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According to a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll conducted last week among 400 Massachusetts residents, 41% approved of the Occupy movement, 38% disapproved, and 21% were undecided or would not answer the question. Although the survey did not directly ask residents about their party affiliation, it found that women, blacks, younger adults, renters, and Suffolk County residents - all key Democratic constituencies - tended to hold more favorable views of OWS. The poll found the following statistics with regard to disapproval of OWS among different demographic groups: 23% of blacks, compared with 40% of whites and Hispanics; 25% of renters, compared with 41% of homeowners; and 28% of unemployed workers, compared with 41% of full-time employees.
A new Gallup analysis of 61 of its nationwide surveys conducted between Jan. 2009 and Nov. 2011 found that the wealthiest 1% of Americans and the other 99% differ only slightly in their political party make-up, and differ greatly in level of education. Among the “1%”, 33% identify as Republican, 41% as Independents, and 26% as Democrats. Among the “99%”: 28% identify as Republican, 39% as Independent, and 33% as Democratic. The poll revealed that 72% of the “1%” have a college degree, compared with 31% of those in the “99%.” Politico highlighted the finding that more of the country’s wealthiest 1% are independents than Republicans or Democrats, with a majority of them saying their political views are moderate or liberal. That this analysis was conducted, and is generating buzz, underscores the power of the occupy movement’s 99/1 critique.
DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS
In contrast with most other Republicans, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said that while he doesn’t agree with OWS tactics, he believes that OWS represents middle class frustrations of Americans and that protesters are “articulating a genuine frustration from hardworking Americans,” reported The Hill. In a speech to the New Hampshire State House on Wednesday, Rick Perry said: “What is wrong with American can be diagrammed on a map with one straight line connecting two dots between Washington and Wall Street,” noted Politico
In an op-ed for Politico, Joel Kotkin urges independents, Tea Partiers and OWS to break with the “Wall Street-first policies of the political leaders of both parties.” He argues that angry voters will unlikely get satisfaction in next year’s presidential election, given Obama’s “bank-friendly administration” and the track records of the two leading GOP contenders, Gingrich and Romney.
Wall Street Journal blog post, Robert Frank noted that more states – New York and California – are moving to tax the rich. He argued that while increasing taxes among the rich may be smart politics, the move may “cause already volatile state finances to become even more manic.” He suggested that if states do move to increase taxes on the rich, they should also create real rainy day funds to smooth out accompanying high-beta spikes and crashes.
Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote an op-ed arguing that the point of occupations is to “dramatize the struggle of weak against strong, which is also the struggle of poor against rich.” He argues that the power of the government is so strong that the only way to counter it is to reveal just how powerful it is. Encampments have spurred over-militarized reactions from city government (e.g. Oakland, Los Angeles), which then reflect poorly for those local governments going forward. Encampments are “fundamentally about using government power against itself.”
Bloomberg News interviewed Gloria Steinem, who insisted that OWS is very much about women and highlighted the persistent wage gap between men and women and, as a result, the larger challenge women face when straddled with student debt.
An op-ed for the New York Times considered how Gandhi might respond to the OWS movement, suggesting that he would encourage protesters to focus their efforts on direct social assistance, positive action, and a more systematic, constructive plan with defined goals and strategies.
On Saturday, 150-200 people marched for an hour by an ICE detention center in Gadsden, Ala. to protest the HB 56, reported The Gadsden Times. The march was organized by Occupy Birmingham, but other groups participated.
Occupy Wall Street protesters began a hunger strike on Sunday to demand a new site for demonstrators and to “keep the movement alive in the face of government-enacted violence and repression” ABC. Three protesters were arrested, but then three other protesters replaced them (Gothamist, local New York blog). The same day, food justice activists and OWS protesters travelling from as far as Colorado, Iowa, Maine and Upstate New York joined together for the Occupy Wall Street Farmer’s March, reported The Paramus Post. Events throughout the day called for participants to fight against the corporate manipulation of the agriculture system and its effect on soaring rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and limited access to affordable, healthy food to the country’s poorest citizens.