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Occupy Wall Street

In: English and Literature

Submitted By pcmthafka117
Words 1477
Pages 6
Kevin Eberle

Professor Cox

English Comp

October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Movement:

There is a growing movement in the United States that started in New York City and is now spreading out to many other cities It is the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The first people that came to this movement were some punks, liberals, artists and socialists. They did not just come for a one day protest they came again and again. Then other people began to take notice and the movement has been doubling in size every three days since mid September. Now there are young people, middle age and retirees, the employed and the unemployed just to name a few. How this movement has differed from other protests in the past for example, those against the Vietnam War in the 1960’s, the protestors are not just unruly mobs of young people fighting for one cause. Instead it is people with several different yet similar grievances. Contrary to the idea of Occupy Wall Street just being comprised of young people we now see that the younger element has sometimes been the majority. In this movement we see a diversity of people, varying ages, life situations, and grievances. Some are first time protestors. There are a few common denominators of the protestors but the most outstanding seems to be about economic injustice and the corporate influence on our government. Because the middle class are tired of the corporate injustices they have now come to rally for justice. It is interesting how this movement even started. The idea for the protest began in mid 2011 by a Canadian based magazine “Adbusters Media Foundation”. They did not advertise on TV, radio or bill boards. Instead they “floated” an idea through their email lists and people were immediately interested. The magazine had proposed a peaceful protest of Wall Street because of the growing disparity of the influence corporations are having on democracy. So via social networking sites such as facebook and twitter the idea got out. On September 17 a base camp was set up at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero, the New York Stock Exchange, and the New York Federal Reserve. Per CNN the group “got really lucky” when they gathered at this park. In New York the protesters have to get a permit to protest in a public park or the police have the authority to remove the protesters by force. Zuccotti Park is not a public park it is privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties so unless the owners evict them they can stay as long as they want. But by October 10, 2011 the owners of the park asked the demonstrators to leave by October 14 because of unsanitary conditions. Of course this infuriated the protestors and they began to clean up the park by picking up trash, sweeping up the steps and pavements and scrubbing everything with bleach water hoping this would be good enough to stop the owners from evicting them. If cleaning the park was not going to be enough for the owners to stop their eviction notice then the protestors had another plan. They would make a human fence around the park so the police could not get into the park to remove them. The Brookfield Office Properties received so many calls from officials that they decided not to evict the demonstrators at this time. Mayor Michael Bloomburg told the group they could stay indefinitely as long as they obeyed the rules. The protesters raised their hands and cheered but are cautious to believe government officials. Interestingly after all this time there has not been anyone that has been outstanding as the leader. No one person or group has stood out as the leader of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. This movement seems to lead itself. There are groups with common grievances and maybe one or two people who began a small crusade but there is no named leader. Everyday at 7:00pm a meeting is held with all of the groups discussing their wants and needs. These daily meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend and anyone can speak. Administrative type announcements are not sent out twice a day. Communicating to a crowd this big should seem easy but this too has become complicated. One would think that someone in the group would have brought a bull horn or microphone to speak to a group this large. In New York a group like this must have a permit to use these means of communication but this group was not granted one. As Richard Kim, The Nation stated, “but like in Egypt, or Argentina, or Belarus or other places where the authorities sought to silence speech, the people found a way to be heard”. This group did and it is the “people’s microphone”. It works by a few words being spoken and then the who crowd repeats what is said. This way to communicate without modern equipment is effective but slow. Communication to the general public about what is happening hour by hour is still happening by social networking. Most of the comments on facebook and twitter are positive. These expressions are by the general public as well as influential people. These protests are not just in New York but are beginning to spring up in other cities around the country like Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, Seattle and Washington D.C. It has even spread to 1500 countries around the world including Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa. The goals of the protest seemed to vary and people began to ask what exactly are they protesting about and what to they want. As of Friday October 14, 2011 three points to the protests have been stated. One is the lack of jobs, another is overwhelming students loans, and third the soaring health care costs. People around the country and around the world are frustrated and just need to vent that they have had enough and are not going to take it anymore. Other underlying complaints seem to be the influence that money has over the representatives in Washing ton the influence of big business, and what is happening to our economy. Lawrence Lessig, American academic and political activist and professor of law at Harvard Law School argues that “the problems of Wall Street have been caused by corruption in Washington that has been perpetuated by a deep conflict of interest. Because both parties depend on Wall Street’s money to fund their campaigns, they will not dare to cross the interests of Wall Street”. That is probably why chants of “We are 99%” are often heard. The 1% the protestors are referring to is the corporate money and the rest of them, the 99%, are those who are struggling because of corporate greed. People feel that on a daily basis many are having to make too many hard choices due to this corporate inequality. People are so frustrated with our economic problems they are willing to live in a park to protest their frustrations. How they have chosen to live in Zuccotti Park is interesting in itself. The protestors have not been allowed to pitch tents. They sleep under blankets or in sleeping bags. When it rains they cover themselves with tarps. There is a food service set up and sometimes food has ben donated, they have a make shift first aid station, and there is a self-published community newspaper. Gasoline powered generators were brought in to help power up computers and cell phones. Computers and cell phones are a must because this is how Occupy Wall Street communicates with the nation and people around the world. In New York the protestors have made many marches. They marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, marched around Wall Street, down the New York financial district and even to millionaire and billionaire’s homes. On october 16 there were so many in downtown New York that everything came to a standstill. Most of the protestors are peaceful but a few sometimes a couple hundred have become riotous and have had to be arrested. When they protest they chant, “We are the 99%!” These protests have been very hard on the police because of the great numbers of protestors. Sometimes they feel over whelmed but have really not had as many arrests as they thought for a crowd this large. The Wall Street Movement has been compared to the Tea Party movement two years ago. It too had no designated leader. Their complaints were similar in that the government and its debts were the cause of the people’s problems. This party movement proved to be beneficial to the republicans who made a political winning sweep in 2011. It looks now as though the Wall Street Movement may just help the Democratic Party this voting season if it continues through the winter months.

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