Oct 6, 2011

My Reasons for Protesting at Occupy Wall Street

I've heard from many that this protest doesn't have a concrete demand or a message. Apparently some 50,000+ protesters showed up on Wednesday and the numbers are growing. I think those who dismiss this proto-movement are making a mistake. People are angry, people are suffering, and, most importantly, they express concerns that most Americans share today! This has the potential of spreading like a wild fire.

OK, Wall Street has been a convenient target and a great focus point for people to coalesce, but the demand for a fair, egalitarian, decent system resonates across all groups and individuals who participate in this "occupation" and are hurting. They know others who have been hurt by this economy and by the system we have in place to deal with crises and address the needs of Americans. Something's is terribly wrong all around us.

I was interviewed a couple times while I was there. I didn't have the chance to include all of the following points, as the interviewers were looking for sound bites and I was trying to answer in sentences and paragraphs. So I came up with a few sound bites:

  • It's time to (re)define the American dream--that success depends on access to opportunity.
  • Our government has to be of, by, and for the people. This is a good principle, let's now put it in practice.
  • Like Adam Smith (father of capitalism) said, the wealth of a country shouldn't be measured by the gold the elites hold but by the number of people who are able to share the wealth.
  • Privatizing profits while socializing the risk is bad economics and fundamentally unjust.
  • It's about the vision of the future and the direction of our country. It's about science and the scientific method. It's about modernity versus anachronism.
  • It's about education--the kind of enrichment we all benefit from!
  • It's about asking why aren't we "number one"? Why aren't we healthier, aren't living longer, and aren't more educated as a country? Why do we work more and earn less? Why we are less safe and so much more stressed? Where's the social safety net a modern society should have?
  • It's about defeating the conservative narrative that the status quo is working for the working people.
  • It's about our country turning into a plutocracy, whereas the system increasingly benefits the elites, who have closed the doors on the rest of us. They're denying us access to education, health care, clean environment, good jobs, and even to our own government.

Update, 10/08/11:

 Here's a source for the OWS groups and activities: Map & Connect Groups


Who's complaining?

Some politicians get 12% of the eligible voters [yeah, if only 20% of the electorate bothers to vote, that's what those leaders actually get] in a given election and they come out to say "the American people spoke"...  

When 50,000+ people show up to protest, they're labeled as a mob, or fringe elements, and un-Americans! The mayor of our city, incredibly said that the salaries of the city workers are partly paid by Wall Street. So what? He should have said that Wall Street should actually pay more, and that Wall Street or any economic system that benefits the rich shouldn't be given the keys to our society.

Republican leader Cantor called the protesters a "mob." Romney said "it's class warfare!"  Tsk. What war? The one the upper class has already won?...
On the other hand, there are still many Americans who believe that they can, too, be part of the elite. The game is fixed. Who can be like Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates? Talent alone without access to opportunity ain't gonna allow you to join the gilded club.

Meanwhile in Alabama...

Can't have water if you can't prove your residency in Alabama! Now the Water Co. is a depository of IDs.


[to be continued...]