Debate Magazine

Why Occupy Wall Street Sucks

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

Occupy Wall Street: Day 14I don’t usually get into politics on this blog because I find that it’s too divisive.  People either believe or they don’t, sort of like religion, and trying to hold an intelligent conversation over a matter of faith is silly.  Today I’d like to change that a bit.  I’m going to talk about politics and the occupy wall street phenomena in particular.  However, I’m going to avoid talking about the political opinions expressed and just focus on the actions.  That is, I’m not trying to say whether the OWS movement is right or wrong, I’m simply going to look at how they’re conducting themselves.

First, a little background for those of you who might be reading this five years from now or who might have been living under a rock for the past five years.  OWS is a bunch of folks who are camping out in a park near Wall Street in protest of the current economic situation.  They have a variety of messages but most of the them revolve around the idea that current income distribution is unfair due to the fact that the top 1% of earners take home far more than 1% of the income.  That’s fine and if that’s your belief, good for you.  However, what actions are these people taking?

Actions Needs To Be Meaningful

OWS has expanded a bit to cities outside of New York and in some cities it’s turned into protests and marches but for the most part, this movement focuses on camping out in a park.  Seriously?  You think you’re going to bring about massive political and economic change by camping out in a park?  No offense, but this is bullshit (excuse my language).  Change doesn’t come because hundreds or even thousands of people camp out peacefully in a park.  Change comes because you take meaningful action, legal or otherwise.

A Few Examples

  • The American Revolution – They didn’t like the way they were being taxed.  They thought it was unfair and meant to benefit a select few (sound familiar?).  So they went to war over it and died by the thousands to achieve change.
  • The Arab Spring – Hundreds of thousands of people confronted their oppressors because they were tired of a poor economic situation (and if you think the Arab spring was about freedom and democracy, you’re being naive.  Revolutions aren’t fought over freedom, they’re fought over money and food).  They too died by the hundreds and by the thousands but they achieved change.
  • Protests in Greece – Whether you agree with austerity measures or not, there’s some folks over there who are very committed to making their point.  They’re shutting down the whole government and clashing with cops on a daily basis.
Compared to all these people willing to place themselves at risk, perhaps even place their lives in jeopardy, we have a bunch of people camping out in a park…  Seriously?

Is Violence Necessary?

Let me make something clear.  I am not saying violence is necessary for change.  Yes, the folks during the American revolution, the Arab spring, the Greek protests and the French revolution did in fact end up in a war.  People died, by the tens of thousands in some cases, but this is not always necessary.  Look at the civil rights movement, a prime example of how change can be achieved by dedicated people who are using peaceful but effective tactics.  Yes, violence was used in the civil rights movement, but it was used by the enemies of that movement.  Folks like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks achieved their goals through peaceful methods.  They were in fact willing to risk their safety and lives in the name of change but their methods were non violent, and it worked.

The OWS movement by comparison is doing absolutely nothing.  Who the hell cares about some folks camping out in a park and holding signs about economic equality?  Other than the TV stations (the same ones making the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor into a national news event) and a few politicians looking to pander to the masses, do you really think anyone cares?  Do you think anyone in some bank’s executive conference room or senate committee meeting is thinking about the protesters?  Hell no, these people don’t care.  OWS means jack and shit to these folks because it has ZERO impact on them or their business.

Make Them Care

Do you want to make a difference?  Then do something that matters.  If you’re too scared to make these protests meaningful like the Arab Spring then stop protesting and do something more useful.  And yes, there are a lot more useful things you could do.  Here are a few easy things anyone can do if they really hate our current economic system:

  1. Take your money out of the big banks’ accounts and put it into a local credit union – Banks have to maintain a certain amount of capital in order to operate and removing this capital will hurt them.  If enough of us do this, we’ll hurt them badly.  In fact, where ever you can, stop doing business with large companies.  I’ll go out of my way to do business with local, independent merchants, even if it means I pay a little more.  In the end, I believe the cost is worth it because they bring back a lot more to my community.
  2. Stop taking on debt – That means stop using your credit card (even if you pay off your bills at the end of every month), stop taking out car loans, stop taking out mortgages and stop taking out student debt.  This is how the big banks make money.  If we don’t participate, they lose.  And yes, even if you pay off your credit card bill at the end of every month, you are still making them tons of money through credit card fees.
  3. Vote against bond measures – Yes, I know that bond measure for schools looks awesome.  Heck, who wouldn’t vote for more school funding?  However, these bond measures are your city, county and state’s way of taking on debt because they’re too stupid to manage their own finances.  And guess who underwrites and profits from these debts?  Oh yes, it’s wall street.
  4. Stop spending so much – I don’t give a damn about all those economists who say we consumers should finance the recovery by spending more.  That’s how we got into this mess in the first place and all the money we spent ended up going to those 1% who we are now protesting against.  If you need to buy something than buy it but stop throwing money out the window and then complaining you have none.  You don’t need a brand new car, a used one will be fine.  Your daughter does not need a brand new cell phone, she’ll be fine with a crappy old one.  Your wife doesn’t need a pair of new diamond earrings, she’ll be happy just to have you around more.  You don’t need a fresh latte every morning, water is just fine and healthier too.  You don’t need a cable subscription, television is rotting your brain anyway.  Your kids don’t each need their own bedroom and bathroom, I grew up just fine sharing a bedroom with my brother.  Stop throwing away your money on what popular culture tells you is “necessary and cool” and start spending time and money on what’s important.
  5. And finally, stop being such a fool when it comes to elections – Start paying attention to the fact that both sides suck.  Stop assuming that someone is wrong simply because they disagree with you.  Start demanding change and back it up with funding for your favorite candidate.  In fact, how about you actually run for elected office, even at the local level, and start doing something about the mess we’re in rather than blaming everyone else for it?
If we all started doing this then we’d take those asses in Washington and Wall Street down.  We’d get real change and not just meaningless words by politicians looking to be reelected.  Or we could camp out in a park because that’s easy and it lets us post some pretty pictures on Facebook…

You Think I’m Mad?

Yes, I am angry.  The country I love, the country I made my home and the country I hoped my children would love as much as I did is going to hell and my friends are too busy camping out in a park to do anything meaningful about it.  So yes, screw you OWS, you’re worse than nothing.  You’re a distraction at a time when we need meaningful action and not just childish stunts.  Grow up already and start taking all of this seriously, because the rest of us adults need your help.


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COMMENTS ( 1 )

By Isis
posted on 18 November at 04:12
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I don't know where you get your facts from, but I believe from the written press, perhaps TV. However, there are substantial groups of highly intelligent and well educated people among OWS and they are not about beating around the bush. Like you, they are not into politics but awaking social consciousness. The reason, you and millions of others don't know exactly what's going on, is not less than the poor attention and coverage the media has dedicated to it. No wonder, they depend on many of those corporate organizations that are part of what the movement is demonstrating against! This is a free nation, therefore you are entitled to think and spread any information you wish. But what is important now, for you and everyone else, is to voice what you need and want from the executive and legislative government. Because, since this is not a political movement, politicians are the ones to move in any direction and will that one be something you can live with? Occupy is not about what the 1% takes, but how they do that and how that impacts the rest of the population. Poverty has grown more than 10% in the last 100 years, incomes had become obsolete for a long time, growth for the lover and middle class has been slowed down thanks to outsourcing, numbers of college and high school graduates had fall more on the last 10 years than during the 40s. Does that give you an idea? Education is the mother of progress and consciousness and everyone should learn the topic they've chosen before speaking about it! Get it? Good luck to you.

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