[Globe & Mail, Canada]



El Pais, Spain

Occupy Wall Street: Will it Help or Hinder Reelection of Obama?


"After an initial phase in which, sure enough, the movement provides a small moral boost to the left, this model of protest will be detrimental to the president. … The Democratic Party, although populist in the distant past, has long been the party of the establishment. Both its leaders and its message are opposed to type of leftism represented today by OWS."


By Antonio Caño



Translated By María Celeste Chantre Fortes Alves


October 18, 2011


Spain - El Pais - Original Article (Spanish)

A member of 'Occupy London' demontrates outside the U.S. Embassy in London in support of Occupy Wall Street, Nov. 15.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: New York judge backs the eviction of Occupy Wall Street from their camp at Zuccotti Park, Nov. 15, 00:01:52RealVideo

Forget the controversy over its actual dimensions. Very often in politics, what facts are based on is worth less than the perceptions they create. This has never been more true than in the case of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the presence of which is more virtual than real, and the power of which depends on a capacity to shake things up rather than on popular support. The fact is that at least for now, the political class has made OWS part of its agenda. It is now part of the national debate.


David Axelrod, who bears primary responsibility for Obama 2012, has predicted that OWS “will be an issue in the next election.” President Obama himself has spoken in positive terms of the movement, which he defined as “an expression of citizen frustration.” And after expressing initial criticism, the Republican number two in Congress, Eric Cantor, has also expressed his “understanding” of the occupiers, with whom he agreed that “there is too much disparity of income” in the United States.


No one yet knows how far the protest movement will go, and therefore, no one wants to openly earn its hostility. Democrats predict that OWS may help mobilize their base, which is quite disappointed with Obama. Republicans expect the movement, insofar as the movement amplifies complaints about the state of the economy, to generate a protest vote against the president.



Who is right? Will the occupiers help or harm Obama? My prediction is that after an initial phase in which, sure enough, the movement provides a small moral boost to the left, this model of protest will be detrimental to the president. These are my reasons:


-- Populism is the terrain of the right. As was proven by the Tea Party, the Republican Party is capable of incorporating extreme right-wing populism and making the most out of it in terms of electoral performance. Even paying a price in terms of a lack of discipline and leadership tension, the opposition has managed to coalesce around the Tea Party and in this way has earned power and influence thanks to the movement. However, the Democratic Party, although populist in the distant past, has long been the party of the establishment. Both its leaders and its message are opposed to type of leftism represented today by OWS.


-        Obama is a centrist leader. Despite the current offensive to tax the rich, Obama’s nature is that of a conciliatory moderate. Perhaps some misinterpreted his promises of change in 2008, but the reality is that he never ran as a candidate of the left. His most repeated slogan that year was to, “end the divide between red states and blue states to strengthen the United States of America.” His next campaign will be based on contrasting himself with the radicalism offered by Republican candidates. At some point during the campaign he will recover his centrist profile and disappoint OWS supporters.


-        Elections are decided by independents. Both parties know that without them there is no victory. Independents supported Obama in 2008 as a form of punishment to Bush and they backed Republicans as a punishment to Obama in 2010. The president is confident that in 2012 he'll be able to get win back many independents who fear conservative extremism. But such a strategy will fail if the extremism of OWS gets in the way.   




[Guardian Unlimited, UK]



Wochenzeitung, Switzerland: Swiss Occupy Movement Too Respectful of Authority

Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: 'Occupy' is the 'Mega-Event of the Century'
Mainichi Shimbun?, Japan: 'Occupy Wall Street' Threatens to Divide American Society

Kayhan, Iran: Wall Street Uprisings Herald Victory of Islam and Iran!
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany: Like Americans, Germans Must Stand Up at Last!

La Jornada, Mexico: Jobs' Career Showed How Capitalism was Meant to Work
Die Welt, Germany: Wall Street Occupied by Tea Party of 'Generation-Twitter'

Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy: How Finance Sector Greed Tramples on Human Rights
FTD, Germany: America's Economic Crash Had Little to do with September 11
Estadao, Brazil: To Shorten Crisis, U.S., E.U. Should Look to Latin America
Frankfurter Rundschau: Obama's Middle Road is Fatal
La Jornada, Mexico: The 'Grand Debt' of U.S. Families
Jornal Do Brasil, Brazil: American Default and the End of 'Zero Risk'
The Telegraph, U.K.: World Needs America to Come to its Senses
El Pais, Spain: Playing Chicken is the World's Newest Sport
Mainichi Shimbun, Japan: U.S. Must Prevent Another 'Made in U.S.' Disaster
Yomiori Shimbun, Japan: U.S. Lawmakers Should 'Stop Playing Political Games'
Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Russia: The U.S. and Soviets: Pyramid Builders to Raiders
Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: 'Radical' Republicans Threaten U.S. with Ruin
Tiscali Notizie, Italy: The Fiscal Decline of the 'Apocalypse'
News, Switzerland: Notion: 'Pay Politicians Based on Performance'
Salzburger Nachrichten, Austria: Debt Ceiling Attack By Republicans 'Backfires'
Gazeta, Russia: America's Astonishing 'Battle for the Ceiling'
People's Daily, China: U.S. Game of Chicken Threatens Creditors and Economy
Die Zeit, Germany: U.S. Risks 'Plunging World' Into New Financial Crisis
O Globo, Brazil: Global Economy Hangs on 'Mood' of U.S. Voters
The Telegraph, U.K.: Down on the Fourth of July: The United States of Gloom
Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: For Americans, a Dour Independence Day
Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: Who Cares about the U.S. Economy?
Folha, Brazil: U.S. Conservatives Threaten to Plunge U.S. into 'Lost Decade'


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-        OWS divides the youth vote. To a certain degree, it is unlikely that the movement will end up openly betting on Obama. Nevertheless, its presence will only serve to confuse young people and divide their votes. The Obama campaign hopes that this segment of the population will - at the last minute - opt for the president for a lack of better alternative options. To the extent that the Wall Street occupiers offer other options like street politics or even voting for other radical groups like that led by Republican candidate Ron Paul, it will not make Obama’s re-election easier. This is a cynical yet valid argument.


-        OWS doesn't provide Hispanic or Black votes. The movement doesn't enjoy any outright support from these communities. It doesn't compensate, therefore, for voter support that may be lost for the reasons mentioned above.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Nov. 16, 6:02pm]


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