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(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Despite the several polls that show more of the public, including non college-educated whites, supporting Occupy Wall Street than not, Republicans keep wanting to use it as a weapon against, for instance, Elizabeth Warren. They seem to be sure that the public either doesn't identify or can be convinced to turn against the protesters.

Earlier in the month, Greg Sargent reported that Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, which organizes working-class and lower-middle-class people not in unions, had success signing up members because of excitement generated by Occupy Wall Street. Wednesday, Karen Nussbaum, the organization's executive director, discussed that response.

"Occupy Wall Street has unleashed a sense of public possibility," Nussbaum said, and is beginning to turn around a "growing sense of social isolation" that organizers had been seeing in the field in recent years, with people feeling that nothing they could do would make a difference to policy or politics.

A majority of Working America members identify as moderates or conservatives, and while more than 80 percent are active voters, they're not typically activists. As such, Republicans are right that it's not these people's style to be out in tents occupying local parks. But Nussbaum reported that the idea of the 99 percent has enormous resonance in the neighborhoods Working America visits, and that explicit support for the Occupy protests far outweighs the opposition Republicans keep pretending is the norm. In fact, in a (non-scientific) phone survey of around 2,500 Working America members, 51 percent said they supported Occupy Wall Street compared with just 16 percent who were opposed and 33 percent who weren't sure.

Organizers are seeing the issues raised by Occupy Wall Street gain currency in the field even when people don't explicitly connect them to the protests. For instance, Nussbaum noted that corporate accountability has for years been the issue people whose doors organizers knock on were least likely to cite as their most important issue. In recent weeks, though, the percentage of people saying corporate accountability was their priority has doubled. "They don't say it's because of Occupy Wall Street," she said. "But this shows how it's infused the public consciousness."

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent essay, Laura. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, jct, pstoller78

    More jobs equal less debt, even our kids can understand that.

    by TomP on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 12:56:32 PM PDT

  •  Of course Republicans will attack with this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, pollwatcher

    That's how the operate. Divide and conquer. Wedge issue after wedge issue. They hope they find something either scares you into voting for their candidate or makes you apathetic enough to not vote. Take this issue, how many people will get off their couch and vote for Warren vs. how many will feel it's "too hippie" and not bother voting at all? If they get a net positive on it they win. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    GOP 2012 -- Austerity is just around the corner!

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 01:00:00 PM PDT

  •  This is just the begining. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Different groups will find different ways to carry the message and move our country forward.  Some will use civil disobedience, others will march, form pressure groups, campaign for candidates and many will move in ways we can't yet imagine. It will be beautiful and powerful.

  •  Excuse me but, what is the message? (0+ / 0-)

    Herein lies a problem with OWS.  They have no spokespeople, and they have no clear message.  So they are being defined by reporters and people being interviewed by the media.  This can be OK if the people reporting and being interviewed say the right things, but when the right is defining the movement, and there is no response, because there is no one to give an official response, well that can lead to problems.

    As long as the MSM gives favorable coverage, it's going to be ok, but once the media starts reporting what the right wing propaganda machine starts lying about, and you know they will, and there is nobody to counter those claims, things are not going to be ok.

    •  The message is...... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hkpa, pstoller78, David Kaib

      We the 99.9% now know that big government, big business and big finance have colluded to impoverish the middle and working classes in order to move a larger and larger percentage of the economic pie to the very few people at the lofty top of the income scale.

      AND -- we are tired of the status quo

      AND -- one way or another, things are going to change.

      This is enough to move the Overton window.

      The rest is policy detail and implementation.

      When and if it becomes necessary to have a more detailed message -- this diary provides a place to start.....  Now Wouldn't THAT be the start of a worthwhile revolution?

      Tikkun olam. Repair the world.

      by sarvanan17 on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 01:32:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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