Occupy Wall Street
9th, March 2013
Occupy Wall Street is a protest movement in the United States of America, which began in the year 2011, on the 17th day of September. The first protest happened in New York, specifically, in Zuccotti Park. A group of individuals, including the Canadian Magazine adbusters, lawyers and journalists, among other professionals, founded this protest movement, with varieties of issues, which this movement aimed at addressing (Schechter, 2012). There is no specific issue, which this group aims at addressing, but generally focuses on the wrongs in the American society. These are mainly social and economic evils in the country, such as corruption, greed by corporations and leaders, among others. Therefore, the main issues focused on by this group are those that are influenced by the country’s financial sector. This protest group claims to be the 99 percent, while the remaining 1 percent is the wealthy ‘capitalists’ in society. This therefore, points to unequal distribution of wealth, power, and income in the American society (Schechter, 2012).
The goals of Occupy Wall Street include addressing taxation issues in the country, and how disparity in taxation could be solved. Secondly, this aims at bringing to justice those individuals involved in past injustices, especially concerning the 2008 financial crash Occupy (Wall Street, n.d). Additionally, this group aims at making the government to restrategize its spending by focusing on priorities in the country, which do not include spending on foreign wars. In order to achieve their objectives, Occupy Wall Street used direct action, such as peaceful demonstrations. However, these changed to making their issues heard in board meetings, institutions of higher learning, and headquarters of corporations, among others. This was after they were driven away from their initial position in Zuccotti Park, in November 2011 (Gautney, 2011).
A survey by Héctor Codero-Guzmán, PhD, a sociology professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), showed that 70 percent of the people who make up Occupy Wall Street are independent politically, therefore, not affiliated to any political party. Their ages also vary, but most people were younger, below 34 years, and accounted for 64.2 percent of the total Occupy Wall Street group. However, those aged above 45 years were the least in number. Their level of education also varied significantly, but most (92.1 percent) were learned up to the college or university level (Franzen, 2011). This survey also revealed that only 50 percent of the Occupy Wall Street protesters are in employment, some with full time, and others part time. Most of the Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park are not opposed to the government taxing the rich in America at a higher rate, compared to the other income-earners (Cordero-Guzman, 2011).
The Occupy Wall Street movement uses the social media to increase its popularity. For instance, multiple Facebook pages have been formed by/for this group. Additionally, YouTube has different videos of the activities the group is involved in, including videos of them protesting on the streets (LOOPS99to1, 2011). On Twitter, the group has an account, which helps them keep in contact with the larger American society. By making use of the social media, the popularity of the group increases, and therefore, their agenda is known by many people. On the social media, this group has received great following, which means the agenda of the group will influence majority of the people, thus, gaining support from the public.
Occupy Los Angeles was formed in October 2011. This was after the arrest of close to 700 Occupy protesters in New York City. Its main aim is to end ‘corporatism’ at both the national and local level. This group aims at ensuring that the state and the government cease the merger they have adopted lately, and instead focus on their different roles, exercising their different powers. Currently, the relationship between the US government and the corporation has resulted in the interests of the 1 percent people being met, at the expense of the remaining 99 percent. In order to stop this relationship, the Occupy Wall Street group in Los Angeles is involved in various actions. These include general assemblies each Wednesday morning, petitions, peaceful protests, camping, among others (Occupy Los Angeles, 2012). All these actions help the group spread word to the rest of the population about the rate of political irresponsibility in the country, as well as ways of ensuring effective governance. Apart from these, this group also has a Facebook page, which it uses to communicate to various people on this social media, about their plans and activities, among other issues. This Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/occupyLA has a great following, showing how influential this group has become in Los Angeles.
Different people have different views about this group. First, the locals in Los Angeles are comfortable with the group. Generally, the public supports Occupy Wall Street, since they attempt to advocate for people’s economic and social rights. On the other hand, the government and authorities in Los Angeles are opposed to the group, as shown through the arrests they make. However, the media supports this indirectly, considering the number of journalists and media personalities in the group. During their protests, some group members have been arrested by police and arraigned in court. The police with tear gas and pepper spray have on many occasions dismissed masses of protesters in Los Angeles. This has had various implications on the group. For instance, the demonstration sites used by the group have been abandoned (Bowlin, 2011).
Image 1: Police arrest a man during a peaceful protest by members of Occupy Wall Street.
I have confirmed that great disparity between the poor and the rich exist in the United States, and this is heightened by corporate greed. However, it seems the authorities are in denial of this circumstance, as people are not allowed to voice their concerns on this issue through Occupy Wall Street protests. When people are harshly dismissed in their attempt to fight for a worthy cause in society, it reflects negatively on the government and its integrity. Given the circumstances surrounding the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the US, it is hard to tell whether the US government will one day put the concerns of the protesters, who represent the ‘99 percent’ into consideration. Nonetheless, for just governance, the government must listen to the concerns raised by its people, and address them together with the people.
Images of Occupy Wall Street protesters with placards
Occupy Wall Street (n.d) Retrieved from http://www.occupywallst.org/
Occupy Los Angeles (2012). Retrieved from http://www.occupylosangeles.org/
Bowlin, K. (2011). Occupy Wall Street takes over Los Angeles Special
Retrieved from http://digitaljournal.com/article/312586
Cordero-Guzman, R. (2011). ‘Main Stream Support for a Mainstream Movement.’ Retrieved
Schechter, D. (2012). Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street. New York: Cosimo, Inc.
Franzen, C. (2011). ‘Occupy Wall Street Demographic Survey Results Will Surprise You.’ TPM.
Retrieved from http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-demographic-survey-results-will-surprise-you.php
Gautney, H. (2011). ‘What is Occupy Wall Street? The history of leaderless movements.’
Retrieved from http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-10-10/national/35277702_1_heather-gautney-movement-gay-rights
LOOPS99to1 (2011) Occupy Los Angeles: 9/26, 2011. Youtube. Retrieved from
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