Nov 18 - As the Occupy Wall Street movement completes its second month, new questions arise about the credibility and the staying power of the social movement. Conway Gittens reports.
After a week in which it was temporarily kicked out of its Zuccotti Park headquarters in the middle of the night, failed at breaking through police barricades to occupy the New York Stock Exchange, and with fewer than expected attending its "Day of Action" rally, the Occupy Wall Street movement is getting a mixed review by the public, says David Birdsell, Dean of the Baruch College of Public Affairs. SOUNDBITE: DAVID BIRDSELL, DEAN OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, BARUCH COLLEGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If you look at some of the public opinion polling, they get overwhelming support from large and diverse segments of the population for their message, and again people are reading a lot of different messages into the same set of activities, they get much less support for their tactics, so they are going to have to marry the tactical appeal to the issue appeal that already exists." Recent events have been a test of the resolve of the two-month old grassroots movement aimed at addressing economic inequalities. Thousands have been arrested, public tempers are flaring, and some politicians are running out of patience, leaving many to wonder what's next. SOUNDBITE: DAVID BIRDSELL, DEAN OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, BARUCH COLLEGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "That's really the question right now, how do they shape themselves going forward, now that they are not the same group of people in the same park every day and every night. What are they going to do in these venues to make a meaningful story vivid for a skeptical American public that's inclined to like them, but really hasn't been sold on either tactics or clear about the vision." So far the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York has avoided the violent confrontations of other cities, but with such a varied group of people and ideas, coupled with a loose organizational structure, analysts say the movement's greatest challenge is from within - it has to find a cohesive message and a cohesive strategy that will translate into political action without being overshadowed by violence. Conway Gittens, Reuters