Photos by Stephen Crowley, Stephen Crowley Photography
Text by Malcolm Maclachlan
Occupy Sacramento has occupied Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento for a week now.
The protest - which, as of last weekend, still seemed to include well over 100 people - is one of
scores popping up around the nation in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protest in New
It’s hard not to draw parallels between this movement on the left and the Tea Party protests that have
been going on for almost three years now. The Occupy crowds overall appear to be younger, poorer and
more racially diverse - but some of the outfits would work in either venue.
The movement has been accused on lacking a focus or any specific agenda or demands. Though, I’d
argue this is where the parallels with the Tea Party are the strongest. Both movements are comprised of
numerous organizations and thousands of people, though several Tea Party groups are obviously far more
organized at this point. And both movements have one of the prime motivations in common: anger at
President Obama, though for opposite reasons.
The Tea Party also includes numerous different people with many different demands - and sometimes
the demands of some members are in contradiction with demands of others in the movement. The
Tea Party people have pretty clearly stated they want less government spending, lower taxes, less regulation.
Many - but hardly all - are motivated by social issues like gay rights and abortion.
The Occupy movement, meanwhile, has been pretty clear about what they want: the exact opposite.
That is, higher taxes on corporations and the rich, greater financial regulation, and more government
spending on a social safety net. Many, but hardly all, are motivated by social issues.
In other words, one maps pretty closely with the conservative end of the Republican Party, while the
other includes large elements of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. So, besides Obama, I think they
have something else in common: extreme frustration with the two-party system.
And both sides bristle at the comparison. The Tea Party Express folks like to point out that the
Occupy people get arrested more, and the Occupy people say they get hassled by the police for no reason.
Any way, a big thank you to contributor Stephen Crowley for these shots (Stephen Crowley