Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street is a social movement (read this primer written by Ezra Klein) inspired by the Arab Spring and other protest movements around the world.  Although the call to action was made by the magazine Adbusters in July of 2011, the occupation in NYC began on at Zuccotti Park  September 17th, 2011.  Since then, hundreds of protesters have occupied various locations in cities around the US (including Minneapolis) and the world.

Individuals in the protest movement identify themselves as the 99% and although they represent a multitude of views, they have organized around their shared interest as the 99% of people in America who do not have tremendous wealth.

In some ways they have created a new society.  Food is served, medical care is provided, a newspaper has been created, and people can find reading material at the peoples library (In NYC this was all taken away on Nov 15, the city of New York claims the books are being held at an of-site location.  See below).

All of this is aided in part by a unique way (or perhaps only true way) of doing democracy.  Proposals for action, questions and concerns are brought forth in an organizational meeting called a General assembly.  Decisions are made by consensus whereby everyone must agree.  Watch this video describing the process.

The mainstream media has been critical of this movement claiming that it lacks a coherent message.  More than anything this represents the fact that these activists are fed up with the traditional way of participating in democracy which they see as corrupt  and ineffectual.  (As evidence check out this article on Chuck Schumer) They are attempting to take democracy into their own hands and truly make it by and for the people. (read this excellent article written by anthropologist David Graeber).

A few more links:

Update: Below is a video of a UC Davis police officer pepper-spraying a group of students who were peacefully protesting the destruction of an Occupy encampment.  Here is an article by Matt Taibbi that link’s the militarization of the police and to the erosion of civil liberties associated with the War on Terror.

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81 responses to “Occupy Wall Street

  1. This started as a great cause. I’m afraid the only way to get through however is with the wallet. Be careful of the products and services you buy…who or what are you supporting?

  2. I feel bad for the people who are really standing for a cause here. I think this has emploded into a reason for many people to just go stand around and yell and make what started out as a real stand for a cause, and turned it into something much closer to a circus. Many people who claim to support this cause really have no idea what the cause is. The violence and rapidly ensuing problems have distracted greatly from the problem at hand and as great of a cause as it is, I just wonder if what I’m seeing a reading about is really good for the cause, or more destructive.

    • Jasmine-
      I agree with you I too feel that much of the causes message has gotten lost in the media and for just the plain fact that people have joined the movement and are protesting about whatever they are upset about.

  3. I agree with their message. The ever-widening gap between rich and poor can not be good for our society overall.

  4. It’s great that people are making a movement and protesting against what really matters for Americans. I believe social media such as facebook, twitter and etc. are making this movement even stronger and more applicable in its effort to gain strength and support. One draw back that I believe everyone is forgetting about this protest is that we are taking out emergency personnel away from fighting crime on our streets, increasing the cost of city budget due to security & crowd control, the small or large business that are being hurt due to protesters occupying their business space and etc.

    • Rebecca Milbrett

      I agree with you that it is probably doing more harm than good when you look at how much it is costing and effecting the people of the city. If only there were a better way…

      • You have a point. But everything comes with a price. If want a change, then one has to be prepared for the consequence whatever that may be.

    • Social Media is an amazing new use of the world wide web. The connections and forwardment of globalization can only unite us more with the help of social media. yay!

    • What do you think would happen if the cities (and the police) didn’t commit the resources and personnel and just ignored the protests? There is a fundamental worry that left to its own devices the movement would devolve into chaos, but I think its worth asking whether or not that is actually true.

      • I believe, both parties have their own goal. When protestors are there to protest for their specific agendas and Law Inforcement is there to keep things under control. I believe it keeps it balanced.

      • I think that is a really good question. Although it might be a hard thing to do because of how widespread the movement has become. But I do wonder what would happen. Would protesters become more outspoken and bold?

      • Aitga-
        I agree with you. I work downtown and there was one day when they were walking around and stand in the middle of intersection. There was policw on all sides but they could not make them move. This was at rush hour too.

  5. I think it’s a joke. If they had a clear message it would give them some credibility. However, it seems to be a bunch of drug addicts and drop outs who just want to “fight the power”. There are legitimate issues this country has and we aren’t going to change them by throwing rocks through bank windows and pooping on side walks.

    • I see where you are coming from, but what do you suggest we do instead? People are fed up and outraged. I agree that sleeping outside and occupying our streets may not be the best way to get our message across but as least it is catching the attention of our country. I believe that the protest at UC David is a perfect example of what protests should be looking like.
      http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/11/20/142562402/video-after-pepper-spraying-a-powerfully-silent-protest-at-uc-davis

      • I’m not sure why people are so shocked by what happened at UC Davis. Just as a civilian I know that if the police tell me I’m breaking the law and need to stop, I should. If I don’t, I may be arrested. If I refuse to cooperate at all, I might be physically dealt with. I avoid said situations and I don’t get arrested or maced. I guess I don’t understand where people are seeing this as an outrage when it’s such a simple chain of outcomes. The videos of course dramatize it but the police can’t choose what they enforce. I guarantee that the previous half-hour before the video the police repeatedly warned the protesters, something the video does not show.

      • Kelsey Schultz

        This was a direct violation of the our constitutional rights. And you are correct- I wasnt there so I dont know exactly how it went down or what happened prior. But I do understand that this was a peaceful protest on a college campus. Where was the law breaking??

      • Kelsey-I don’t see where you perceive a violation of constitutional rights here. From what I heard, the students were all blocking a public entrance which is against the law. There are a lot of places to protest and in front of a public building blocking an entrance isn’t one of them. I know how police protocol goes, you don’t just walk up to people and mace them unless you feel like the law supports you on that; otherwise you could lose your job. You can even see all the people trying to cover their faces before the mace is ever sprayed; this tells me they were warned first. They didn’t move from blocking the entrance, and they were maced. If they would have all moved twenty feet to the left or the right, nobody gets maced. I know these things because I deal with protestors in my job. I have no problem whatsoever with lawful protests.

    • “we aren’t going to change them by throwing rocks through bank windows and pooping on side walks.”

      I agree, but do think these actions accurately reflect the movement?

      • I know you were asking the person above me but I don’t think anyone has an idea of what accurately reflects the movement without using broad or vague language. I think that is a direct result of their incoherency as a movement that lacks a unified goal. To me, a unified goal is not a list of 40 some demands essentially requesting that the current system be entirely changed. I would just like to see some ideas on how they would like to make those things happen; otherwise they seem to be not unlike a child asking for money not realizing the work that went into it. A first-world powerhouse of a nation does not simply change drastically without world-shaking consequences.

  6. Rebecca Milbrett

    I think that they all have good intentions and good ideas, but that this is the wrong way to go about getting what you want. Unfortunately I don’t think there is any good way to get what you want in today’s society. I just don’t think that a bunch of people sleeping and yelling outside is going to change this economy. We are so far in over our heads that it is going to take a lot more to turn it around. I think we will slowly get there though.

    • I agree with you. The intentions are good, but these people are definitely going about it the wrong way. Crowing the streets and creating all of this chaos is not helping their cause and nothing will come of this protest. The message isn’t clear and it doesn’t seem very efficient how decisions are made. There is simply no way that every one of those people will agree on the same thing and I don’t think that anything will ever come of this by how they are going about it.

  7. @ Rebecca: I agree that many Americans are going about the occupy in an unorganized manner. The conditions around New York I hear are quite gruesome. For this- I believe that law enforcement must take proper non violent action to clean up those streets. Even here in MN, government plaza is looking like a homeless shelter. But nonetheless, steps are being taken towards developing a cohesive plan of action and message. I believe that many people thought that things would happen over night. They wanted to see results right away, and living in a society where someone can get whatever they want at a price, it is hard to be patient. But with patience comes results, meaningful ones. This will be a slow and continuous process and the support of citizens is a crucial part of that.

    What a week in the United State surrounding the Occupy movement. I am overwhelmed and excited to see the first real step forward to seeing change in this country. The impact of the silent protest at UC Davis has finally caught the attention of this country. Protesting is all good and such but this protest was non violent and had real meaning. After students were pepper sprayed by local police for pretty much doing nothing, we can see the corruption within our political system. Now the “Chancellor” of this University has changed her position. Whether or not she did this because she thought it would help in her efforts to keep her job or she is actually in real support of the movement, it is important that we have the support of someone in position of power.

  8. The common person, the 90%, are tired of being slighted, overlooked, and delt with as they don’t matter. So as for as the issues being talked about, I believe they are real, and the people have alot to say. That being said, the process in which they are going about it probably won’t produce results. But for alot of these people its not all about the results. A lot of people are just getting stuff off their chest. Things that have been festering for a while, now it’s reached a boiling point and the top finally blew. I’m not in a position to judge anyone, I can only identify with how they feel. In a perfect world it would be great if you colud sit down and talk about things like this, but the reality is nobody wants to hear what you have to say at least not these people. Let’s be honest. So what do you do, and how do you get someones attention when the don’t want to give it to you, especially when it comes to peoples livelyhood? You grab their attention. The Watts riots, L.A. riots and even this are attention getters. People are angry, and they want specific issues to be addressed. Do I agree with how they’re doing it, no. But I can surely empathize.

  9. I am in support of this movement.I think it is about time we, Americans, take a stand against the government. The only ones that benefit inthis country are the wealthy. It is time the “little people” have a say in what’s going on.

  10. Nathaniel Merrill

    I don’t support this movement because I really don’t feel that this movement is organized nor are their demands realistic. Here is a link to their list of demands: http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/occupy-wallstreet-list-of-demands

    Also, I do not agree with the militarization of the police on many different levels, nor do I agree with the use of such heavy handed tactics against the protesters that seem to be largely peaceful.

    Personally, I think this whole “we are the 99%” thing is kind-of destructive also, from my own experience working and living in America, I have had to work very hard for everything I have and make it to the point I am at in my life, and I will have to work very hard to continue to advance in my life. And If I want to give my offspring a better life, I might even need to make it all the way up to the upper income classes in America. I believe personally that most of the people that are in the 1% deserve to be there because of the work and time of their life they invested into making where they are.

    I don’t think demanding a hand out from the government like a living wage will do anything more than further inflate prices, I could see the price of basic staples quadrupling in the minimum wage was $20 and people were just getting money for there sake that they are alive.

    Reports of crime and drug use are on the rise for people around occupy camps. I know that some OccupyMN people are guilty of trespassing. I know that there are sanitation issues at these ‘camps’.

    Our first amendment right guarantees us the right to free speech, and the right to peaceably assemble, in our organized society we have allowed for laws to be made that require a permitting process to assemble in certain public space or to use public spaces, I don’t like this idea of just allowing people to camp out like vagrants, nor do I think that they are doing their cause any good by camping out in tents and preventing others from using the public spaces that they are occupying.

    To sum up my response to the occupy movement, I think they are a joke, and should be convicted of any crimes that they have committed.

    • Well written. I very heartily agree with your opinion on the whole 99% vs. the 1% idea. I feel like in a sense Americans, or at least the youth, have forgotten how to work. They are now being taught that protesting and demanding handouts is social justice.

  11. I support this movement. I am so tired of the wealthy become wealthier and the poor becoming poorer. I think the activists need to become more organized in a nonviolent way. This is America and we have freedom of speech we just need to make our point in a civilized way. It is nice to see people standing up in what they believe in!!!

  12. I think the main issue I have with the Occupy movement is that while it has gained attention from the media, it hasn’t actually done anything but do just what they say, “occupy”. Well I agree that’s a great way of letting people know you are unhappy but where do you go after that? You can’t simply say, “we want this all changed, we don’t know to what or how we’ll do that but change it!”. I guess I see the Occupy movement in many ways as an organized temper tantrum.
    On the flip side though, I am glad to see Americans actually voice their opinions instead of just chat on facebook. This movement has garnered some attention and they just need to figure out what to do with it.
    Videos posted of people who are breaking the law getting arrested or maced to me is simply a reflection that they lack direction and are unable to protest peacefully. Just because you are protesting doesn’t mean that suddenly all the laws can be ignored so that when you break them any consequence is seen as police brutality; that seems foolish to me. Police don’t have a choice of which laws to enforce so if you refuse to cooperate with them by continuing to block an entrance or public property then I guess you should have seen it coming. I don’t feel bad for those protesters for one minute, protest peacefully and without breaking laws and you won’t get maced or arrested. Many people seem to be doing that just fine.

    • People think this is going to be a quick and simple process. That they want results overnight. That is not going to happen. The occupy has been going on now for like 3 months.. I believe over time, our small accomplishments will become larger ones. I went to a protest (peaceful) at a home that was to be foreclosed on. With our support and solutions, that family ended up getting to keep their home. These small actions is what will help move us towards bigger and better things.

      I agree with you that law enforcement is needed to regulate our streets, but with that I feel they are taking advantage of the situation at hand. Anything to reap authority over another.

      • Firstly, I just want to say that I think police brutality does happen and is deplorable. Some angry guy who has a chip on his shoulder shouldn’t be a cop. Police absolutely need to be able to control themselves in times of stress and if not they need to find a new job. So in other words, I agree with you on that.

        I think it’s great to see meaningful protests honestly, I have no problem with the Occupy movement but just think they need more reachable goals to set for themselves and work their way up. I think protesting is what makes democracies work because in the end, the people are supposed to be represent the nation, not the government. Part of the reason I am a bit hard on the Occupy movement at times is that I have high hopes for it; their hearts are in the right place but they need a solid plan.

  13. I’ve spent a lot of time at the occupy movement for another one of my classes and I’m actually doing my final project on the movement. In my time at the Minneapolis movement I’ve discovered a lot of mixed feelings I have about it. I agree with the general message I get from it. The economic system is upside down and the wealth should be more evenly distributed. The first problem I ran into however is that there is no quick solution to this problem and frankly I can’t find a solution at all. We can’t just take the money from the rich to give to the poor. There will always be someone poorer and I’m sure those who recieve the redistribution would be pretty pissed if their money got taken away and then given to someone else right away. The movement needs to find a solution to the problem it is looking to address.

    The second critical problem I find is that there is no real problem being presented. If you talk to one hundred different people at the protest they will ilkely give you one hundred different problems. While a few may seem to be similar some are completely off the wall. This is a link to ABC news on YouTube that I found in my research…

    Basically this outlines what I found in my talks and interviews with people for my other class.

    The third problem I see is a more minor problem but one that could be a bigger issue for other people and that is that they are messy. They look unorganized and their message shows that. In order to be a player on a global scale I think the protest should get their pieces together. Their small sort of democratic state they have is messy and gross. The resources they have are not being taken care of and it looks bad. A more organized protest would being about a more organized physical appearance and maybe lead to a more organized result.

  14. I think the Occupy Wall Street movement has done a good job of gaining recognition and support but feel their mission needs clarity to achieve the vast goals they are setting out for. It seems the movement is very unorganized in the large scheme of things without any true focus besides occupying areas and spreading anti government ideas. Although there are problems in Americas system, the movement doesn’t seem to offer up any realistic ideas for change. Although the list of demands seems appealing it is unrealistic in the modern day and must be realized as so to deal with the true problems at hand. There is a lot of potential to make change with a movement like occupy wall street but the group would need to have realistic ideas that could promote change. Maybe the movement is still growing in productive ideas that could work with our government, but with the unrealistic demands currently offered there is no way to make change. Conflict will continue to occur even if the movement gains practical ideas, that has seemingly always been the nature of protest groups. If the movement cannot learn to accommodate and work with the system on hand they will struggle to meet their goals.

  15. I think these protests are a good cause. It is important for people to be heard and sometimes this is the only way to get the message across. People are able to stand up and give their voices. I only hope that this can have some sort of an impact on our society and make it known that the majority are tired of the way things are being run and that a real change needs to happen. There have been really great speeches at these protests and people have really important things to say.

  16. Maren Bertramsen-Reichel

    I think this movement will be beneficial in changing how the United States economy is regulated. However, I think the movement lacks a dynamic leader, which is so important in keeping a movement cohesive, motivated, and focused. This particular movement encompasses such a large varied demographic that a leader is imperative to keep these different parties united in the cause. A leader would be able to specify the message of the movement and keep the focus on their final goal. They would be able to open a dialogue with those that oppose the movement. They would also be able to speak out about the violence that has taken place and provide a message of nonviolence for the protesters.

  17. I feel this movement has the right idea and passion behind them but I think they are missing direction. I know there are several policies that need to change in our Government and legal system and I feel they should focus on a specific policy. For example I believe it was unfair to bail out businesses who were not performing in this economy. The small business would have to close shop but others get a bail out that is not fair. In a competitive market businesses will fail and new businesses will be created. Let the bad ones fail and save taxpayers dollars for other problems which matter more.

  18. Although it may lack leadership and some organization I think that the Occupy movement is inspiring. There is obvious frustration among the citizens of this country. There is hopelessness in the air. Many people are struggling financially. The unemployment rate is high. The wage gap between the top earners and the rest of us has become ridiculous. The poverty rate is rising. I think occupy is a good example of citizens being proactive. Even though they are gaining a lot of negative criticism in the mass media, most people I talk to support the movement and the message. If nothing else, the movement has been successful in starting a dialogue about important issues that need to be dealt with in one way or another.

  19. Pingback: OWS part 2 | Anthropology in the Global Age

  20. I really enjoy the knowing that individuals are finally making this come to light. The one quote: “Individuals in the protest movement identify themselves as the 99% and although they represent a multitude of views, they have organized around their shared interest as the 99% of people in America who do not have tremendous wealth.” This really hits a spot for most people, would be nice to be one of the 1% with “tremendous wealth”. Hopefully our College Education gets us on the right path!

  21. Katie Burggraff

    I think the 99% of all of the people being represented for really says something. That is so impressive! But there are so many negatives to this cause. This country wide protesting trend is causing disruption and chaos. I have heard of people being seriously hurt and in one case raped. It’s for a great cause, a fantastic cause, but bad structure. But with the protesters that are generating, we have got to finally make a stand! Hopefully it works!

  22. This part relates to the second part of this blog which I did before the first. I do agree that something needs to be done about the current leadership style of our government but being a conservative I supported the initial motive of OWS. As time went on they lost their strength as a group and had inconsistent “demands” that were frequently discussed but never posted anywhere. Most of them wanted socialist items like increased spending and social programs from what I have talked about with others and read in the news.

    I oppose them as I believe deregulation and lowering the cost of living and doing business will create more jobs and lead to economic growth. Their method of protesting defaces property and diminishes the positive impact of their cause. It’s obvious that no amount of protesting on its own will actually change the way the government operates.

    Regarding the reports of police brutality against them – I think it’s largely fictional. If you are ordered to leave a place and don’t it is considered trespassing and being forcibly removed is to be expected. Seeing videos of the protestors being belligerent and uncooperative make it seem like they got what was coming to them.

    OWS would be best off going home until they can organize what they actually want and lobby their representative to legislate on their behalf like other groups and businesses do. They are defacing the democratic party and have turned into broke college kids looking for free tuition as it is now.

    • Very well put. I remember seeing the pictures of the space that was Occupied and all the garbage and mess that was left behind. Anger should never be at the forefront of a “peaceful” protest, and defacing properties just appears to be childish and petty.

  23. Linda Doerneman

    I am an older student who lived through the 60’s and the disrespect our soldiers were subjected to because of Viet Nam. I truly remember the 60’s, I was there. When the fear of Cuban Missles was part of my life and when black children were put in white schools, I watched and said numerous prayers. People always have the rite to protect …..But……Why is what most of us are asking, What real purpose are you achieving…..Adbusters started this movement than Anonymous or US Day of Rage or whom ever joined in. We can see that rage is involved.
    We can see a lot of upset citizens/young people trying to make a point.
    State your point….we all know your mad….Yes..Bloomberg over-reacted…No one should be sprayed with tear-gas……but Protesters that say, we’re mad is not enough.
    I’m unemployed….I’m mad….My bills are not paid….I’m mad….that does not mean that I’m going to protest and not make the point that this is a list of my/our demands.

    Before we subject ourselves to a chance of police or other attacks, I believe you should have an outlined “Plan of Attack”. Organized Leaders of Influence and someone in power to hear our/their words.

    Your not alone, your just not ready to take on public opinion at this time.

  24. I think that the Occupy Wall Street protests were a bunch of crap. They didn’t seem to have a clear message. They seemed to just want an excuse to not be out trying to find jobs or do something productive with their lives (an excuse to do drugs, sleep in the streets, and defaecate in public). They seemed to all be upset about the recession but didn’t know why they were upset or what changes they would like to see made. Some of the messages I was able to make out were that they wanted their student loan debt forgiven (laziness), they wanted to eliminate corporate rights “as persons” (if any of them owned their own company they should have a say in this, if not….Really?). Free healthcare…. Have you seen other county’s healthcare systems? …and you wonder why they come here for major surgeries? Do you think people will want to go through 12 years of training to not make a lot of money? Doubtful. I’m sure they all mean well, and have strong feelings about love, peace, and whatever else but I’m not in agreement with any of it because I’m a free market Libertarian and people with money work hard for it. “Go make your own!” is what I think of Occupy Wall Street.

    • I also felt the same way Alicia, I just don’t understand how anyone in this movement thinks they are going to get anywhere while creating chaos for themselves and every citizen around them. They are ruining the areas they are camping in such as parks and even making it harder for small business in the area to make a profit! I always thought that there time would have served more purpose if they had spent it out trying to get a job instead of rioting against the people who create jobs. – Tanya Stovring

  25. Daniel Letournuae

    While the occupy movement had the proper thought that change is needed on some levels, how they went about it seems all wrong, even for a grassroots movement. Their messages needed to be more long-term action based rather than simply “camping” on government plazas and refusing to move (which created headaches for all cities involved and police overtime to monitor the groups) just made their cause seem petty. Has they gone about it slightly differently and had a clear/focused message I believe their change would be more long-term.

    Articles this week are focusing on how the Occupy Movement needs to evolve now that main stream media has stopped showing their protests. My hope is that they can organize better nationally and form an advocacy organization that helps to influence lawmakers in a positive way by adding new perspectives.

    -Dan-

  26. How does this movement ever expect to accomplish anything unless we know what their goals are? It just seems to me that they are protesting just to protest. Do they really think that by camping out in public and making life harder for everyone in that public area they are going to gain support? I also wonder where this group thinks the jobs that everyone needs are going to come from if not Wallstreet or from corporations. A company has to make a profit in order to hire employees. I just hope that this public nuisance will end soon and everyone can get back to making a decent living in order to put food on the table and a roof over their head.
    No demands, no leadership and no structure means no real outcome.

  27. I do see the protests as “something,” I suppose. In all honesty, the Occupy Movement really appears to be a childish way of getting attention about the lack of fairness in the country. Economically speaking, yes some people are poor and some are rich; but most of us are in between and none of this can be changed overnight. There is no way for everyone to have the same amount of money, and believing otherwise is naive. All I see when I look at pictures of all the Occupiers is people who are irrational, angry, haphazard, or lazy. It did not turn this way on account of watching the news reports or reading articles. To me this just seems like it is some type of “fad,” and thus I do not take it seriously.

    Chanting loudly and police officers that are filmed doing “unprovoked,” pepper-spraying, does not assist the cause of the Occupy Movement. Surely, maybe gain some sympathy for the cause, or causing a stir on account of it; but that is the extent of it. The entire thing has been blown past it’s original context, and the only people they are causing problems for are a part of this “99%.”

    • Robert Miller

      I agree that this does seem to be a childish way of doing things. They should have had a clear goal before they started occupying the streets. However its not as simple as the “99%” are upset that they aren’t rich. They are tired of getting slighted, while the rich get richer, and corporations use loop-holes that allow them to not pay much in taxes if any at all. They want to see a change from this corrupt system but they should have had a better plan.

    • I agree that there are always trouble makers that are going to behave irrationally, angry etc.. They are the type of people who give any movement a bad name. However, I do think that the middle class is shrinking and we need to do something about it.

  28. Lisa Huibregtse

    I understand why the occupy movement came into existence, and I think that standing up for those with out billions of dollars to make sure that policies and politicians are working for you, is a good idea. On the other hand I believe that Corporations can and should be greedy, Making money is their sole purpose. But they should not be considered a “person” and given rights to put their fortunes towards spreading their own political agenda through highly paid off politicians. I think that Occupy Wall Street should not be targeting corporations so much as the laws that give them too much freedom, and the greedy individuals who are perpetuating the ever increasing gap between the 1% and the 99%.

    • I agree with that there are laws that need to be changed. We need corporations to keep money flowing into the different sectors of our economy. It is the greed of some of those individuals within corporations who have their own agenda that cause so much trouble.

    • Melissa Anderson

      I also think that standing up against these issues is a good idea. I think you’re right that the laws should really be targeted. This would really be a great place for the Occupy Movement to focus on. I know they have been meeting with politicians throughout the country to convey their thoughts and ideas, but I think they need to get more of the general public behind it too. Being that the majority of people in America are low-income or middle-class, they certainly don’t want the greedy people to get through the loopholes in the system. The Occupy Movement should involve more people with a non-protesting type of plan, such as urging them to contact their representatives. If people knew which loose laws to target, I think more people would want to be involved.

  29. Robert Miller

    I agree with this movement, just not the way they went about it. They needed to have a clear cut goal, with specific objectives. The people want their voices to be heard, because they feel like they have been stifled over recent years. The gap between the average citizen and the top 1% has increased a lot since the 1950’s and people do not want to see that gap increase at such a significant rate like it has been. It also doens’t help that corporations get bail outs, and then take that money and give their executives giant bonuses and private jets with our tax dollars, or the fact that they can do all of their operations in the U.S., but have some empty warehouse in the Cayman Islands so they can say they are based out of there and not have to pay taxes in the U.S. They are just tired of the corrupt system we have right now and want to see it changed. And as with any type of protest there will always be a few bad apples that take things too far by throwing rocks through windows and damaging property. Just like there were a few bad apples in the police department that handled the situation at UC-Davis poorly. You can’t just generalize that everyone is bad just because a few people did the wrong thing. In a lot of areas the protests are very organized and peaceful. While I agree with the movement, I still think they could have handled things a bit differently.

    • Melissa Anderson

      I think they didn’t have a clear-cut goal or objectives in order to gather as many followers as possible. I can kind of see where they’re coming from because everyone seems to have a different idea of how our economic problems should be solved, and if they chose one specific path, it may have meant losing followers due to disapproval. Since they started with a common denominator of problems with the big banks, perhaps now they can figure out the best plan. I do think however, that some type of well-known action plan should have been put into play by now. I think they should focus on letting everyday people know what they can do to help create progress towards the issues. While the protests had good intentions, I think the negative parts were highlighted, and may have overshadowed what needs to be done.

  30. I wonder what the Occupy Wall street movement would look like if the economy were better. I’m constantly hearing about how the economy is improving, but that we’re not quite there yet. When speaking of the economy, underemployment is rarely mentioned, nor is the fact that unemployment among young people is significantly higher than the average. OWS seems to me to be a movement of primarily young people. Quite frankly, I don’t blame them for protesting. I’m not young anymore, but I remember what it was like. Young people today are facing much higher levels of competition, due largely in part to the fact that there are way more of them than there were of my generation. Order a pizza to your house some night, chances are it’s an adult that delivers it to you. I myself am an adult, and I have to deliver newspapers in the morning to pay the bills. The vast majority of newspaper carriers (a job that used to be exclusively occupied by kids) are now-a-days adults and even seniors. I remember a relatively vibrant manufacturing sector in America, which has all but disappeared, and as we’ve recently read, service jobs are being outsourced now as well. Not even to mention the jobs that have been lost due to the pursuit of automated processes. I do my grocery shopping primarily at Rainbow foods. They have really made an effort to steer people toward the automated cashiers (another job that used to be almost exclusively occupied by young people). If you go at 6:00 in the morning like me, you have no choice but to use the automated check-outs. I digress…a lot of these people probably also don’t have practical access to the higher education that will be critical for obtaining any kind of job in the future. It used to be that a Bachelors degree really gave you an edge in the job market. Now it’s a Masters degree. So somebody needs to create some jobs. I don’t even care who it is, whether it is the government or the private sector, but somebody better do it for the sake of society, because if we just write these people off, then we are asking for a fight.

    I have a hunch that if the economy was better, the OWS movement wouldn’t be as loud, or exist at all. But maybe it’s not about the economy, maybe it is first and foremostly about democracy, freedom of speech and income inequality. I think that most people would argue that democracy and freedom of speech are good things. Income inequality is a topic that divides Americans. Personally, I would think that anyone, including the rich, would be able to see how income inequality leads to classism, racism, and countless other negative externalities, including the development of a peasant army, for which OWS may very well be a precursor, and I would think they would want to prevent that from happening, but then again, maybe they would feel more secure in a police state.

  31. I think that the Wall Street Movement started as a good grassroots movement. However, as with anything, there are always going to be people that don’t join in for the right causes, or want to stir the pot and get people fired up and angry (this is true for both sides). I believe that the voice of the 99% needs to be heard. There are many factors, including the downward spirl of the economy, and the corporation bailouts that seem to always find money. I think people are tired of a shrinking middle class. The middle class is really what holds our economy together. I am in favor of this movement, but I feel like the message has gotten muddled along the way and needs to be more concise.

  32. I think that it’s great that people in the United States care about social and economic inequality, but they need to their care in a different way. I don’t think that protesting is the right thing to do, people can get hurt as seen in the video and it costs the city money to have government official protect people around the protesters and supervise their behavior. This movement will not get anything accomplished in a timely manner, it doesn’t seem very organized and I’m sure people have way too many different concerns that they need taken care of. If these people want to get anything accomplished they need to organize better and possibly spread across the whole United States to get their concerns across and for government officials to listen. Economic status will never be equal in the United States because of how our economy is designed. Not all people can be rich and not all people want to be poor. I think that people can choose the path that they want to follow in life and work their way up to achieve it.

    • Melissa Anderson

      I’m also not 100 percent sure if I think protesting is the best way to get the message across. Protesting in a large number (and sometimes in a small number) can get a lot of attention, which allows the group protesting to have their message heard. The down side though is that I think many people have a negative connotation associated with protesting, no matter what’s being protested. Many people won’t protest even if they strongly believe in a cause, probably because they don’t want to publicly declare that they believe in something for fear of rejection. It’s probably time for the Occupy Movement to try a new tactic in order to be heard and to have positive actions follow.

  33. I think the power of democracy lay in the hand of the people. The occup Wall Street movement although it has not bring much of a change, it has increase the discusion of the disconnect between the rich and poor in this country. I think it is time for the mainstream media to get on board and
    bring this social inequality that exist in this country to light.

  34. Lauren Weiland

    I believe that the OWS movement is a natural conclusion of the flawed social oligarchy that currently exists in the US. Income inequality between the upper classes and the middle/lower classes has been growing obscenely for the last 40 years. Yet, the only solution presented to this problem by so many is the failed argument of “trickle down” economics which has been proven to result in only more wealth for the top. The OWS movement is the result of worn out individuals who are tired of the conservative montra that failure rests on the shoulders of the individual, when in fact the system was rigged to begin with. If something is not done to truly address income inequality, movements like OWS will only become more extreme in nature. Only the truly ignorant would believe that a failed strategy that has been tried over and over again and produced nothing but the same would actually work.

  35. The problem of social inequality has gained alot of attention recently in regards to the OWS movement in N.Y.C as well as the various occupy movements around the country. The portests have generated both good
    hhghand bad things, I think that as a result of them more people have realized how bad the economic inequality is in the U.S. which is great however the lack of plan & focus has been their problem in gaining more support. Alot of people show up to these rallies & protests with an angry demeanor and wish to cause violence and riot rather than achieve a specific goal. I think thats where this movement has failed, in bringing together people to achieve something that is more than just publicity. Its really terrible to see peaceful protesters and journalists getting attacked by riot police, they should not be allowed to physically harm any peaceful person.

  36. I personally dislike the Occupy movements, as I feel it really lacks a direction, and has a tendency to be invasive. I can respect them as a group looking for change, and I can respect the idea that they are in a way their own society, but they still need to acknowledge the country around them. One of the things that really bothered me about the movement was when the fought to stay in Zuccotti Park with all of their belongings, arguing that they need tents and generators for electricity, when even the courts that defended their rights to occupy the park were saying they could not make the park their ‘home’ for the protests. They refused to believe they could be invasive to people who may enjoy the park, and solely took it over for the purpose of their protest. While merely occupying it for days without all the extras is still within their rights, it is still invasive to others who do not wish to be involved.
    On the note of a lack of direction, I feel this is because people in the movement have used it as a platform to try to call for change to everything. I respect the movement as a protest against a small number of people manipulating the flow of wealth, it has a point and sets a clear objective. I have seen many people though using that as a platform to call for changes to the government, many citing the types of democracy they use at their general assemblies. While this may have merit as well, it is completely off topic of the actual intent of these protests. If one of these subjects could be focused on, the movement would carry much more weight in my eyes.
    A third point I dislike, which is kind of a throwback to the first, is that anything authorities do regarding the protests is excessively vilified. Anything the police or the city does against the protesters becomes abuse. I understand that some cases can be excessive, but there is still justification. In the case of the pepper spraying, it was lose-lose for the officers. The people were asked to leave, they resisted. If the police pepper sprayed(which was the case), they are the villain. If they use physical force to merely move the people, they are the villain. If they walk away, they lack the authority to those who do not care for Occupy, which itself is still a large group.

  37. “the law, instead, has simply been exploited into a weapon used by the politically and financially powerful to prevent challenges to their standing.” In recent years we have witnesses what the exploitation of the masses looks like. Rich and greedy billionaires lobbied washington for deregulation. Washington, as usual, gave in, and the result was the best and worst economy this country has seen in decades. The entire housing bubble was the design and result of wealthy executives along with Americans who wanted the fact track to homeownership and financial success. Many of the executives were paid gross amounts of money for crafting the worst investment crises since the Great Depression. I think the 99% are frustrated becasue they feel that democracy has failed them and they can’t effect change. People want a voice, they want to matter and most importantly they want to be able to effect change.
    I won’t critisize the Occupy movement for anything. They were peaceful citizens exercising their right to demonstrate and have their voices heard. They did what 99% of the rest of the population doesn’t…they got off their butts and did something about the things that they don’t like.

  38. The first thing you need to do when you want to change something is call attention to the issue. That is what these protests are about, by camping in parks and streets they got national attention. Though I agree they could have used a clearer message though.

    • It seems the consensus is that the message needs revitalizing. I think the the actual cause is easily understood but what is lacking is a charismatic leadership mantle and a grabbing cohesive packaging of the vision.

  39. Melissa Anderson

    The Occupy Wall Street Movement is standing up for issues in the United States that have been ignored for too long. Big banks were bailed out after recklessly spending, and then gave out bonuses with the bailout money they were given. This sends a terrible message to the rest of the country. Many mortgage lending companies lent to people that really shouldn’t have qualified, and sometimes they didn’t even need to show proper proof of their incomes. Yes, people shouldn’t have bought a house if they knew they couldn’t afford it, but these companies also shouldn’t have approved so many mortgages to low income families. Indeed, something needs to change with certain laws, especially closing loopholes, and the Occupy Movement decided to make a move and take a stand. It was very interesting to read/watch about how they are organized. I wasn’t aware of all of the small groups they have or that they have a type of society created. This seems to have gone beyond typical protesting. Although I don’t 100 percent agree with the long-term disturbances of parks, such as Zuccotti, some sort of public appearance was necessary. While the movement has effectively used social media to spread news to each other, I think they’re missing something. I think if they had put together a YouTube video similar to the Kony video, the movement may have been better understood and could possibly have more followers. Perhaps there already is such a video, but I’m guessing it wasn’t promoted how the Kony video was.

    • Lauren Weiland

      The OWS movement definitely had a lot of press and social media coverage. I think the protesting was necessary in where it needed to go that far to prove a point for income inquality. Our system has not worked thus far, and has led to an inappropriate distribution b/t the middle and upper class. There seemed to be a majority of live coverage of OWS versus a video on their message. There could have been a clearer video on youtube with their message like kony’s video.

    • I believe that a clearer and concise message would greatly benenfit the movement. It wasn’t until these links that I am starting to get a clearer idea – even though a would hear bits on NPR and the like. A well constructed program towards awareness – a clear attainable goal – a vision with outlets that many feel compelled to contribute to — this would greatly aid the cause I think.

  40. I support the movement of occupy Wall Street because I believe that the people who are protesting are taking their time to protest not because they have extra time but thinking their voice will bring change. These people are students who commit to go to school but could not see positive about the future, people who were working classes but lost their jobs, people who lost their house and so on. Unfortunately, the United States still spends very expensive amount of money on military while most society are not able to live decent life. What I suggest for the movement is to be organized and not to be violent. And I hope there will not be any more of pepper–spraying and arresting protestors as far as they are protesting peacefully.

  41. I have a hard time agreeing with the cause or the method in which they are pursuing their “cause.” I don’t deny their right to protest, but I think the whole movement is misguided. From the articles and videos I have seen the “cause” seems to be supported by a group of entitled people angered that there are people in this country that are richer than them. I would be someone who would fall into their 99% category but if I saddled up with that movement I would be shirking my responsibility for my life. Everything I have in this life I have had to work for on my own. If I couldn’t afford something, I wouldn’t buy it or I would need to save up to buy it. I don’t find my life any less satisfying because I don’t have a BMW but my boss does. Americans no longer understand delayed gratification. They want everything handed to them without the blood, sweat, and tears of work. They keep mentioning that the 1% is controlling everything including politics and economy but no where did they explain HOW.
    I can’t comment on the part of their cause that calls for democratic reform because I’m almost positive a majority of those protesters wouldn’t be able to tell me the difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Mainstream media and social media plays an important role in these kinds of causes because it gives a mass a of people something to think without actually taking the time to understand it.

  42. The video of the pepper spraying is remarkable. The protesters were organized, safe, and peaceful – and they were sprayed ruthlessly. The video is noteworthy because it is obvious that any real danger would have come from the unorganized crowd not the few people sitting down peacefully. As to the link discussing the erosion of civil liberties – there are videos in worse far worse is done and indeed this erosion is continual, but the connection to the War on Terror is noteworthy. After reading Tiabbi and the other links I am only too curious at what the future holds.

    • videos in *which…

    • I must agree with you that the pepper spraying video is quite a thing to watch, they were of no obvious harm to anybody but end up getting physcially abused by the police for no real apparent reason. The cops sprayed alot of pepper spray on them too which really shows you the level of power that they think they should have, last I heard one of the officers in the video was either fired or stepped down from his position I can’t quite remember. I think they should lose their jobs for actions such as this ruthless behavior.

  43. I did not know much about this group until reading this article. I agree with Emily’s post, you have to work hard to be able to achieve your goals or advance in life. You can’t expect to be given things for free. Has this group achieved anything by protesting?

  44. I like many others think that most of the prostestors are there for the right reasons but I also think at the same time protesting isn’t generating jobs or enough positive things to change people. I think if all these protestors were working instead of protesting more good would come.

  45. Personally I avoid paying attention to matters such as this. One reason is because most of it is over my head. Another reason is because there always seems to be an excess of overly emotional dramatics that come with it. I understand that people feel wronged by what is happening with the economy and that because they are in the 99 percent that is being affected by it, but I am not sure that protesting is going to be the answer. Yes, it gets attention. I just don’t know if it is exactly good attention. In some ways it looks like whining and in other ways it looks like a strong movement to make change. I know that I am part of the 99 percent but you know what, I chose my life and the career path that I did. If I wanted to be in the 1 percent I had the choice to pursue that path to get up to there. But I didn’t chose that path and I am forced to deal with what comes with my choice. It may not seem fair all the time but I did have some sort of say in the matter.

  46. I feel like at one point in time the movement stood for something what was a worthwile cause. At this point though I do not think that them movement has a clear cause. I think that they are getting a lot of attention lately but I do not feel that attention is helping the movement in working towards your goal.

  47. Kekeli Christianson

    I think that occupy wall street is positive social movement that is trying to show people that they do have power eventhough the banks and our ecomics system may try to make them feel powerless but if they work together and stick to their guns they will eventually get things done and the level the plain field between the consumer and the bankers because the represent the 99% of the income earners and withous us there will be no one percent.

  48. I have never heard anything about this until now. I think it is wonderful that occupy wall street is trying to bring about the issues our society is faced with in a positive way but like many protests, I feel like the won’t be heard as much as they want to. What is to come of this? Probably not much because our goverment tends to not listen to us and address issues that do not relate to the people. I think protesting does get the attention…but is it enough??

  49. Pingback: Occupy Wall Street 1 year Anniversary | Anthropology in the Global Age

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