First Hand Experience: Movement Destined to Fail

I would like to start this post by giving the context and reasons for the views that I hold on the occupy movement occurring in cities across America. Throughout this post there are many opinions that you may disagree with, but all opinions and ideas I am going to convey come from my first hand experience with individuals associated with the Occupy DC movement.

ImageThe Saturday night of thanksgiving break, myself and a few friends of mine were on our way home from a concert in DC. We decided to take the metro further into the city to explore the beautiful night time scenes of our nation’s monuments. After getting off at the Federal Triangle metro stop, we came across a large number of tents set up in front of the National Treasury. We were quick to figure that this specific campsite had to be related to the occupy movement. Out of curiosity, we approached with open mindsets and genuine interests to hear first hand from the protestors what and why they were protesting. The first protestor we met, Michael, described his viewpoints as such:

The occupy movement is a community of people who are discontent with the way that money is distributed throughout the country. Big corporations just keep taking and taking without realizing the repercussions they have caused to the “99%” and the rest of the world. To start, American corporations need to stop outsourcing jobs that us Americans are in desperate need of.

From this point on other protestors continued pop in and out of the conversation that we were having. This then started an endless cycle that occurred for the duration of the three hours we spent speaking to protestors. My friends and I would ask the protestors what the problems were they were protesting. They would answer with an infinite number of other problems that our society is faced with. When were asked why there’s a problem with outsourcing they brought up how corporations are exploiting and destroying third world countries. When asked why a corporation shouldn’t run their company the most efficient way possible, they replied, “because then there are not enough equal opportunities for Americans to be successful.” When asked how that should be changed, they replied, “More money should be given to less fortunate school systems.” When asked where that money should come from, their response was, “Our country needs to stop fighting wars over seas.”

Essentially the way these protestors suggested a problem be solved, was to bring to light a completely unrelated issue. They were never able to answer our questions pertaining to how things should be changed. In other words, they were never able to provide us with a single resolution that even they could see as fit. Yes, I agree with the fact that all of the problems in the world which they identified a) exist; b) are unfair; and c) need to be remedied to the fullest extent of mankind’s ability, but do you see me pitching a tent in a city center, complaining that someone in a position of power is not doing enough to fix these problems for me? No. You see me seeking out a better life for myself and my future family, struggling from the bottom up, living the American dream one step, and one day at a time.
I am not opposed to the ideals and principles behind why the occupy movement is occurring. I am in a disagreement however with the methods they are using in an “attempt” to resolve the issues occurring in the world today. To avoid confusion, by their “method” I mean:
1: Starting a movement where there is no moving. All that they have accomplished is sitting around complaining about all of the issues in the world.  Months later, not one of them has proceeded to come up with a possible solution. “Stop this, Stop that” will never actually cause anything in the world to change.
2: Their movement has come together as a community but still lacks unity. This movement is too individualized. Each protestor I encountered had their own say regarding the reasons why the occupy movement is happening.
3: The movement lacks a leadership position to help direct the movement in the direction of success. In my opinion, by solving this specific issue, both previous issues that I have presented will most likely be resolved.

At the rate this movement is developing, the majority of this 99%(which is hardly accurate), will become frustrated, give up, and pack up their tents before any progress is made.

To conclude, I am not discouraging further movements and protests to occur. Hopefully the mistakes and flaws in the occupy movement’s methods will be learned, and they will continue to fight for their beliefs in a more productive manner.



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4 Comments on “First Hand Experience: Movement Destined to Fail”

  1. Patrick Biondi Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. We’ve obviously spent a lot of time this semester talking about the Occupy movement and I am still yet to hear a unified answer as to what they are protesting and more importantly (as you pointed out) a plan to fix the problem. If you look at some of the reading we have done recently about the civil rights movement, there were very specific goals within the movement. Whether it was the desegregation of schools, business places, or public transportation, there were set goals and there was a plan to attain those goals (sit ins, peaceful protests). I would agree with you, also, that I am not discouraging protests, but it is a little bothersome at the ragged nature of the Occupy movement. It seems very uninformed and, to be honest, lazy. There is no planning, there is no leadership, and there is no direction in the group. All they are doing is complaining about a circumstance instead of changing their own.

  2. rschles92 Says:

    First of all regardless of the fact that the Occupy Movement is, in my opinion, preposterous and almost shameful, aren’t they getting us to talk about them?

    Is that not the point of a protest? To get attention in order to cause change? At some point they have to get at least a little bit of credit where credit is due. Despite the fact that the movement has probably caught on because of a clever name (which i believe to pretty much be the sole reason for its popularity) it HAS caught on. People know about it from seeing it in the news and all over social media. I walked out of my Stats Lab the other day to see an OCCUPY UMICH rally in the lobby of Angel Hall fighting off people with flyers on my way to the bathroom.

    These people are angry and they’re not shy about it. That is where the movement loses all credibility with me. These people are acting like they are furious. Everything is so extreme. They have this deep rooted anger and can barely articulate it.

    Much like the conversation you had with protestors in DC, (a place I call home so I’m used to people not knowing what they’re talking about) these occupiers have no clue what they’re really angry about.

    That is why this movement should not be looked at as ground breaking and world changing when it really is just an embarrassment to our generation. As a young adult I’m mortified by the actions of the other young adults. This movement makes us look like we aren’t educated and do not plan on seeking a solution ourselves but rather deflecting responsibility to others. It is a grim preview of possible things to come.

    The worst part about it is, is that it gives the bad guys (corporations) some credibility. Because they are attacked by a group with no direction so vigorously it makes them look like victims.

  3. scottmha Says:

    You put the occupy movement in a totally different perspective. One that makes it compelling to agree with your side. I definitely agree the movement has no unity, within the movement there may even be a division of classes, a segment that John Stewart touched on. To me its mind boggling how a group of protestors could be arguing that the lower economic class of our country is deprived, when they are segregated by economic status themselves. I do believe though, they have accomplished something, because they are at the height of our current events, showing they have peoples attention. But where do they go from here?
    Here is where I am a little deterred from the movement, they have no fundamental goal. Now that you have the countries attention spotlighted on your movement, what do you do? Sit there and continue “occupying” and complaining? If this is their plans they will not stay relevant for long. I believe humans work better when provided structure, and in the case of the occupy protest, this structure could come from a source of leadership. But I believe the group is too wide spread, too weakly connected and too unorganized to produce a national leader and this may be where their weakness stems from. If the occupy movement wishes to take their protest to the next level, they should elect a nation wide leader, one who can propose a platform that details their goals and plans of actions in the immediate future.

  4. Steve Dougherty Says:

    I appreciate and admire how much effort you took to talk with protesters. However, I think many people – you included – are taking the Occupy protests as something they’re not. These are not cohesive, similarly-minded groups of political activists, as you noted. They are groups of disgruntled people. Why must an eclectic group such as this present a singular plan? In a representative democracy, expressing discontent is the first step to opening discussion and negotiation, which should lead to the possibility of political change and action. Expressing a need for change is the first step.

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