March 3rd, 2010
01:05 PM ET
4 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 says the Coffee Party is not "aligned" with any party and calls the two-party system out of date.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. Tulsa

    Good for her!
    To a large degree I agree with what she is saying. The two parties are all about power and not about the people's well being or security. The Tea Party is just absurd.
    Go for it Ms Park!

    March 3, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Kass

    The Tea Parties Response:

    "This Coffee Party looks like a weak attempt at satire or a manufactured response to a legitimate widespread grassroots movement,"

    GREAT... yet ANOTHER divisive organization.

    March 3, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. KLK

    I'd take coffee over tea any day.

    March 3, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Ben in Texas

    It's well documented that the teabaggers were started and funded by the likes of Dick Armey, and they constitute the extreme right wing of the Repugnant Party, not a grass roots movement at all. Because they are well connected in the media world, they have gotten exposure way beyond their actual numbers. For Christ's sake, they only mustered 600 people at their big national convention. That's no movement. It's barely a tremor.

    There is, however, a legitimate grass roots feeling of disgust and dissatisfaction with government at all levels, and most especially, the national level. I'll wait and see what the new Coffee Party comes up with. Maybe I could use a cup.

    March 3, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Cyrus

    Proud member of the Coffee Party Movement. Watch out teabaggers!

    March 3, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. inofritzn

    lol get to watch the liberals fail at something else

    March 3, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Broken Government

    Sign me up.

    March 3, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Eli

    The article fails to mention Ms. Park's past as a volunteer for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Hmmm......

    March 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Judith

    Sounds good to me as an alternative to the "tea party" movement. It's especially good for liberals and progressives because this is more a youth-oriented group, I think, and young voters tend to strong support liberal/progressive policies and the more activated they become, the better for the direction of the country.

    March 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. inofritzn

    LEARN that the federal gov. can not and should not run our lives!!! We are too diverse as a country. Fed should be a support for the STATES thats it. Localize it

    March 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. The Other Michael in Houston

    Great now we got another 2 party system, the Tea and the Coffee hacks. And how very christian and conservative of you Tea Partiers to dismiss one's thoughts and movements. But I am not suprised because you Tea Partiers care only about one thing, getting the black man out of the White House, or at the very least demoting him to janitor which is what all of you tea partiers think is the only reason a black man should be in the White House. And yes I am saying the majority of you are racist because when G.W. Bush was president and turned spent like thee was no tommorow, stripped America of some of her basic rights, lied to the American people about Iraq, sat in his office with his back to the T.V. monitor claiming he had no idea the an American city had been devastated, you said not a word. So what are we supposed to think? If John Edwards, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton or any other white Democrat would have won and had doen the exact same thing that Obama has done during his first year or so of their Presidency, none you would have said a word. Us 65+ million know that and that is why he will get a second term to finish what he started, so have your conventions and pow wows, have your temper tantrums, we are going to re-elect President Obama, that's providing that he does not do a G.W. Bush or Reagan on America between now and November 2012..

    March 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. AndyBlue

    LOL... Like the Fox news teabaggers are legitimate with their racist hatred and misspelled signs.

    My favorite was when they chanted "Keep the Government out of my social security and medicare/medicaid!!!! " LOL!!!!

    The teabaggers represent the 1.5 million fox news watchers.

    LUCKILY, approximately 299 million Americans DO NOT watch Fox news daily!!

    March 3, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. Richie in Mass

    Will the press mock her and her movement? Will they call them names? Oh, wait. She isn't a republican.

    March 3, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. ran

    Yes. We need a grass roots revolution to get our country back and government working for us all.

    A coffee party may just be the way.

    Yes Americans wake up to the fear/hate/obstructionism/purity ideology of the Republicans and their partners the blue dogs and Lieberman.

    Let us get them all out either in 2010 or by 2012.

    March 3, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Barton449

    Annabel...

    Don't you know that a grass roots movement doesn't have to be lead by anyone, as you are trying to do?

    Rather...

    A grass roots movement springs up by like minded people who are lead by their principles not people.

    March 3, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Emma

    How does one join?

    March 3, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. America First

    It is nice to see an intelligent alternative to the tea partiers. The tea partiers seem to care more about not paying their fair share of taxes than anything else and a portion of tea partiers are clearly racist. It would be fabulous to have a REAL third party alternative (not just another arm of the GOP like the tea party is).

    March 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. jp,michigan

    I feel the progressive movement sponsored by the Coffee Movement, just a continuation of the Obama movement, that placed him in office. Say one thing to get the votes, do the opposite once elected. American need to be very careful of this coalition. It is developed by and run by supporters of Obama!

    March 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Colorado Guy

    Today in Boulder, we are starting the Pot Party, because we want representation as well...

    "No Pot without representation" is our motto...

    I was going to say something else, uh, but I forgot.... uh

    March 3, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Lillie

    Who's the contact Person ft Where's the Coffe Party in GA?

    March 3, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. plain old me

    The Coffee Party is looking to encourage politicians to work for the American people. To get the things done that they were elected to do, and to honestly represent their constiutents.

    March 3, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Tamooj

    The comments by the Tea Party representative seems pretty knee-jerk, narcissistic and pretty disappointing – a quick look shows that this group is *not* satire (and so what if it is?) or manufactured – and they seem pretty passionate. To imply they aren't legitimate because you don't like their political slant is pretty hypocritical. FreedomWorks is already pretty suspect as the puppetmasters who are trying to hijack the original Tea-Party movement.

    March 3, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. lisa

    they sound a like to me. The Tea Party is making changes. They should team up. Our goverment works for groups a people not all the people, We the People. Both groups can make them wake up a listen or get voted out of office.

    March 3, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Beth

    Yay Anabel!! Great work. Keep it up.

    March 3, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Aaron

    The Tea and Coffee Party movements will flame out and disappear once Obama and the Democrats deliver the change they promised. In the end, results matter, not the process of delivering results. The American people will realize this and support and reward the President and Democrats with re-election in 2012.

    March 3, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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