An Explanation of Occupy: Wall Street to Worcester

Posted on November 1, 2011 by


By Kyle Taylor


Protests movements are, and have always been, a defining characteristic of the American spirit. When governments fail to serve, comprehend, or even understand the general population that they are elected to represent, history shows the peoples’ will to unite and find common, yet shaky grounds to stand on. The modern protest movement, at a glance, is typically short-lived or unorganized. Neither of these terms, however, adequately defines the occupation of Wall Street in New York City.


On September 17, activists took to the streets of the financial capital of America with a colorful array of signs and statements. They remain encamped there over a month later, with numbers breaching the thousands. The voices of discontent present at Wall Street did and still do not have a single, solid message.


Rather, the Occupy movement aims to be the democratic voice of a diverse range of   multi-cultured people that seem to feel as though they have been excluded from the democratic process simply because they do not possess the monetary means to have a true say in politics. This occupation aims to ensure that an open forum of discussion is present at each meeting, encouraging the exchange of ideas and principles amongst protestors.


Activists and participants share concerns common to the nature of nearly any person belonging to the middle or lower classes of the global society. The dominant focus tends to be on economic injustices, garnering a sense of outrage over the merger of government and corporate business. Most, if not all peoples of the Occupy Wall Street movement, desire reform in the banking, media, and energy resource industries.

Since the movement’s inception on the September 17, occupiers across the nation and even the world have gathered in city commons and financial districts in order to show and express their solidarity with the Wall Street faction. Boston, Las Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Rome, Berlin; These cities have large-scale occupations formulating goals and aims for where they would like to see changes within the global economic system.


Although these large cities tend to have a larger presence in the occupy association, small-scale cities like our very own Worcester have begun to organize a brand of their own Wall Street inhabitation. With the focal point being at the Worcester Commons Park located downtown, advocates for social and economic change hold organized meetings, conduct open discussions on the issues facing their communities, share food and water, and express a genuine exchange of ideas regardless of what the idea may in fact be.


Ben Cummings, a 25 year old social worker at the New England Dream Center for Mental Disabilities, participated in the development of Occupy Worcester. When asked where he sees the movement going, he explained that, “(I’m) hoping to see us grow in numbers throughout the community, taking short-term actions with day occupations in various communities around town in order to get our numbers up and, ultimately, occupy the commons.”


Cummings’ ideas are really quite essential to the development of any true organized movement. In order to gather true representation and to inhabit the commons on a recognizable scale, occupy protestors must reach out to individual communities in order to discover the specific needs, problems, and desires of diverse people.


On Thursday October 20, a meeting was held on the commons with active discussion on particular facts that protestors deem unacceptable. A pamphlet written by Randy Feldman of ascribes responsibility of economic injustice to the moral degeneration of a small percentage of Americans who indulge in greed.


According to the writing of Feldman, “people should not need hand outs, charity, WIC, or food stamps, or even unions to get a fair wage for those who have a track record of working- they should have a law that guarantees wages that provide for a decent life, basic health care, and education for all.”


The question seems to be: How does a movement mostly dominated by youthful twenty something year olds garner the strength to impact the future of social and economic life in America and even the world entirely? What are exactly the ways to go about changing this system of corruption?


There is the proposed intervention of the government to oversee and regulate corporations if, and only if, they manage to detach from one another. There is also the idea, as Feldman draws out, that indulgence, hoarding, and greed are morally corrupt actions in which a small group of individuals participate. If in fact this is a moral issue, it may need to be treated as one- encouraging ethical change on an individual level.


For example, it is a personal responsibility of an individual to decide if he/she wishes to withdraw his/her money from the banking system and destroy their credit cards in order to collectively generate an effect on the system that has led them astray. This would, in fact, be taking some sort of morally obligated stance.


The primary organizer of “International Marry a Corporation Day” Samuel Linstrude, an unemployed teacher and freelance writer, expressed the idea that, “the corporate and governmental marriage is the biggest threat and infringement to the democratic process.” On an overarching level, the biggest concerns of the movement in its entirety are corruption, greed, and moral degeneration in the government and corporate structures of the world.


With the movement only growing in these coming fall and winter months, it is clear that it does not aim to dissipate rapidly. Once an idea has emerged, and once voices are collectively heard, then it can hardly be ignored. Occupy Wall Street, Boston, Helena, Paris, or Worcester- The world is on the verge of emerging changes.





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