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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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The 99% who don’t care

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) took everyone by surprise a year ago. To most, it came off as a disorganized protest of a system that even the protesters were heavily reliant on. Looking back at the start of the protests and occupation of Zuccotti Park in New York City’s financial district (i.e. Wall Street), it is hard to see any changes. Despite the constant headlines, most of the 99 percent had no idea what the protests were trying to accomplish. As the movement marks it’s one year anniversary, it should re-evaluate the movement.

The movement focused on non-violent protest against the increasing wealth inequality in the United States. Seen as the youth movement of this decade, protesters marched and demonstrated against the very corporations that produced the consumer goods that belonged to protesters. The movement , which was started by a Canadian activist group, pushed OWS as “America’s Egyptian Revolution.” Coining the term ‘99 percent,’ protesters used this to describe the economic imbalance and the group they were in.

Zuccotti Park was full of tents and unemployed citizens, mainly students, occupied the park and were picketing in front of Wall Street every day. The park itself turned into a mini village, which included an on-site chef and Wi-Fi access for those sleeping to protest the large corporations. Using social media as a tool, the so-called poor protesters used their iPhones—which cost these ‘poor protesters’ at least $200.00—to tweet and captured all the arrests on state-of-the-art Nikons.  Instead of attending class or looking for a job, these protesters—with their heads in the clouds—decided to camp out in one of the most expensive cities in the world.  Plants and sidewalks became public restrooms and credit cards–ironically, a symbol of the same fiscal irresponsibility the protests claimed to be upset about–became the payment option.

When the change the movement was looking for never happened, most had to settle with the discussion that it brought. Some discussed the disorder and waste of time, while some even went so far as to question if the movement even had a legitimate set of points to back the protests. The biggest question the movement raised was why the protesters couldn’t just go wash up and go get a job. Needless to say, to most Americans, the occupation was and always will be a waste of time. Sitting on a sidewalk and tweeting all day doesn’t challenge the system and brings negative reactions to the protests.  The protesters’ complaining of a lack of accessible education and jobs while spending all day protesting instead of being in class or looking for a job made the movement a paradox.  The only way to change society is by taking action in a productive manner, not by lounging around in a park.

 

-The Editors

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