Coffee Party Brews New Political Movement
Look out, Tea Party. The Coffee Party USA movement is percolating.
The Coffee Party, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, all-volunteer, grassroots group that advocates government cooperation and respectful civil engagement, will stage its first-ever national convention Sept. 24-26 in Louisville, Ky.
Guests at the convention will include Mark McKinnon, a former political adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain; gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi; political activist Larry Lessig; former Howard Dean organizer Zephyr Teachout; and Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé.
McKinnon and Lessig are co-chairs of the convention.
“We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans,” the Coffee Party says on its website.
“As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.”
The Coffee Party, born on Facebook in January, says it has attracted nearly 300,000 followers on Facebook, built an email list of more than 65,000, drawn about 275,000 viewers to its YouTube channel and posted nearly 2,000 photos on its Flickr page. The group held its first National Coffee Party Day in March.
“When a movement is truly of, for, and by the People, billionaire sponsorship is not required. All of our methods of communication are free, or almost free, on the Internet,” the Coffee Party says in a dig at the Tea Party, whose major financial backer has been identified as billionaire David Koch. The organization says it focuses on being “solution-oriented” rather than “blame-oriented.”
Filmmaker, political activist and community volunteer Annabel Park (pictured below) founded the Coffee Party. She grew up in Houston and lives in Washington, D.C. The Coffee Party says it enlists no lobbyists, no political pundits and no “hyper-partisan” billionaires or strategists.
“Coffee Party USA is a call to action,” the group says. “Our Founding Fathers and Mothers gave us an enduring gift—democracy—and we must use it to meet the challenges that we face as a nation.”
On the Coffee Party website, Park said 9/11—this week is the ninth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks—should be a day of unity rather than a day of fear. She urged Coffee Party supporters to organize events to promote peace and understanding.
“It’s … important to keep the dialogue respectful and be willing to actively listen to the various voices,” Park said.