Occupy Wall Street – Groundswell of Economic Injustice

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Occupy Wall Street
Image by Kap Kap

The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread across the country, capturing the hearts of America’s disenfranchised. These events have sparked a debate across America — particularly online — about economic injustice in America.

Occupy Wall Street has been criticized for its lack of primary objective and message. Like it or not, pundits and critiques are dealing with a groundswell of anger towards the rich and corporate America. This effort grows stronger with each week in spite of criticism.

Occupy
Image from Mother Jones

The moniker of economic injustice is being used loosely, but in a recession or depression or jobless recovery (take your pick) entering its fourth year, a movement has been touched off. Like the 18th century French mob arisen in times of famine, Occupy Wall Street demands attention.

The media ignored this movement at first. The government — local, state and most importantly, national — is for the most part still ignoring it. President Obama finally acknowledged the movement in a half-hearted statement on Thursday touting the financial industry’s strength. Yet Occupy Wall Street does not go away.

This is mostly because of the relentless will of the original New York protestors, and now their counterparts in other cities. They are not satisfied with the economic disparity and conditions in this country, and won’t be turned back by criticism, insults, police violence and platitudes.

CEOPay

And yes, the protestors have used blogs, Flickr photos, and social network posts helped to keep Occupy Wall Street alive. Yet another example of the Fifth Estate rising when traditional power and media structures refused to address news and/or problems.

Though dismissed, an opportunity is being missed with Occupy Wall Street. Nonprofits seeking to resolve issues of poverty and financial inequality should be leading the charge. Democrats who would naturally gravitate towards this series of issues — especially given tax debates of late — are avoiding Occupy Wall Street. Violence has tuned up the issue to new levels.

The end result? More steam with bigger and more widespread protests.

Money

Conservative “anti-capitalism, socialist” spin isn’t going to make this one go away. Like the Arab Spring, like the Tea Party, like the angered Greeks, there is too much pain. No communications plan can fly in the face of a stakeholder groundswell centered on real problems. Occupy Wall Street is shaping the national debate.

What do you think about Occupy Wall Street?

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  • http://bonniecranmer.com bgreen

    AWESOME post, Geoff! There are small groups popping up across the country because this is a movement of real people, not celebrities, not politicians, not corporate backed talking heads… REAL people who are living every day with the mess that has been created by failed policies and corporate greed. It has also been filled with peaceful, respectful and intelligent conversation… Oh?!? we can do that?!?!? YES We CAN!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Bonnie.  I hope it stays peaceful!

  • http://www.pamelagrow.com Pamela Grow

    I do find it fascinating that real demonstrations comprised of real Americans have not been given the mainstream media coverage of the wholly manufactured “Tea Party.”  And I’m inspired an heartened by the continued growth of Occupy Wall Street.  It will be interesting to see if any other businesses give a show of support, such as Ben and Jerry’s just did.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think this will go away. I saw Mark Ruffalo speaking on this, too. As more and more voices speak up, it will become safer and spread.  Good to see you, Pam!

  • Tyler Hill

    Is it truly CEO pay they dislike? For me, its the governments total waste of trillions of dollars. All those dollars came from the Bond market which is funded by people with money. That money could have been spent on starting new companies and creating new jobs, instead we bought bonds that went to gov’t coffers. Does anyone think money given to the gov’t actually provides benefits greater than the private sector? 

    • Anonymous

      And the Tea Party speaks! Interesting to see such dissent on both sides, though.  This speaks to the general societal problems we are having right now. Thanks for your point of view, Tyler.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500327041 Vanessa Williams

    Thanks for this post Geoff! From a marketing perspective do you think the lack of specific goals or objectives is hurting them? They keep getting criticized for it but it continues to grow. Talking heads (supporters or critiques) don’t seem to know what to do with them because there isn’t an objective to review. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      I think they don’t know what to do with them because we don’t have any real leadership anymore.  The “leaders” have been busted with their hands in the cookie jar, and are going to keep eating the cookies until they get in trouble.

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  • http://twitter.com/neicolec Neicole Crepeau

    Thanks for writing this, Geoff! As someone who was out with the #occupyseattle group rallying on Saturday, I was there to protest the excesses of capitalism and, particularly, the corporate takeover of our democracy. I’m frankly terribly frightened about the world my kids are going to live in. Right now, corporations buy elections through their massive funding of ads, through the revolving door they write the legislation that governs us, and they basically buy the votes for their legislation via their campaign contributions to the reps who vote. 

    Our representatives don’t serve us, the people, anymore. And they never will if we don’t get rid of corporate personhood and get corporate money and influence out of politics. Then, maybe our representatives will penalize corporations, regulate them, and make laws that benefit the 99% instead of the 1% funding their campaigns. I can live with Congress passing conservative laws, progressive laws, or something in between, but only when they are passing the laws based on what they really believe is best for the country, not what’s best for their campaign funding and reelection prospects.

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  • http://www.contentstrategyhub.com Eugene Farber

    I heard about the protests a few weeks ago at an open mic night at Union Square. a guy came up to the mic and sounded so passionate about it I decided to go check it out.

    I was really disappointed by it to be honest. The lack of a single message is very accurate. I actually turned to my girlfriend right after we walked through the park they are occupying and said that they won’t get anywhere because they’re all protesting different things.

    I’m glad the news picked up on it. I think part of the reason the protest is growing is because of the different issues the people have. They are drawing in support from all sorts of angles.

    But in all honesty I wasn’t happy with what I saw. It was a bunch of college kids looking to party, some homeless people there for the free pizza, and a few activists (who may just be there for the sake of protesting something).

    I do think that there needs to be change with how things work, but I don’t think these people are going about it the right way. Wall Street won’t change due to what these protesters are doing.

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