The Occupy Movement is Stronger Than Ever!

(Douglas Schoen, The Daily Beast Apr 28, 2012 )
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The movement may not have made headlines lately, but it has had a marked impact on both the Obama and Romney campaigns, and now its members are pushing for even more radical change.

it is becoming increasingly clear that Occupy Wall Street (OWS)—while less visibly active in recent months following clashes with the police, infighting, and eviction from its flagship encampment in New York’s Zuccotti Park last November — is nonetheless seizing control of the political debate in America this election year. . . . OWS already has had a clear and demonstrable impact on both the Obama and Romney campaigns–arguably becoming the most important outside influence so far in this year’s election campaign dialogue. . . . President Obama and the Democrats have been increasingly echoing the central themes that OWS introduced last fall—emphasizing unfairness in American society, income inequality, and the need to redistribute wealth. Mitt Romney–who has struggled throughout this campaign on how to address questions surrounding Bain Capital, his overall wealth, the tax rates he pays, and what role Wall Street and business should play in promoting economic growth and job development–sought to tap into OWS themes at a rally in New Hampshire on April 24 with a speech centered around “the unfairness of America today.” . . . Moreover, the themes and rhetoric that Occupy Wall Street introduced have captured enough attention to go beyond the political hemisphere, to influence Wall Street itself. Nowhere was this clearer than last week when for the first time in Wall Street history, Citigroup shareholders united in opposition to a proposed $15 million pay package for its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit. The shareholder vote, which comes amid a rising national debate over income inequality, suggests that anger over pay for chief executives has spread from Occupy Wall Street to influence actual behavior on Wall Street as well. . . . If anything, OWS has become even more radical since our October poll -—when respondents said they were ready and willing to use civil disobedience (98 percent) and violence (31 percent) as a means of achieving OWS’ agenda. . . . The results from our latest survey show that the activists we interviewed in October were not only candid but accurate about their tactics and goals. Indeed, a detailed look at the findings suggests that the OWS protesters are bolder and more aggressive than ever -—with close to two-thirds (63 percent) saying they have already engaged in civil disobedience, and more than 10 percent (13 percent) saying they have already engaged in violence in support of their goals. . . . An examination of the survey data shows clearly that the activists we interviewed have an ambitious and bold agenda of change that they are working to see implemented through their next phase of activity. . . . They seek nothing less than a fundamental overhaul of American society, going well beyond the policy prescriptions of many European and Scandinavian social democratic societies.

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