Saturday, October 8

Iowa City is Otherwise Occupied

Occupy Iowa supporters in Iowa City have taken up residency in College Green Park for the forseeable future to organize and protest against the shift of power from the 99% of Americans who find themselves without a clear voice defending their rights from the 1% of Americans who hold the political capital. In a way, it might seem jaded that a college town in the Midwest is joining in the fray. After all, aren't these the children of relative wealth attending a university with aspirations to join the class that they are protesting?

Turns out, not so much. Because among the young people are also older people who have seen their economic stability shift dramatically thanks to the crisis in the financial and housing sectors. There are teachers, librarians, blue and white collar workers among the group, as well as self-proclaimed socialists and libertarians.

But they have camped themselves in a place where not a lot of Iowa Citians let alone others are likely to see them. If the purpose were pure political theater, this would be a poor choice of location as it is on the fringe of downtown in a residential neighborhood. However, as these occupiers are using their time to draft a statement of occupation, it is actually an encouraging move to restore the democracy that they believe is slipping from their grasps. As this and other Occupation groups meet together, it is likely that a political movement could arise that would rival the Tea Party as a grassroots movement. The chief difference here, it would appear, is that this movement is a grassroots movement without the backing of deep pocketed interests such as the Koch brothers.
It will remain to be seen what this all means, but for now, let's wish them well and hope that they become the change that we can believe in.

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