In theory Occupy Wall Street was a grassroots movement started by young people who were tired of banks and billionaires running the country. But that’s a lousy theory.
Billionare real real estate investor Jeff Green said it best, when he visited the New York site.
” I talk to people about what they are protesting, but they can’t say,” he was quoted as saying. “I thought there would be at least one or two booths of highly educated people with information and ideas of what should be done… They complained about the 1% versus the 99% and how the 1% rules government, and I said that it only takes 51% to put the person you want in office. The guy who claimed to be the press person for Occupy Wall Street talked about planting more farms.”
It hurts but its true. The Occupy Movement had no chance to succeed because it didn’t actually have a goal. It was one giant, “C’mon Man!” As repugnant as the Tea Party is, they have concrete goals, they have a plan, which means they actually have a chance at accomplishing something.
Wealth is in the hands of the top 1%, and it is a huge problem – a problem that started roughly thirty years ago. A lot of these protesters went to college with the hopes of joining at least the top 10% of the population, and that was fine with them. Their whole life they had been told by their parents, by their schools, by their community that all they had to do was finish college and they were home free. It would take time, and crippling debt, but at the end it would be worth it, and they wouldn’t have to do the lousy, mindless horrible jobs that the uneducated have to do.
But it wasn’t a guarantee. Nobody told them that, maybe because they didn’t know. And a whole generation of kids came out of school with no good options, too much debt, and not much hope. So they protested.
But that’s the problem. You can’t simply ask the richest people in the world to give you money, or share their wealth, because there’s no reason for them to. And Occupy Wall Street never gave them a reason too, even though there logical reasons why our banking system alone is going to doom us. You can’t simply demand that the government pay off your college debts, because you didn’t really give them a reason.
All you can do is take the best job you can and work your way up. And a lot of them weren’t humble enough to do that. But previous generations have done it. Immigrants and minorities have done it. Single moms have done it. You do the best you can. You don’t lay on the street for months and ask for money.
This wasn’t a movement. There are so many wonderful young people doing things for their community. There are so many educated young people with a social conscience doing their best to make the world better. Some of them were involved with Occupy, but they weren’t Occupy. In the end, there was arrests, beatings, and a lot of protesting, but nothing changed.
Today a few hundred people gathered in New York to ostensibly shut down Wall Street. There weren’t enough people, and so they waded into waves of expecting police and were meekly escorted into vans. By the end of the day they had served as an irritant, but little else. As a general summation, it seemed appropriate.