As Tea Party protests pop up in places like Moscow, Tel Aviv and the Hague, Americans may question whether the Tea Party platform can cross international and cultural borders. For activists outside the U.S., the answer is a resounding “yes.”
“I think the message of the American Revolution is global. The message of natural, unalienable rights, the message of opposition to tyrannical government — that’s not just well-known, that’s universal,” Boris Karpa, organizer of the Israelteaparty.com/" target="_blank">Israeli Tea Party, told The Daily Caller in an e-mail. “As you know well, many countries have based their founding documents on the U.S. Declaration of Independence or other American documents.”
Although several international organizers had never even heard of the Boston Tea Party until U.S. protests brought the events of 1773 back into the spotlight, they now wear the Tea Party badge proudly as an example of American exceptionalism worth emulating.
“This [Tea Party] title is ideal for Russia,” Max Kronos, organizer of the Moscow Tea Party, told The Daily Caller in an e-mail. “This event has forever gone down in history — in Russia, such events have not happened.”
That’s not to say the Tea Party moniker has always been helpful.
“The mainstream media calls the U.S. Tea Parties a bunch of gun-loving racist rednecks,” Roy Hofkamp, organizer of the Dutch Tea Party, told The Daily Caller in an e-mail. “That image in the media was not an advantage for us, but fortunately more and more Dutch people get their news from foreign media and they knew our intentions were good.”
Those intentions — laissez-faire capitalism, low taxes and fewer regulations — cross boundaries. Each Tea Party does, though, hold particular outrage for specific policies in its individual country. For Hofkamp, the burning issue is immigration reform.
“We pay 50 percent in taxes. Our Social Security is so high that people refuse to get back to work and stay for years in social security. More than 30 percent of all non-Western immigrants [enter] into social security and never [get] out of it,” Hofkamp said. “So they come here for economic reasons and benefit on the surplus of the working class. We think it’s about time to stand up against that.”
Karpa said reinvigorating Israel’s stagnating business climate is one of his group’s principle planks.