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?
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?