Occupy Wall Street: A senseless response

Brendan Pringle is an English senior and Mustang Daily conservative columnist.

The economy has tanked without clear signs of recovery, and we’re all sick and tired of it. Here at Cal Poly, only 65 percent of those who graduated in the 2009-10 year received full time jobs right out of college, according to a Career Services report. In addition, approximately 17 percent endeavored to get their masters degree, more likely than not as a way to delay the job hunt. Desperation seems to call just about every graduate these days.

The frustrating combination of a flat job market and frighteningly high student debt is enough to fire up anyone. Unfortunately, this fire shifted in the wrong direction.

Correction: it moved without any direction.

Occupy Wall Street is defined on its website as a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions.” Resistance against what? Police forces?

Whatever it may be, the important thing is that they are “equal opportunity” protesters. And don’t you forget it!

The website goes on to say that the one common denominator of the protesters is that they are “The 99 percent that no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent,” and that they are “using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve (their) ends …”

What exactly are the ends? Well, they haven’t gotten that far yet. Protesters are too busy “occupying” places to decide on a universal platform. This pesky detail can wait. At the same time, picket signs cover nearly every leftist chant to emerge from the ranks of Berkeley: “End financial aid to Israel;” “End Greed, End Poverty, End War;” even “Tired of Racism.”

This certainly begs the question: Did some message get misconstrued to the participants of these protests? Darn that Twitter “character limit.” It screwed up everything.

As we all should know from history, any real protest requires a solid, unified purpose. The Civil Rights Movement sought equality for all men, women and children. The Solidarity movement sought an end to Communist control. And the Tea Party today seeks an end to “big government” primarily through spending reductions and lower taxes.

When no overarching purpose exists, a protest simply degrades into a release valve for frustration. It’s actually a bit like voting for a third party candidate. Surely such methods attract attention, but do they generate solutions? No.

As liberals may (bitterly) recall, Nader actually took votes away from Gore in what was to be the closest presidential race in history — the 2000 Election.

Unsurprisingly, Occupy Wall Street has received significant media attention, spurring satellite movements throughout the nation. And to really command the media, protestors are doing whatever it takes to extract American pity. By this, I mean they are using lawful arrests as a means of propaganda to build support.

At a recent Chicago protest, the police told demonstrators to evacuate a park after many hours of protesting; they refused, prompting 130 arrests. Many were reportedly chanting “Take me next! Take me next!” as reported by the Huffington Post.

What poor victims. It makes you wonder why so many are getting arrested in the first place. Then again, we all know that these evil policemen are getting paid off by Wall Street magnates, right?

While some rare pepper spray incidents have gone viral, the police have simply been doing their job in ordering people to respect local codes. Everyone has a right to free speech, but with this right, comes the responsibility to obey ordinances like everyone else. These protesters have no right to complain about law enforcement injustice.

Moreover, Occupy Wall Street protesters argue on their website: “We don’t need politicians to build a better society. … The only solution is World Revolution.”

Hmm … sounds a bit Marxist to me. I’m not suggesting that all protesters are Communists conspiring to overthrow the government, but the fact that this is the only methodology explicitly noted by organizers is enough to even disturb some liberals.

And these protests are nothing like the Arab Spring (as organizers so fiercely proclaim to us). North Africans were fighting for their basic rights (i.e. their own freedom of expression) against corrupt dictators. While this movement achieved some successes, any resulting stability is shaky at best.

In Libya, Gaddafi was brutally killed and replaced by another potential dictator who practically declared it a Muslim state and instituted Sharia law without even consulting his people (MSNBC). In Egypt, the military soon took control after Mubarak’s resignation, causing even more mass riots and more horrific violence (The Guardian). In comparison, these riots had a collective purpose; lack of effective leadership tended to be the primary failure. Occupy Wall Street has neither purpose nor leadership. The funny thing about having neither of these assets is that there really is no way to satisfy protestors.

How will this generate a brighter future for Americans? Simply put, it isn’t. But recent college grads will continue to gather by the thousands the instant they receive a text.

Why not? It sure beats flipping burgers.

  • Walter

    Funny how Occupy Wall Street is seen as something rather dumb, something with no purpose whatsoever. I recall the right supporting the Tea Party protests only after they started growing. Before that they were seen as dumb, with no purpose whatsoever. When the Tea Party started out with only thing uniting them was they hated government and the President, only until now do they have a real purpose that unites them with specific goals to be achieved. What is wrong with seeing that something is completely wrong in our system but have no idea on how to fix it? Answer is there is nothing wrong with that because at least you are aware of what is wrong. As time goes one the Occupy Wall Street movement will grow just as others have before it and as time goes on I’m sure they will solidify their purpose to please people like you. World Revolution does not sound Marxist as you claim, it just means that our entire system has been corrupted and needs to be fixed somehow. Something you forgot to mention is that all protests start off with little support and over time they tend to grow as can be seen throughout history. I think it’s the ones in power who are scared because all people, regardless of differences are uniting, when the masses unite that’s when real change happens just look at the Civil Rights Movement or any other movement. If you think about about thoroughly the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are protesting about the same thing, the difference is how they want this change to occur.

  • Walter

    I forgot to add this quote by author Glenn Greenwald that basically summarizes everything I said before about Occupy Wall Street, “It is not a Democratic Party organ. It is not about demanding that President Obama’s single [jobs] bill pass or anything along those lines. It is saying that we believe the system itself is radically corrupted, and we no longer are willing to tolerate it. And that’s infinitely more important than specific legislative or political demands.”

    • Intenditore di lasagne

      That’s good, but maybe then those protestors should be out in front of the White House protesting, not on Wall Street. The banks may have been bailed out, but it was Obama and his counterparts (e.g. Barney Frank) who were instrumental in this. The banks may have been somewhat responsible for the financial meltdown, but if the banks wouldn’t have been forced to lend money to people who can’t afford to buy expensive houses so that these people could buy expensive homes, or if people wouldn’t have bought houses they couldn’t afford in the first place a lot of the mess could have been averted. We can find the real cause by looking inside ourselves. We the People have caused this mess, so these protestors need to go home and stop blaming others for their problems. Human greed caused this mess.

  • Intenditore di lasagne

    Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are not similar in the slightest. From the beginning the Tea Party was very clear and direct about their grievances, and their clear mission and organization was embodied in the smashing victories in the midterm election. The Tea Party wants government out of our business, not to dig further into it. Whereas Occupy Wall Street on the other hand seems to be only a miss-mash of people gathering to complain about everything under the sun with no direction essentially going no further than to produce a list of demands that they want the government to do/things they want to be given. A key element as well is the despicable lawlessness of Occupy Wall Street people. The Tea Party abides and respects the law when they come out to demonstrate. Occupy Wall Street protestors on the other hand take pride in breaking the law and resisting authority. Breaking the law to accomplish your goals is not the American way, nor is blaming others for your problems. Maybe the Occupy Wall Street people should try to learn something from the Tea Party. That is, maybe they should start respecting the law, take some personal responsibility and initiative to elect better politicians, be more financially savvy and conscious themselves, and maybe then through working hard and earning what they’ll have they can earn some respect.

  • realeyes

    Seriously? I think you are confusing no demands with a wide array of demands too large to be reduced to your one track argument. Do you really think that if you asked a protestor from somewhere in the 900 protesting cities worldwide they would have nothing to tell you? Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, and Environmentalists around the country have become united under a wide variety of grievances, the most important being income equality which I am really surprised you did not mention and shows you have little meaningful knowledge on this topic. This is also not a liberal vs. conservative issue, which you paint it to be. The movement includes everyone that is tired at watching corporations and news media collude with government to grow the income inequality even wider in a time of scarcity.
    They are not looking for free government handouts, they are demanding that the top 1% hand back what they have unrightfully acquired upon the backs of the 99% below them.

  • Jocab

    This man is in the right mind. He manages to pinpoint every factor of these contraversal and ludicrous protesters. Stop wining like liberals and get a freakin’ job!
    Excellent column!

    PS: I like the Arabian part…

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