As Iowa caucuses begin today, the Occupy movement in the state is acting on their own caucus last week – they met together to decide whom they disliked most and would protest against.
After the various Iowa Occupy groups gathered to decry money politics last week, People’s Caucus organizer Ed Fallon told CSPAN the people broke into groups to sort themselves by the candidates they disliked most and determine whose headquarters they would occupy this week.
The results were, Fallon said, “About 30 percent of the people planned to go to Obama’s headquarters, another 60 percent chose one or more of the Republican candidates and about ten percent said they were uncommitted.”
“For years we have been told that the Iowa caucuses are the essence of American Democracy; that this is where we get to speak our minds and show our support for our favorite candidate, But how can this be a democratic process when candidates we are supposed to choose from have already been pre-selected for us?” Occupy Iowa City member Lisa Bonar questioned at the ODM’s People’s Caucus.
“They’ve been selected by their previously held money and power, the cooperate-owned media and by their corporate donors,” she explained.
Occupiers began protesting GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s headquarters last Wednesday. The following day, demonstrators blockaded the entrances of the Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines. Twelve people were arrested.
Attempts to barricade Obama’s Iowa campaign office were abandoned after it was learned that no one had been inside for the past week.
Fallon told CSPAN to expect more action today as tens of thousands of Iowans head to schools, churches and homes to cast their ballot in selecting the Republican who will face off against President Obama.
“After the presidential candidate ‘preference’ groups that we broke into,” Fallon explained, “those become affinity groups and each affinity group will determine what kind of action it wants to engage the particular candidate with.”
Potential actions include staged sit-ins, pitching tents outside campaign headquarters and attending candidates’ events.
Hundreds of protesters visited Romney’s rally the eve of the Iowa caucus calling on the GOP candidate to stop the war on the poor, according to IowaPolitics.com. Three people were arrested.
Paul Engler, an Iowa native and Occupy Los Angeles member, commented, “I am actually very disappointed that Wall Street has given so much money to the candidates that are in our caucuses and Wall Street’s money has corrupted this proud democratic tradition “
Engler clarified that that occupiers are not trying to shut down the Iowa caucus. “We are not here to disrupt the caucuses. We are here to make the caucuses a true representation of the American democratic tradition,” he said.
In a Friday interview, prominent Occupy Des Moines member David Goodner told the Des Moines Register his Catholic faith informs his participation in a movement that followed the presidential candidates at campaign stops and blockaded the Iowa Democratic Party office Thursday.
Goodner, who regularly led ODM “Mic Checks” and served as a spokesperson before being arrested for drugs, told the publication “the Jesus I follow fed homeless, healed the sick, spoke truth to power, marched into Jerusalem and kicked the money changers out of the temple.”