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Iowa Activists: 'Occupy Wall Street Is The Third Party'

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OCCUPY IOWA CAUCUS
Michael J. Hunt

This revolution probably will be televised.

Representatives of Occupy Des Moines on Monday announced their intention to occupy the January 3 Iowa Caucuses. But first, they plan to make their presence felt at the campaign headquarters of presidential candidates.

David Goodner, a community organizer with the advocacy group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, summarized the platform of the initiative Monday at the site of the Occupy Des Moines encampment.

"We're sending a clear message to the Republican field and (President) Obama," he said.
"Community before corporations, people before profits."

According to Goodner, the plan to occupy campaign offices is just one part of a larger strategy that came out of a working group which meets regularly to discuss "Direct Actions" and other targeted initiatives executed by demonstrators.

As to the impact the occupy movement has had since it began nearly a month ago, Goodner said it's still too early to tell.

"One impact we've had is on the public conversation," he said. "The president has responded rhetorically, but unfortunately there are no policies to back it. Talk is cheap, I wanna see some action."

Meanwhile Goodner, a University of Iowa alum, said he has "no illusions" that a Republican candidate would be any more responsive than the current administration.

"Perry, Romney, and Cain are shitheads," he said. "They want to cut, de-regulate and privatize everything. They're as corporate as it gets."

On Tuesday, Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky issued a statement on the latest action by Occupy Iowa.

"We understand their frustrations with Wall Street and that's why we're working hard to make sure President Obama is reelected," said Dvorsky. "While President Obama is working to strengthen middle class, make sure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and reign in Wall Street, Republicans want to let Wall Street write their own rules and return to the same failed economic policies that got us into this mess."

The spokesperson for the Republican Party of Iowa, Ryan Gough, referenced a statement Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn gave to the Des Moines Register on Monday:

"It's ironic that this group would choose to disrupt the most grassroots-oriented process in national politics - the Iowa caucuses."

Interestingly, the two Republican candidates currently leading in the Iowa polls are the two campaigns with arguably the least presence in the state, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, which means that the largest presence occupying those campaign offices could be the activists from Stewart Park.

Both campaigns will need to ramp up their efforts in the coming weeks if they hope to finish strong in the state.

Goodner, on the other hand, is encouraged by the momentum the occupy movement has picked up over the last few weeks.

"We no longer need a third party candidate," said Goodner. "Occupy Wall Street is the third party."

Michael J. Hunt is a political observer, trained in Oakland, based in the Heartland. If you are interested in contributing to The Huffington Post's Off the Bus 2012 as a citizen reporter, please visit www.offthebus.org.