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Protest Movement Spreading Worldwide

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is perceived as a political left ally reinforced by hard economic times. Its actual impact remains cloudy.
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 10/4/2011, 10:53 PM

The Occupy Wall Street Movement, that started on September 17th, is gathering geographic and sectoral impetus.

Tomorrow a national student walkout is planned in which students will walk out of their classrooms to protest "unforgivable student debt and soaring tuition rates". The teachers unions have promised their backing.

More than 100 cities have become “Occupy” franchises ranging from Mobile, Alabama to Adelaide, Australia. The modus operandi is similar as a loosely organized network of protesters armed with sleeping bags, sandwiches, and placards takes over public squares.

The participants are technically savvy, communicating via social media and e-mail. They are making lack of organization into an organizational principle.

“The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent,” said one manifesto. “We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”

The demands are closer to the political left. Some on the left view the movement as the response to the Tea Party. The shutdown of nuclear reactors, trillions for ecology and the anti-bank and anti-Wall Street animus are the prevalent tones.

While the movement is presumably non-political the political calculations have already started. Liberals believe that their side will be energized by the demonstrators, while conservatives hope that the demonstrations will exhaust the general public's patience and function as a caricature of liberalism.

Looking back at 1968, the student demonstrators then essentially helped elect the conservative Richard Nixon and doomed the candidacy of Hubert Humphrey, an icon of liberalism.

America's opponents, such as Iran, are well pleased by the demonstrations and the pictures from Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge where 700 demonstrators were arrested. After all, a low-key  "American Spring" with preoccupied decision-makers leaves no time for assisting Middle Eastern democracy protesters who are in life threatening situations.