News / USA

Occupy Protests Look Toward Future

Jeff Swicord

As Occupy protests around the country continue after starting more than a month ago, some involved with the movement are beginning to look toward the future.  The protests have succeeded in bringing their concerns about corporate influence in politics and the economy onto the national stage.  And Occupy movements are beginning to talk with each other about what comes next.

Protesters from Occupy D.C., were outside the hearing room of the congressional Super Committee, tasked with cutting the federal deficit.

Capitol Police moved in to issue the first of three warnings before arrests were made.

"You must cease your activities or be subject to arrest.  That is your first warning."

The demonstrators know how far they can go to make their point without being arrested.  

"One of the goals of the action is to cause some disruption and get some attention in this city," said Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician from Baltimore, Maryland.  "We need people to realize that is why we take over the streets and disrupt the streets."

Three weeks into the Occupation at Freedom Plaza in Washington, demonstrators gather to organize protests.  

But many people are beginning to wonder whether the Occupy protests have outlived their purpose.  Kevin Zeese is an activist and lawyer from Maryland.  Zeese says their message of ending corporate greed and justice has resonated with the public.

"The debate is not what it was before when we started," said Zeese.  "So, I think we have had a great impact.  The question is, and I am not sure what the answer is, and we are starting to wrestle with it, is, what is next for the Occupy movement?"

Zeese says protesters at Freedom Plaza are addressing that very question.  Options range from staying at Freedom Plaza through the winter, to creating a more organized national movement.

Margaret Flowers says Occupy movements around the country are also talking through Web conferences.  She would like to see a nationally organized movement.

"We are trying to put more guidance in there," explained Flowers.  "And more of the tools that we used to learn about how you use non-violent means to change the power structure."

The conversations are very preliminary and geared toward building on the momentum Occupy has achieved nationally.  Protesters say they represent the 99 percent of Americans who are suffering in the current economy, while the other 1 percent prospers.

"Ending corporate rule and shifting power to the people is a complicated task," said Zeese.  "And the occupation is a tactic to achieve a step toward that task and build the kind of independent movement we need to achieve it."

For now, the Washington Occupy demonstrators will continue with their daily protests.  Today, they back down before police make any arrests.  They retreat outside and carry on bringing their message of ending corporate greed to the people.

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