The VIEW from here

What did the Occupy movement really accomplish?


Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

A year ago a movement was born in this country called Occupy Wall Street. It started as a group of people — many of them young men — determined to seeks changes in government.

They wanted to give a voice back to the ‘little people’ through a campaign of civil disobedience in which the organization’s members would stage longterm protests in major cities around the nation, camping out in parks and drawing attention to the social inequality they saw as part of the 99 percent of Americans who are not among the 1 percent of the most wealthy in America.

At the time I thought the movement had some potential to raise awareness not only about social and economic issues in the country, but maybe to also seek some change in the political climate. For the OWS movement they claimed to be fighting for people losing their homes to foreclosure, unemployment and in general they wanted to see the rich stop getting richer, while the poor got poorer.

Looking back, I can’t say the Occupy movement accomplished any of that. As more came out about the members of this group, more and more it appeared to be many of them were young people who didn’t really want a job, but felt Big Business and the government ‘owed’ them something.

The movement hasn’t had a great impact on politics in this nation, as evidenced at the Republican and Democratic conventions this summer, where there was barely a word said about OWS. A year ago I thought something good would come of the civil disobedience this group of people were undertaking. As I said then, this nation was founded on making a stand — like when the British imposed a tax on tea. and the people, fed up with taxes, decided to stage a little protest of their own called The Boston Tea Party. OWS had the potential to raise awareness without ever becoming a revolution, but I think somewhere along the way it lost its own message.

To me, it seems like the Occupy movement became more about advocating the reallocation of wealth in this country than addressing social and political issues here. Reallocating wealth is certainly not what this country needs. That is akin to class warfare and only deepens the divide between rich and poor in this nation.

Whether someone has made their own wealth or if it was inherited, that wealth still belongs to them and to demand its reallocation is against everything our society is based on. What I think Occupy should have worked toward was demanding more job creation in this country, changes to the tax code and to our political system in order to restore some control by everyday people — not just those with money and power.

But somewhere along the way OWS fell short of this goal and as we near the general election for 2012, in which we will elect a president, I think the movement has lost its momentum. Like all ‘movements’ it only was able to move so far and then it stopped, whereas a revolution — not one carried out through force, but one of social and political change — keeps coming back around to make itself seen and heard.


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