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'Occupy Congress' attempts to get lawmakers' attention

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Villanova University social movement researcher Catherine Wilson calls Tuesday’s action an important escalation of the movement’s potential power.  

“By moving its site of operation to the halls of Congress, Occupy hopes not only to frame the key political issues at hand but also to influence political decision-making by building relationships with public officials,” she notes via email. Support from public officials would benefit Occupy as a whole by lending the movement legitimacy, she says.

But lobbying members of Congress reduces the original spirit of Occupy Wall Street to politicking, says Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher. 

“The occupy movement did not emerge from a desire to become a lobbying body,” he says. He does note that this strategy will parallel other civil disobedience kinds of activities, but adds, “Civil disobedience is more in line with the original Occupy Wall Street movement, much more so than any direct pressure on Congressional representatives.”

But, says Fordham university researcher, Heather Gautney, there may be a bit of both going on in the Capitol strategy.

“The spirit of Occupy is not to turn its back on politicians and the state, it's to take them over, and democratize them,” she notes via email. That is what Occupy means, she points out, adding, “confrontation, taking over, and repossession, including democratic processes.”

 Let many flowers bloom and the meadow will be that much richer, says New York activist and filmmaker David Intrator, who has been involved with the Occupy movement in his city from its beginnings.

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