FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Occupy Obama

by JOHN STAUBER

President Barack Obama is no longer running unchallenged in all the major primary states, thanks to activists in Iowa who are focusing their Occupy Wall Street activism onto the headquarters of the Obama for President campaign office this Saturday, October 22,  in Des Moines.

The “Occupy Obama” event is being organized in part  by veteran rabble rouser Hugh Espey and his highly effective Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a grassroots force that has been fighting for economic and social justice since the 1970s.  CCI members are already participating in Occupy Wall Street actions in nine Iowa towns.  Occupy Obama seems a logical next step to escalate the movement further into national view and create the potential for debate and organizing within the Iowa presidential caucuses in January.

Espey criticized Obama by name in a Des Moines Register guest editorial of October 6, 2011 announcing CCI’s support for Occupy Wall Street actions in Iowa.  “Our political leaders are too busy asking big banks and Wall Street corporations for campaign contributions to push the ‘put people first’ policies that this nation needs,” he wrote.  CCI will march on Obama’s campaign headquarters in Des Moines on Saturday.  This Occupy Obama action could catch fire nationally, especially given the frustration widely voiced that not one prominent Democrat is willing to oppose Obama in the Democratic Party’s primary races.  Occupy Obama could partly fill that void.  “We’ll deliver a simple, powerful message to Obama staffers, and do a speak-out as well.  We want regular folks telling the Obama staffers what they think.  We want Obama to understand that the 99% demand action from him to put communities before corporations and people before profits,” says CCI.

Obama’s social and economic justice rhetoric, and his opposition to the war in Iraq, won him the 2008 Democratic nomination and the presidency.  Millions of independents, young and ethnically diverse voters found him a compelling agent for the “Change” and “Hope” he extolled as a mantra.  But the failure of Obama’s policies to adhere to his campaign rhetoric should not really be surprising.   Candidate Obama in 2008 beat every other Democrat in collecting the most campaign contributions from the wealthiest funders of the Democratic Party, the 1% as opposed to the 99%, aka Wall Street.  He has announced his goal for 2012 of raising one billion dollars which again will require the firm support of the very wealthiest Democratic Party interests.

President Obama has been a huge disappointment on issues across the board, yet he was running unchallenged in the primaries until CCI announced its Occupy Obama action.  Don’t be surprised if this Des Moines event is the start of a successful nation-wide Occupy Obama movement.  In Iowa an Occupy Obama movement has real potential because it could choose to become a player in the Iowa caucuses in a way that is much more than symbolic.  Occupy Obama activists could show up at the caucus meetings in January, for instance, and organize support for an Uncommitted slate of  Occupy Obama convention activists.  These Uncommitted delegates could provide a critical voice on the floor of the Obama convention in the summer of 2012.

Some Obama supporters and interest groups have advocated using the Occupy Wall Street cause to help elect Obama and other Democrats, coopting the movement.  However, an Occupy Obama movement could turn that scenario on its head.  A growing Occupy Obama movement could directly confront the failures of the Democratic Party to represent most people.

If Occupy Obama takes off, 2012 might feel a bit like 1968.  Back then the Guns And Butter policies of Lyndon Johnson were destroying not just Vietnam, where millions eventually died, but also killing Johnson’s own domestic social programs, his Great Society reforms.  The rapidly growing anti-war movement in 1968 rallied behind two Democratic Party primary challengers, Senators Gene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy.  It forced the resignation of Johnson, but the bosses of the Democratic Party handed the nomination to Johnson’s Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who lost to Richard Nixon.

While an Occupy Obama movement would be very unlikely to prevent his renomination, it could make him and his Party’s shortcomings a front and center issue.  It could ignite a  Democratic Party reform movement, as 1968 did, leading to some take back of the corporate Democratic Party by grassroots activists.  It could also lead to the support and emergence of other parties more representative of the people, as opposed to helping Wall Street and giant corporations.

2012’s interwoven crises of failing empire, economic desperation, corporate corruption, corporate control of government and bought elections, might have created a political turning point if the Occupy movement can keep upping the ante and building its numbers.  Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement could well be firing a shot heard round the nation, if an Occupy Obama movement emerges to pressure the Democrats, utilizing the 2012 election to pursue this goal.  Occupy Obama 2012 may be coming soon to an Obama Campaign or Democratic Party office near you!

JOHN STAUBER is the co-author of six books including Iraq: Weapons of Mass Deception and The Best War Ever. His anti-war activism began in high school in the 1960s opposing the war in Vietnam. The opinions in this article are his alone. His email address is: john.stauber@gmail.com
.

More articles by:

John Stauber is an independent writer, activist and author.  His books include Toxic Sludge Is Good for YouMad Cow USA and Weapons of Mass Deception.  In 1993 he founded the Center for Media and Democracy to exposed corporate, political and media propaganda campaigns.  He retired from the Center in 2008.  http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnstauber.

January 18, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Destabilizer: Trump’s Escalating Threats Against Iran
John W. Whitehead
Silence Is Betrayal: Get Up, Stand Up, Speak Up for Your Rights
Andrew Day
Of “Shitholes” and Liberals
Dave Lindorff
Rep. Gabbard Speaks Truth to Power About the Real Reason Korea Has Nukes
Barbara G. Ellis
The Workplace War: Hatpins Might Be in Style Again for Women
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Sickness in May’s Britain
Ralph Nader
Twitter Rock Star Obama’s Silence Must Delight Trump
John G. Russell
#Loose Lips (Should) Sink … Presidencies … But Even If They Could, What Comes Next?
David Macaray
The “Mongrelization” of the White Race
Ramzy Baroud
In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli Violence
January 17, 2018
Seiji Yamada
Prevention is the Only Solution: a Hiroshima Native’s View of Nuclear Weapons
Chris Welzenbach
Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir
Thomas Klikauer
The Business of Bullshit
Howard Lisnoff
The Atomized and Siloed U.S. Left
Martha Rosenberg
How Big Pharma Infiltrated the Boston Museum of Science
George Wuerthner
The Collaboration Trap
David Swanson
Removing Trump Will Require New Activists
Michael McKinley
Australia and the Wars of the Alliance: United States Strategy
Binoy Kampmark
Macron in China
Cesar Chelala
The Distractor-in-Chief
Ted Rall
Why Trump is Right About Newspaper Libel Laws
Mary Serumaga
Corruption in Uganda: Minister Sam Kutesa and Company May Yet Survive Their Latest Scandal
January 16, 2018
Mark Schuller
What is a “Shithole Country” and Why is Trump So Obsessed With Haiti?
Paul Street
Notes From a “Shithole” Superpower
Louisa Willcox
Keeper of the Flame for Wilderness: Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Sinister Plan to Kill the Iranian “Nukes” Deal
Franklin Lamb
Kafkaesque Impediments to Challenging Iran’s Theocracy
Norman Solomon
Why Senator Cardin is a Fitting Opponent for Chelsea Manning
Fred Gardner
GI Coffeehouses Recalled: a Compliment From General Westmoreland
Brian Terrell
Solidarity from Central Cellblock to Guantanamo
Don Fitz
Bondage Scandal: Looking Beneath the Surface
Rob Seimetz
#Resist Co-opting “Shithole”
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Unique
January 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Democrats and the End(s) of Politics
Paul Tritschler
Killing Floor: the Business of Animal Slaughter
Mike Garrity
In Targeting the Lynx, the Trump Administration Defies Facts, Law, and Science Once Again
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Hong Kong Politics: a Never-Ending Farce
Uri Avnery
Bibi’s Son (Or Three Men in a Car)
Dave Lindorff
Yesterday’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Can Become Classy Places Donald, and Vice Versa
Jeff Mackler
Lesser Evil Politics in Alabama
Jonah Raskin
Typewriters Still Smoking? An Interview with Underground Press Maven John McMillan
Jose-Antonio Orosco
Trump’s Comments Recall a Racist Past in Immigration Policy
David Macaray
Everything Seems to Be Going South
Kathy Kelly
41 Hearts Beating in Guantanamo
Weekend Edition
January 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
George Burchett
Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail