Tea party organiser inspired by classic Tiananmen image

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 January, 2011, 12:00am

The tea party movement, a network of local politically active groups, has taken the United States by storm recently with its protests against 'big government'. Steve Stevlic, organiser of the Tea Party Patriots Chicago, explains why China might become more prominent on its radar.

What is the movement about and where do you draw your inspiration from?

In the tea party movement we believe just one person can make a difference. And when we first started, one of the images that a lot of people were motivated by was the image of that one man in Tiananmen Square facing the tank. We consider ourselves freedom fighters, and he'd be at the top of the list. How did people start their own local tea party groups?

Every local group basically starts when one person declares 'I want to start my tea party'. There's no money in this, and we work from home, after office hours. Why did you help organise the tea party group in Chicago?

We want our children and grandchildren to be able to have a better standard of living than we do, like in the past 200 years. We are here to hold both parties in line. The problem is that representatives of both parties in Washington aren't listening to what their constituencies are telling them, but rather the lobbyists. What do you think about China?

Right now our No 1 concern is how much we owe them. We want the government to clear the debt ... We share China's concern over our government's printing of money, which is devaluating our currency, and resulting in inflation. We realise that the only reason the US is in a prominent position right now is because people believe in our currency, but we are printing so much money.

Have you been to China?

I have only been to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is the freest place in the world now in terms of economy, and perhaps could be used as a model for the US. It has a financial and regulatory system that is dependable but not choking off business.