Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What exactly are we occupying here?

Occupy Wall Street. According to Business Insider, this "movement" is fueled by a collective sense that things in our economy are not fair or right. (And by the way, I love the sign the woman is holding that says, "One day the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich.")

Wikipedia states that "The participants are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, as well as the power and influence of corporations, particularly from the financial service sector, and lobbyists over government."

Forbes Magazine cites the Occupied Wall Street Journal with the battle cry, “Rebellion will not stop until the corporate state is extinguished!”

You guys might be in for a loooong haul.

Before all you Occupy Peoria and other Occupy groups jump my s**t, I'm not knocking the movement here. It's just that I don't quite understand it.

It's a "leaderless movement", fueled by the 99% theory: "The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%." The one percent being the outrageously wealthy, I assume.

Well, if you put it that way, the odds look like they're in our favor.

Here's another good synopsis, straight from occupywallst.org:
Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

Again, sounds good. I'm with ya. But what are you doing? Fighting back. Inspired popular uprisings. Exposing the rich. Then what?

I guess I'm the type of person that wants to know how exactly this marching and sign holding and protesting is going to cause anything to change. Is it the "squeaky wheel" principle? The ones who make the most noise get the most attention? And what attention is it that they want?

Don't get me wrong - I'm familiar with the protests of the 60's. How people took a stand - were even beaten and/or arrested for what they believed in. It's very First Amendment, and I applaud those that felt so strongly about it that they were willing to go to such lengths for their cause.

Maybe I'm just not seeing the forest for the trees. Maybe I'm seeing this like the disgruntled worker who complains about his job all the time to his co-workers and even his boss but isn't really sure what to do about it.

What I want to know is what Occupy Wall Street's end-all, be-all is. I found this blog called Irregular Times that gave me a bit of an idea. It listed Occupy Wall Street's demands: "End capital punishment. End police intimidation. End wealth inequality. End corporate censorship. End the modern gilded age. End political corruption. End joblessness. End poverty. End health-profiteering. End American imperialism. End war."

WOW. That's a lot to ask. Can we pare it down a little? And then maybe we could have a plan for each of them then slowly make our way down the list? And are these really all Wall Street's fault?

Again, please understand. I'm just asking for some clarification. I appreciate Occupy Wall Street's "mission", if you will, and I have friends who are Occupy Peoria supporters and I see their passion. It's undeniable. But before I can even think about getting on board, I really have to know not only what I'm getting on board FOR, but what the plan is to embark on a journey to make these immense changes.

Whatever the goals, there must be something to it for half of Americans (according to a recent Time survey) to be involved, with 1500 protests in 82 countries (as of October 15). And if you go to the website, We Are the 99 Percent, you will definitely be moved at the poignant, hand-written stories and photos of struggling Americans.

But still... what's the plan, Occupy?

1 comment:

  1. I've been pretty confused by the "Occupy" movement, as well. Frankly, it seems a bit...vague. Last week I tried a bit of an experiment--I went down to the "Occupy Tampa" group, holding a nonsensical sign (it said "TOFU IS MURDER"). I thought that the protesters might get a bit angry, because I was poking fun of them, but they actually accepted me at face value. They commended me for standing up for "the cause". I guess maybe the movement is...vague enough to include tofu-related grievances? I'm not certain, but it certainly is fun.


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