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Occupy Wall Street Protesters: Alienated Young People Or Spoiled Brats?

Posted on the 03 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Occupy Wall Street protesters: Alienated young people or spoiled brats?

Wall Street protest march. Photo credit: Paul S, http://flic.kr/p/aqZJb2

The Occupy Wall Street protest movement is back in the headlines after New York police made mass arrests over the weekend. Protesters attempting to march from a base near Wall Street were stopped by police on the Brooklyn Bridge; more than 700 were arrested. The movement began on 17th September in a Manhattan park and has since spread to cities around the US, including Los Angeles and Boston. Has the latest police crackdown dampened down the protesters’ fire – or just added fuel to the flames?

  • “Tactical victory.” Writing for The Atlantic Wire, Ted Mann pointed out that while the NYPD may have won a “tactical victory” in halting the march, protesters may feel the resulting media attention was worth the arrests. However, John Avlon suggested at The Daily Beast that if the protests continue to be provocative rather than peaceful, there is a risk that Occupy Wall Street will alienate potential supporters.
  • “Heavy-handed.” Meanwhile, Ed Pilkington reported in The Guardian that the NYPD may have inadvertently generated fresh sympathy for protesters after police were accused of “heavy-handed tactics”:  ”Brooklyn bridge was reopened by late evening, but the dramatic scenes there and the prevailing feeling that the police action was excessive are only likely to fuel the demonstrations as they carry on this week,” he wrote. Protesters have also claimed police lured them to the bridge in order to trick participants into breaking the law. The Guardian is asking for anyone arrested during the protest to send in their story.

“Never trust the political rhetoric of young white hippies,” advised Tim Stanley in a Telegraph blog.

  • “Alienated.” However the protests develop over the coming weeks, Avlon argued at The Daily Beast that there is a fundamental flaw to Occupy Wall Street: “These protesters have the trappings of anarchists with Apple computers — they are earnest and know how to play for the cameras. They have internalized slogans that capture emotions but are too often unrelated to solutions,” he wrote. Over at The New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristoff was more sympathetic to the cause of the “alienated young people” taking part, but agreed that there is a lack of focus: “Where the movement falters is in its demands: It doesn’t really have any,” he said. Writing in a Telegraph blog, Tim Stanley went even further in his criticism of the movement, arguing that while US banks and corporations do have too much influence, the Occupy Wall Street protesters are “the wrong crowd” to make a difference. “They might have the diet of a North African peasant, but these spoiled brats are professional agitators financed by a generous trust fund”, he thundered.

“Jobs can and must be created. Family farms must be saved. The oil and gas industry must be divested of its political power and cheap, reliable alternative energy must be made available,” wrote actor Mark Ruffalo in a Guardian blog.

  • “Beautiful.” By contrast, actor Mark Ruffalo was rather more enthusiastic in a Guardian blog, describing the protest movement as “a thing of beauty”. Ruffalo insisted that the aim of Occupy Wall Street is “very clear and simple”: the protesters want equal rights, equal taxation, an end to corporate greed and accountability, he said.
  • Celebrity. Ruffalo is not the only well-known figure supporting the protests. According to The Huffington Post, actors Roseanne Barr and Susan Sarandon and rapper Lupe Fiasco have all stopped by to show support, while Yoko Ono tweeted her approval.

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