The Stratification & Marginalization of Occupy Wall St.

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I wouldn’t make the claim that I’m involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Having graduated from college a whole year ago (with a job!),  I found myself standing at the window that most baby boomers and seniors are occupying – the window of sneering marginalization.

As the movement failed to go away, however, I started giving it a bit more credit. That’s when I started reading things about it. My initiation began with a pleasantly snarky article from The Washington Post that read, “Despite having no single leader and no organized agenda, the protesters insist they are on the verge of translating their broad expression of grievance into a durable national cause. ”

That led me to look for more liberal-leaning people who would be arithmetically sympathetic with the cause.  Enter Nicholas D. Kristof, the respected columnist for the New York Times. He had the same sentiment: there was no sense of what the protesters WANTED. He provided some suggestions, despite the fact that, four days before his article was published, there was a comprehensive list posted on OccupyWallSt.org.  Ah, but maybe he doesn’t know how to use Facebook or Google or the Internet?

Ok, let’s forget the seven specific and reasonable policy demands- like instating the Buffet Rule and bringing the Wall Street criminals to justice (who have been exhaustively proven to be criminals) – and focus on the fact that the biggest complaint by the media is that the protesters don’t have a focused agenda.

Despite the fact that the name of the group is Occupy Wall St.

I don’t know if anyone has ever, say, heard of any protests at ALL in the past, but that’s really all you need – a common banner. These are thousands of people rising against perversion of democracy, the mangling of justice systems, and the systemic disenfranchisement of the vast majority of Americans.

During the Vietnam protests, the goal was to end the war. That’s clean. These protests aim to end the domination of corporations over every aspect of our lives.

I think the problem that the protesters face is corporations are tangled in knots around our political system, our everyday lives, our livelihood, and our idea of capitalism, our very ideology. In other words, protesting corporate dominance is more complicated than protesting a war.

Most of this is because corporations are our lifeblood. These protests have attracted a lot of socialists and anarchists. That’s not a feasible alternative to a democracy strangled by unregulated capitalism.

That’s why the list of seven policy changes is so important. Obama is trying to push for a millionaire surtax, which a step in the right direction. By protesting for the sake of these policies, there’s a much more cogent argument for the protests themselves. I mean, come on, socialists, you’re tweeting your hatred for capitalism from your smartphone? Even protests have to think about beingmoderate.

Most Occupy Wall St. protesters are still content with capitalism. In fact, a lot are protesting the socialisic bail-out, just like Tea Partiers. I think it’s a shame that the media has already started drawing party lines for the conflict, despite the fact that Republican candidate Buddy Roemer was the first to endorse the protests.

So, the marginizaliation continues. This is nothing new.  And let’s not pretend that the Tea Party didn’t suffer the same “Ooo, shiny, poke-it-with-a-stick” approach from the media. Despite a distinct demographic difference, these two middle-class protest groups are reacting to the same thing – a bad economy, a worse job market, and the decidedly unAmerican trait of downward mobility. 

It’s too bad that the labor unions have decided to, you know, give food to the protestors, because now rightwingers who are fed up with the way things are being run will never, ever, consider joining the movement. A movemnet that is protesting the bail-out, compensation for banks, and an administration that has become more openly aggressive about engaging in covert and overt war operations.

Without the social values stratification between them, Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party protesters could be railing against the same thing – except for the Affordable Healthcare Act. Reall,y it seems that the core of Tea Party anger is about President Obama, while their counterparts are angry about banks.

Finally, there have been some stunning videos of how protesters are being handled.  From what I can tell, Tea Partiers are generally on the giving end of this spectrum. Just kidding, I know that’s a gross, gross generalization, just like every comment about how Occupy Wall Street protesters are young kids with no agenda, who are crying, blubbering messes getting free food and living at a park in Manhattan. God, and these comments are coming from people who were probably part of the Vietnam protests. Oh, the sweet irony. Would anyone defend that war now?

The main argument is that Tea Partiers organize rallies in a timely fashion and don’t break the law, which is why they were never arrested, and especially ironic, given that their name was taken from an act of felony and they claim to be protesting the establishment. This argument also doesn’t take into account the fact that most Occupy Wall St. protesters are young, and ripe for arrests. And most probably have far less to lose than their older, more established brethren.

As usual, Jon Stewart sums it up best.  The protesters can learn from the Tea Party, though: Protest for policies until those policies become a reality, or at least a complete roadblock for the opposition.  

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