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