Activists propose 'shutting down' candidate offices during Iowa caucuses
October 31st, 2011
07:36 PM ET
11 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. Hangar13

    In my whole life I've never seen a more perfect textbook example of what is meant by the term "Useful Idiots." These people don't know what they're protesting, don't know what they would propose as an alterrnative course of action, can't answer the most basic questions about any pertinent issue, and are totally convinced that they're right. All they know is that they're being funded by someone, somewhere (hey, pay attention, it's the usual suspects, George Soros and a host of leftist, socialist, and communist groups) and as far as they're concerned, it's Woodstock. As for you Useful Idiots who claim to support these unruly crowds, I challenge you to go to one of their protests, engage them in conversation, and see if you can get one single coherent thought out of any of them. And while you're at it, you might want to tell tham that a general strike among people who don't do anything tends to go unnoticed. What are they going to do, stop being a burden on society for 72 hours?

    November 1, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. mesamick

    The MSM is paying way to much attention and giving undeserving weight and importance to an uber-conservative popularity contest in a state made up of a handful of farmers, buy-bull pounders and backwards looking regressionists who are stuck living in the 19th century...

    IA, NH and SC should not be "the first" but rather should be among the last to even comment on much less be the "deciders" of who is POTUS material and who isn't. CA, NY, FL and yes even TX should be among the first to VOTE – not caucus – on each party's list of candidates.

    November 1, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. lowenheim skolem

    Wait, why doesn't CNN include stated facts about GOP candidate's economic plans for context at the end of the article. CNN simply transcribes the GOP spokescritter's statement without factual context. But the fact of the matter is that every single GOP candidate has suggested that the only idea for improving the economy that the can think of is "more tax cuts for the 1%." How is that supposed to work? We've been trying that for the last 30 years. The rich get richer. The deficit skyrockets. And the jobs never trickle down. I guess this is why Occupy is so essential. We can't rely on the media to ask tough questions and provide crucial context. We have to occupy public spaces to get the message out ourselves.

    November 1, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. diridi

    stupid Republican thugs better get this message....shipping jobs overseas, manipulating oil prices, ignoring health care by being sold out to insurance thus., sending men to needless wars and giving them some money like chunk of bone to dogs...wake up....wake up.....This is like arson and wild fire in the nation....o.k, we needed this revolt long time is there...good luck...

    November 1, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Dave, Central Illinois

    Wow, for out of work people, they have a lot of money for travel expenses. These are simply hired protestors who are less likely unable than unwilling to get a real job and be productive.

    November 1, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. rjohn

    Ok 4 teaP 2 take 2 streets.
    But when others voice fact based concerns that impact even those that R bad mouthing them on this site,
    Folks are dumb enough to attack those that could help others lives get better.
    Wake up and stop drinking the Fox kool aid

    November 1, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. steve

    yes, welcome to the hearland, give this whitebread, religious value voters something to think about other than anti-abortion christian crap.

    November 1, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Feast of Beast

    Wear something comfortable. May I suggest jumpsuits? Preferably in orange, or black-and-white stripes. Also, the "getting away with murder" talk about the 1% is a bit extreme. You get what you earn or are lucky enough to receive.

    November 1, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Stickyd

    Great, here comes voter intimidation. Why do you think Obama endorsed the OWS movement. He knew violence and this movement would eventually come in handy. Too bad he's just as responsible as anyone else in Washington.

    November 1, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Brad

    Why don't the people who are upset with the 1% research which companies they run and refuse to buy/use their products or services? Buy local, go without. Easiest way to take away their power.

    November 1, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. StuntDonkey

    You got that right DonkeyParty. Ron Paul is directly associated with the Tea Party but really should know his history before doing so. The Tea Party is far more like the Whiskey Rebellion than the Boston Tea Party. Washington put down that rebellion and rightfully so. The Federal Government does have a right to levy taxes in the interests of our country.

    November 1, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    CNN, why do you allow posts from rethugliban/teabaggers advocating and even threatening violence, but when anyone tries to call them out in a posting, you censor the posting out of existence. First superD, and now Stickyd. What's up with that?!

    November 1, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Don Meck

    Nothing good can come from this type of demonstration. Maybe, just maybe, if they exercised as much energy looking for a job as they are participating in these demonstrations, they might actually have success. There is no job at the end of a protest. Again, nothing good will come of this action.

    November 1, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. vatoloke

    These, unlike the Tea Bagging Partiers in their posh RVs, are real patriots.

    November 1, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Bill

    Hey, you know what would be a better idea? Go occupy Washington DC, you know, the place where the politicians who are making decisions are actually based.

    November 1, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. William Tucker

    I think the voting citizens of Iowa should meet these people at the border and hand them brown shirts as they arrive.

    November 1, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. sortakinda

    OWS: promises to be the most annoying nuisances they can be, so long as daddy sends money for beer.

    November 1, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Tom

    Wow, their movement is really growing! They have 50 now!!! They want to Occupy until the candidates start talking about it? They already are – and the social programs designed to increase dependency on the Federal Government are up for the chopping block. The path back to sustainability is personal responsibility and the personal freedom that comes with it. The government is not the solution – it's the problem. The more I listen to Ron Paul, the more I agree with him. He's a smart guy, and he is the only one to get us back on a path to sustainability.

    November 1, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Lane

    How about these protesters occupy a shower and a job interview? I forgot, they ARE being paid to protest by lefty groups.

    November 1, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. John K.

    I did not know that there were enough dirty, stinking hippies in Iowa to put to together a protest.

    November 1, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Typical White Person

    So I guess the "occupados" will be peeing and pooping in and around the GOP candidates offices. I'm sure they will avoid Obama's. What a way to make a statement!

    November 1, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Nick B.

    "I sympathize with (the Occupy Wall Street) frustration. But I disagree with their methods."
    How would you do it, then? What better way is there to draw attention to the issue?

    November 1, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Dovetail

    Why don't these people protest in DC? Are they being told or paid to stay away? What they want can only be done by the Govt so it's odd they don't go there. Unless it was the plan from the beginning.

    November 1, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Howard

    MORE obama orchestrated deception, and corruption ... as he continues to squander America's hard earned wealth ... and, adds insult to injury, by demonizing those who earned the wealth he's squandering !!!

    November 1, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. KCRick

    I suppose Iowa is next. I was in Hawaii last week and they had "occupy Maui" if you can believe that! I empathize with our young people but I am not sure their protest is focused or they are going about it the right way. But, now they need to find away to engage in the political process, not be "revolutionaries" or worse yet, aimless.

    November 1, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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