can do this like Americans can, once they decide it has to be done.  We are carrying out a once-in-a-century creative destruction of our whole politico-economic structure, and we are going to leave the rest of the world gasping in amazement.  These are exciting times, and we are lucky to be here for them. 

Hang on, folks, it’s going to be a necessarily bumpy ride. That’s why for some time now, my motto has been the old Lee Iacocca saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” This bus is rolling, and you must decide whether you’re going to help drive it, ride on it, or get run over by it. Just as 9/11 awakened Americans to the threat of Islamic terrorism, the combination of the economic meltdown, the Obama presidency and the Democratic Congress has awakened Americans to the internal threat posed by the old-school leftist movement from the 1960’s. It’s time for the adults to take charge. We literally cannot afford these people any longer. They have done enough damage, and we refuse to let them make it permanent. This is an existential crisis for our country. If we don’t step up now, it could very well be too late.

Read it all here:

You can read Lotus’ first post on this topic here:


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  1. Good article Deb. The basic program of country is the Constitution. As with a computer, there have to be utility programs to clean out the flotsam that accumulates as well as the malware that gets inserted if there are no protections. This will have to be priority once all of this crap has been rooted out of our body politic.

    • I saw your post yesterday. I thought that description of a computer and malware was perfect. I think you should make sure that post gets spread far and wide. It made the whole thing very understandable.

  2. May we live in interesting times! The journey is what makes crossing the finish line so sweet.

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