They're mad -- mad as hell! -- and they're taking their anger to the streets.
Who needs leaders, structure or formal agendas? A few commonly shared and loudly expressed gripes and slogans will do.
"I can't afford my own politician so I made this sign."
"If only the war on poverty was a real war, then we would actually be putting some money into it."
Yes, I could be describing the tea party movement, but I'm not. I am looking this time at the grumbling on the other end of the political spectrum. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests, modeled on the Tahrir Square demonstrations that toppled Egypt's government last spring, popped up in mid-September in New York and have spread to Chicago and other cities across the country.
Now it's the left -- further left than Obama -- that's in the streets, fueled by how Wall Street made soaring profits after the government bailouts in 2008 and 2009 and caught the elevator while the rest of us get the shaft.
Welcome to the age of flash-mob politics. Like a flash mob, like-minded people connect by Twitter and other social-network contraptions and just show up someplace where they display their collective indignation and swear they're going to keep coming back until -- what?
Well, goals are not the strongest asset to flash-mob politics. The call to protest Wall Street initially came from Adbusters, a left-wing, anti-corporate Canadian magazine that describes itself as "a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power and the way meaning is produced in our society."
Beyond that sweeping pronouncement, it's not easy to pin this movement -- like the tea party -- down to specifics. "It's a spontaneous gathering, there is no leader," Hope Asya, 22, a Columbia College student, explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter in a recent "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration that peacefully occupied a few feet of sidewalk near the LaSalle Street financial district. "Our democracy ceases to represent us; it represents corporate interests."
Representatives of the tea party used to call their movement "bipartisan," but it since has become inextricably identified with the right wing of the Republican Party, which has welcomed the movement's energy, if not its unpredictability.
As a result, today's tea party passionately defends tax breaks for the rich and vows to dismantle President Obama's health care program and, the movement hopes, the presidency of Obama. What would happen to the millions of everyday Americans who would be left uninsured again? Well, like the lefty protesters, the "teas" are not big on specifics.
Asked if the president was concerned about the protests, Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary, said he had not discussed it with him. Still, Carney happily launched into a pitch for the president's jobs, economic stimulus and consumer finance protection agenda -- "legislation that Republicans are now eager to try to dismantle," he pointed out -- as an appropriate response to the frustrations of the demonstrators.
Now that they have our attention, could the Wall Street demonstrators grow as the tea party movement did into a Twitter-connected network of activists and voters who can exert some real influence on the major political parties?
For now, at least, it is refreshing to see some protesting by the other political side for a change, as long as they keep it peaceful. After all, these days there's plenty of rage to go around.