Occupiers Self-Identify as Socialists, Revolutionaries
A new poll out this weekend confirms that Occupy 2.0 is just as anti-capitalist as ever and, according to pollster Doug Scheon, has only become more radical since protests shut down in December. More importantly, a significant percentage of Occupiers admit to having used violence in their past protests and remain open to doing so again.
Doug Schoen posted the results of his poll on Saturday, which shows that 63 percent of the 200 people surveyed at Zuccotti Park have engaged in civil disobedience and 13 percent admit to getting violent "in support of their goals." What are those goals, exactly? That's a question which the mainstream media largely bypassed in the fall. But according to Schoen, the goals of the Occupiers go far beyond pushing the national debate to the left end of the spectrum:
They seek nothing less than a fundamental overhaul of American society, going well beyond the policy prescriptions of many European and Scandinavian social democratic societies.
A majority, 53 percent, oppose "American-style capitalism." Seventy-one percent would like to see "massive redistribution of wealth." What they want, in short, is a socialist society. Nearly 80 percent believe healthcare, education and retirement should all be guaranteed by the government "no matter what the cost." Schoen notes that this is up 14 points from last fall when he asked the same question and only 65 percent wanted this cradle-to-grave welfare society.
Schoen also reports some of the statements his team collected from the Occupiers while conducting the survey. One twenty-something grad student said the goal this year was to "fundamentally revolutionize American society [and transform it] into a cooperative—run by and for the ‘We the 99 percent.'"
Last fall, the mainstream media largely side-stepped the issue of what it was the Occupiers wanted. In part, this was because the Occupiers themselves didn't seem all that clear. But after the movement shut down major ports, blockaded banks, and even launched a protest of the Christmas shopping season, their anti-capitalist bent became obvious. European papers routinely labeled the movement "anti-capitalist" but not here. Our media seemingly decided that was too blunt.
When Occupy 2.0 kicks off tomorrow with an attempt at a general strike designed to shut down as much of America as possible, the press needs to stop framing the movement as the left's answer to the Tea Party. Occupy is much more radical than that. The majority of these people are socialist revolutionaries. It's time to start identifying them as such.