Beyond , New Paths to Influence Seizing Parks
By CARA BUCKLEY
They said they were already trying to broaden their influence, for instance by deepening their involvement in community groups and spearheading more of what they described as direct actions, like withdrawing money from banks, and were considering supporting like-minded political candidates.
Still, some acknowledged that the crackdowns by the authorities in
“We poured a tremendous amount of resources into defending a park that was nearly symbolic,” said Han Shan, an Occupy Wall Street activist in
Even before the police descended on
On Monday, Adbusters, the Canadian anti-corporate magazine that conceived of the movement, indicated that the protesters should “declare victory” and head indoors to strategize.
Marina Sitrin, a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York who is involved in the movement, said its influence would continue to ripple out. People are already assembling to address local issues in Harlem and
Indeed, with winter looming, it seemed possible that Occupy Wall Street’s encampment would end on its own as the cold drove people away.
Maurice Isserman, a history professor at
In New York and around the country, the news media had begun highlighting less savory aspects of the occupations, including drug use, crime and influxes of homeless people who were not motivated by ideology, which could change the message from “we are the 99 percent” to “we are urban pathology,” Professor Isserman said.
“And suddenly, with a stroke, that’s no longer the problem or the issue,” he said, referring to the evictions.
Still, questions endure about whether, without
Doug McAdam, a sociology professor at Stanford, predicted that the energy could quickly dissipate without the occupation. “The focal point will be lost,” he said.
The protesters did return to the park later Tuesday, with the city’s permission, but without the prohibited tents, tarps and sleeping bags that carried them through so many nights.
“Occupy Wall Street can only grow,” said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for the group.
The organizers continue to claim public support. Donations topped half a million dollars weeks ago, and their storehouse, blocks away from the park in
One question is how protesters in other cities will react to the events in
In interviews, protesters on Tuesday dismissed such speculation, saying that the clearing of
“Whenever there is pushback, especially under cover of darkness, I think it will make us stronger,” said Dan Massoglia, a spokesman for Occupy Chicago.
Officials will be watching closely. The authorities have now cracked down on camps in
William A. Galston, a senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution, said Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots were grappling with what many new movements face. “What do you do for an encore when you’ve gotten people’s attention?” he said.
While grass-roots movements influenced many major social changes in the United States in the last century, Dr. Galston said that after they garnered attention, they invariably moved on to concrete demands, which the Occupy Wall Street effort has been criticized for lacking. The Tea Party, for example, has sought to repeal President Obama’s health care law.
It is apparent, though, that Occupy Wall Street’s impact is already being felt.
Union officials said the movement was a factor last week when
“They helped define what it was that was going on, and gave people a sense that you can do something about it,” said Damon Silvers, the policy director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.
Less certain is the movement’s impact on party politics. The protests took off just as Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats began trying to push Republicans to agree to a so-called millionaire’s tax. Some Democrats cautiously embraced the movement for raising the issue of income inequality, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee started a petition drive that it called “100,000 Strong Standing With Occupy Wall Street.”
Last month, after the Congressional Budget Office reported that the top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades, Mr. Obama used his weekly radio address to discuss the report and income inequality, saying that the middle class was under pressure.
Some Republicans, including presidential candidates, have sought to portray Occupy Wall Street protesters as a band of far-left rabble-rousers.
All of which indicates that the protesters’ message has trickled up, despite their tendency to reject the major political parties, analysts said.
Dr. Galston predicted that though protesters across the country were being pushed out of their encampments, their issues would endure.
“The underlying reality to which the movement has called attention is too big, too pervasive, too important to go away,” he said.
Reporting was contributed by Michael Cooper from New York; Dan Frosch from Denver; Malia Wollan from Berkeley, Calif.; and Steven Yaccino from Chicago.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs