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FreedomWorks’ March on Washington

Christopher Knight at the Culture Monster blog of the LA Times has been having fun detailing the communist origins of the symbolism in the Tea Party’s 9/12 March on Washington logo:

Knight is hoping someone comes forward with an explanation. National Affairs Daily has obtained it from the horse’s mouth. No, not Glenn Beck, but Brendan Steinhauser the Director of Federal and State Campaigns for FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the march and calls the shots for its subordinate group, Tea Party Patriots.

Below is the text of an email from Steinhauser to the Tea Party Patriots’ national director Jenny Beth Martin shooting down the Martin’s suggestion that the logo be changed.

By way of background, several Tea Partiers had been agitating for an alternate logo — an eagle soaring with a shield — instead of the angry fists in front of the Capitol dome, which they, too, recognized as steeped in socialism.

One activist from Canton, Ohio, posted his discontent to the Tea Party Patriots’ private listserv:


We have enough real battles to fight without making ourselves look

like a bunch of Bolsheviks.

This is clearly an education issue.

But according to Steinhauser of FreedomWorks, the decision to “co-opt” the communist imagery was intentional. As he wrote to Martin: “If we want the politicians to pay attention, I believe it is imperative that we… maintain the populist imagery.”

Here is the email to Jenny Beth Martin in all its glory:

I talked to everyone here and there was consensus that we will keep the logo for the website. There are a few reasons for this. One is that the left (Keith Olbermann and Josh Marshall) thinks we don’t understand the connotations of the symbol, which we do.

It was a purposeful decisions to create a defiant image, raised fists against the statist policies of Congress and the president. I think it’s an edgy symbol that communicates the anger and the defiance of the protests happening around the country since early February. I think that we have to make sure this is a protest against what’s going on in DC, and we have to convey that image to the country and the world.

I fear that if we start to lose that edge, the politicians won’t take us as seriously, and will write us off. I’ve been studying and applying the tactics of the left for the last few years, and although I despise their bad ideas, they have us beat when it comes to symbolism, activism and dominating the public debate. I think we can learn from them and co-opt their symbols, some of their messages and even their tactics.

I think we have to remember that this is a March on Washington, which should conjure up images of the street protests in other countries, like Ukraine, Poland in the 80’s, Estonia, etc.

If we want the politicians to pay attention, I believe it is imperative that we keep our edge, tailor our message narrowly and maintain the populist imagery.

Brendan Steinhauser

Director, Federal and State Campaigns


601 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

North Building, Suite 700

Washington, D.C. 20004-2601


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