Occupy Wall Street – Groundswell of Economic Injustice

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.

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.


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.


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?

Winning Political Battles and Losing the Economic War

Abe Lincoln's Hand

Marketers can learn from the horrible debt debate and the resulting downgrade of U.S. credit. The pursuit of personal and partisan agendas by all parties — but most notably Tea Party extremists and to a lesser extent liberal Democrats — cost the nation and to some extent global investors alike. All parties came out looking worse for the wear. While posturing to be idealogically right, the utter loss of respect in the eyes of their customers — the American citizen local and national, as well as global investors– cannot justify hardline stances.

As a result of this gamesmanship, Congress now enjoys record low disapproval ratings. While making “We passed our bill, they won’t compromise” statements, Congress failed to enact the deep cuts envisioned by the likes of the Gang of Six or President Obama’s Grand Bargain.

And now rather than buckle down and resolve the crisis, both political parties increased the rhetoric this weekend blaming each other for the lowered credit rating. So what is the price of continuing to be right?

At risk is more than the country’s Standard & Poor rating. Moody’s and Fitch — the remaining two primary credit firms — stand ready to downgrade U.S. credit, too. A combination of all three firms downgrading U.S. credit could create shockwaves throughout the economy. Further, global investors are now putting pressure on Washington to clean up its debt.

Tarnishing your country in the name of partisanship and reelections is not an act of leadership. It is likely that 2012 will be the fourth straight Congressional election with major volatility and turnover. This time it may have little to do with platform, and everything to do with an incumbent status. The American customer is very, very unhappy.

Marketers can see short term wins at the expense of long term customer satisfaction yields poor results. It never pays to cut off your nose to spite your face.

What do you think of the PR blame game in Washington right now?