Coffee Party USA
|Formation||January 26, 2010|
|Legal status||501(c)(4) nonprofit organization|
The Coffee Party USA is an American political movement that was initially formed in January 2010, as an alternative to the Tea Party movement. Co-founder Annabel Park said that the group initially had significant appeal among those opposed to the Tea Party.
The Coffee Party USA identifies itself as a 501(c)(4) social benefit organization. The organization's mission states that it is based on the underlying principle that the 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 we face as Americans." Its slogan is "Wake Up and Stand Up". Its stated goals include getting cooperation in government and removing corporate influence from politics.
The organization's first National Coffee Party Day was held on March 13, 2010.
Origins and development
The Coffee Party USA was established on January 26, 2010, on the social networking site Facebook. It was founded by documentary filmmakers and political activists Annabel Park and Eric Byler. After becoming increasingly frustrated with the incivility and obstructionism in political discourse, and the media narrative that the Tea Party represented America, Park posted a rant on her Facebook page. Numerous positive responses from friends prompted her to start a "Join the Coffee Party Movement" fan page.
The group rapidly grew to over 155,000 Facebook fans in size from word of mouth and social networking in under six weeks. Newsweek noted the Facebook membership had surpassed 200,000 by April 2010, and every status update was receiving about a million views. Contrasting the Coffee Party with the Tea Party, Park noted:
A key difference is in our emphasis on the democratic process, on respectful and civil engagement with one another and with our elected officials. In the current climate, too many Americans are afraid to participate, and find the process itself too alienating, because it is dominated by people with extreme opinions and extreme tactics. It's hard to speak up when others in the room are screaming. So in the end, we may want some of the same things, but we [are] hoping our journey getting there will be very different.
After collecting input from the first round of national gatherings, the Coffee Party outlined three initial steps to promote participatory democracy. "The first step is creating a public space for open and civil dialogue. The second step is collective deliberation, considering facts and values to arrive at a decision. The third step is working toward implementing the decision." Local Coffee Party groups are not yet legally affiliated or authorized to raise funds under the Coffee Party USA name.
In March 2011, the organization announced the dissolution of its interim board, and the establishment of a larger Transition Team charged with creating an organizational infrastructure and a permanent Board."
The Coffee Party has been referred to by some in the media as "more academic and centrist than some of its members had hoped for but nevertheless, it is a timely and welcome development of a more intellectual form of political activism"; "a latte-sipping, liberal reaction to the populist conservative Tea Party movement"; "left-leaning"; a group that "welcomes everyone and embraces diversity -- ethnic, geographical and even political diversity"; and "a liberal-esque and pro-Obama answer to the conservative tea party movement" with meetings that are "visibly more diverse than the average tea party gathering."
Yes, we are non-partisan, but being non-partisan does not mean we will not take positions. It means that Coffee Party members will arrive at positions based on principles and facts; not based on party affiliation and ideology. —CoffeePartyUSA.com
After holding a National Coffee Summit and several votes and polls utilizing internet technology, the Coffee Party determined that the overwhelming concern of its members was money in politics, with "95 percent of members voting for a specific course of action, based on support for the Fair Elections Now Act, the DISCLOSE Act, the Shareholder Protection Act and a constitutional amendment to reverse corporate personhood." As of July 2011, the Coffee Party's stated advocacy goals included "reinstituting campaign finance laws, reforming the tax code and restoring Wall St. oversight."
National Coffee House day 2010
The Coffee Party held its initial National Coffee House day event on March 13, 2010. Some 370 events took place across the US and the world, including Tokyo and Jakarta, with the intent to "encourage our existing and soon-to-form chapters to facilitate informative and civil dialogue about issues that affect all of us, collectively. We will ask them to report back to us on what consensus they reach, and take action from there."
National Coffee Summit 2010
On March 27, 2010, approximately 500 Coffee Party meetings took place across the United States. Coffee Party co-founder Annabel Park participated in one of the meetings, which was covered by C-SPAN and was crowded, and she observed that not all of the participants were behaving in a civil manner. Newsweek reported, "They were angry. They hated the Tea Party, and the Republican Party. They wanted to get even. One audience member said America was under the thumb of oligarchs and denounced 'moneyed interests.' A few people hissed when Sarah Palin's name was mentioned. Also on hand were the usual suspects drawn to the C-Span bat signal." Some in the crowd even decided they wanted a new leader for the movement, "not someone that says we can all work together." Park said later, "If they want to fire me, this may not be the group for them. We don't want conflict and confrontation."
Coffee Party Convention 2010
The First Annual Coffee Party Convention was held at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, from September 24 to 26, 2010. Some 350 chapter leaders and organizers met to hone their message before heading across the country in an effort to get people involved in what it considered a responsible way.
Featured events included a "Mock Constitutional Convention" co-chaired by Republican communication strategist for Bush and McCain, Mark McKinnon, and Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig; Across the Political Divide: A Transpartisan Dialogue with Joseph McCormick and a roundtable with journalist Linda Killian of U.S. News and World Report on the question, "What Can We Do for Our Country?" There were also scheduled workshops and panel discussions including members of both major political parties, chairwoman Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express and co-founder Annabel Park of the Coffee Party.
- "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Coffee Party USA. Guidestar. June 30, 2015.
- Grab a Coffee Mug, This is no Tea Party Associated Press; September 24, 2010
- "'Coffee party' movement: Not far from the 'tea party' message?". The Christian Science Monitor. 2010-03-13. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
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- Tom Eblen: Coffee Party prepares for national convention in Louisville Lexington Herald-Leader; August 15, 2010
- Zernike, Kate (March 3, 2010). "Coffee Party, With a Taste for Civic Participation, Is Added to the Political Menu". New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- "Saturday, March 13th is National Coffee Party Day". Coffee Party USA. Archived from the original on 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- Park, Annabel (February 26, 2010). "Coffee Party movement: Alternative to tea". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- 9500 Liberty Archived 2016-03-16 at the Wayback Machine The Filmmakers.
- Coffee Party: a Tea Party Alternative to Meet in Louisville Courier-Journal; August 25, 2010.
- Zak, Dan (February 25, 2010). "Coffee Party activists say their civic brew's a tastier choice than Tea Party's". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Coffee vs Tea: A political movement is brewing CNN.
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- Tea Party, Meet Coffee Party Mother Jones April 16, 2010.
- Coffee Party movement: Alternative to Tea The Washington Post; February 26, 2010.
- Meet the people who are percolating in the Coffee Party CNN; March 13, 2010.
- Why I Started Coffee Party USA CNN; March 18, 2010.
- Donations; Coffee Party USA
- The Coffee Party and its discontents; Politico; March 26, 2011
- The Coffee Party's first six months; The Denver Post; July 29, 2010
- Spillius, Alex (October 26, 2010). "US midterms: Coffee Party emerges to take on the Tea Party". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010.
- ‘Sanity' rally fans want to show other side of America;Atlanta Journal-Constitution; October 29, 2010
- Is the "Coffee Party" the Next Big Thing?; CBS News; March 12, 2010
- Coffee Party Movement Not Far from the Tea Party Message; Christian Science Monitor; March 13, 2010
- About Us Archived 2011-03-03 at the Wayback Machine; Coffee Party USA Website
- Coffee Party | Wake Up and Stand Up
- The Coffee Party's First Six Months The Denver Post; July 29, 2010.
- The Coffee Party Heats Up Newsweek; April 22, 2010.
- "Coffee Party Convention in Louisville, KY in September!". coffeepartyusa.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
- Grab a Coffee Mug, This is no Tea Party Associated Press; September 24, 2010.
- Coffee party urges voters to get involved at Louisville convention, The Courier-Journal; September 25, 2010.
- Coffee Party USA. Convention Builds Relationships, Momentum for Coffee Party Archived 2010-10-06 at the Wayback Machine September 28, 2010.
- Local Delegate Attends Coffee Party Event St. Augustine Record; September 29, 2010.
- First Ever Coffee Party Convention is in Louisville Archived 2010-09-28 at the Wayback Machine WFPL News; September 22, 2010.
- Coffee Party Convention to be Streamed Live Archived 2010-10-07 at the Wayback Machine Coffee Party USA; September 22, 2010.