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Buffalo Tea Party Leader

Local Tea Party Member Sees Parallels with Occupy Wall Street

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A local member of the Tea Party says he sees parallels between Occupy Wall Street and the TEA Party during its formative years. He also has some advice for the group to avoid infiltration.

Jim Ostrowski says he sees a lot of the Tea Party in Occupy Wall Street. "Both movements are populist in nature," says Ostrowski. "They're looking out for the average person." He says the TEA Party movement started as a rebellion against the bailouts for big business, while the Occupy protesters are mad over Wall Street's political power. Ostrowski adds both groups are aware this alliance has distorted the economy.

Ostrowski says there are some differences. "The Tea Party tends to go with smaller government, while the Occupy Wall Street people want to make government bigger," notes Ostrowski.

He notes the Occupy Wall Street group is looking to create a participatory democracy. "The other day, they chased out a congressman. The people wanted him to speak later. It's very sort of grass roots, it's bottom up," says Ostrowski, who says the Tea Party started out the exact same way.

Ostrowski says one problem the Tea Party has had is infiltration by people out for personal gain. How can the Occupy Wall Street group avoid that? "It's just a question of discipline and integrity. In the TEA Party, we were exploited by people coming into the movement and getting Republicans elected into the House and did nothing to reduce spending," notes Ostrowski.