Any hopes on the part of the Obama campaign that it might have found an equivalent to the Tea Party movement in Occupy Wall Street have proven, put charitably, to be a bit of a wash. Unlike the Tea Party, which has grudgingly lined up behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the occupiers have acted with open hostility against the Obama campaign, perhaps never so obviously as today.
The reason why is obvious to anyone who remembers Occupy Wall Street’s twin grievances of income inequality and lack of transparency – namely, that President Obama has cracked down hard on whistleblowers within his administration and aggressively prosecuted the people behind Wikileaks. Or, in the case of Private First Class Bradley Manning, who was responsible for stealing most of the data that Wikileaks published. For this reason, supporters of Manning decided to “occupy” an Obama campaign office in Oakland, California, literally shutting the office down for three hours until police forced them out. SFGate has more:
Barely one week after the Obama campaign office on Telegraph Avenue in downtown Oakland had one of its window panes shattered by Occupy protesters, at least 100 protesters calling for the release of jailed U.S. Army soldier Private First Class Bradley Manning invaded the campaign offices Thursday, occupying them for at least three hours and bringing business to a standstill before police forced them out.[...]
Thursday night’s protests, synchronized with similar protests in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, started peacefully at 14th Street and Broadway, before Occupy Oakland protesters and anti-war protesters trickled down Telegraph and started filling up the Obama campaign office, which has an open-door policy for members of the public. Before long, trumpets and chants of “Free Bradley Manning! Whistle-blowing is not a crime!” replaced the familiar sound of office telephones as protesters climbed on top of desks and danced to their chants, pushing campaign workers and volunteers into one corner of the room.
The scene was evidently pandemoniac in character. But don’t take our word for it – look at these photos, published by OaklandNorth.net:
1. “That President Obama apologize for the comment he made at a fundraiser in April 2011 regarding PFC Manning’s guilt. Commander-in-Chief Obama stated, ‘He broke the law.’ This constitutes unlawful command influence.”
2. That Obama ensure soldiers are free from unlawful pretrial punishment.
You can make up your own mind about these demands, and whether they’re reasonable in all cases. However, those looking for occupiers of this stripe to have a place at the Democratic National Convention of the Democratic party will likely be disappointed. Public support for people who are arguably guilty of treason is not typically considered a political asset.