I have hesitated to weigh in on the #OWS movement. Mostly because I haven’t been clear on the goals or understood the strategy.
I think it is a great travesty that Universities and government officials feel the need to remove peaceful protestors by force and with pepper-spray. I fear that our fundamental right to organize and freely speak out against that which we feel unlawful, immoral, or unfair is being met with an attitude more in line with oppressive governments. It is our duty as citizens to speak up about and work toward equality, justice and better government practices. It seems that the protests have brought to light even more issues than they started with. I question the motives of those who seek to control the collective voice of those who do not accept the rules of conformity and the current establishments.
But, I have another question to pose to you today.
What exactly is occupying a piece of land, whether a park in New York or a lawn on a campus accomplishing?
Instead of “occupying” Wall Street or any other space, wouldn’t it be more effective to actually DO something. For some reason, sitting on my bum, getting smelly and pepper-sprayed doesn’t seem like the way to enact change. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to use the skills and talents that each person sitting in those occupied spaces might have? Wouldn’t it be useful to have specific messages and stories to share and inundate our legislators, financial institutions and public entities with them?
It just seems as if the power of the spoken and written MEANINGFUL word, brought about in clear, concise terms and delivered to the right sources has the power to change the status quo much more so than peacefully sitting anywhere and chanting mumbo jumbo slogans.
The movement has a “slacktivism” quality to it. “We’ll just SIT here and do our part. That should be enough to feel good about ourselves.”
As far as I can gather, the Occupy movement is groups of people who are angry about financial institutions and corporations not paying their fair share while placing an unfair burden on the public that is held to their established practices. And that our government is facilitating, approving, and allowing this to happen. If I am still unclear on the why of the movement, feel free to educate me via comments.
I am neither for, nor against the Occupy Movement. I think I am “The 50%” that either just doesn’t get it, might not actually believe in it (if we knew exactly what “it” was), or want to jump into something without defined goals and action. If you’ve been to my blog before, you know I promote the good that people do and the positive changes people work to incorporate, so I’d be all for this kind of thing if it had the chance to make an influential difference for the good of our communities or the country.
Many people have already suggested that the OWS and splinter Occupy protestors have not formulated a clear plan or objective. My question is why not? While you’re sitting there peacefully, I hope you’re discussing what your next plan of action is. Make the Occupy phase like a big community meeting where you decide what changes need to be the priority and how you can best achieve them, because you can’t just sit there forever.
For my part, I’ll continue to use my tiny, local bank who has never taken a dime from the bailout because they know how to manage their money. And I’ll continue to watch for something from the movement that resonates with me so that I can stand up and actively do to help make positive changes.
And hey, if you got kicked off your occupied turf, now’s the time to learn how to write, actively campaign for change, and really make a difference. If you spend too much time complaining about losing your butt-seat, you’ve already lost the focus of your cause. Which was?
Simply Put- Exercising your rights can’t be done seated.