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Are we just pawns of the Koch brothers?

A friend of mine is convinced that the Tea Party is wholly an invention of the Koch brothers and a 'phony' movement that is not grassroots-lead.

He offers as proof the following two things:

-An article on HuffPo

-A documentary

I've tried to explain to him that the grassroots Liberty movement had a lot to do with getting things going, and that perhaps Koch-funded organizations and Republican establishment were able to exert their influence later on and distort the Tea Party.

This is his latest message in our debate:

To anyone who hasn't watched the documentary I posted: You're missing out bc it's entertaining as hell, plus educational. Highlights of the vid:

1:50 "I came to the United States to examine the Tea Party phenomenon. And in particular: THE ACCUSATIONS THAT THE PROTESTERS WERE PAWNS IN A COVERT POWER-PLAY. BY A SMALL GROUP OF BILLIONAIRES AND CORPORATE PLAYERS." --The Australian film-maker.

6:00 "The focus of my investigation was this initial first year of the Tea Party movement. IN PARTICULAR, WHAT ROLE HAD BEEN PLAYED BY TWO BILLIONAIRE INDUSTRIALISTS: BROTHERS CHARLES & DAVID KOCH. Who for more than 3 DECADES HAVE FUNDED A PROPAGANDA WAR enrolling citizens in their quest to create a PRIVATIZED AMERICA."

It goes on to cover the Libertarian Movement and the Koch bros.' heavy involvement.

Explains how their views are virtually the same as the Tea Party's views: End most govt. regulatory agencies, like the EPA & FDA, plus end Soc. Security, Welfare, taxes in general, and PUBLIC SCHOOLS. David Koch ran for (Libertarian) vice-president but failed miserably.

So they changed strategies. '84: They founded CSE: Citizens for a Sound Economy. Aimed to portray itself as grassroots, INSTEAD of showing itself as created & funded by the Kochs and other billionaires. (Hey CSE sounds just like the Tea Party too.)

'94 the CSE fought against Clinton's "socialized medicine," just like the Tea Party fights against Obama's "socialized medicine."

2004: CSE became Freedom Works and also Americans for Prosperity, funded and run by the Koch bros.

David Koch is openly the Chairman of AFP and is shown speaking at their event, in the video. The AFP speakers boast of their support for Tea Party events, w/ Chairman Koch clapping and smiling.

This seals the perfect continuity of the Koch bros.' leadership from the Libertarian movement in the early 80's, to their later creation of the CSE, & its evolution into Freedom Works and AFP, who BOTH helped support / create the Tea Party.


Ramon if nothing else, this reaffirms that the Koch bros. are indeed widely blamed for creating the SAME EXACT Tea Party as we know it. This probably also helps clear up that the Huff Post was indeed blaming the Koch bros. for the same Tea Party.

11:32 It goes into the issue of why the Tea Party portrays itself as grassroots and hides its real roots as PROPAGANDA from billionaires and huge corporations. (Just like the Kochs' CSE started doing in '84.)

Do you think his views have merit? I considered myself part of the Tea Party in the beginning; were I, and some of you, just pawns in a nefarious scheme?

Can I prove him wrong somehow?

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Same debate recently...

... with some friends and family about this very subject. To me, this is my understanding. The Koch Bros. had their Tea Party website long before Ron's run in 2008... but the Tea Party RALLY that was grassroots by the Ron Paul camp who supported his prez campaign, strategically chose that date in 07 of the Tea Party anniversary to protest endless wars/police state, generally sticking to Ron's message. THEN the Koch Bros launched their own rallies with their brand and the media ran with it as if it was them all along. A co-opt. The first rally had nothing to do with the Koch Bro.'s brand of Tea Party, just the anniversary date of the historical event as a one time rally for Ron Paul the candidate. It is a ploy to associate anything anti-establishment to the controlled opposition tea party co-opters... imo.

The two are different but passed off as the same.


There is some truth in there.

There is some truth in there. I remember getting an email once upon a time from the CATO institute about controlling interest of their organization was being gobbled up in a hostile takeover - I believe it was the Koch brothers.

Also back in 2010 I wrote about this exact issue in a blog post that has several video examples of the takeover of the tea party movement:

That being said the tea party movement WAS originally a true and pure grass roots movement when individuals started emailing tea bags to congress. It did start as a real grass-roots movement and was a spin off from the Ron Paul supporters in 2007.

Still - 'tea party' was the only 'accepted' movement by the mainstream and so people like Rand Paul began identifying themselves with it to gain political acceptance by mainstream media etc.

I would say the answer is somewhere in between. The movement was real, and the opportunists hopped on for the ride. The problem for them is they will not be able to steer these people off a cliff. We are too informed, too principled, too connected, and too motivated.

- Grow Mushrooms at Home

I agree

I agree with you. My friend's position, though, is that it was never a grassroots movement, but was always 100% created and controlled by the Koch brothers.

I actually think the Koch

I actually think the Koch brothers have done a lot of good over the years. The Cato Institute would not be nearly as well established as they are with their help, even given their latest kerfuffle with the Koch Brothers. They also fund IHS, The Fund for American Studies, FEE, and a bunch of other groups that reach out to the younger generation.

I think it is safe to say that nobody thinks of themselves as a pawn of the Kochs. But then again, nobody ever thinks they are a pawn, ever. I bet most Germans in the 30s didn't consider themselves pawns of the Nazis.

We are all persuaded by things around us, and let's face it, the Kochs are responsible for a lot of the stuff that we see in regard to libetarianism. So yes, we have probably all been influenced by the Kochs, whether we realize it or not. Some more than others. But I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing.

I've been a libertarian for longer than I knew who the Kochs were. But who knows if the ideas behind the theory of libertarianism reached me because of the influence of the Koch brothers?

It's something to be aware of, that our agenda may be (no, definitely is) influenced by other people's interests. But does that make us pawns? I would say no; detractors will say yes.