It all started last spring when countries throughout the Middle East began to retaliate against their power-hungry leaders and claim their basic human rights. Outbreaks in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia marked the start of an international revolution, in which populations around the world were inspired by this profound sense of nationalism. The success among these countries was all it took to spark an international movement now known as the “Occupy Movement.” The movement’s motives are as diverse as it’s popularity, as different populations are all making their claims as to what should be done about their homeland’s various problems. But has this movement really been worth the chaos that has stemmed from it? Has the public claiming responsibility for this movement been in the right? or are they merely meddling in problems that they should be content with having no control over? How long will this movement sustain it’s gumption?
Although the Middle East is where the movement can be traced back to, Wall Street seems to take responsibility for actually starting the movement. The movement officially began in September of last year and according to the New York Times it was initiated by the Canadian-based activist group Adbusters. The movement was strongly influenced by the 2008 financial crisis involving several US banks, and the popular concept conceived by an unknown Tumblr contributor who coined the slogan, “we are the 99 percent,” referring to the fact that the vast majority of the nations wealth is controlled by only 1 percent of the population, and the rest of the population belonging to the 99. This portion of our nations population has had fingers pointed at them for things such as bad investments and tax evasion, and the “99 percent” blames this on the government’s compulsion to involve themselves in financial affairs. This interferes with the idea of laissez faire and is not capitalism. Not that the activists are capitalists, but it’s difficult to be against capitalism, and against the government’s involvement in capitalists affairs. This is where the movement began to lose it’s momentum.
The Occupy Movement has so many followers who all have varying interest in what they want to accomplish. For example, a Los Angeles Times article reports a violent march on the City Hall in Oakland in which Occupy Movement protesters “broke into the building, smashed display cases, cut electrical wires and burned an American flag,” but the Occupy Movement on Wall Street has managed to remain mostly non-violent since it began. Different Movement’s attract different demographics who all have different motives, spanning from bank regulations or homeowners fighting foreclosure on their homes. It’s difficult to control such diverse groups of people on such a large scale, which is why the movement has indeed already begun to fizzle out.
According to the New York Times, as of February 9th the physical presence of the movement has greatly diminished over the winter season, stating that “participants in the Occupy D.C. encampment were pushed out.” But that doesn’t mean that the movement isn’t flourishing online. Social networking sites such as Flickr, Twitter and Facebook have all played instrumental roles in the Occupy Movement. Key Occupy locations have their own Facebook page that followers can like and follow, and participants of the movement are still posting their own struggles on the original 99 percent Flickr page (linked above). The movement has definitely ran it’s course as a physical force, but the ideologies live on.
The Occupy Movement is a respectable attempt at practicing human rights at their most basic level. The Movement itself is justified, as all of the problems addressed by it’s followers are all prevalent and deserve attention. As an activists movement, it has played it’s part by attempting to enact action among the the world’s various leaders and governments. It’s obvious that if this many people are concerned with what is happening in their own country, and they are willing to go to such lengths to let those who have the ability to do something about it know, something needs to be done. It’s not that activists know what’s best, but in a democratic society, if the public’s interest isn’t being portrayed through voting, than this is the only way. I do not completely agree with Occupy Movement ideas, but I don’t have any problems that deserve the same attention these activists are demanding, and if this is the voice of a large percentage of Americans, then so be it!