Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Economic Terrorism and Tea Parties Past and Present

Choosing a label for something, whether a car, a novel or a political movement, is a tricky thing.   It requires inspiration to do well and sometimes it requires imagination and the ability to see the title from other points of view in order to judge how good or appropriate that title may be.   A Chevy Nova might become a humorously-labeled "No Go" in Hispanic countries.   A Tea Party might be a famous and colorful incident in a successful war of independence, or it might be an act of economic terrorism which hurts innocent people and leads to a war with vast disruption of many people's lives.

Lets look at the famous Boston Tea Party using modern terminology and a less overtly American-after-the-fact point of view.  There may be some irony in our right-wing fanatics choosing to call themselves the Tea Party, after all.

Here are a few basic statements about the Boston Tea Party which I think are quite defensible once you remove the blinders that says they were "patriots fighting against oppressors".   

1. The Boston Tea Party was a violent act of economic terrorism to attain extremist political goals.

Whoever did it, and we do not actually know who they were, deliberately broke onto three ships in the harbor and destroyed other people's property.   Where were they guards?   All ships are guarded in port.  Were they bribed ?  How many were injured?  How many might have been injured?

2. We do not know who these people were.

The Tea Party was executed by a group of anonymous fanatics who took the law into their own hands.   We know an awful lot about that period of America.  We know who spoke at a major meeting at Fanuil Hall when the terrorist act was committed, but we do not know who were in those outfits executing the criminal acts outside.  You may hear or read about the "Sons of Liberty" but that means very little in this case. Everyone called themselves the "Sons of Liberty" those days. In modern parlance, we would call it an "umbrella terrorist organization".  Who were they? What are their names? Who financed it? We do not know. 

There is speculation about who might have been involved.  I can tell you some very amusing theories which actually does implicate a radical (and famous) Freemasonry lodge. (2) Maybe John Adams knew, and maybe he didn't.  But so far as I know, all evidence is circumstantial.

3. The Boston Tea Party was a Failed "False Flag" Operation

These days you hear a lot of people throwing around intelligence community jargon as if they knew the first thing about it.  One of those terms is "false flag" which is where a country or organization mounts an operation but tries to make it look like someone else did it.  That is what the people, whoever they were, who did the Boston Tea Party tried to do.  They tried to make it look like an indian nation, the Mohawks, did the deed.  Of course no one believed them for a second.

So what we have here is a botched false flag operation executed by amateurs.

4. The terrorists clearly committed criminal acts.

One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Massachusetts had laws. They broke them. Yes, that might have been a reaction to some taxes which were "unfair", so what?   I think lots of taxes are unfair but I do not go around blowing up the California Franchise Tax Board (even if it is a tempting thought).  They committed these crimes to provoke a reaction from the central government and they got what they wanted. Property was destroyed.  People were hurt, if not that night, then in the days and nights to come. 

5. The Result was Anarchy and War.

The situation spun out of control and we had a full-scale war and revolution on our hands. Estimates are that 15 to 20 percent of the population of the colonies were loyalists (1) and left (or were forced to leave) for what became Canada.  Of course this is the war that the terrorists wanted to provoke with their acts.

So what I want to propose to you here is that the modern Tea Party may have unintentionally chosen a very appropriate name for their organization, naming it as they did after cowardly, extremist political radicals and incompetents who violated the law and caused a war.

Good choice, guys.

Wikipedia page on Loyalists


1. I have heard different numbers for the percentage of the population of the 13 colonies who were loyalists, and for how many left or were forced to leave.   The 15 to 20 percent is on the low side, I think.

2. In NYC, the most important Freemason temple was refurbished and on the opening night gave a talk to the public inviting them to have a look and to hear about Freemasons in their own words.  This would have been mid-late 1990s.   The talk was very interesting and among things discussed the American Revolution because there is so much myth out there that the Revolution was sponsored and let by Freemasons.  Our speaker was quite dismissive for the most part.  Yes there were Freemasons in the Revolution, but there were many Freemasons on the British and Loyalist sides as well.  Yes, there are incidents where a Freemason was able to help a brother in distress, but there are also events where a Brother signalled distress and did not receive help.   But he said there was one intriguing story where it may have been that the Freemasons did have a genuine role in instigating the revolution, and the story is this.

Freemasonry is mostly a social and charitable organization, a so-called fraternal organization.  They meet once a week, each lodge in its own place and normally do such exciting things as plan a charitable event for a hospital, or work on initiating members, or discussing their obscure lore.  Each lodge has its own personality, and attracts its own types of members.   In the pre-revolutionary days there was a famous radical lodge outside Boston.   I forget where exactly he said it was, but apparently it is quite famous and they met in a pub, I think, and that pub is still there.   The lodges all kept books recording the minutes of their meetings and they have the log books for this lodge.   On the night of the Boston Tea Party, only 3 members of the lodge showed up.  They immediately called the meeting to order and dismissed it.   Nothing else.   The speculation is that the rest of the lodge (and maybe also those three members who showed up to formally hold the mini meeting), who were all radical citizens apparently in favor of opposing the British and in favor of separation from Britain, the speculation is that they were the people in costume and on the boats that night.  Apparently it would have been about the right number of people.   The evidence is not close to definitive, but at least it is an explanation of who they might have been, and if so, how they were organized and how they did such things as organize their costumes etc.

I consider this just an amusing story, submitted for your consideration.

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