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Whether the energy of protesters can be tapped to transform the political climate remains to be seen





To veterans of past social movements, the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York and spread nationwide have been a welcome response to corporate greed and the enfeebled economy. But whether the energy of protesters can be tapped to transform the political climate remains to be seen.


"There's a difference between an emotional outcry and a movement," said Andrew Young, who worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a strategist during the civil rights movement and served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "This is an emotional outcry. The difference is organization and articulation."


The nearly four-week-old protest that began in a lower Manhattan park has taken on a semblance of organization and a coherent message has largely emerged: That "the 99 percent" who struggle daily as the economy shudders, employment stagnates and medical costs rise are suffering as the 1 percent who control the vast majority of the economy's wealth continues to prosper.


Labor unions and students joined the protest on Wednesday, swelling the ranks for a day into the thousands, and lending the occupation a surge of political clout and legitimacy. President Barack Obama said Thursday that the protesters were "giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works;" some Republicans have been seeking to cast Occupy Wall Street as class warfare.


Story: Occupy Wall Street protesters running out of space

The growing cohesiveness and profile of the protest have caught the attention of public intellectuals and veterans of past social movements.


"I think if the idea of the movement is to raise the discontent that a lot of people from different walks of life and different persuasions have on the economic inequity in this country — it's been perfect," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who plans to broadcast his nationally syndicated radio show from the park on Monday and five days later lead a jobs march in Washington, D.C.


He said he felt it was necessary to be there to talk about how blacks and Latinos are also buffeted by the economic difficulties.


"I think it is more a movement to show dissatisfaction. I think that is effective and useful," he said.


The Rev. Jesse Jackson said the protest was a growing success. "There is a legitimacy to their demands for economic reconstruction," he said, with the analysis of the problems in the economic system "dead on," as he wrote in a commentary.


He said the protest could become a powerful movement if "it remains disciplined, focused and nonviolent — and turns some of their pain into voting power."


History is littered with social movements that failed to emerge as political forces to create lasting change — including mass labor protests to end unemployment and to call attention to job injustices, said Immanuel Ness, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the editor of the "Encyclopedia of American Social Movements."


He compared it to the tea party movement, saying both were raising concerns about general anxieties over the economic system.


"The messaging is directed at working people," he said. "Both the tea party and Occupy Wall Street are arguing that something needs to change. The question is, What is the source of the problem?"


In the late 1990s, a global movement to reject corporate-driven globalization took to the streets, most famously in the U.S. by shutting down the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. In spite of several actions aimed at summits by world institutions, the "movement of movements," as it soon came to be known, faded away.


Much like the Occupy Wall Street protests, one of the main criticisms was that it lacked a cohesive message.


Todd Gitlin, an author and former president of the Students for a Democratic Society in the mid-1960s, attended Wednesday's rally and said the emerging movement was different.


The demands of the protesters were crystallizing around calls to tax the wealthy to address inequality, he said.


"'We are the 99 percent' is a clear message," he said. "It is unfair and in fact disgusting that the American political economy is run for the benefit of a plutocracy. I don't see how that can be misunderstood."


But he said the movement was still evolving and it remains to be seen whether it can evolve as an effective organization. "This is the new order of movements. They're informal and ragged, and yet if they're well-timed, they touch a nerve and get translated by actually existing political forces," he said.


U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House, is convinced the movement will bring about political change.


"I consider this movement really to be the most heartwarming thing I've seen since President Obama's election," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday.

"I hope nobody gets discouraged. I think the impact could be very significant on the psyche of the country as well as on the disposition of members of Congress."


He disagrees that it lacks a coherent message and said many of the people he marched with during the civil rights era likely wouldn't have been able to put into words their reasons or frustrations, either.


"They all knew something was wrong," he said. "They knew that it just wasn't right to have to get up out of your seat and give some white person your seat on a bus. They may not be able to explain to you exactly why I'm out here marching; they may not even be able to relate that lunch counter to that city bus or to a ride on the train or to walking down the sidewalk having to step off the sidewalk when approached by a white person, which was the order of the day."


Ambassador Young said that to be effective, the protests need a serious discussion component and that leadership needs to emerge.


"I can understand people being frustrated with Wall Street, but this just needs to be more than people voicing their frustrations and a few leaders having their 15 minutes of fame," he said. "It is important for those who have thought through their values and objections to somehow be heard."


Naomi Klein, whose writings helped shape the anti-neoliberal globalization movement that emerged in the late 1990s, made an appearance Thursday at Zuccotti Park, where she delivered a speech to the protesters. In a version of the talk posted on her website, she offered praise and a warning.


"It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off," she said. "It's because they don't have roots. And they don't have long-term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away."



Associated Press writers Errin Haines in Atlanta and Seanna Adcox in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.

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I was thinking yesterday that it could be a good thing if somehow this protest could be the catalyst for a viable political "third party"!!! 


Unfortunately, there's no way, at this point, that this movement could become cohesive enough to be able to find, vet and field a viable 'candidate' for the next election!!


However ... perhaps they COULD do what the Tea Party did and effect political changes to the current governmental structure by supporting and endorsing people willing to run for Congressional seats that have the same mindset and conviction to stand for the PEOPLE ... and against Big Business and the corrupt, rich, elitist, out-of-touch politicians - especially Republicans/Tea Baggers - that are the basis for this protest in the first place!! 

That is exactly the direction this movement should be headed, if they are smart.  There is no sense in protesting without being ready to go the distance.  There is no sense in just selling wolf tickets.  I want to see this movement grow into something where Congress can be and will be affected in the polls as a show of Americans' anger at where they have taken this country in the eight years of the Bush-Cheney regime.  It is long past the time when the American voters should be putting their vote where their mouth is in our congressional elections and in our state and local elections.  All politicians that put the desires of corporate America, money brokers and hate mongers in America before the best interest of the American people as a whole, should ALL be voted out of office, regardless of party. With all that republicans have done that lead up to our economy being in such dire shape, and considering how they are putting their desire to ruin President Obama's presidency over creating jobs for Americans and passing bills that the public wants and needs, especially in this economic time, everyone should be demanding that they all be recalled. 

Last edited by sunnubian

I thought this was about ECONOMICS and they think the Political Climate is relevant.  LOL


Every time someone spends a dollar they are casting a vote.  Economics is 24/7.  What political climate made people take out mortgages that they could not possible pay.  Where is the political climate advocating mandatory accounting in the schools?  Where are political activists talking about that.


Everybody is brainwashed into the JOBS rut.  We probably should have been on a 3-day work week by the 80s.  What businesses want that?


Economics is WAR!  Economists are morons or liars.  42 years after the Moon landing and why we have to waste time watching commercials for automobiles is beyond me.



Civil rights legend John Lewis snubbed by 'Occupy Atlanta'

U.S. Congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis (D-Ga.) may have had something profound to say at Occupy Atlanta -- but he wasn't given the chance to speak.

Friday evening, Lewis attended Atlanta's offspring of Occupy Wall Street, which has inspired similar protests around the nation.


Lewis was introduced by the Occupy Atlanta general assembly, but he ended up not saying anything at all due the assembly rules, which mandate a consensus before anyone can make a public announcement.


"John Lewis is no better than anyone else!" yells a protester off camera.


Lewis later said he was not disappointed that he was not able to address the crowd, but some of the protesters were quite upset by the public dismissal of a well-respected veteran activist.


Watch a YouTube video of the incident:




"To #occupyatlanta general assembly. U are a bunch of d***heads. Congressman John Lewis is an American hero," hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons tweeted. "In order for #occupywallstreet to succeed we are gonna need John Lewis to write legislation," he added.


One attendant, Michelle Williams told a CBS Atlanta news reporter that the protest is no more than an "organized mob."


"I'm angry because this is not what democracy is about" Williams said.

"Occupy Wall Street is saying, 'We will not take it anymore,'" Lewis said in a statement.


"They are saying we must not forget about those in need, about those who work for starvation wages, those who bear their burden in the heat of the day and in the darkness of the night."

" . . . assembly rules, which mandate a consensus before anyone can make a public announcement" . . . 


Assembly rules, what Assembly, the Georgia Assembly?  What about Freedom of Speech?  Freedom of Assembly?  First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:





Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Is this all the result of MILITARY ECONOMICS?


Consider the psychology of European culture.  Constant wars between little countries.  The telegraph and railroads made the bigness of the US possible.  But the military psychology is still there.


Workers are supposed to be like loyal soldiers and customers are supposed to be loyal to.  So companies do battle in competition.


The idea of all workers knowing accounting would be absurd.  Soldiers are supposed to be cannon fodder to be led by those in the know.


So when are the soldiers going to figure out the war doesn't work anymore?



It's never going to be up to the soldiers to figure it out, it is up to the people to figure out, not that war doesn't work anymore, but, first figure out that Military Economics is the game being played by the world's power brokers and funded by the taxes that working people pay into the system in the first place.  At this point the majority of Americans still do not understand, know, or want to believe that it was WAR that save American from the Great Depression.

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