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18 Jan, 2012 07:38

Occupy Congress: Money out of US politics!

Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street activists have rallied on Capitol Hill to “Occupy Congress”, decrying corporate influence on the American government in a direct message to lawmakers.

The protesters had permission to hold a rally on the Capitol's West Lawn.  However one step outside the sanctioned area brought the risk of arrest. Demonstrators were unable to resist the temptation to test the limits of police tolerance, and RT’s crew at the scene witnessed several people being arrested.The protesters say that when the interests of big corporations are at stake on Capitol Hill, their interests, their voice, no longer count.They are angry at the fact that the influence of money on politics in their country is only set to grow.Following a Supreme Court decision, corporations are now allowed to funnel as much money as they want into promoting their chosen candidates for political office. Protesters call it legalized corruption. The cozy relationship between big business and lawmakers in the US led to a complete lack of oversight as  Wall Street ran amok, bringing about the financial crisis of 2008. The ensuing chaos affected not only Americans, but the whole world. It is understandable that Americans now want money out of politics. But it is easier said than done. “I think that the tents and the banners are a crucial part of being publicized and being public about it, because it is so easy to ignore a movement, unless it’s in your face” one of the protesters told RT’s Gayane Chichakyan, who was there at the scene. “The movement has a huge impact. There are a lot of things that are not even talked about in the political agenda usually, which are now being talked about. They are in the news on a constant basis, talking about income inequality, the fact that corporations are running our government and have stolen our elections. So many times we saw the legalized bribery in the campaign finance system and other things which are not as legal,” said another.  But a lot of people, especially outside the movement, are deeply skeptical about whether the protests can actually change anything.   Moving into the night, hundreds more, if not thousands joined the protest and they marched all the way from Capitol Hill to the White House. They were there to protest about, among other things, the National Defense Authorization Act – NDAA.Whether the demonstrations succeed in persuading the US government to changes its policies or not, one thing is certain: they are taking control of the agenda for media focus and public debate in a manner not seen in the US for some time.