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New and thorough OWS polling confirms that its messaging resonates widely within your community, even if OWS tactics are deemed by many chaotic and alienating. The new OWS poll by the highly respected Pew Research Center was conducted Dec. 7-11 among 1,521 adults. According to the poll, there is much more support for the concerns raised by OWS protests (48% agree, 30% disagree, 22% don’t know) and even the movement itself (44% support, 35% opposition) than for how OWS protests are conducted (29% approve, 49% disapprove, 23% don’t know).
The poll also confirms that the messaging from OWS remains powerful. Most (77%) agree that there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and corporations (19% disagree, 4% don’t know). This view is shared by 91% of Democrats, 80% of Independents and 53% of Republicans. A majority of Americans (61%) also believe that the country’s economic system unfairly favors the wealthy (36% believe it is generally fair, 3% don’t know). This view is shared by 76% of Democrats, 61% of Independents, and 39% of Republicans (58% of whom believe the system is “generally fair to most Americans”).
The poll found that 40% of Americans agree that “Hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people,” up from 34% in March. Majorities of both Democrats (60%) and Independents (54%) say Wall Street hurts more than it helps, while nearly half of Republicans say Wall Street helps the economy (49%). According to Greg Sargent, senior Democrats such as Chuck Schumer have taken notice, arguing: “The Democrats’ focus on inequality is rooted in the idea that there’s been a fundamental shift in how Americans view the economy; they no longer think that playing by the rules is enough; they believe the game is rigged for the wealthy.”
Rank-and-file Democrats say they are growing more optimistic about Obama’s political prospects in 2012 due to his more forceful, populist message against GOP lawmakers and the seemingly chaotic Republican primaries race, according to the Associated Press. And in commentary for the New York Times, Columbia journalism professor and longtime political reporter Thomas Edsall discussed the GOP’s struggle: their presidential field face internal pressure to remain loyal to conservative orthodoxy, even though that orthodoxy is a liability in the general election given the national focus on inequality.
Yesterday, civil rights leader Dr. Ben Chavis announced the formation of Occupy the Dream, an organization to mobilize Americans around the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who fought against poverty, unemployment and economic injustice, reported the Huffington Post. The first major march of Occupy the Dream will take place on MLK Day, January 16, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Time named “The Protester” as the “Person of the Year,” examining the influence of protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain (Indignados) and the U.S. (OWS). The story noted that the different movements have the potential to keep political leaders accountable and that now begins the longer, messier process of democracy building. The story highlighted the main demographic of the different movements – young, middle class, educated people – and the use of social media, cellphones, video, and TV to connect to one another and create new networks of information.
Pushing the message
Six members of the Walton family, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, possess wealth equal to that of the bottom 30 percent of Americans, Salon reported.
LABOR & OWS
Several media stories focused on the tensions that cropped up between some in organized labor and OWS groups leading up to the Occupy the Ports events along the West Coast on Monday. A New York Times story focused on the statement of warning issued by the ILWU before the disruptions: “Support is one thing. Organizing from outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another.” Occupiers believed their struggle was not co-opting the struggle for the working class because they were from the working class.
David Weigel’s piece for Slate pivoted off the west coast port issue to include the viewpoint that Occupiers are unlikely to undermine labor’s efforts, pointing to Occupy projects like anti-foreclosure Occupy Our Homes and the way it backs up public employees. The piece included Stephen Lerner’s contention that the Occupy movement has useful room to maneuver that unions do not due to being “connected enough to the political and economic power structure… to be constrained from leading the kinds of activities that are needed” to achieve those goals.
OWS MONITORING TOOLS
Below are a few sites you can check to get a sense of the Occupy movement “big picture.” Several of them are Occupy-supported sites that aggregate relevant news and updates. We will update this list periodically. Feel free to send your favorite OWS news source: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS Local and International News Overview
Great daily updates on local and international OWS actions from progressive organization, “Rebuild the Dream”: http://rebuildthedream.com/occupy-update.
Quick OWS Story Update
If you want to brush up on what has happened so far, check out this well-done run-down by Mother Jones. The post also links to longer-form article that includes relevant charts and timeline: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-explain-articles
Blogs Created by Occupy protesters
Many Occupy protests across the country also have their own individual sites – you can do a quick internet search by typing “Occupy” and the desired city.
Original Occupy Wall Street blog: http://occupywallstreet.tumblr.com
“Occupy Together” tracks country-wide movement and its activities: http://www.occupytogether.org
“In Front and Center: Critical Voices of the 99%”: http://infrontandcenter.wordpress.com/
Occupy Our Homes: http://occupyourhomes.org/
Occupy Student Debt: http://occupystudentdebt.com/
For real-time news from Occupy protesters, check out the Twitter accounts below. Relevant hashtags: #occupywallstreet, #ows
@OccupyWallSt, the official OWS account
@owsbot, an account that retweets important OWS media events
@occupyarrests, follows numbers of arrests
@OccupyTheHood, the account for the “Occupy The Hood” movement trying to incorporate more people of color into OWS
“Occupy Streams,” a site listing live video feeds and streams: http://occupystreams.org/
“Studio Occupy,” a new site donated by Citizen Global dedicated to creating a YouTube-like repository of OWS footage shot by protesters: http://www.citizenglobal.com/occupy/together#!/home
“IOccupyFor” YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/IOccupyFor
Reading posts on the following Tumblr blogs can give you a sense of the issues being raised at Occupy protests as well as the kinds of assumptions being made about protesters and about who should or should not be able to relate to the “We are the 99%” movement.
The “We are the 99%” that started it all: http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com
Conservative blog responding to the above: http://the53.tumblr.com/
Snarky OWS-supportive blog responding to “We Are The 53”: http://actuallyyourethe47percent.tumblr.com/
Those in the 1% who stand with the 99%: http://westandwiththe99percent.tumblr.com/
“i cite” is a blog by Jodi Dean, Professor of Political Theory at Hobart and William Smith Colleges: http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/ This academic blog follows OWS media coverage and features the blog author’s own experiences at and reflections on OWS. She responds to articles taken from good range of mainstream publications and also lesser-known blogs and puts OWS in the context of the discussions and critiques of New Left.
Philosophy professors, lecturers, adjuncts, graduate instructors, and teaching assistants who stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement: http://occupyphilosophy.blogspot.com/
Citizen Radio, a political radio show created by Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein: http://wearecitizenradio.com/