On Saturday, September 17th, 2011, over 1000 protestors took over a park in the financial district of New York City beginning what is now termed the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. This movement was “initially treated as a joke,” as columnist Nicholas D. Kristof mentions in his article The Bankers and the Revolution, yet, after a couple of weeks, “Occupy Wall Street” (O.W.S) had gone viral. It began gaining momentum as protests started erupting in other major cities throughout America, such as San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angles. So the question arises; what exactly is being protested?
This question is at the heart of Kristofs’ article as he states, “where the movement falters is in its demands: It doesn’t really have any.” The participants of “Occupy Wall Street” all vary in motivations and goals in regard to why and what they want from this protest. Such disparities seem to have left a void in the most important part of the demonstration; desired goals. Kristof does not necessarily agree with the anti-capitalism sentiment of the protest, but does offer suggestions as to possible goals the protesters could be fighting for. One such suggestion is the importance “that protesters spotlight rising inequality: does it feel right to anyone that the top 1% of Americans now posses a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90%?” Another such suggestion involves closing “founder stock loopholes,” which enables some of the wealthiest of citizens to pay much lower tax rates. These are only a couple of suggestions Kristof offers; to hear more and listen to some protesters voices, view the Kristof presentation: Advice for the Wall Street Protesters.
When asked if I had been or was planning on attending “Occupy Wall Street,” my initial response was no. I honestly did not know what was being protested other than general capitalism, and like Kristof, I am not utterly against a capitalistic society. But again, my information is/was limited, so why would I go to Wall Street to be a part of something I know nothing about? I certainly did not want to go to join the “festivities.” But after discussing my rationalization of the disinterest I was expressing, I came to realize that my lack of knowledge was my excuse for not getting involved. There must be some validity to the protest, so why not take a trip to Wall Street and ask some questions…….and get involved.
So that is the plan. Sometime in the next few weeks I plan on bringing a few gallons of hot chocolate to the protesters. While there I plan to ask some questions in hopes of learning more about the whats and whys of “Occupy Wall Street.”