Occupy Wall Street has taken over the United States. The movement is protesting on Wall Street, as well as 180 other cities, to end our economic crisis. People of all ages paraded around with signs telling us to “Wake up!” and “Tear down this Wall St.”
This is the type of political involvement America needs. Unlike the stigma many media personalities and politicians are giving them, these are not just young, ignorant, hippie students; these are the people affected most from the economic downturn. Teachers who pay more taxes than CEOs, 80-year-olds who can’t afford to retire, college graduates who remain unemployed and single parents working multiple jobs to keep food on the table.
The protestors claim to have been inspired by the Arab Spring to try to change America’s economic course. Demonstration leaders have used social media, word of mouth and sheer manpower to expand the scope of the protests. Protesting by the youth of the nation isn’t happening in just America. Reports of protesting in England, Greece, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and several other Middle Eastern countries have been in the news regularly due to the world’s economic crisis.
But the movement has come under fire for not having a clear goal that is completely understandable. If you’re going to camp out in the streets of New York City, you should probably know what you’re fighting for. But I don’t think it’s their lack of goals, it’s their vast amount of ideals and lack of leadership.
If you read their Declaration of Occupation, there are 21 complaints made about corporate America. Each one of these complaints is legitimate if you ask me, but they’re so vague the protestors have a hard time pinpointing one cause they’re marching for. These complaints have no formal list of demands, which makes them seem disorganized and noncohesive. The movement needs a specific creed as to what they’re opposing. For critics, “corporate greed” just isn’t a good enough answer.
This is where a strong leader is needed. The Civil Rights movement had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Women’s Rights movement had Gloria Steinam and the Anti-Vietnam War movement had Bob Dylan. I believe someone needs to step up and lead these people if they are going to succeed. A hindrance of this might be that the Occupy Wall Street movement itself is supposed to be a true democratic organization with everybody contributing equally, but they need a leader with the political know-how.
Occupy Wall Street has the potential to make history. Many people are likening these protests to those of the 1960s, and I can’t describe how thrilled I am to have this happen in my lifetime. With the economic calamities and environmental impact careless and selfish politicians and corporations our generation has witnessed, it’s about time we do something about it.
There is going to be opposition, but I hope these people don’t give up. There are critics of every movement: the abolitionists were jailed, suffragists were ignored and civil rights leaders were murdered. Those downsides to change are worth it for the generations to come. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”