Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My two cents: what has occupy accomplished?

I want to take this time to address all of the anti-occupy rhetoric that has been going around lately. Since the beginning of the occupy movement, I have been told a lot of different criticisms about what I and my fellow occupiers are doing.

We are lazy.
We have no goals.
We are destructive.
We are dangerous.
We are bums.
We are spoiled.
We should stop complaining and get jobs.
The list goes on

Of all of the critiques I have heard, the one that continually surprises me is the claim that we are wasting our time and that this movement hasn't actually done anything. Now, I have done by best to sit by and politely listen, but I think now is it time for me to respond.

What have we accomplished? Though I could list more, here are the two most important things I believe we have accomplished.

The 99%: You are not alone
I'm sure we all have that little voice in our heads that tells us how small and insignificant we are. It is the voice that tells us that as individuals, it is impossible to make a cry loud enough to be heard. It is the same voice that says that one person can not make a difference. The voice yells every night telling you that you are alone.

The Occupy movement has proven that voice wrong. As Occupiers, we have come to realize that we are not alone in our frustrations and our fears. You and I are not alone in our feeling that something is wrong with the direction our society is moving in, and we as Occupiers have come together to express ourselves and turn these feelings into action--To shed light on growing income gap between the 99% and the wealthiest 1% of Americans as well as the fact that we live in a country where corporations have dominion over our political system. By giving hefty donations to the same politicians who are responsible for regulating them, they are allowed to run rampant. Though they have the rights of people, they do not have the same accountability. I could go on, but I am not here to tell you what we are protesting. My point is, we as individuals are now aware that we are not alone in our grievances. We now know that together we have power, and we do not need money to have a voice, which brings me to my next point:

The change in political discourse
To put it quite simply, it is impossible to ignore this many people. Before the Occupy movement began, the main thing being discussed in Washington was our countries debt. I do not mean to say that this is not an important issue, but it is not the only issue. This movement has put the previously pushed aside issues of of income inequality, the concentration of power within our country, and political and corporate accountability right up front and center for all of the world to see. And as we all know, this discussion has been far but limited to Zucotti park. Occupations have not only popped up all over the country, but also in over 80 countries all over the world.

I would also like to take this time to ask everyone who has been criticizing the movement, how many of you have been down to a camp site more than once or twice? How many of you have been been actively involved in the GA's and committee meetings? If you have, than I would love to hear what you have to say, but if you have not, I must apologize, but your criticisms are based hearsay. That is all the news is these days. If there is anything I have learned (for a fact) from being heavily involved in this, it is that what the mainstream media reports, and what actually happens is drastically different. Do me a favor; go down to the camps and experience it for yourselves. Talk to people involved and formulate your opinions based on more than skewed news articles.

So  that's my two cents. Take it or leave it.

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