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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid