Occupy Movement Protests: A Revolution or a Waste of Time?

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Unless you’re completely oblivious to all news outlets, chances are you’ve heard of the recent Occupy Movement protests in the U.S.

It all started on September 17, 2011 with the New York General Assembly.  Over one thousand people assembled and “occupied” in Liberty Square in the Manhattan Financial District to express their outrage and “a feeling of mass injustice” that the 1% of the richest people in America are making hard, selfish decisions, negatively affecting the other 99% of the country.  This commenced the Occupy Wall Street movement that we hear so much about in the news.

Some of these injustices include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal foreclosures on homes
  • Irresponsible company bailouts
  • Paying executives excessive salaries and unwarranted bonuses
  • Inequality and discrimination in the workplace
  • Debilitating the farming system through monopolization
  • Selling private information for a profit
  • Trapping students with thousands of dollars in student loans
  • Keeping the country oil dependent by avoiding alternate forms of energy
  • Keeping the public miseducated using traditional mass media

So who is this 1% that Occupiers are blaming?

Politicians, executives, big banks, large corporations, and those who support them to name a few.

The group blames these people for the The Great Recession, and encourages the 99% community to get involved, assemble peacefully, and take action against the inequality.

Since the first movement, over 100 organizations have sprung up nationwide, such as Occupy Boston, Occupy Occupy Memphis, and Occupy Los Angeles.  Over 1,500 similar organizations have begun in places around the world, such Occupy Canada, Occupy Central China, and Occupy Africa.

Occupy Together has boomed as a grassroots movement, fueled by traditional media mentions and social media interaction.  Interested protestors can find events near them using the organization’s Meetup page.

On Thursday, November 17, 2011, known as #N17: Mass Day of Action, the larger chapters celebrated the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement with a massive non-violent development.  Occupy Wall Street shut down Wall Street before the Trading Floor Bell rang, exchanging stories of injustice.

They concluded with a gathering in Foley Square, demanding jobs to fix the economy and celebrating with a gospel choir and marching band.

More events are slated for the future, including Occupy X-Mas on November 25 and Global Action Day on December 10.

So what has the Occupy Movement accomplished since its inception?

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Well, it’s hard to measure their success.  Sure, thousands upon thousands of people are participating, but so far, nothing much has been done.

The US unemployment rate was at 9% in October 2011. Student debt has reached one trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) and continues to climb. One in every 563 housing units received a foreclosure filing in October 2011.

Success certainly doesn’t come overnight, and not even two months of constant coverage can put a dent in these numbers.  However, many politicians aren’t taking the movement seriously, leading some to believe Occupy Together’s efforts are in vain.

Hundreds of thousands lend their support in person, via social media, and through private conversations between family, friends, and coworkers.

The revolution is being televised, but is the agenda being heard, or better yet respected?

Are you a 1%er or 99%er? What are your thoughts on the Occupy Movement?

Published or updated May 8, 2013.

Comments

  1. I think the main problem is that while the “Occupy” movements say they represent the 99%, 99% of that 99% don’t understand or even care about the “Occupy” movement.

    I work hard to support myself and my family, and in the end, the only person that I have to blame if I have issues is myself. I am the only one in control of what I do in life, and so I need to ensure I do the right things to try and avoid any hardship.

    Let’s face it, the human race is greedy, no question about that. The question is if any of those involved in the “Occupy” movement were the in a senior position or the top position in a large corporation, would they do things differently? Probably not.

    • >99% of that 99% don’t understand or even care about the “Occupy” movement.

      Reminiscent of the Marxists and Bolsheviks who claimed to speak on behalf of the “working class” while also shattering labor unions and killing millions…

  2. @Paul: Yes, I agree! It took a long time for me to actually get the motives of Occupy, and it still remains to butt of jokes to people who are considered that 99%. I appreciate their concerns but I don’t think it’s changing much.

  3. Ummm, “Occupy Wall Street shut down Wall Street before the Trading Floor Bell rang, exchanging stories of injustice.”

    No they didn’t they tried and failed.

    The movement hasn’t done shit and won’t do shit because they are complaining to the wrong people.

    Your list:
    Illegal foreclosures on homes – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Irresponsible company bailouts – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Paying executives excessive salaries and unwarranted bonuses – No one will listen we are in a free market
    Inequality and discrimination in the workplace – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Debilitating the farming system through monopolization – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Selling private information for a profit – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Trapping students with thousands of dollars in student loans – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Keeping the country oil dependent by avoiding alternate forms of energy – Should be complaining to the gov’t
    Keeping the public miseducated using traditional mass media – Should be complaining to the gov’t

    Then you throw in the fact that they have no leader and some demands are just idiotic. Wsn’t their one moron that said he wasn’t leaving the top of a statute till Bloomberg stepped down? Right that is going to happen OR the police are going to grab you and arrest you.

    Odds say that almost everyone reading this blog and any personal finance blog are in the 99% but I can safely AND PROUDLY say it is my goal and aspiration is to be part of the 1%

    • Evan, your answer is to complain to the government. I would have to ask, who is the government. Last time I was schooled, I learned that we are the government. Government is elected to represent the majority of the people of a country, nation, town, etc. We are the government. So therefore, we are responsible for the above complaints, and we are the ones that will have to stand up and fix them. Therefore, you are also the government, for the people, by the people. So stand up, because in the future there will not be a 1%, we 99% are going to fix that. As far as your goal, it might be a smarter goal to join us and take our government back to the people.

      • “time I was schooled, I learned that we are the government.”

        Then the last time you were schooled was 6th grade civics/social studies. We are a representative democracy so unless your title is Senator or Congressman you are not the government.

  4. I would like the message to become clearer. Many of the things that you mention bother me, but I do not expect the protests will change any of it.

  5. As far as I am concerned, I am in the 1%, although neither my job nor my net worth identify me as such. I consider myself in the 1% because I am educated, understand the power of working hard, and, like #1, understand that it is (by and large) my choices and my hard work, combined with the luck to be born to parents who are educated and believe in education and hard work , that lead to my success. And like #4, my goal is to be one of the 99%!

  6. Doing some research on “all kinds of blogs.” This is a pretty unusual post for its third person point of view, some research, and a more objective take. Glad to find it!

  7. The movement is pointless because nothing these people have done in the 2 months that they “occupied” Zuccotti Park was going to accomplish anything. Can someone explain to me what the protestors believed was going to change simple because they set up some tents and stopped showering?

    I have a hard time believing that a majority of the protestors have any true understanding of the issues at play (income inequality, unemployment) and the historical cause of those issues. It seems like most of them are just a bunch of people who are on a self righteous quest to join the movement so they can say “I was there, I was part of it” without having any idea what “it” truly was.

  8. For me, their message is not clear enough so cannot decide whether I am (my aspiration) with them or not.

  9. I wish I could come up with a concrete opinion about OWS. I understand why they’re frustrated but, as Evan pointed out, a lot of what they’re complaining about isn’t necessarily the fault of the institutions they’re blaming.

    I wish some of them–or at least the ones that are speaking publicly–would accept some responsibility for their situations. I think it would make it easier for me to empathize with them. I also would like for their motives to be a bit clearer. They’re a bit all over the place for me. That said, I can’t say that I identify with either group. And quite frankly, that feels like the majority.

  10. Sherlock Holmes says:

    I think this movement fell flat on it’s face as I predicted it would.
    Here’s how I think the next few decades will go down:
    1. The occupy movement fails. (It already happened here; City Hall no longer has tents in front of it).
    2a. Things get worse.
    2b. People ignore it or protest in ways that are bound for failure, again.
    (Repeat 2a and 2b until people reach a breaking point.)
    3. People protest and/or riot in a more serious manner.
    4. Martial Law is declared (under various bills and laws that have been building up to this point).
    5a. People submit, giving birth to a new oppressive regime that has been hibernating up until this point. The expectations for human rights are forgotten after enough mistreatment and public executions and tortures are introduced under the guise of “homeland protection”.
    5b. People form rebellion groups and people on both sides are slaughtered until one side’s spirit is completely destroyed.
    (5a. and 5b. can happen simultaneously.)
    6a. The U.S. either enters an oppressive dark ages or an anarchistic dark ages.
    6b. Assuming the rebels win, most of the people most responsible for all this will flee to other countries with their multitudes of ill-gotten wealth while the U.S. continues to decline under a power-struggle between various militia groups.
    The alternatives are:
    The people most responsible for our economic collapse miraculously acquire a sudden wave of conscience and attempt to repair all the damage they caused.
    The system is restored by a series of brilliant ideas in the right hands and/or violent actions before too many bills are passed, distractions are created and propaganda campaigns are completed.

  11. the whole protesting is nothing but a waste of time. they may see you out there but do u really think they give a shit? NO! maybe if you got a little violent maybe your voice would be heard but then you would be silenced in an 8×4 cell… get a life cause you cant change the world by gathering together and crying like little children..if you wanna be heard you know what to do!

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