The Occupy Wall Street Movement impacted on the Ohio election

Posted on November 21st, 2011 in Culture,Economy by Robert Miller

Writer Andy Kroll has a piece in TomDispatch “How the 99% Won in the Fight for Worker Rights,” explaining how the OWS movement that began in New York on September 17, 2011 and spread to hundreds of different sites, impacted the election of 2011 that he was following in Ohio. I believed intuitively that OWS had a big impact on the November elections, but most visibly and pointedly in Ohio and Andy Kroll offers evidence for this turnaround. His piece is worth a read because he has tabulated the incidence of words like “debt reduction” and “unemployment” to show the impact of the OWS movement in transitioning news emphasis: here are a couple of quotes from his article:

What a game-changing few months it’s been. Occupy Wall Street has inspired 750 events around the world, and hundreds of (semi-)permanent encampments around the United States. In so doing, the protests have wrestled the national discussion on the economy away from austerity and toward gaping income inequality (the 99% versus 1% theme), outsized executive compensation, and the plain buying and selling of American politicians by lobbyists and campaign donors.

More from his piece:

Mentions of the phrase “income inequality” in print publications, web stories, and broadcast transcripts spiked from 91 times a week in early September to nearly 500 in late October, according to the website Politico — an increase of nearly 450%. In the second week of October, according to ThinkProgress, the words most uttered on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News were “jobs” (2,738), “Wall Street” (2,387), and “Occupy” (1,278). (References to “debt” tumbled to 398.)

I subscribe to Andy Kroll’s theory–that the surprising election that took place earlier this month was energized and perhaps even converted from austerity and fear to a public mood more oriented towards social justice. If the OWS movement can find a way to energize the country, the election of 2012 could be a game-changer for a more sensible turn away from economic injustice to recognizing that the traditional social policies we installed for the last depression, must be maintained and our economic system must turn away from the neoliberal constraints that have hollowed out our culture and narrowed our economic opportunities. It is not right that the very people who brought on this financial collapse still receive huge bonuses and display no shame.


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