Occupy Wallstreet Controversy

October 10, 2011

Political Theory


I know that professor Lavaque-Manty already posted about the “Occupy Wallstreet” protest occurring in New York and sprouting similar protests nationwide, such as in LA and Chicago. However, there has been new information regarding these protests making its way into our media and there has even been an “Occupy Ann Arbor” in the Diag. Through learning about this protest and reading articles about it I thought that the protestors were right in their action and fully supported what they were fighting for and how they were going about it in a peaceful protest and I still do. Their protesting of everything from corporate greed, to high gas prices and insufficient health care really resonated with me as a young student who will soon be entering the workforce.

However, I recently read an article giving a new perspective of “Occupy Wallstreet” and found it very interesting and was curious as to what others thought of this observation of the protest and the people participating in it. In a recent article found at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2047168/Occupy-Wall-Street-Its-just-politics–Sex-drugs-love-brigade-hijack-Wall-Street-protest.html it is brought to our nations attention that the protests in New York are getting somewhat out of hand. The article says that “ the wall street camp is being infiltrated by party goers and homeless looking for sex, drugs, and free food. “ There are even giant boxes of condoms in the main area where the protestors camp out and a picture of a man defecating on a police car was taken and has now gone viral. Due to this infiltration and chaos occurring, the protest leaders have become angered and are calling in reinforcements and a make-shift police to make sure that all protestors are there for the right reason and not just for a “good time.”

Although the protest leaders have nothing to do with this infiltration and disorderly behavior, I’m curious as to if this negative media will affect the length and success of the “Occupy Wallstreet” protest. Similarly, I’m curious to why these people are acting disorderly and disrespectful because they are all young people who are most likely in need of jobs as well. It doesn’t make sense why they would try to turn such a well backed and important protest such as this into a woodstock type of gather. I wonder what motives these people hold for going to this protest and if their actions will play a toll on the protests success. Additionally, I’m not sure if it is right of the protest leaders to make a “make-shift police” to keep these people under control. Yes, there needs to be order to this protest, but how would a makeshift police know if these people are there for the right reasons and if they are politically motivated or not? If they aren’t causing raucous is it right to kick them out simply because they are homeless or look like trouble? Where should the line be drawn and where is it currently being drawn? This article lacks a statement on when they will kick people out and when they will be arrested. The protests have already lead to several arrests within the last four weeks.

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7 Comments on “Occupy Wallstreet Controversy”

  1. leannaprairie Says:

    I agree that these protests are necessary, and could be beneficial to the public. But I also agree that the recent negative publicity could be really harmful to the goals of the protest.

    I think that so often people can get caught up in the IDEA of a protest that they forget what they are actually striving for and protesting against. Eventually people in these large protests can fall victim to psychological affects such as group polarization, bystander effect, and social roles. In other words, sometimes in a large group, we become less ourselves.

    It’s unfortunate that the protest has gotten to this point. I do think that the actions of these people will ultimately harm the protest, and that there may not be as much of a change as people had originally hoped. If the protest leaders can reign in this behavior and calm things down again, great, but I think at this point it’s unlikely.

    • mfriedlander92 Says:

      I agree with Leannaprairie and I too am upset with how these protesters are acting. The idea of what they are protesting against is a substantial idea to be upset about; however the actions they are taking is no appropriate and/or helping their cause.

      If the people on Wallstreet seeing people having sex, pooping, and straight-up rioting outside their offices, they are not going to agree with these people. If anything it will make the people on Wallstreet or even in Washington way more upset with these protestors. The way they are going about their protest is losing meaning to their initial idea.

      The protestors are fighting against the financial greed and corruption in the United States and using Wallstreet as a main example, because it symbolizes corporate America. However, if the protestors want their voice to be heard and validated they need to make their point in an appropriate way. Whatever happened to sit-ins, walking around with signs, or chaining yourself to buildings? Yes, the protestors are getting a lot of publicity but it is due to their obscenity. These protestors are so caught up in getting attention for their problem, that they really forgot what they are protesting in general and are going to end up in a worse position than they started in.

      So overall, I think the “Occupy Wallstreet” protest could have been effective in getting a point across about the corruption of corporate America and all the financial greed. However, the way they went about this completely disregards what the protestors were aiming to prove.

  2. lnk72792 Says:

    I agree with the original intentions of the protestors. On their website, they describe themselves as a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.” According to them, the 1 percent refers to the haves: the people in the banks, mortgage, and insurance industries. The 99 percent refers to them, the have-nots: everyone else. They believe that 1 percent of the population has 99 percent of the money.

    I can see where the protestors are coming from, especially with all the greed that essentially caused the recession. When the victims of the recession see the bonuses that CEO’s of the major American corporations received at their expense, it sickens them. However, I do not approve with the way this protest was conducted. They began on September 17th, and on September 24th the police already began making arrests. On October 1st the police made 700 arrests. If protestors want to get their point across, doing it in a violent manner is wrong. They should be organized and peaceful.

    In summary, I believe that the mentality of the protestors is justified. However, I disagree with the way they carried themselves out. In order to maximize the potential of a protest, there should be no violence.

  3. brianfrankel Says:

    I have a very different view of the protestors. Not only do I believe that they are wrong in their protest, but it also shows a sign of weakness. Rather than do something truly meaningful and beneficial to their cause, these individuals are only attempting to gain publicity about what I see as more of a conspiracy theory than real fact. These large corporations that are being protested about are the employers for most American citizens. Globalization has caused the need for large multinational corporations in order to keep our economy competitive, and a competitive economy is needed in order to sustain jobs and wealth in the United States.

    People should not be protesting. They should be out looking to better themselves and the world through actions, not words. Any American who feels that the pie is not cut in their favor should attempt to recut their slice, not protest the entire dish.

  4. dannilevin9492 Says:

    Just like everyone else who has commented above, I agree with the protests. We have learned, through life and briefly through this class, about the importance of protesting as a means to achieve a desired outcome. We have learned about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in relation to protest and have seen through history that protests are most effective when they are exercised through non-violence. While I wouldn’t say the “occupying wall street” protests have necessarily gotten violent, I don’t believe that defecating on a car is the best way to get a point across.

    Throughout life we have learned that acting out is not how we will get our way. As teenagers I’m sure we all have acted out whether it be going against our parents by sneaking out of the house late at night or drinking in the basement with some of our friends right under our parents’ noses. This action may be a coming of age thing, but we have learned from these experiences that all such action has done has gotten us in trouble. Perhaps these actions aren’t violent, but they are risky. Those protesting in “occupying wall street” are acting out in the same way, and as a result will inevitably not achieve the means they are hoping for. Having a huge orgi (pardon my language) on wall street is not the way to fix several economic and political issues in our society today. While this could be seen as peaceful (especially if it was still the 1970s), it isn’t appropriate. One reason why Martin Luther King Jr.’s I had a dream speech and Civil Right’s protest was so successful was because it was done through a march. This march was an extremely appropriate way to protest. Outsiders were able to see the amount of people who were fighting for equal rights and saw a side of black people that express how they are just part of the human race for they partake in actions that are seen as acceptable in society. If the occupying wall street protest feel the need to act out to get their point across, they should figure a way to do it that others will see positively. The best way for society to understand and be on board with this protest is if its done in a manner that gazes our interests in an appropriate manner and hits home especially by making an impact on emotions.

    Simply the number of arrests that have taken place resembles within itself how this protest has been conducted inaccurately. I do feel that police should be on the scene to help facilitate peace and put a halt on any possible acts of violence. If these protesters are going to act like kids by have a sex fest and shitting in public, then police should be able to ban such actions. When people act inappropriately in public, they deserve a punishment. Perhaps the punishments are a little bit out of hand, but these protesters must think before they act.

    • rpsafian Says:

      I agree with the comments that support the protesting that is happening on Wall Street. I really like Ink72792’s point about the 1 vs. 99% idea about who controls the money. The problem with the economy today is that too much money is being controlled by too few people, and I agree with the Wall Street protests because the citizens of the US are fed up with the current economic scheme. However, after watching a CNN interview last night with Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain, I realized that the problem with our economy resides in the laws, legislation, and plans that the government has enacted or failed to enact. (More information about Cain and his plan can be found at http://www.hermancain.com/999plan)

      Yes, the Occupy Wall Street protestors are protesting the right thing (something is wrong with our economy). However, they are not protesting the right way. Instead of occupying Wall Street, American protestors that claim to be in the 99% “have-not” group should be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue (White House), or East Capitol Steet (US Capitol). If Americans are unhappy about the way the economy is being run, they should be protesting the government that has failed to take action to help out their own people. Wall Street investors and bankers are not to blame for the economic downfall the past few years. Instead, the government is at fault for not regulating their budget and economic practices well enough in the past. Protesters should be targeting Obama and his administration for not encouraging economic growth through their plans, specifically Obama’s plan to lessen the US debt by increasing federal taxes. I don’t want to make too big of a plug for a presidential candidate, but Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan for the economy, a standard 9% Business, Individual, and National Sales Tax, sounds like a very appealing option right about now.

      As I stated before, the Occupy Wall Street protestors are simply protesting the right thing in the wrong place.

  5. madelinedunn Says:

    I do believe that people who give the protest a bad name, such as the man you mentioned, are hurting both the potency of the protest as well as its possible duration. It is unfortunate that there are people out there who care more about the attention they receive than the matters that are above us all as individuals. I hope that our freedom of assembly will not be dismantled due to the disruptiveness of a select few individuals.

    Some people want to be a part of large community events, such as these protests, to make a difference; while others are looking for a means to feel united. The aspect of “WE” that one would gain from being a part of such an event is a powerful thing. We all strive for a sense of community. Some simply achieve it in different ways than the rest.

    On an ending note, I believe that the make-shift police system is a great idea. I think it is pretty easy to tell is someone is there for the right reasons or not: they are either effecting the protest in a positive or negative manor. If these people are “politically motivated” as you said or are there to make a difference, you would think that the entirety of their actions would be positively effecting the cause. This is a very powerful structured event that is taking place and I would love to see some demanding results.

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