Are Words Enough for Occupy Wall Street?

December 3, 2011

Political action

Over Thanksgiving break, my family visited my grandmother who lives in Battery Park City, NY. This part of Manhattan has become very influential to American history over the past decade. Firstly, it is where the tragic events of 9/11 occurred, my grandmother was there on 911 and had to be evicted by ferry to get to safety. More recently it is the location of Zuccotti Park where the Occupy Wall Street movement began.  Zuccotti Park was the first of its kind, the first OWS and as we have learned through class, has expanded to various locations throughout the United States.

My younger brother, being the exploring type really wanted to see where this uprising began, he wanted to meet one of the “occupiers” to hear what he could do to help . To his dismay, Zuccotti Park was empty. Just like in many other locations, squatters have been evicted from their spots. While the visual reference to the issue may not be as strong any longer, there is something that could even surpass the use of widespread protest: a slogan. As this New York Times article written by Brian Stelter goes onto explain, just like other widespread movements throughout US history, they have all had impressive and lasting slogans ranging from “Give me liberty or give me death” to “Yes we can”. The now popular “We are the 99%” has become a way of uniting a group of people who seek change in our economical climate.

As we discussed in class, capabilities lead to freedom. The two aspects of this capability is “equalizing” and having an “effective set that is indicative of freedom”. Through its numbers and what the Occupy Wall Street movement stands for, it has begun to equalize a very large proportion of the society who feel the nation is growing less equal, you have the very rich and then everyone else who are not sharing fairly in the economy  They have been able to equalize people through the simplicity of a slogan that incorporates in essence ‘99%’ of the population. They have even managed to frighten  people like Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster and message guru with their message.

He  recently said   he’s “scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death.” The pollster warned that the movement is “having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”

What people are tending to criticize about this movement is that there is not a clear tangible  goal or developed solutions for the problems they are trying to solve. This is hindering the ability for this movement to have an “effective set”. While I believe that the equalizing effect has done wonders for this movement and has made the public more aware of the issue it is not fully effective because no one is on the same page and there needs to be more unification than just on a slogan.

What do you believe has been addressed by Occupy Wall Street? Do you think that they have an effective set and will be able to reach the freedom they seek? What changes need to be made or what else needs to be focused on? Is just a slogan enough?



Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

2 Comments on “Are Words Enough for Occupy Wall Street?”

  1. daniellwang Says:

    I think that the main goal of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to raise awareness of the growing financial inequality in America. Although there is not really a central solution that is being presented by the protesters, they are accomplishing the crucial step of spreading the message and generating support. The problems that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have brought up are extremely complicated and solutions are hard to find. I think that the most important thing that the protesters have done is just realizing that there is a problem in the United States and then creating a movement that calls attention to the problem. They may not have any solutions, but the OWS movement is taking a strong first step by being able to say, “We feel that there is something wrong here and we want things to change”.

  2. carweiss Says:

    Occupy Wall Street is all about getting people to understand our economy and how it is being run on the most basic level so that everyone of all educational backgrounds is able to join in the movement. They want equality and they want it now – but they will not achieve this without help. So they raise awareness, they let people know that the 99% are underrepresented in society and that it isn’t fair.
    As to whether they achieve their desires opens more doors to interpretation. What are they really trying to do? Just raise awareness? Force the economy to turn itself around and allow the majority to be in power? It is unclear as to what their motives really are. They want more equality, they want better jobs and they want to be treated as a majority. However, it will take a lot more than just protests and support to make all of this really happen. It becomes an issue of how far they are willing to take this fight and actually make something out of it.

%d bloggers like this: