Quick note: Hello all, this is my sociology paper and I just wanted to share it with you all. Many may assume that I’m passionate about the movement, but my main purpose is to inspire intellect conversation. There are far too many issues in society that people tend to avoid, but I’ve never felt so compelled to want to spark discussion. I’m open to all opinions and I encourage articulate conversations of any matter important to you. I will never judge or take offense any opinions that anyone may have. I hope that you enjoy reading and decide to learn and be more aware of everything going on. I’m not an expert on any issue, but I just want people to stop brushing the superficiality of life and interact within achieving social justice for all. Thank you for taking the time to read and keeping an open mind and heart. Love always and stay positive. – Love, Hazzle
There are different perspectives and a variety of debates that circulate the Occupy Wall Street’s purpose and reputation. A movement that has far outreached beyond the borders of the United States, has illustrated that protesting has been more than a trend on a global scale. It also seems to be quite the phenomenon that protesting has reached the masses by Internet; spreading news like wildfire. Technology advancement has better helped the way demonstrations are organized and publicized. The most basic understanding of what the Occupy Wall Street movement is to address the common people’s (who are referred to as the 99 percent, not including wealthy owners of huge corporations) grievances. An article mentioned that the main concern is to end the influence that money has over representatives of the American government.
This may have not been the first time that people had concerns of big American corporations controlling the influence of representatives and politicians. Why raise the issue now? Towards the end of Barack Obama’s presidential term, people have began to realize that our economy has not improved from its financial and economic turmoil, otherwise known as a recession. What position does the major corporations of the American society play and how has it affected the influence of the “99 percent” to call for a change? As the economy rapidly spirals downward, more and more people are experiencing the effects of it. Banks are raising fees, which are causing people to angrily react. One of the primary focuses of the Occupy protests is to address the banking system and hope for a reform. Lastly, another point in another article, which criticizes the “truth” about the Occupy protests is to regulate congress much tighter in regards to the “loopholes” that allows congress to pass laws that effect corporations. The main issue at stake is that money is being directed and controlled in ways that benefit the 1 percent (pertaining to wealthy corporations and the “rich” people of society). The biggest point that this article, “The shocking truth about the crackdown in Occupy” by Naomi Wolf of The Guardian, made was the fact that although protesting in America has been traditionally effective in making considerable changes in our society, it has been shot down by mere violence as demonstrated by pepper spraying officers. Violence is no coincidence in the mark of defending what is currently “holding” together what is left of the American government. Since when has “free speech” been viewed as a negative demonstration by and from people that make up the general public of America? Politically there is no “black and white” to any issue and it is difficult to pinpoint what direction this demonstration will go or how exactly occupiers will achieve their goal.
Jonathan (speaker in class) stated that the police generally have their own tactics and this adds on to the underlying influence of government orders. When describing some key points about the Occupy protest he discusses bank foreclosures and for this reason people have turned to occupying public space in tents. The people who are protesting have resorted to “occupying” (protest areas) public forums. Anyone that has recently visited any of these sites might agree that it is difficult to establish who is poor and who isn’t. Since some or many “campers” (protestors) have been supporting the movement for a long time, they probably started to “blend in” with those who are actually homeless. A controversy continues to erupt about allowing these protestors to stay in certain areas (“free speech zones”). They are often required to move out of certain places at certain times. Long Beach protestors were still trying to establish and be recognized in a certain area to peacefully demonstrate, but much controversy as to where is acceptable to demonstrate has not yet been approved by law enforcements. It has been evident that Long Beach authorities and law enforcers play the rules “by the book,” exclaimed Jonathan. There are many organizations involved in the movement and committees to help organize and represent parts of the protest. Some of the people involved include outreach programs, sanitation committees, kitchens, medical committees, churches, and many students.
It is a reoccurring theme that the 99 percent are calling for a change in our society, ultimately, wanting a “re-dress for their grievances,” as stated by Jonathan. The occupation represents the want for a change in corporation actions. Another main point to acknowledge is the fight for one of the most basic rights we have as an individual in America, which is being able to maintain the act of freedom of speech. Violent reactions from and by law enforcement against the protests are elucidating injustice in our system. This illustration of hindering our voice and actions (the 99 percent) is contributing to the idea of a corrupt government, which influences the actions of huge corporations.
Giving back to those who make up most of the general public (the 99 percent) is a main concern. Educational budget cuts, better health care system, fighting against bank fraudulency and deceit, bettering life and working conditions (including better wages), objective/real/legitimate journalism, and re-financing homes are some of the main issues waiting to be heard and acknowledged. Mainstream media plays a significant role in conducting a certain perception about the Occupy Wall Street revolution. From personal observations, there seems to be more of a negative impact of news outlets as shown in the way it has covered Occupy protests. Most news outlets seem to downgrade protestors and the movement itself. Jonathan stated that the press changes the perception by belittling means of showing them as “pathetic and tiny.” When watching the breaking news update on mainstream news channels sometime a couple weeks ago, the reporters emphasized how it was “peaceful” and the police were handling it quite calmly, however, the parts of police brutality were obviously not shown. I continued to follow the live stream feed of Occupy protestors online until almost 4 am (the news cut off early and provided that no significant action was made). During this live stream, the Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles County), came out to make a statement with the Chief Police Charlie Beck. The most the Mayor could say was how he was proud of the Los Angeles Police Department for acting calmly and keeping composure. He was mentioning how there were no violence and how he could not be happier about the outcome of the way the situation was handled. Hypocritically, the next day an LA Times article said that “allegedly” some protestors said that LAPD were too violent. It is seen continuously that many news outlets focus on the police brutality, rather than the purpose of the movement. Neither Chief Beck nor Mayor Villaraigosa acknowledged the protestors nor the issues they are protesting about. It has been obvious that media news outlets refuse to acknowledge the issues and focus on police brutality. Police brutality is not the only thing relevant to discuss, but yet, continues to be the basis of most conversation topics. A student noted an interesting view point in a Youtube video that I will add in the works cited section.
A movement that seemed to be taking off might appear to have some flaws of its own. Without an organized plan, peaceful conduct, and social cohesion, the motivation and purpose of Occupy Wall Street might be ineffective in achieving its goals. It seems that violence might be inevitable if goals aren’t met accordingly and timely. Experiences in the past exemplify a civil war (referring to American history). Getting more people to become more involved in the movement is a step, but influencing those people to understand the cause, the meaning, and importance of Occupy Wall Street is another struggle within itself. On top of that struggle, is the struggle of actually being heard by corporate America and government. Peaceful demonstrations should take after Gandhi’s approach and live up to it by remaining “peaceful.” Jonathan mentioned that civil disobedience is important for drawing the attention of the media in order to get the movement more exposed, however, the downside is that the attention might stand at a negative perspective. Having this sense of community is one of the most rewarding things of this movement and every little step counts. Some of the advice for being a part of the movement would include staying informed, involved, form infinity groups, donate food, and write about it. After all, any step is still a step towards improving our society. Staying silent is a communication of its own. If we continue to stay silent and make no effort towards progress, nothing will happen and living in a stale, deadly environment will only degrade our beings and very existence.
Craig, Glen. “Free From Broke.” (http://freefrombroke.com/what-is-occupy-wall-street-and-should-you-care/)
Wolf, Naomi. The Guardian. “The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy.” Novemeber 25, 2011. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy?newsfeed=true)
Quinones, Sam & Sewell, Abby. LA Times. “Occupy L.A.: LAPD too violent, some protestors allege.” November 30, 2011. (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/11/some-occupy-protesters-allege-violence.html)
Benny- “skwarebear.” Youtube. November 30, 2011. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xZE_TefRMs&feature=share)