What began as a protest in New York City’s Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011 has spread to cities all over the world in objection of capitalism, banking systems and government authority, just to name a few.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began with a group of activists hoping to stage a movement similar to the uprisings in Egypt in the spring of 2011. The movement cites the nation’s richest “one percent” as the cause for high unemployment, economic stagnation and wealth disparity. The movement is “fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations” according to their website. People who are taking part in the movement have diverse goals and interests, from labor rights to bank reformation.
While the Occupy movement has garnered media attention and awareness about national unemployment, it has not developed into a political powerhouse, something experts say it will have to do to create lasting changes. The Occupy movement has given no indication of whether they will support President Obama as he seeks re-election.
There is also concern that the Occupy movement is losing support from people in cities who have dealt with the violence and police presence that the protests have brought, according to Mary Kate Cary, a writer for U.S. News & World Report. Cary also said that protesters should be crafting legislation and recruiting candidates rather than camping out in parks.
With no clear political agenda or figurehead for the Occupy Wall Street movement, its effectiveness at ending corporate greed is questionable. Movements across the United States are still in full swing, such as the Occupy Oakland movement in California. But the movement’s lack of effect on the 2012 Republican primaries may be an indication that it will not have any lasting results. During the Republican caucus in Iowa, protesters held signs and chanted outside candidates’ offices and events.
But Mitt Romney’s supporters drowned out protesters at one of his rallies in January and Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign chair said the Occupy movement had “no impact at all” on the campaign. Newt Gingrich also dismissed protesters in November, saying to them, “Go get a job, right after you take a bath.”
The Occupy movement has certainly served as an outlet for many Americans to voice their frustrations and stand for what they believe in. The media attention all over the world given to the movement shows the power it could have to change policies and legislation. But if protesters cannot articulate concrete goals and objectives, it is very likely that Occupy Wall Street will fizzle out.