Occupy Movement Steps Up Activism in Iowa with Pre-Caucus Focus on GOP Race

The Occupy movement is making its presence felt in Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus — the nation’s first nominating contest for the 2012 presidential elections. Demonstrators have targeted the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters and the “Obama for America” office in recent days, protesting measures being considered in Washington dealing with defense spending, a planned oil pipeline and jobless benefits. Next they plan to focus on Republicans who will be crisscrossing the state in the next two weeks seeking voters’ support. “We think that we have a right to — a constitutional right — to state our purpose and to call for, and to address grievances that we have with the government and the corporate control of the government,” says Hugh Espey, the executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a 36-year-old grassroots organization with some 4,000 members. “These sorts of protest are going to continue until we have a system that puts people before profits and communities before corporations.”