News / USA

Occupy Protests Work Outside Political Process

TEXT SIZE - +
Jeff Swicord

The Occupy movement, which started in New York, has grown to more than 1,400 encampments around the country.  Occupy has chosen to work outside the political process, shying away from appointing leaders and setting agendas.  Some protesters, and political observers, argue they must become a more formal movement to bring change.  But they are starting to shift the political tone in the country by unconventional means.

Two thousand nurses join with Occupy D.C. for a rally near the White House.  They want a tax on stock trades to curb Wall Street speculation and raise revenue for infrastructure jobs and human needs.  Since President Obama is opposed to the idea, the demonstrators mock his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner.

"I am Timmy Geithner with the one percent," said one protester.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says so far, the movement has had little effect on political leaders. "Congress is going about its corporate business as if nothing is happening out there.  But, pretty soon they are going to start surrounding each congressional office back home with the Occupy people.  And then maybe they will start to get the message," he said.

The Occupy protesters vow to work outside the traditional political process, which they see as incapable of bringing real change.  They prefer to take their message directly to the people.  Karen Conner with the Economic Policy Institute says they are beginning to change the political tone in the country. "The fact that the major newspapers are picking up on the message, or the messages if you will, and writing about them in their editorial pages and on their front pages is very promising," she said.

Some political analysts believe the Occupy message is starting to replace the dominant Tea Party message of the past two years, that big government has bankrupted the country.

John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, said  "The bigger story is we have a country that is broken, that isn’t working for the majority of the people, that is grotesquely unequal.  And when you change a story like that, it has all kinds of ripple effects through society."

Cavanagh points to a recent decision by a major bank to charge customers a monthly debit card fee.  After a backlash from angry consumers, the bank dropped the plan. "The protests came up and the banks acted or reacted," he said. "I think in the banking world there is a lot of discussion right now of what do we need to get these people to go away?"

The protesters vow to stay put. Michael Berkson is from New York. "The vast majority of this country is hurting and that is who should be helped.  Wall Street can afford it.  A financial tax will not only help the vast majority, and pay for infrastructure spending, but it will curb their greed," he said.

Protestors say they plan to occupy the campaign offices of Republican presidential candidates.  There are also big plans for the spring.  Their goal is to force politicians to act by exerting pressure from outside the political system.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid