Senator Tom Harkin says the Occupy Wall Street movement has raised some important issues, but he is concerned by a local group’s threat to “occupy” the Iowa Caucuses.
“That would be wrong,” Harkin says. “If they really want to make changes, they should now take their energies out and get people to come to the caucuses. That’s what they should be doing.”
The “Occupy Des Moines” group has invited “Occupy Wall Street” protesters from around the country to Des Moines in the last week of December to “occupy” presidential candidates’ headquarters. One leader in the movement said they would physically stay inside those headquarters until they get a “better response” from the candidates to the “movement’s grievances” — or are “forcibly removed” by police.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad has said local and state officials are taking that “threat” seriously, and making plans to deal with mass protests. Harkin, a Democrat, suggests an occupation of the Caucuses would be counterproductive to the group’s goals.
“These Occupy movements, I think, have been good. They’re exercising their constitutional rights and I think they’ve given a lot of voice to the other 99 percent who aren’t coming out and doing things, that aren’t demonstrating,” Harkin says. “I think it’s focused a lot of public attention. I just hope now that they will transform that into more positive actions.”
Harkin made his comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which will be broadcast tonight on Iowa Public Television.