Occupy Wall Street Deserves Recognition


A rally within blocks of the White House brought out several thousand protestors in support of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Maya Sherne, Staff Writer

In 2008, the US economy reached a low that had not been seen since the Great Depression. Houses were foreclosed upon and jobs were lost, but corporate America came out ahead.  Now, three years later, the 99 percent of America is protesting against the corrupt economic system and the unequal distribution of wealth and power.

Since mid-September, people of all political persuasions have unified around a common factor: they all blame Wall Street for the downfall of the US economy.

Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement that represents the 99 percent of Americans who feel that Wall Street took advantage of them and will no longer tolerate the corruption and greed of the top one percent. These mostly nonviolent protests are meant to revolutionize the United States economy and to serve justice upon those who took advantage of the masses.  

Starting in Liberty Square, Occupy Wall Street recently spread across the globe.  Protests are currently taking place in over 2,130 cities worldwide, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Walnut Creek.

Initially, the diversity and size of Occupy Wall Street caused it to run into trouble. There were too many agendas at play. People were protesting about everything that went wrong in 2011 instead of promoting a clear, refined message.  

However, in recent weeks, protests have come to center on three main ideas.  The occupants hope to tackle corporate control of politics, income inequality, and of course, the unregulated greed of Wall Street.

“I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel.  That we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across mainstream,” said President Barack Obama in a public address.  “And yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abuse of practices that got us in this problem in the first place.”  

The protesters are primarily furious with the control corporate America exercises over the United States government and its political decisions.  Wall Street is able to use major campaign contributions to control politics in Washington, giving corporations the upper hand.  Between 1989 and 2010, AT&T gave over $45 million worth of campaign contributions to both the Republican and Democratic parties, and Goldman Sachs contributed only $10 million less.

The unequal distribution of wealth goes hand in hand with the unequal distribution of power.  Corporations are able to use their profits to grant “political donations,” which blatantly leads to an increasingly undemocratic political system.

The United States’ criminal system is put in place so that if a crime is committed, the perpetrator is punished.  As the protesters readily attest, a crime was committed on Wall Street, yet no punishment was put in place.  Three years ago, corporate America destroyed 20 percent of the United States’ net worth, but since then, no one has been held responsible.  

The positive message that the Occupy Movement is trying to send is that they are here, and they will no longer be taken advantage of.  One percent of America profited from the economic collapse.  One percent of America reaped the rewards while causing damage on mainstream.  But 99 percent of America paid the price, and until the law is reformed, they will simply occupy.

However, another movement is simulaneously working its way across the United States, “the 53 percent.”  The 53 percent believe that the 99 percent are overplaying Wall Street’s role in the economic collapse. They claim that they pay for those who complain about Wall Street and can’t pay high taxes.

The 99 percent have every right to be outraged. They should be taking a stand. However, no change can be implemented unless the movement is taken seriously. Unfortunately, on these grounds, the protests seem to be ineffective.  

Politicians and executives are aware of Occupy Wall Street, but they refuse to recognize its legitimacy.  Until politicians take control and listen to the movement, the economy and the distribution of wealth will continue on its downward spiral.  

The United States government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. Thus, for our government to work, it is necessary for the people to challenge wrongful laws and express their outrage over economic injustice.  

Occupy Wall Street is structured so that every voice counts, and anyone can make a difference.  The United States democracy is becoming a republic controlled by corporate America, and it is time for the 99 percent to take control.