I want to throw in my two cents on the Occupy Wall Street movement that has become so en vogue as of late. The concept of tent cities popping up in and around the civic centers in many major cities is a unique site as in our modern day, there really has not been a reason for the people to get together and rally around some central key issues since the days of the Vietnam War some forty years ago. Indeed, this sort of thing just doesn’t really happen in America anymore.
This all began a few months ago, mid-September 2011, some people got together and began to rally around one main demand. “We demand that Barrack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.” These people have come to believe that money, lobbyists, and special interest groups are behind most of the policy making in Washington and as such, they are fighting to be heard. Many discuss the growing divide between the rich and the poor, TARP, the public taxpayer bailout of mismanaged corporations, and the shrinking middle class as points of note in the ongoing debate. One thing that’s certain is that people have begun to really take notice of the movement on an international level, and that in and of itself is no small feat.
The Guy Fawkes mask—worn by a protester in New York on Oct. 5—has become symbolic of the Occupy Wall Street movement
It is definitely an interesting debate, with those who are critical of the Occupy Wall Street movement declaring that the participants are anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-materialist extremists. These views are squarely at odds with mainstream economic thought. That said, with the overturning of dictatorships abroad, people hurting financially an suffering though a lo of debt with a government in Washington making them many hollow promises, the timing is right for such a movement to take place.
Whether it will work is anybody’s guess, but people are taking note, and that of itself is a big accomplishment. With the overall fragmented nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement, lack of unity, and underlying stories of squalor and abuse in certain tent camps, it will most likely not last. But people have taken note, and that’s a start.
In closing, I think it is important to analyze the words of one of the starters of this movement David Graeber as I believe it touches on something much deeper than a group of people in a city causing a chaotic scene with tents and holding signs….
“And there’s a stream—so that very morality of debt has a lot to do with it. For example, in almost all the great world religions, they talk about debt as if paying your debts is morality. In fact, even the word for debt, sin and guilt are often the same. That’s true in Sanskrit, that’s true in Aramaic. The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t actually say, “Forgive us our trespasses,” it says “Forgive us our debts just as we forgive our debtors.” Of course, the trick is, you don’t actually forgive your debtors, do you?” David Graeber Interview with S & P Futures