The Economy. Many of us have heard and used these two words frequently during recent times. These words have now drawn our attention to the stock market–as it bounces up and down like a lotto ball–and caused us to pay special attention to our bank accounts, regimenting everything we purchase. “The Economy” has also caused some people to take to the streets and demand change on the face of Wall Street. This movement, called Occupy Wall Street, started on September 17th in the Manhattan Financial district, and has lasted over seventy days, spreading to over 100 cities in America.
It began as a peaceful movement intended to shock banks and large corporations into realizing citizens were against their corruption and greed. First started by the Canadian foundation called Adbusters, it has since branched into different divisions in the U.S., including the U.S. Day of Rage and the NYC GeneralAssembly. These organizations were founded by people reacting to the bailouts the government provided for the banks and companies, claiming that this lead to the downfall of the economy.
Occupy Wall Street protestors are calling for change in the face of corporate America, yet realize that this cannot be accomplished through political power in Washington D.C. It is a movement of believers who realize that they must let go of the side of the boat of political strategy, and swim across the lake to individual action and freedom–concentrating their attention on the rich in America, whom they believe are evading the economic downturn, and yet also benefiting from it. The words, “We are the 99%” has been the common chant of the participants as they hope to shed light on the gap between the rich and the poor.
Protestors are spreading the movement to cities across the nation, hoping to awaken the powers of Corporate America to finally see that there are citizens not willing to pass a blind eye to the joblessness in America. The groups of protestors are mainly comprised of younger citizens, from college grads to middle-aged full time employees. Most are educated, angry, and financially struggling as they rally in the streets, much like the activists in the late 1960s. They hope to inform others of the gross misappropriation of corporate powers and distribution of wealth in America, and want to tackle the issue of the government supporting corporate businesses, and benefiting from those partnerships.
However, as the movement spreads, it seems the goals have become diluted in the process. Most Occupy Wall Street activists hold to an idea of not having any leaders. Other than that, they only seem to agree that big businesses have dug too deep into the pockets of citizens, and that bankers should face the true consequences of their actions. Some activists want to march onto the White House steps with policy change, whereas others seek tax hikes for the rich and better accountability for tax breaks businesses receive. Their protests have been met with retaliation by local authorities, and some sit-ins have erupted into violence. Demonstrators have destructed public property and have caused business losses in revenue. Protestors are hoping that President Obama will begin to make policies that will aid the failing economy.
The question is: are the voices of the many reaching the oak desks of the powers that be? As the protests spread to different cities across America, it seems that the shouts fall on the deaf ears of most citizens, even though they claim to represent the 99%.
Through this, some choose to stand with the movement, and others don’t. Yet, we ALL hope that this dip in financial stability will eventually rise. Are you part of the movement? Do you think that the protesting is making a difference in the political realm? Do you think things can change? How?
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