Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Views on Occupy Wall Street

Now, I'm sure that many will disagree with these views, and that's completely fine. That's what the comment section is for.  

Allow me to preface this by saying that I am a first year university student, minoring in Political Science, and only have a low level of understanding of all the nuances of such a situation. That being said, it's likely a higher level of understanding than many OWS supporters and detractors. If you want to lecture me about my views, or flames me for getting something wrong, keep this in mind.

From the beginning of Occupy Wall Street I saw it as an inspirational act of unity by people from many walks of life. From those who had grown up in poverty, to many celebrities who just agreed with the cause. I felt this movement had all the elements needed to be successful, a simple name, a unifying cause, celebrity support, social media attention, a catchy slogan, and a dissolving middle class and lower class ready for change.

I also thought, from day one "this has disastrous potential to become more about the medium than the message" and I fear that to many, it has. I watched live streams of the dismantling of the Zuccoti Park camp, and was inspired by the collective rage apparent in the occupiers. I watched with a warm sensation in my heart as the evicted stood firm, and stuck with what have become OWS traditions, specifically the "people's mic". For those unfamiliar, I will spare you the details and instead encourage you to look it up on your own.

All these things inspired me, but I kept thinking "this movement is not about the location, it should be about making corporate America and the government aware that the people are demanding change. For most occupiers, that remains the focus, but to many outside the movement, even those who support it, the focus has turned to "these people are pooping in a park!" and that, to me, is a tragedy.

The movement is flawed, there is no one cohesive demand, or group of demands, there is no leader. Every movement needs a leader, not necessarily as a status symbol, but rather a well spoken individual who can speak for the collective, and become the face of the movement. Even if that face is a Guy Fawkes mask. A leader would reduce the credibility of the media when they find the craziest person, and use their comments as evidence of the "evils" of the movement.

All that being said, the message is correct. The system is broken, the status quo can not be allowed to continue. There needs to be a renewal of accountability to all involved in financial and legal decision making. And those who break the law, or willfully ignore an impending crisis, need to face reprimand for their actions.

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