With each passing day, the Occupy America movement grows, with demonstrations launched in new cities, the Internet awash in reports and videos (even if mainstream media is mostly still otherwise occupied), and a sense growing among progressives, certainly here in Los Angeles, that something momentous may be in the offing. There’s even talk of an Occupy Burlingame, the San Francisco suburb where the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board will meet next month.
As you might expect from LA Progressive readers, the support for the Occupy America efforts is strong indeed, with half supporting their local Occupy campaign with their time and money, 60% by trying to persuade family friends, and 65% by following news reports closely. Only 10% actively oppose this burgeoning movements.
“I admire and respect each and every one who has come out against our elected officials being bought by the lobbyists,” said one respondent.
“The important thing is that it must have time to gather strength and allies, such as the unions, the progressive churches, and most important, representative participation from the black and latino communities,” said a second respondent. “That is way initial support is so important.”
Our sample does not share the concern that the Occupy America movement so far does not have a single theme or concrete goals, with 65% finding the diverse approach appropriate given the problems facing the country.
But some do find a predominant focus: “The single issue is the inequality in money and power between the 1% and the 99%. Many other problems stem from this lack of democracy. Our democratic institutions are broken due to the control of the 1%, via their money and ownership of the media.”
“This is more of a world uprising,” one respondent said. “The people of Iceland, Spain, Greece, and Britain are connected now to all the third world countries that have been exploited and destabilized by corporations throughout the 20th century.This is a HUGE movement that will take a while to figure out that the corporate structure is undemocratic and antithetical to democracy.”
Occupy America and the 2012 Elections
Our audience was divided on how they think the current demonstrations will play out in next year’s election, with 50% thinking the movement will coalesce into a Tea Party of the Left (hopefully without the sidearms and visions of burning crosses), while 70% thinking the demonstrations will energize activists who will focus more on issues than candidates.
“This will get the attention of the voting public that corporate money is supporting only candidates that represent corporations not the 99%,” said one respondent. “This will work against incumbents and work in favor of the challenger especially if the challenger states like the Governor of Montana that he or she will not will not talk to any lobbyist or take any contributions from special interest groups of corporations.”
Dissenting voices could be found: “A backlash movement will energize conservatives. There are enough level headed people out there who know that the government does not create jobs — a strong business sector does.”
“If nothing else, it is making people on Main Street more aware of how the corporatocracy oppresses them,” concluded another survey taker.
Few survey takers though LA would live up to its “arrive late, leave early” reputation for sporting events and concerts. The majority think Occupy LA will feed off successes elsewhere and will thrive come rain or sign, dude.
“The fact that there is clear support from the Mayor and City Council – the opposite of what has happened in NYC – will increase the visibility here and nationwide,” said one commentor, noting a distinct difference with Occupy LA from demonstrations elsewhere. “Current protestors come from the Valley, the Inland Empire, the coastal communities as well as Los Angeles proper.”
The Long View
Overall, LA Progressive readers who took this survey are quite enthusiastic about Occupy America’s potential. Five or 10 years from now, most think we’ll look back upon these days fondly:
“That they were an historic start to a new progressive, working class movement.”
“A pivotal moment, a wake-up call for those old-timers still addicted to electoral politics.”
“I hope we will think they were the start of something great and the tipping of the scale back toward an America that cares about all of her people.”
Let it be so.
Take this week’s survey, “Lame Stream?” on the effectiveness of today’s media.
— Dick Price, Editor
Saturday Survey: Progressive Winds — October 7, 2011