Occupy Wall Street first begun its campaign September 17th, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, New York City. The Zuccotti Park Occupy Wall Street Public Relations states that “The original objectives of the OWS movement is to create a democratic process for addressing the problem of the power of Wall St. over our government and wealth inequality. At this point, the movement has grown and taken on many issues. The overall theme is that OWS wants true democracy where the 99% make decisions, not the 1% of the population that controls all of our wealth.”
This global movement, Occupy, has spread quickly, and is making an impact on society. The Occupy movement is represented in early every major City across America, and in major Cities around the World.
At Occupy Denver, located just across the Colorado State Capitol at Civic Center Park, protestors occupied the street and park. Having spoke in depth with three individuals, and a couple other participants, it was clear that the Occupy Denver movement had a different take than other cities. Three individuals, Matt, Dwayne Anthony Hudson Sr., and Tim Johnson all spoke their opinions regarding Occupy.
Dwayne Anthony Hudson Sr., was a very enthusiastic man who proudly stated “I am homeless, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and waiting for veteran housing”. Dwayne was also excited that on this particular Wednesday November 23, 2011 a vast majority were also African-American protestors. Dwayne explained that in order to make the Occupy movement successful, “America needs to bring more jobs back home” and he began to write his personal declaration, written in pros:
He continued to explain that “there is a better sense of community in the projects, where people have to work and help each other, whereas, in the suburbs – people leave their house, drive to work, come home, and stay in their house. No one out there truly knows their neighbor, yet they are only concerned with themselves.” Dwayne Hudson, although homeless, took the initiative to fight for something he strongly believed in, and continues to share his thoughts with those who take time and ask ‘why do you occupy Denver?’.
Tim Johnson, an actor and a protestor shown above, stated that he has “participated in protests since the late 1960’s” and has been to both Los Angeles and New York City Occupy Wall Street protests. Johnson has carried the same sign, he said, for a year now, it reads: “Apathy, Fear, Indifference Buy 1 Get 2 Free”. Johnson continued to explain that he wrote this sign, and initially stood in Cheery Creek alone to demonstrate that America is apathetic, fearful, and indifferent; meaning, America does not have feelings but for individuals selves, indifferent to what others do, and fearful of what will happen to their funding. Johnson believes that “America is falling into a downfall with their bad habits”. He continued to turn around and question me “look at the people in the park, now look at the number of people standing on the sidewalk with signs – the people who are sitting in the park would usually be there anyway, but they have conformed to the Occupy Denver, because of the food kitchen set up. Those of us who actively participate in the protest are displaying our signs, showing the public that we want change.
Current college and university students have also become part of the Occupy protest nationally. As written in The New York Times, Occupy Wall Street Protestors Shifting to College Campuses by Elizabeth Harris on November 13, 2011, states “[a]s city officials around the country move to disband Occupy Wall Street encampments amid growing concerns over health and public safety, protestors have begun to erect more tents on college campuses.” Further in her article, Harris explains that at “Berkeley, about 3,000 people gathered on Sproul Plaza to protest tuition increases, and many then set up a camp. Demonstrators linked arms to protest their tents, but police officers broke through and took down more than a dozen tents, arresting about 40 protestors. University officials said they had watched city governments struggle to deal with expanding campsites and decide to take a stricter line: no tents, no sleeping, period.”
While the University of California at Berkeley is taking the lead in national news for college protesting, and refuting the increase in college tuition. College students nationally are forming their opinion about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Students from various colleges across the country contributed their thoughts on the movement:
Overall, the student reaction to this movement is that without fundamental demands, and a form of structure, the Occupy Wall Street movement will not continue much longer – nor make an impact on the government regulations.
These thoughts contradict what protestors at Denver believed. Tim Johnson thinks that “this protest will continue on for another year or two, because we need to make change, and for that to happen, the policy must change so that we can make a difference.” Dwayne also believed that “this protest will last longer than some people think.”
Having had the opportunity to exchange remarks with Zuccotti Park OWS Public Relations individuals, a series of questions and answers are as follows:
What are the objectives of the OWS movement?
The original objectives of the OWS movement is to create a democratic process for addressing the problem of the power of Wall St. over our government and wealth inequality. At this point, the movement has grown and taken on many issues. The overall theme is that OWS wants true democracy where the 99% make decisions, not the 1% of the population that controls all of our wealth.
What does OWS want to see change?
We want to a return to real democracy. We doing this by organizing direct democracy in our own communities right now.
What goals does OWS have?
Our goal is to bring back true democracy and take the power back from the 1% who control all of the wealth.
How many cities have participating movements?
According to the website Occupytogether.org., there are over 1200 cities that are having or planning on having Occupy events.
What seems intriguing is that, the individuals who reply to press inquires state that there is not a governing body that oversees what the various Occupy movements do across the country. Additionally, he OWS movements, according to officials in Zuccotti Park, state that “We want to a return to real democracy.” Democracy, as stated by the Merriaum-Webster dictionary, is
a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
: a political unit that has a democratic government
capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the United States
: the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges”
The United States of America is founded upon a democratic society where individuals are elected for office, and the common people have a voice in their vote.
After speaking with OWS protestors, and PR individuals in New York City, it is apparent that the Occupy movement wishes for a new change in democracy – rather than “bring[ing] back true democracy and tak[ing] the power back from the 1% who control all of the wealth” making this country more equal among the citizens, and evening out the playing field for all. What the OWS people state, sounds like a resurrection in socialism: “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods” as stated by the Merrium-Webster Dictionary.
College students across the nation are attending courses to contribute to society, and find a career of their own – yet given the current economic situation where tuition is being raised, and the job market is scarce, students are still willing to continue their education, and form opinions of the government and Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Spencer Bakich, a government professor at Sweet Briar College states that his “ assessment of the OWS movement’s chance of affecting economic policy in the next year and a half is not favorable at all. First, the only policy option on the radar presently is the President’s “jobs bill.” This bill, which was put forth prior to the OWS’s emergence, stood little chance of passage because: 1) the Republicans control the House and 2) the Democrats do not hold a sizable enough majority in the Senate to beat back a filibuster. Second, the only pressure that OWS can exert is on the Democrats; OWS is not a part of any Republican’s constituency. As such, the point made in 1 does not fundamentally change given 2. Finally, OWS itself is, at present, an inchoate expression of discontent. It lacks the organization and funding of the Tea Party on the right. It is much more likely to fizzle than explode, in other words.”
Similarly, Joe Craig, an economics professor at Sweet Briar College also sates: “Have to be honest, I’m not sure it will have much effect on the government’s decision at all. I think this is an issue that everyone knows about, and no one really knows how to fix. Greed drives economics, and motivates people. It’s very difficult to decide how much greed is enough, and what is too much. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea or noble to try it. I just doubt the effect it will have on government officials unless it is much larger than it currently is.”
For any resolution of the OWS movement, clear demands need to be developed.