Will The Coffee Party Wake Up US Liberals?

Colm McAuliffe :: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 2:15 pm

There is alot of caffeine in the air at the minute…we only mentioned it in passing yesterday but the Coffee Party movement, the highly original response to the Tea Party, is making waves; its Facebook page has acquired over 50,000 fans and yesterday, supporters were registering their interest at a the rate of a thousand an hour.

With the slogan “Wake Up, Stand Up”, the movement was created by documentary filmmaker Annabel Park, who created the orginal online page and is based in Silver Springs, Maryland. In theory, the two movements are remarkably similar in that they sprung from social networking sites, capitalize on the frustrations with the political status quo and offer strong views on the role of government and nature.

The movement defines itself as follows: We are diverse- ethnically, geographically, politically, in age and in experience. We are 100 percent grassroots. No lobbyist here. No pundits. And no hyper-partisan strategists calling the shots in this movement. We are a spontaneous and collective expression of our desire to forge a culture of civic engagement that is solution oriented, not blame oriented. We demand a government that responds to the needs of the majority of its citizens as expressed by our votes and by our voices: NOT corporate interests as expressed by misleading advertisements and campaign contributions.”

Previously, Park has campaigned with Asians for Obama and with Democratic Senator, Jim Webb. Accordingly, the movement is adapting a resolutely pro-Obama stance and Park has positioned the movement as not being the opposite of the Tea Party but instead “a different model of civic participation”.

At the moment, 45 different Coffee Party chapters have been set up in at least 30 states while meetings are being staged in a number of cities from Martinsville, Virginia to Los Angeles.