“Occupy Wall Street” has made plenty of headlines since its launch on September 17. The movement that began as an attack on the financial inequalities in America has sparked a fire in cities across the country, including Tampa. The latest Occupy protest came to fruition at the campus of UC Davis, where students protesting tuition hikes endured pepper spray from police. The recent actions of Occupy Oakland in “liberating” private property have likewise stirred up recent controversey and public criticism.
These incidences illustrate the evolving nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement’s demands. Discontented Americans are forming related movements, such as Occupy the Hood, to address a range of concerns about American society. In order to understand the grass-roots crusade that has expanded from Wall Street to encompass protests in Dallas, Texas, Oakland, and Boston, it is important to take a look at the Occupy movement itself.
According to its website, the Occupy movement is a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions.” They claim their one commonality is that they are the 99% who refuse to endure “the greed and corruption of the 1%.”
The movement aims to empower every day American citizens to create significant changes through protests, marches and general strikes. They want general assembly’s protesting the one percent in every city, because they believe that “we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians to build a better society.”
As the movement spreads, so does the question of its legitimacy. Senior Aubrey McGuire has a strong belief in the First Amendment, stating that as American citizens, occupiers have the right to protest. “As long as American politicians keep making bad decisions for the people, the movement will continue.”
World Languages Department Chair Mrs. Amy Kafantaris has a different opinion. “The lack of leadership and occupiers’ knowledge of the reasons for why they are protesting hinders the movement’s legitimacy.”
Also detracting from the movement’s credibility have been multiple arrests of Boston occupiers for possession and intent to distribute class C and E drugs and reports of sexual assaults in the Occupy Camps in New York and Dallas, as reported by ABC News. The New York Times and The Boston Herald have also reported on a multitude of disorderly conduct arrests, which have increased as the Christmas season approaches and city officials need the space for planned activities.