OWS lacks structure to expand

November 10, 2011




News Editor


On Sept. 17, the streets of Lower Manhattan resembled the setup of Bonnaroo or Coachella music festivals. Despite the cultured people and tents packed in tightly to establish a sense of community, these people were not preparing to listen to Florence and the Machine.


Occupy Wall Street began its campaign that day with a march, and the movement has done nothing but flourish. It has spread to more than 100 cities across the United States and is taking college communities by storm.


The point of this protest is to raise awareness about anti-capitalist ideals and corporate greed. The protesters believe that the middle class is shrinking because of income inequality. As the middle class shrinks, the number of educated or able-but-jobless people increases.


Many of the protesters have posted on blog sites with a picture of themselves and the campaign’s slogan, “We are the 99%,” with a personal explanation of why being part of the 99 percent is so horrifying.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate last month rose to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent the previous month.


Some of these college graduates are working but in low-paying jobs that they are overqualified for. The lack of jobs is discouraging, not only for college graduates, but for students deciding if college is going to be worth the time and money if a stable job will possibly not come out of their hard work.


These protesters are trying to give accounts as to why the economy is not working for many Americans. According to its website, OWS is trying to “fight back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.”


I understand its goals and I understand the reasoning for these goals. What I do not understand is the number of people who have no idea why they are sleeping in a tent in Lower Manhattan.


Interview after interview, critics of the movement are given momentum because the number of freeloaders that seem to be occupying a majority of the campaigns.


I am not so sure there is anything educated protesters can do about these people just along for the Woodstock experience, but it would be beneficial for their credentials within the media.


The biggest question to me is if this movement will continue to pick up momentum or if it will slowly die out because it lacks leadership, discipline and no set legislative goals.


It has given a topic for discussion for presidential candidates, and the media has jumped all over the specifics of following the protests.


The movement is definitely in motion, but I am not sure how long it will take for protesters to move off the street and try to get on with their lives or for the government to do something about the current economic crisis.


According to the OWS website, “The U.S. has an important role to play in the solution, but we can no longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies of our nation.”


I believe if the movement organizes and defines its legislative goals, it could attract more serious attention to lawmakers and citizens who are not just young students or graduates. The key is to get other generations involved in the movement.



Rebecca Spence is a junior journalism and speech communication major from Cypress, Texas, who serves as news editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to res022@latech.edu.


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