Occupy Wall Street

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Ever since September 17, 2011, one protest has been dominating international news. The protest is centered in America’s very own New York City- “Occupy Wall Street.” The movement is a series of ongoing demonstrations based in Zuccoti Park NY, NY, better known as the world-renowned Wall Street financial district.

According to the occupywallstreet.org, “’Occupy Wall Street’ is a leaderless resistance movement” with people of various backgrounds and interests, yet “the one thing [they] all have in common is that [they] are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” The protestors utilize “Arab Spring tactics,” which have been proved successful by many European and African revolutions, in which protestors organize through the Internet and encourage nonviolence. The demonstration not only fights for the distribution of wealth in our nation, but also encourages people to make effective social and economic changes to their society “in their own backyards,” without distant and lavish Wall Street investment bankers or politicians.

Despite the evident spread of the movement to 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally, opposition to the movement should be taken into consideration too. Because of the lack of a recognizable leader of the movement, “Occupy Wall Street” speaks for many causes and issues, obfuscating its ultimate demand. Because of the lack of clear organization, some condescend the protestors who have dedicated themselves to camping out for days; nevertheless, numerous Zuccoti Park residents have complained of the protestor’s inappropriate conduct. One man went as far as too perch upon a public statue in revolt, requiring the attention of many public officials. Wall street bankers defend themselves by realistically informing others that not all of them are extremely wealthy and only an elite minority of them embodies the stereotypical Wall Street banker.

Still, the protestors have enhanced their point in popular marches like the one that went uptown on September 24th, the one across the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1st, an Occupation of the London Stock Exchange during the 4th week of the protest, and numerous others. Nonetheless, police have had to suppress countless protestors with arrests and pepper sprays, captivating public attention. Police explain they had to take these actions because barricades were broken and the protestors obstructed traffic, because of the wide disapproval and sympathy to the protestors, some of these arrests are being reevaluated.

Recently, the protestors on Wall Street have looked to expand internationally. Protests have spread across the pond, gaining recognition in London; foreigners have also made their way to New York to help petition. The struggle has spread to cities such as Chicago and Seattle, and because of all the media attention, it will probably go further.

The marchers on Wall Street have gained an enormous amount of support since they began their movement. Progressives, unions, and politicians have all thrown their support to the cause, and religious leaders have begun to get involved as well. In different cities, reverends and priests have spoken to the masses, without discrimination. As a result, an interesting array of religions has been brought together by this economic disturbance. Jay Lindsey of Associated Press has reported that in the “Sacred Space” in downtown Boston, “a Buddha statue sits near a picture of Jesus, while a hand-lettered sign in the corner points toward Mecca.” This protest, made up of the “99%” will be sure not to forget those who are pious.

The integration of religion into the protest also shows how united the people really are. The movement so far has been virtually leaderless, but religious leaders are not trying to take control. They are simply standing up for what they believe in. Associated Press interviewed Reverend Katharine Henderson, president of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, and she too praised the unification of many different people. She mentioned the polarization of the country, and how people constantly stereotype and demonized those in their out groups. She asks a pressing question, of “’how we can come together, Wall Street and Main Street, to come up with solutions that are going to work for all of us?’"

The answer is mainly ambiguous. While people on Wall Street have undoubtedly noticed the presence of the protestors, the effects of the movement have yet to be seen. This is partly because the goals of the movement have not been specifically defined. However, its effectiveness is not to be doubted.

Even so, the end of “Occupy Wall Street” is not clearly depicted in the near future.