Roger L. Simon

Tea Party role reversal: how to deal with potential agents provocateurs from the left

Back when I was semi-card-carrying leftie, we used to spend a lot of time speculating who was the agent provocateur – read: FBI agent – at the demonstration. Usually we thought he was the most extreme character, the guy most obviously shredding his draft card in full view of the media while tossing a cherry bomb at an American flag already heavily doused in kerosene, maybe adding a little defecation into the mix. The theory was the more “out there” the acts, the more likely the motive was to discredit our “righteous” cause. This often included yet more extreme provocateurs inside the more violent groups like the Panthers and the Weathermen where real bombs, not the cherry sort, were involved.

But times have changed and for once the formerly quiescent right is gearing up to demonstrate on April 15. The left has not had to deal with something like this in recent years. Fuddy-duddy as they and their ideology may be, they have had the demo scene pretty much to themselves for decades. An element of distress (envy? nerves?) is in the air. According to Newsbusters derived from the Cavuto Show and other sources, in a startling role reversal, ACORN and the Huffington Post are planning to infiltrate the Tea Parties.

On Fox News Channel’s April 7 “Your World,” host Neil Cavuto reported that the Tax Day tea party protests on April 15 will be “infiltrated” by their political opponents and led by left-wing activist organizations. He specifically named Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

“Only eight days before a nationwide tea party, some over-caffeinated crashers aiming to lay waste to it,” Cavuto said. “Reports of very well-organized infiltrators trying to mix in and rain on this parade. Talk about taxing.”

Of course, in the parlance of a more centrist liberal, this all depends on what your definition of infiltrate is. The HuffPo is planning, like PJTV and Pajamas Media, to send citizen reporters. If that’s true, more power to them. Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, I always say. But if they intend to participate and shape events while hiding their identities, well, that’s another matter. The same is true of ACORN. I would say to them welcome. Demonstrate, counter demonstrate, do your thing. This is America. But if someone’s out to play the agents provocateurs game, trying to make the Tea Party movement seem to be what it’s not, painting libertarians as racists or similar nonsense, well, that deserves to be exposed and countered vigorously.

So my recommendation to Tea Party demonstrators as a former leftie is to tear a leaf from my old book. Keep your eye out for the most extreme characters and then ask yourself: Is that real? Is that person who he or she says he is? Cui bono, who profits, here from what they are saying or doing? Draw your conclusions (carefully!) and then act accordingly and completely within the law.