Everybody has an opinion about the Occupy Wall Street movement
As the Occupy Wall Street movement begins its fourth week and spreads around the country, politicians and the public are weighing in. Will it have the staying power of the tea party movement?
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“God bless them for their spontaneity,” Rep. Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “It’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.”Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Occupy Wall Street then and now
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“The focus is on Wall Street and justifiably so,” Pelosi said. “The message of the American people is that no longer … will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – with a net worth of nearly $20 billion he’s way up there among the 1 percenters – felt the need to stand up for his city’s bankers.
“The protests that are trying to destroy the jobs of working people in this city aren’t productive,” Bloomberg said during his weekly radio show Friday.
It seems unlikely that the protesters will actually “destroy the jobs” of investment bankers and others in the financial industry – don’t expect to see men in suits and ties selling apples on Wall Street – but never mind.
A key question at this point is whether the Occupy Wall Street movement now spreading nationally will develop the legs that the tea party movement has – becoming a key player in congressional and state elections, for example.
Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight blog in the New York Times is widely read, reports that “news media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests has increased since demonstrators clashed with the police, and is beginning to rival coverage given to Tea Party protests in 2009.”
“It’s not something they’re likely to claim credit for, but members of the tea party cleared the way for protesters on the other side of the political spectrum,” writes Meyer, professor of sociology and political science at the University of California at Irvine and the author of “The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America.” “The tea party demonstrated that protest works, even when government doesn’t.”
The Wall Street crowd has some celebrities in its corner, rhetorical support from some unions, and (most recently) the backing of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream company. The tea party movement has had financial backing from well-funded political and business interests like the industrialist Koch brothers, billionaires like Bloomberg.
So far, that doesn’t seem like much of a match.
IN PICTURES: Wall Street protests multiply