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Movement on the march

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York.

Tess Vigeland: Labor unions and consumer watchdogs are starting to lend their support to the growing "Occupy Wall Street" movement. At least 1,000 people crowded into New York's Foley Square this afternoon for a rally and march.

Mike Neggie: I live in Patterson, N.Y.; I work in Westchester. I'm a Verizon employee; a CWA 1103 member. Personally, I'd like to see more responsible legislation passed on a federal level. Hopefully make the corporations and the wealthy people pay their fair share of income tax and maybe give back to the society that has helped them come up for what they have.

One of the voices from the Occupy Wall Street rally in Manhattan today. We asked Marketplace's John Dimsdale to look at what might be next for the movement.


John Dimsdale: The Occupy Wall Street movement has yet to unite behind one set of demands.

Brayden King studies social movements at the Kellogg School of Management. He says the movement has to find leaders, create a structure and identify villains.

Brayden King: Maybe it'll be a corporation or a set of corporations. If they want to have influence, they have to have something they're going after.

He says progressive organizations like MoveOn are already backing the movement. Today, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka endorsed the protests as a powerful force for pressuring lawmakers to vote for job-creating legislation.

Richard Trumka: There's a groundswell happening. People across the country declaring that we are the 99 percent and we need a voice.

But Prof. King says there's a risk in labor's embrace of the Occupy movement.

King: The danger for them is there's a tension between maintaining this grassroots capacity that they've set up, and then setting up objectives that are clear but that also allow them to be co-opted by bigger players.

More established progressives, like Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards, say labor's money and structure is important.

Donna Edwards: The increased attention and participation by organized movements are gonna to help them turn those concerns about the economy and their circumstance into real demands for the system.

It worked for the Tea Party, she says. Now it's the progressive movement's turn.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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