By Katie Tabeling
On the evening of Sunday, Oct. 23, 130 anti-Wall Street protesters of the Occupy Chicago movement were arrested when they defied police orders to clear out a downtown park where they were protesting. There were no dampened spirits on the behalf of the movement. It is reported that those who were arrested clamored, “Take me next! Take me next!” as police began the arrests, while others chanted as they were led away: “We’ll be back!” According to a Times Magazine article, Occupy Chicago spokesman Joshua Kaunert promised that the protests would continue in the Windy City despite the arrests. “We’re not going anywhere. There are still plenty of us,” Kaunert told the Associated Press.
Kaunert may be wrong there. There isn’t just plenty- there’s a horde of protesters at the movement’s beck and call. In six short weeks, The Occupy Wall Street Movement has grown from a handful of demonstrators pitching tents outside the New York stock exchange to a full-blown crusade that has reached from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine. In the beginning, OWS was supported by a majority of young protesters; by today they have reached out to Americans of any age, gender, and race.
There’s no doubt that OWS with their monstrous amounts of supports will be back to make their message heard. But the question is this: What message?
On OWS webpage, they aptly describe themselves as: “A resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” In their call for action, they blame the corporate elites in America for taking the freedom from the people “and slowly made to trickle down.” What’s interesting about OWS’s posts describing the movement is their continuous use of the word “we.” Who is this mysterious we? Is it referring to everyone in the movement, or just a group of nameless OWS officers?
A big aspect of the nationwide movement is that it is leaderless. So my next question is this: who’s running this show? It turns out that OWS was started by a Canadian-based group, the Adbusters Media Foundation, who is best known for its anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters. But after the idea was hatched and groups and anonymous protestors picked it up, there was no one to stand up and take command.
And the underlying lack of unity shows. The original concept was to show the growing disparity in wealth and the absence of legal repercussions behind the recent global financial crisis. When protesters were asked “What would you like to see the Occupy Wall Street movement achieve?”A surveyor found three different answers: to influence the Democratic Party, to break the two-party duopoly, and to radically redistribute the wealth.
At the moment, this movement seems like a thousand kids playing a game of telephone; the kid on the end only understands what garbled message the guy before him told him. Anyone can just change the meaning to suit themselves in that chain of communication, and no one can correct their mistake since there is no identifiable leader. It seems like everyone agreed this was an awesome idea and just ran with it, no questions asked. It seems that the main objective of OWS is to only to point out the flaws in society without presenting a solution for the issue at hand.
It is remarkable how people from every shape and size united against a common enemy. Today’s unsteady economy does need to face drastic changes, but how does OWS expect these changes to happen? By offering angry chants of “People over profits” or “We are the 99%”? While they do have 99% of America’s support, OWS can’t expect any satisfaction unless they offer a solution to the remaining 1%.