Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Occupy-Inspired Candidates

A story that caught my eye earlier this week was the news that a number of Occupy-inspired candidates plan to run for congress.

Now, the inspired bit is important as none of them have been officially endorsed by the Occupy movement.

According to William Dobbs, a press liaison officer from Occupy Wall Street's New York base:

"Occupy doesn't endorse candidates or parties.

"We want to be a squeaky wheel for economic justice outside of the system to get the attention of those in power."

Still, many of the candidates have expressed sympathies with the ideals and goals of Occupy, citing issues such as income inequality and the enormous gulf, both economically and politically, between those at the top and everyone else.

Mother Jones, an American bimonthly magazine, also operating online, and on the liberal end of the spectrum, puts their chances of success at anything between fair and excellent.

When I wrote about the Occupy movement in England last year, this was the kind of thing I had in mind. The hope that it'd spawn dozens and dozens of potential parliamentary or council candidates. It still might. We are, after all, three years away from a general election, but I'm not holding my breath.

This is not in any way to diminish the impact that the movement has had in the UK. It has only taken a few hundred people to highlight what many on the left have spoken and written about for years.

Financial rewards for failure, fall in wages and living standards for anyone not part of the 1%, even during the good times, tax avoidance/evasion. These are now very much part of the political lexicon, and should form the backbone of any centre-left/left wing fightback against anyone seeking to preserve and justify the status-quo.

But, I still believe that there's a far greater chance of reforming the system from the inside. Demonstrations, petitions, campaigns, can only do so much.

The aim is to get these people in politics. Without a new breed of radicals, little will change.

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