Why You Shouldn’t Compare Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party

While the similarities are noteworthy, they obscure more relevant truths about Occupy Wall Street

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TIME’s Ishaan Tharoor explains why he thinks comparisons between the growing anti-greed Occupy Wall Street movement — started in New York City’s Zuccotti Park — and the more established right-wing Tea Party are overwrought. The biggest similarity between the two groups, he writes, is the fact that both movements are grassroots. But the differences are far more important. He speaks of a 56-year-old grandmother “who can be found on weekends at the park’s western edge, knitting gloves and scarves for fellow protesters” to demonstrate one major difference between the two groups:

She makes no bones about what’s driving Occupy Wall Street: young people, including college students saddled with years of debt, 20-somethings struggling to land a job and an entire generation banging its head on what seems to be the ever lowering ceiling of their possibilities. “It’s all about them,” Spencer told me on a rainy morning last week in Zuccotti Park.

Not true for the Tea Party, whose typical supporter is older, wealthier and whiter than the American demographic average. It is a movement, by and large, of the haves — not the have-nots.

Read the full Global Spin column here.