Activists propose 'shutting down' candidate offices during Iowa caucuses
October 31st, 2011
07:36 PM ET
3 years ago

Activists propose 'shutting down' candidate offices during Iowa caucuses

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Occupy Wall Street activists plan to amass in Iowa one week before the Iowa caucuses - up to the day they're held on Jan. 3, CNN has learned.

The plan has been dubbed the "First in the Nation Caucus Occupation" - a play on words for the first-in-the-nation presidential contest. The idea is to have activists from across the nation, and possibly beyond, descend on Iowa.

The plan: "people coming to Iowa, occupying every presidential (candidate's) office, shutting them down until they start talking real turkey about what's going on in this country, where the 99% of the people who are not benefiting, at the expense of the 1% who are getting away with murder," said Frank Cordaro, one of the organizers.

The plan is to target offices for Republican candidates and President Barack Obama's campaign offices in the state.

On Monday evening, a group of Occupy Des Moines activists - who crafted the proposal - presented it to the larger group, seeking an endorsement.

The larger group of 50 to 60 Occupy Des Moines activists backed the idea. Following that, an invitation went out to Occupy Wall Street groups nationwide and beyond to come to Iowa. Thus far, organizers say, they've eyed the dates of December 27 through January 3.

If the protests occur, it appears they would be unprecedented for the Iowa caucus season. They could also spark clashes between Occupy Wall Street activists and scores of conservatives.

On Oct. 22 roughly two dozen Occupy Des Moines activists protested outside a gathering of about 1,000 conservatives attending the Iowa Faith and Freedom coalition in Des Moines.

After being ordered from the front of the venue, activists heckled attendees: "Is this the freedom you preach?"

Presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum attended the event, though it's unclear whether any came in contact with the protesters.

Asked whether protesters intend to disrupt the caucuses and whether their "occupation" might turn violent, Cordaro said:

"Disrupt does not mean violent. We're not going to destroy any property. We're not going to hurt anybody. We're just going to, with our bodies, occupy these offices or shut them down until they actually start talking about the real issues that are facing the 99% of the people who are losers in this country."

"We're not going to prevent anybody from voting. We're not against the actual electoral process. We're against the people who own it right now. And we're trying to reclaim it. We're not trying to destroy it," he added.

Said another creator of the idea, Jessica Reznicek: "Through the occupation of these political campaign headquarters, and actions, we intend to make our voices more known."

The Iowa Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment about the protest plan. The Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement saying they "understand" the frustrations of the protesters.

"That's why we're working hard to make sure President Obama is reelected," party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said in a statement. "While President Obama is working to strengthen middle class, make sure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and reign in Wall Street, Republicans want to let Wall Street write their own rules and return to the same failed economic policies that got us into this mess."

Drew Ivers, a member of the Iowa GOP's Central Committee, was critical of any Occupy Wall Street-type protests.

"They will be engaged in a fruitless effort, because all they will do is create a lot of overtime hours for the Des Moines Police Department, who will make sure they are not obstructing any activity in any of those offices," Ivers said. "So I think their plan is futile."

"I think it's poor judgment on their part to express their frustration of the system," he added. "They should be shutting down, demonstrating outside the halls of the U.S. Capitol, and maybe the president himself."

Ivers also defended his party's presidential hopefuls as "attempting to change the economic plight, not add to it."

"I sympathize with (the Occupy Wall Street) frustration. But I disagree with their methods."

- Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Occupy Wall Street
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    "They will be engaged in a fruitless effort, because all they will do is create a lot of overtime hours for the Des Moines Police Department, who will make sure they are not obstructing any activity in any of those offices," Ivers said. "So I think their plan is futile."
    -------------–

    well I guess all those T-B parties and rallies this clown was OK with was done for free by the cops? What a joke

    October 31, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. DaveGreis

    While I may be a supporter of OccupyWallStreet, I find myself in favor in this idea- voting in a democratic society should be done BY the people, FOR the people.

    October 31, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. James

    These people need to start listening to Dr. Ron Paul. He is the only one who has a plan to balance the budget, get government out of the "picking winners and losers" racket, and just plain get the government out of people's lives. He also voted against the bailouts and predicted the housing crisis years before it happened. He also does not participate in the government pension plan so he not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.

    October 31, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Amelia

    Sounds like it would be good for business in Iowa. Spark the tourism industry. I don't think it would be any warmer than NY, though. What really would make sense is if they took their protest down south to Obama's front door. Of course, liberals will never blame him for any part of this economic crisis.

    October 31, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. claire

    Go Occupy Wallstreet!!! Sensible Americans are 100% behind your objectives!! This is such a great movement in our country,and and a Long time coming! The Tea/Gop is getting real nervous,and starting to sweat!! The people shall overcome this tyranny and Dictatorship tactics of this Party! More boycotts,and walk-outs are in the future,I Hope!!

    November 1, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. pig in a poke

    So now Democrats have taken over the Anarchists OWS protest. What wonderful bedfellows they make.

    Such a great way to subverting the Republicans political process by using a bunch of minions.
    Dems, wake up. Your boy Barack has failed miserably and you are so transparent , we can see right through you.
    Hopefully you will show up at a few polling places and we can toss your butts in jail.

    November 1, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. pig in a poke

    "the real issues that are facing the 99% of the people who are losers in this country"
    At least they get to the heart of the problem and admit they are "losers" they just got the numbers backwards. 99% Americans 1% OWS losers.

    November 1, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. mattski

    Protesting is never a fruitless effort, and only fools measure the value of a protest by its cost to the police department. Go get 'em.

    November 1, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Debbie

    I love this as the OWS is democracy in action vs politics in action! Sam Adams and Patrick Henry would be standing with these people who actively demonstrate their grievences! Go OWS!

    November 1, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Patriot Awesome

    Amelia :
    "Of course, liberals will never blame him for any part of this economic crisis."
    ------------------------------------

    The liberals do blame him for caving in to Republicans too much, causing the economic recovery to stall.

    November 1, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. encore

    take it to michell, and marcus clinic and free the gays from these two demons.

    November 1, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Donkey Party

    To James –

    on the contrary, friend. People should STOP listening to Ron Paul. First of all, he's too old. Second, he's a devout anarchist. And third, and most important, he's a sociopath that would destroy essential government departments (FDA, FAA, TSA, and a host of others) all in the name of smaller government, but keeping the government small enough to make sure middle-class Americans can't afford healthcare, and to make sure women have no choice to own their own bodies. The man is a dangerous example of how far a candidate can go when he has the support of brainwashed single-issue voters, and those that don't do minimal research about his "policies". Just say "NO!!" to Ron Paul.

    November 1, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. stevie

    Maybe they should target and shut down the whitehouse. Obama could shower them with food stamps and "stimulus" cash to appease the bums LOL

    November 1, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. Griddy

    They will last all of 5 minutes in Iowa in January. The caucuses are held in the evening. Temperatures are usually around -3 at that hour, usually with a good breeze blowing. Hope all of them have taken advantage of Obamacare and have health insurance when they end up in the hospital with frostbite.

    November 1, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Yellow-Rose

    Patriot Awesome

    Amelia :
    "Of course, liberals will never blame him for any part of this economic crisis."
    ------------

    The liberals do blame him for caving in to Republicans too much, causing the economic recovery to stall.
    ****************************************************************************************************
    This is what happens when folks like 'Patriot Awesome' keep drinking that Obama-Aid. They don't think clearly. psssst, 'Patriot Awesome', Obama didn't have to cave to the Republicans the first two years of his administration and he still didn't get anything done, other than putting our country in deeper dept, high unemployment, more folks receiving food stamps then in the history of this nation and the list goes on. Yeah, Obama's doing a great job if you stay drunk on that Obama-Aid. Luckily, many that voted for this guy the first time won't make that mistake again and he'll be out in 2012, even with voter fraud.

    November 1, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Food4Thought

    24 people were heckling 1,000 people? The name "99%" is misleading to say the least.

    November 1, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    pig in a poke wrote: "So now Democrats have taken over the Anarchists OWS protest." Really? I read and reread the article and didn't see anything anywhere indicating that Democrats have taken over the "Anarchists" OWS protest. I'm in my 40s with a good job, nice home and great family and I'm one of those "Anarchists". BTW, Every time your ilk uses derogatory terms to describe protesters, we gain more and more support! We couldn't ask for better publicity – so thanks and keep up the good work!

    November 1, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Breeze

    They're basically harmless so if they want to freeze let them do it. It's highly doubtful they'll have any effect other than getting on TV.

    November 1, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Gmartine

    There would be no reason to protest in front of Ron Paul's office. He voted against the bailouts and he has been a lone voice against the Federal Reserve who is most responsible for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

    November 1, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Yellow-Rose

    LOL....someone got it correct when they referred to these "useful idiots" as "Rebels Without A Clue"....LOL

    November 1, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. proudmemberofglobalzero

    Just ask each and everyone of them if they voted in the primaries and general elections in 2010. We never had a fool proof 60 vote majority in the senate. I would never count Ben Nelson or most of the 60 as true democrats.

    If you don't vote, you do not have a say. Wake up youth!

    November 1, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. bessie730

    Hmm – if the protestors don't have jobs, how are they going to get to Iowa? If they do come, bring lots of money for hot chocolate, winter tents, clothing and emergency room visits! I would set your sights elsewhere, the good people of Iowa did not cause this situation and can't do anything about it.

    November 1, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Pam

    "Ivers also defended his party's presidential hopefuls as "attempting to change the economic plight, not add to it."
    Oh come on ! The GOP made the current economic plight! What a maroon!!!

    November 1, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. Breeze

    The unions and Soros will provide the funds as they have so far, plus they've gotten donations from the gullible as well. Hopefully they won't be deficating on cars, raping, stealing or doing any of the other criminal acts they've done at other locations.

    November 1, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. A True Centrist

    "well I guess all those T-B parties and rallies this clown was OK with was done for free by the cops? What a joke"

    Actually Al, organizations have to pay for permits to assemble, including police detail. So yes, I care much less when insane groups like the Tea Party come in because they are paying their own way.

    Quick question, how can these people occupy until January 3rd? Don't they have to go to work, and if unemployed, don't they need to either go look for a job or get the qualifications that would appeal to employers? OR, can we all agree that these are a bunch of lazy people who don't want to work, want to live off the donations of others and play like children all day?

    November 1, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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