News / USA

Occupy Protests Work Outside Political Process

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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid