News / Economy

Occupy Wall Street Protests Spread Across Country

As part of Occupy DC activities, protesters wave a 'corporate America' flag at the fence in front of the White House in Washington, October 7, 2011.
As part of Occupy DC activities, protesters wave a 'corporate America' flag at the fence in front of the White House in Washington, October 7, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
Jeff Swicord

Liberal activists seem to be getting a boost from the spreading Occupy Wall Street protests in the United States. Their influence on American political dialogue is a work in progress.

The demonstrations in New York against corporate greed and war have spread to Washington and other cities.

The American political left appears to be getting new energy from the protests, which began last month near Wall Street. Trevor Bradford from North Carolina couldn’t wait to join in the occupation of Freedom Plaza a few blocks from the White House.

“The main thing that we have to do is that we have to keep these protests going no matter how small, even if there is just 10 people here every day of the week, 24-7," said Bradford.

The protesters' argument that Wall Street is responsible for the recession, and that working- and middle-class people are paying for it, resonates with many.



Veteran progressive activists see an opportunity. Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin writes about the American left.

“When Barack Obama’s opinion polls are fairly low, when the ratings of Congress are very low, it is as if there is no one to believe in anymore," said Kazin. "And this [the protests] in some sense is progressives giving voice to that and trying to provide an analysis of what is wrong.”

David Soumis, a military veteran and anti-war protester from the Vietnam era, said, “I think the main thing is that the government and the people involved have to see what the people want. They have to see us out here in the street. And I think you are going to see more and more people taking part in these events.”

Political experts attribute the protests' growth to tactics learned from the Arab Spring movements in Tunisia and Egypt.  John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, follows social movements around the world.

“They said, 'this is the future, we are going to this square, and we are just, we are staying here. We are occupying this place until there is change. We are not leaving,'” said Cavanagh.

Many protesters want to build a national movement, but Kazin said their refusal to appoint leaders or set an agenda could make that difficult.

“In order for protest movement to sustain themselves, to become movements, and for those movements to have influence on American society and American politics, they have to come up with a strategy, organization, leaders," said Kazin.

Many in Freedom Plaza on this day are from out of town. Some plan to come back to keep the protest going. Others want to go home and start occupations in their own towns.


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

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.