What began on Sept. 17, when the anti-consumerist organization AdBusters called for the occupation of Wall Street, has expanded to a global movement with similar protests advocating everything from holding corrupt speculators accountable for the gamble of investment banking to advocating more environmental protection, to placing limits on lobbyists’ monetary influence on representatives, and to equal opportunities for women.
For most people, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to have sprung seemingly from nowhere, with sudden widespread protests against the corporate influence in American politics and the level with which Wall Street bankers can gamble with depositors’ money, and to a larger extent, with the entire economy.
Although police thought the protestors would quickly leave, that has not been the case, and there have been many conflicts between protesters and police wishing to at least temporarily clear them out of public areas.
However, despite all of the excitement surrounding the sudden emergence of these protesters and the polarizing reactions to them, there still remains a great deal of confusion both in commentators’ remarks about them and within the movement itself as to what goals the movement is working towards. This is because, one month after it caught the country by surprise, the Occupy Wall Street protest is still entirely leaderless despite being on the threshold of becoming what many commentators refer to as a political force similar in magnitude to the Tea Party of 2009.
It would seem that if there is any common thread to the erratic protests, it would be that protesters are upset that the divisive political rhetoric in this country has aligned people against each other, and that people who are upset with the political system in this country should begin to speak for themselves instead of having politicians speak for them.
It has also allowed people of differing political ideologies, such as socialists and libertarians, to begin discussing possible solutions to the corruption in American politics and economics instead of only apathetically accepting the corruption.
Public figures have found that it is both convenient and undemanding to apply divisive labels against each other. Politicians have tapped into this broad anger to ensure re-election, which keeps people attacking each other instead of addressing any of the issues at hand.
Ever since the general de-regulation of the financial market in the 1980’s and especially with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, Wall Street investment firms began to gamble with depositors’ money that was formerly held in commercial banks. Many economists attribute this to be the cause of the severity of the financial downturns since 2007.
It is necessary to open up respectful discussion in this country in order to fashion a better future. People have a right to stand up for what they believe in, and, if it means bringing attention to a corrupt oligarchy in which the wealthiest Americans are protected by corporate greed and lobbyists who ensure that the political barricade is held up by money, then by all means, people must fight and continue to fight against oppression.
From this simple cause, to eliminate the influence of money in politics, an entirely new country can be born.
The Occupy Wall Street protest that originally began in New York City to little media attention has quickly ballooned into a media spectacle with protests across the globe, fueled largely in part by such online networking sites as Twitter and Facebook. Some have even compared this protest against the economy to recent revolutions, such as the one in Egypt.
Capturing the attention of people nationwide, Occupy Wall Street has been hailed as the movement of the decade. But despite all of the hype, it has not accomplished anything.
Business owners are the foundation of America. The feared one percent is simply a misunderstood parent; a martyr for the common good that must suffer so that the 99 percent can vent their misunderstood anxiety.
The banks and traders making their living on Wall Street not only create wealth for themselves, but they also provide an opportunity for wealth for many middle-class families. In the panic caused by the collapse of the financial market, these families have forgotten where the banks got the money in the first place: the public.
There were not any Occupy Wall Street movements when college tuition was being paid by these sleazy economic tactics, and it is only after it has failed that people are upset. These protestors have only themselves to blame.
In addition to misplacing blame, this movement also misplaces its purpose. The Occupy Wall Street protests have no goals. They have nothing that they are trying to accomplish. It seems that all they want to do is get attention.
Pictures and videos of stories from behind the lines tell tales not of change, but of unruly behavior and public displays of aggression against police cars.
Many people wonder where this movement started. It appears to be a great story: a grass roots American movement to demand corporate responsibility; a liberal response to the conservative Tea Party that will save America.
The truth is far less romantic. Occupy Wall Street was started by Canadian Political Action Committee Adbusters., whose tactics of lobbying, public manipulation, and dirty election money are the same practices that the movement is protesting against.
The protests have accomplished nothing, and they will continue to accomplish nothing as long as they protest to people who have no control.
A few bankers cannot be held responsible for the problems of the entire economy. The actions of a few bankers cannot derail the entire economy. If these protestors want reform, then that reform must come from the government, not the tycoons.