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September 26, 2011

Why Are They Protesting??? An Update on Occupy Wall Street

"For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." ~David Rockefeller, Memoirs (2003), Chapter 27, "Proud Internationalist", p. 406

Occupy Wall Street participants are in their second week of protest.  The live stream is still going, and now Anonymous has it streaming on their site along with coverage of the Los Angeles demonstration.  Although initially the campaign wanted to centralize their efforts in New York City, solidarity movements are organizing throughout the country.   From San Diego to Boston, people are organizing sit ins at financial hubs to protest corporate greed and government corruption.

The campaign has started listing their demands, and have even requested comments and additions for the list, as the "document is a living breathing document updated daily but solely based on the votes for the items included within it."  Once the list is voted on and finalized, it will be "distilled into one Unified Common demand of the people." 

This leaderless effort has been criticized by some (including this site) for their lack of organization, although it appears that the demonstrators are focusing on maintaining peace and implementing a true democratic system to avoid the troubles of so many protests past.  Without a leadership, opposition cannot silence the group by taking out one person or a small group.  Without a concrete schedule or plan, opposition does not know what is coming next.  Although we understand the philosophy behind this methodology, it may not be the most effective in the long run, but only time will tell.

Personally, we believe, along with many others, based on the chat boards, that daily marches to buildings occupied by large media conglomerates, government agencies, or financial institutions would be more conducive to spreading the message and inspiring others to join, which is seemingly the primary goal at this point.  Increased organization efforts would only strengthen the movement, but until we personally make our way out there to the front lines of protest, it would be unjust to criticize the efforts of those participating.    

Like many (3000 to 7500 at various points), we have been glued to the live stream of the NYC protest, wishing to be part of the excitement.  There have been some great speakers that stopped by to support the protest, including American journalist, author and former war correspondence, Chris Hedges, who made his way to NYC on Saturday to  support the group and talk to the live stream camera crew. The talk is worth a watch and can be viewed in segments on YouTube.  On Monday evening, September 26th, filmmaker Michael Moore stopped by and spoke to the group in Zuccotti Park (video will be linked once available).

The Occupy Wall Street crew may be without a definite goal, but they are surely making waves and speaking out on injustice whenever possible.  They were outspoken regarding the execution of Troy Davis.  They have voiced their unity with the recent protests in Greece.    It seems as if the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street crew has unified many and continues to gain widespread attention.

So back to the title of this post and the question at hand, one that is frequently asked when I tell people about Occupy Wall Street:  Why are they protesting?  Although the list of demands should give you an idea, one does not have to search too far to figure it out on their own.  Watch the documentary, Inside Job, check out the Al Jazeera 4 part special, "Meltdown: The Men That Crashed the World", and/or glimpse at a recent Gallup poll, just for starters.  You can even Google "Citizens United" and follow references to the controversial U.S. Supreme Court Decision for a start. If you still don't understand after that, there are a plethora of documentaries, articles, and books that will surely help you comprehend why so many people are fed up with our government and our economy.  Feel free to email us if interested in recommendations.