Wall St protests to impact on US election
by Kieu Van
The social movement "Occupy Wall Street" began spontaneously in New York City but now it's believed it will influence the 2012 US presidential election campaign.
The movement, which has increase in both the quantity of participants and the quality of the demonstration, broke out as the presidential election campaign trips were looming.
So the question – how long will the movement exist – will depend on the US political parties. Maybe it will last through to the 2012 election year.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters demanded an end to economic inequality, corporate greed and the influence of corporate money in government.
They follow three trends.
First, the protesters demand Democrats and President Barack Obama, as well as Republicans, correct the strategies and tactics of running for President. They will make full use of the opportunity to constrain bank owners in Wall Street to seek changes in financial regimes.
This reform could help the US economy recover its growth rate and create more jobs.
Second, sensible tactics that Democrats or Republicans may issue during the 2012 election campaign will target a huge number of swing voters.
Le Phuong, secretary of the Editorial Board of the Dat Viet newspaper and an expert in international affairs said: "If the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to expand, it could affect the influence of each or either of the Democrats and Republicans."
Third, other political parties will take advantage of the movement as a tool to gather voter support. At that time, the movement will be politicised.
Stephen Lendman, renowned author from Chicago-base Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalisation said "Major Wall Street banks occupy and control Washington. They recycle their officials in and out, make policy and enforce it with money power supremacy for virtually everything they want. Political Washington salutes and obeys."
The opinion in US political circles differs. Phuong said it was difficult to predict because the US political system was very complicated.
Obama has led Democrats in tentatively embracing the movement. He told a rally in Jamestown, North Carolina, en route to neighbouring Virginia on Wednesday that the vast majority of Americans would see a tax cut under the job bill – which was a US$447 billion proposal aimed at reviving economic growth and curbing the 9.1 per cent unemployment.
Ahead of the speech, White House officials drew a strong connection between public frustrations on display in the spreading Occupy Wall Street protests and Republican efforts to roll out financial reforms.
Obama's spokesman Jay Carney told reporters early this week "The President has expressed an understanding of the frustration that the demonstrations manifest and represent."
Phuong said if US finance companies corrected policy following the protest demands it would be a good sign.
"Protesters claims are vague," he said. The protesters demand Wall Street [banks, financial companies etc] accept their responsibilities for the economic breakdown and improve the situation but they haven't put forward any concrete ideas.
To bring about a real change, it needs the US Government to introduce policies for "financial reform" in Wall Street.
Reforming the financial regime would surely stimulate the US economy and provide the basis for stable growth.
Americans used to believe in the changes Obama promised in his presidential race in 2007 and 2008: stable jobs, improved economy, increased tax on the rich and a better health and education programme. However after three years they are disappointed.
The movement, appears to be an ultimatum from the people to the Obama administration and the Republican party candidates and the international community is waiting for the US Government's response.
Phuong said, "It is difficult to imagine a revolutionary breakthrough occurring in US political life as a result of the protest. It will probably only have a social impact."
Spread like wildfire
A month after a few students set up camp in New York's stock exchange centre, the Occupy Wall Street movement spread across the United States and to Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
In Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, 3,000 people chanted and banged drums in a protest last weekend denouncing corporate greed.
Around 4,000 Greeks with banners bearing slogans like "Greece is not for sale" staged an anti-austerity rally in Athens' Syntagma Square while 1,000 protesters rallied in front of city hall in Paris, coinciding with the G-20 finance chiefs' meeting.
In London, around 2,000 people assembled outside St Paul's Cathedral near the City financial district for a rally dubbed "Occupy the London Stock Exchange."
If the US economy does recover, it will be a good for the global economy, especially for countries depending on exports to the US market. — VNS