March 3rd, 2010
01:05 PM ET
5 years ago

What is the Coffee Party?

 Annabel Park used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.
Annabel Park used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.

Washington (CNN) – The founder of the new Coffee Party movement says "we need to wake up and work hard to get our government to represent us."

Angry at what she perceived as media overexposure of the conservative Tea Party movement, Annabel Park, a 41-year-old Washington-area area documentary filmmaker, used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.

Friends started replying, and replying and replying. Park then set up a fan page called "Join the Coffee Party Movement." A flood ensued and now Park has approximately 68,000 fans, most of them coming in the last five days following articles about the Coffee Party in the Washington Post and New York Times.

So what's her goal?

"Just like in the American Revolution, we are looking for real representation right now. We don't feel represented by our government right now and we don't really feel represented well by the media either," Park said Wednesday on CNN's American Morning. "It's kind of a simple call to action for people to wake up and take control over their future and demand representation. And it requires people standing up and speaking up."

Sound familiar? Tea Party activists use much of the same language in describing their year-old anti-big government movement.

So is the Coffee Party a progressive response to the Tea Party?

"It's a response to how they are trying to change our government," Park tells CNN. "It's their methodology that we are against. We may want some of the same things, but their journey is so alienating to us."

Park, who worked as a volunteer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia's 2006 campaign. says the Coffee Party is not "aligned" with any party and calls the two-party system out of date.

"It encourages people to think of politics as a kind of game, like a football game, in which there are two sides, and it's a zero sum situation. If one person wins, the other person loses. That's really not a healthy way to conduct collective decision making. That's not a democracy."

Park told American Morning that the bitter battle over health care is an example of how government is not working.

"We feel like the health care debate showed not only that we are a very divided country, but there's something really wrong with our political process. We kind of got to see the innards of the political process and realize there's something very broken. I think that's what we're responding to."

So what does the Tea Party movement think of this new sensation?

"This Coffee Party looks like a weak attempt at satire or a manufactured response to a legitimate widespread grassroots movement," says Brendan Steinhauser (no relation to this reporter), director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a nonprofit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.

Coffee Party gatherings have taken place from coast to coast the past five weeks, and Park says they are growing in number and size.

So what's next for this fledgling movement? Park says national house parties are planned for Saturday, March 13.

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. John

    Sounds like the Tea Party movement is worried that the Coffee Party might upstage them. At any rate, it seems to me that this Tea Party is really full of Republicans who are OUT to get Democrats/and or the present administration. Why? If they want all them to fail, then
    we as a nation would be in trouble for sure.

    March 3, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. sara

    I'm for a movement for change.....but these tea people don't represent America....I see them as the old George Wallace "props".....without the "HOODS".

    March 3, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Edwin

    The Coffee Party is not a parody of the Tea Party. It is based on the same feeling of disgust at the current political situation, and it strikes a chord in a whole lot of people.

    Of course, some of the things the Coffee Party despises are things the Tea Party loves, so I don't see the two groups getting together for drinks anytime soon.

    I don't think the Coffee Party will really last long - but I said the same about the Tea Party, and it seems I was wrong...

    Personally, I want to join the Coca Cola Party...

    March 3, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    A "wake up call" party made up of something other than old white guys is refreshing! The fact that the founder is an Asian American is a good start.
    As for it being a sattire or manufactured response- HA! and just what is the Tea Party? the man that "...helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the heft behine the TeaParty.." is form a group called Freedom Works a known organized conservative group that needed a front- so it is hardly pure and is definitely manufactured!

    March 3, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Sharon

    With a sigh of relief, I am signing up with the coffee party. It was so discouraging to see Sarah Palin start the hate reveloution. No one wins with this theory, infact we all lose. The tea party is all about anti government and hate the president. I want to be represented, I want all our voices heard and I want special interest banned from congress. We need real reform. I and everyone I speak with want health care reform. The tea party says we don't need reform and that is not the view of most of us. I don't think false accusations, and misleading statements will do any good, they don't deal with the facts. The tea party deals in misleading truths, and lies told by members of the senate and congress, examples death panels, birthers, and Sarah's favorite saying Barak is not one of us he pals around with terrorist. I feel Sarah is the terrorist, instead of dealing with facts her and Fox news deal in mistruths. How can we enact change and reform if we deal in lies. I hope the tea party wil catch on and seek the truth. We need to come together in this country and seek reform with great ideas. Let everyone leave the hate and lies behind. Thsi sounds like the perfect way to inact real reform and I believe the President Obama has a lot of great ideas to get the jobs back and yes health care is an important part of balancing the budget.

    March 3, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. DJ in TX

    Typical of the Tea Party to say what was said. So only their movement is grassroots. Again, has anybody noticed the Tea party is NOT diverse? There may be a sprinkle or two, but it is mostly one group of people.

    Bravo for Ms. Park. I think the more the merrier of groups who state our representatives are not working for us. It doesn't matter your affiliation, government is not working. Both sides are at fault. Ideology has to go away. It is NOT working in todays' times.

    March 3, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    The only difference is Annabel wants a babysitter to take care of her while the Tea Party crowd knows they are old enough to stay home alone and take care of themselves.

    March 3, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Del Wasso

    The Coffee Party is a right-wing "facelift" for the Tea Party movement, which has attracted every right-wing nut that it is going to get. It is a "kinder-gentler" Tea Bag group, and that is all it is.

    Any REAL liberal democrat will figure it out in 10 minutes after visiting their Facebook discussion forum.

    March 3, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Dave

    The problem with the Tea Party is that it has been hijacked/co-opted by the neo-cons like Beck and Palin. So it is no longer a true grassroots movement. The GOP neo-cons are taking it over and putting their talking points into it.

    March 3, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ummmm. I like coffee....

    March 3, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Mike in MN

    If the coffee party is only concerned with the process in Washington, they will share some common ground with the Tea Party movement. If the coffey party movement is a progressive movement it will share no common ground with the Tea Party movement.

    March 3, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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