Yesterday The Americans for Prosperity rally, funded (according to HuffPo) by the Koch brothers, was held as planned, at Rockefeller Center. Satire and street theatre ensued, as both Occupiers and a contingent from Americans for Inequality joined the Prosperity gathering.
From The Guardian:
Protest backed by billionaire Koch brothers fizzles out as Occupiers match numbers and attend with host of satirical signs
A conservative rally billed as an opportunity to ‘stand up to Occupy Wall Street extremists’ fell flat on Thursday when it was co-opted by members of Occupy Wall Street.
Supporters of Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party-esque group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, gathered at the Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan to demonstrate against both Occupy Wall Street and President Obama.
But almost half of the sparse crowd were Occupy Wall Street protesters, smartly dressed and bearing signs parodying Americans for Prosperity’s ultra-conservative message. …
Apparently getting at least as much attention as the Prosperity or Occupy crowds, however, was Americans for Inequality, described by the Guardian as a “satirical group,” and which describes itself thus:
Americans for Inequality is a group of concerned citizens who cherish America’s history of vast inequalities, and we don’t want to see them go away.
On their Facebook page, they claim to have been founded in 1492, and list Ronald Reagan as “hero.”
From the Guardian article:
Warren Bancroft, co-founder of … Americans for Inequality … was drawing approving nods from the Americans for Prosperity crowd as he loudly criticised the Occupy movement, arguing that ‘inequality plays a positive role’.
‘We’re committed to reversing the narrative of inequality in this country,’ Bancroft said. ‘For the last year it’s been dominated by the problems of inequality and the perils of inequality, but the truth is if you look at economic history, inequalities signal incentives to everyone in a dynamic market economy.’
The Guardian article says there were a “dozen or so” Prosperity supporters, with about the same number “pretending to be” supporters. Satire and street theatre were employed to disrupt the Prosperity message.
Among other Occupy signs in the crowd were ‘Let them eat cake,’ and ‘I hate libraries’, while a woman dressed in business attire had a piece of cardboard bearing the message ‘Every man for himself’ – the quote attributed to Jesus Christ. …
Americans for Inequality joined in the spoofing. One of their number, John Wilker, said of Americans for Prosperity:
‘These are true patriots here. They’re fighting the good fight to still make sure Americans such as myself are still given the opportunities that we’ve had for decades and decades and decades.’ …
‘I think it’s fine that the 1% earns far more than the 99%, that’s how it should be. … It’s America,’ (AFI’s Robert) Stetson said.
The Inequality group doesn’t limit its satire to the Right, as their August press release endorsing Romney / Ryan shows.
‘In the 2012 Presidential campaign, Americans for Inequality has been the first organization to educate voters about the benefits of vast inequalities. Americans for Inequality has been a pioneer in changing the narrative away from the costs and perils of inequality – and toward a new appreciation of how inequality plays an important and beneficial role in our economy. …
The sardonic press release noted that the AFI Board was not unanimous in their “endorsement,” with Board member Chester Prattfield, voting against it. Prattfield
… noted how inequality has accelerated under President Obama, and that it could continue for another four years. ‘The current recovery has been the weakest and most unequal recovery since WWII, both in terms of income and wealth. The financial industry is back on its feet and corporations are making record profits. Class mobility and opportunity are declining as inequality becomes entrenched, and that’s what we want to see. But there is room for improvement. Job creators do 100% of the work, but from 2009-2011, they only received 88% of the national income. And companies such as Exxon Mobil pay as high as 2% in federal taxes—they need relief.’
I’m all for bipartisan satire and street theatre, whether skewing Super Money or the Electeds who help manage the people living under the Super Money Oligarchy.
(Super Money graphic via Americans For Inequality)