US activists have lost trust in politicians

Occupy Wall Street protesters say policy has to develop "from below" as rallies continue to spread.

    Discontent with the state of the US economy has drawn many protesters out to demonstrations across the United States.

    The "Occupy Wall Street" movement that started in New York on September 17 has spread to over 90 other US towns, and as the 24-hour encampment continued in New York City on Friday, there were demonstrations in major cities around the country, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Austin and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington DC.

    Some Republican politicians have criticising the movement, including Eric Cantor, the Republican house majority leader, who called the protesters "growing mobs".

    But the protesters are not focused on the US' traditional political system or politicians.

    "We need to dictate the policy up, not policy being dictated down," Jesse LaGreca, a protester on Wall Street, told Al Jazeera.

    "We will be the leaders, and if there's any politicians who wanna support us in passing policies that we support, then that's the best we to about gaining our support." Katie Davison, another Wall Street protester, agreed.

    "A candidate is sort of the old way of doing things," she said. "We're looking for a new way of doing things that is more participatory and more meaningful. What that looks like we're still figuring out."

    David Graeber, anthropologist, writer and protest organiser, told Al Jazeera why he thinks young people in the US have reached an especially frustrating point.

    "In making a demand, you're essentially recognising the authority of the people who are going to carry it out," he said.

    "Our message is that the system that we have is broken. It doesn't work. People aren't even discussing the real problems Americans face."

    Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler reports from New York.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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