As many of us are still trying to understand specifically what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about, we are left with the thought that it’s a noble idea but what exactly is it supposed to accomplish? What is the objective? Is it about voicing displeasure of the banking system? Government? The economy? All of the above? Is the movement supposed to manifest itself into action? If so, what action are we talking about? Towards whom? Until these questions are answered then the movement will be viewed as a small blip on the historical landscape in terms of significance.
The movement gained a little momentum when both labor and college students joined in recent days. Both have a history in playing pivotal roles in social crusades in the past but those efforts where defined in what they were to accomplish. The jury is still out here. We’re also finding a few politicians trying to harness the movement for their own political means. Labor? Students? Politicians? Just who is in charge around here? Meanwhile, there exist forces that look to discredit the movement and its followers by defining them as a “mob”, dirty hippies, etc.
A recent Detroit News article “Assessing the Wall Street Protest” touched on a few of the underlying problems with this movement. It quotes Andrew Young as saying “There’s a difference between an emotional outcry and a movement”…”This is an emotional outcry. The difference is organization and articulation”. A great deal of it centers around lack of leadership amongst the protesters themselves, a leading voice to help articulate to the world what the fuss is all about.
All-in-all, there is some good that could come from this movement. First and foremost, ordinary citizens should be able to hold the government’s feet to the fire when it comes to making sure the financial industry is taking the 99% of Americans who don’t control the nation’s wealth into account with its business practices. Another would be for citizens to personally stop doing business with institutions that refuse to do business with them and demanding their government does the same. Another would be to limit as much as possible a dependency on government, financial institutions, and other business that are too big to fail. An interesting take on that is covered in the article “Don’t ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Start a Small Business”
by Carol Tice on Entrepreneur.com. She mentions that protesters could make better use of their time joining the 9 percent of the laid-off workers who’ve started their own businesses.
Whatever the case, the time to strike is now while the iron is hot on sensitive issues like wealth distribution in this country. We can’t let the momentum subside and those who’ve protested walk away from the movement empty handed. This needs to be bigger than a blip on the screen. After all, the world is watching.
Stay tuned as I follow how the movement evolves in the coming weeks.