Occupation Isn’t Good Enough: Problems with the “Occupy” Movement

The “Occupy ____” Movement is sweeping across the United States at a breakneck pace. I’ve heard of an Occupy Denver as well as an Occupy LA in the last couple weeks, and there’s even an Occupy movement starting in my hometown of Rockford, IL. People are unhappy, and they want to let the world know. Congratulations, Occupation: you have an opinion, and you’ve let Congress know. It’s not good enough.

For those of you who’ve been living under a rather large rock for the past three-some weeks, the Occupy Movement was started by a protest on Wall Street titled, coincidentally, “Occupy Wall Street.” Protesters want change in the financial system and are unhappy with the massive amounts of American wealth held by the ridiculously small percentage of American people. The movement has since caught fire and spread across the country, inspiring others to express their unhappiness with the American financial system and disparity between classes.

Source: FirstPost.com

Thus far it seems that to Wall Street, the Occupy Movement has been akin to the “Occupied” sign seen on an airplane: a bit inconvenient, but not the end of the world. And why would it be anything else? Trading days haven’t stopped or slowed, stocks rise and fall with a flip of a coin as they have since the American debt ceiling “crisis,” and I’m guessing stock brokers can’t really hear the chanting of the unhappy masses from 40 floors up in their wood-paneled offices. Besides that, nobody has stepped forward with concrete demands or objectives, and thus far the only named, specific group I’ve heard take repeated, consistent heat from protesters is the NYPD, instead of specific brokers, politicians, or organizations.

Huffington Post’s Tracey Vitchers wrote today that the movement hasn’t made specific demands because it no longer desires current institutions to remain in power. I’m more apt to believe that people are too busy enjoying feeling the power of camaraderie in the “trenches” of social warfare. We may live in a democracy, but regardless of our votes, Congress seems to have spiraled out of control and left the “common man” feeling cheated and underrepresented. The Occupy Movement is doing a great job of reminding people that they have a voice, but an all-talk, no-thought state of mind is precisely what got us to this point in the first place. Without serious plans, open-minded discourse, and the means to make changes, we have nothing. After all, knowledge may be power, but it’s not enough when you’re fighting against laws and guns.

Occupation in itself doesn’t actually DO anything. Our nation needs change beyond a political slogan, and true change requires action. We as an American people need to wake up and realize we can take action in our lives and government. Egypt realized it, and we can too. But without a serious mindset, concrete goals, or the determination to see the movement peacefully through to the end, the Occupy movement runs the risk of either burning out completely or blowing up to violent proportions. People will grow tired if they don’t feel that they’re making real progress.  

What needs to be done to fix our “problem?” 99% of America isn’t privy to the exceptional wealth that the 1% hold, so Wall Street has been occupied; do protesters want the stock market shut down? Do they want to increase taxes on the wealthy, increase government allotments of money to the poor? Do they want Donald Trump and others to beg for their lives as pillagers ravage the streets of Martha’s Vineyard? If protesters are waiting for someone else to fill in this answer for them, they run the risk of falling for the same trap that created this government everyone’s so unhappy with.

I believe we can make this country a better place, and I believe now is the time. But if someone DOES come out of the Occupy woodwork with an “answer” to the problem, I certainly hope it doesn’t involve violence; people are angry and may simply waiting for an excuse to put their fingers on triggers.

-Josh

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2 thoughts on “Occupation Isn’t Good Enough: Problems with the “Occupy” Movement

  1. Josh:

    Interesting thoughts here. I happen to agree with most of them. However, in many ways, I love the Occupy movement. I only say this because it’s about time that people start to care. The more cities who adapt this idea, the better. Theoretically. & only after this stage progresses into something action based yet still safe.

    Unfortunately, you are correct in knowing the nature of most Americans who jump on the bandwagon for things like Occupy Wall Street. There are usually two groups of the people. One: the people soooo into it that they become heated and act irrationally after they begin their “protest” and see no results– the violent folk. Two: the lazy or the hopeless people who will never put forth any action to make any change.

    But you’re right. Maybe if we are going to protest, we should think about being the type of politicians we wish we had– concrete men & women looking for answers– people ready to problem-solve, get their hands dirty, and progress.

    Personally, the thought of the economy & the fact that my student loans each month are $5 more than my rent each month, makes me angry. But sometimes I wonder, what can I do about this? How can I be heard? And what the hell is the government doing about all this? And finally, if they really are trying, why the hell can’t they communicate a little better with exactly HOW they are going to make this progress… Occupy Wall Street doesn’t seem to have a strategy for attaining these types of answers, you are right. But it has the ability to evolve into something larger if it doesn’t remain stagnant.

    Thanks for sharing,

    -Michelle

    • I think you’ve made some fantastic points here, Michelle…and I know I didn’t necessarily do a quality job of saying it, but I do approve of the theory of the Occupy movement. People need to recognize they’re being taken advantage of so that they can take action. And the traps that many of us have fallen into with student loans are shameful…I feel like there are systems all over the place that are either designed to trap the “middle class” or are just otherwise not very well thought out….letting government know we have a problem with it is critical. We just need to get to the point where we start moving towards what we want instead of just what we don’t want.

      The American political spectrum seems to revolve around antagonism and finger pointing now, and that mentality has seeped into the American people as well. Everyone can cite problems they have with Congress, problems they have with the President, with foreign policy, with immigration, with welfare, so on and so forth, but it’s not nearly as frequently that people can cite specific ways they would fix these issues. Until we are able to think about a situation in its entirety and come up with productive solutions to alleviate the grievances we have, we’ll continue to spin our collective wheels until someone takes the helm and drives our movements to success or failure.

      On that note, expect a blog very soon about suggestions for a guided direction for the Occupy movement. 🙂

      Thanks much for the thoughts, Michelle.

      -Josh

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