Occupy movement not only made headlines, made progress

To quote the film Network, “Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad.”

And that’s exactly what the American people in the Occupy movement did.

More often than not, the “99%” in the United States have been apathetic. We complain about who’s president, yet we don’t vote. We watch prices sky rocketing at the gas pumps and homes foreclosing next door, yet we do little more than cringe and be thankful it wasn’t us–yet.

But finally something snapped. A group of people formed in Lower Manhattan in early Sept., angered at the worsening economic crisis in our country, and decided enough was enough. Fed up with the widening wealth gap and Wall Street’s part in the economic crisis, protestors in the Occupy movement quickly spread to more than 1,000 cities across the world, according to an NPR news source.

Protestors began sharing their stories, like the one below, explaining why the 99% had reached a breaking point.

The story of one member of the Occupy movement's "99%"

Almost five months later with the encroaching winter season, legislation and camp dismantlement, the movement is reportedly on its way out the door.

But was it worthwhile?

I’d have to say so.

Rather than stewing in discontent, the Occupy movement gave a central mouthpiece to an otherwise voiceless and powerless segment of the country. The Occupy protestors grabbed the attention of the media, and thusly, the attention of the entire nation. Their call for change “entered the bloodstream of established media” and made its rhetoric a part of everyday political discourse, a blogger at The New York Times said.

An Occupy Wall Street demonstrator is arrested by New York City police during what protest organizers called a "Day of Action" in New York. (Reuters)

According to Max Berger, an Occupy organizer in New York, the Occupy movement has already begun planting the seed for tangible change and social reform. Pressure from the populist movement, for instance, pushed President Obama’s support for an investigation into bank-related foreclosure abuses.

Just yesterday, the Department of Justice announced its mortgage relief plan, which allots $25 billion to help homeowners.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about the plan in a statement released by the DOJ today.

“It holds mortgage servicers accountable for abusive practices and requires them to commit more than $20 billion towards financial relief for consumers,” he said. “As a result, struggling homeowners throughout the country will benefit from reduced principles and refinancing of their loans. The agreement also requires substantial changes in how servicers do business, which will help to ensure the abuses of the past are not repeated”

If that isn’t change, I don’t know what is.

Need another example? The millionaires tax is alive and well in New York.

The bill, upping the tax level on New Yorkers who make more than $1 million a year, was loudly supported by Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City who took their complaints to the doorsteps of the city’s richest, literally.

The millionaire’s tax bill passed in early Dec., 55-0 in the Senate and 130-8 in the Assembly, according to NBC News.

Would the bill have passed without angry protestors clogging the streets? Who’s to say. But the only way to make an opinion known is to care enough to get mad and stand up for what you believe in, and I stand behind the protestors of the Occupy movement for doing just that.


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