Occupy Wall Street: Effective Protest or Waste of Time?

Posted on by Houston Slim (Houston Slim)
URL for sharing: http://thisorth.at/6l2m
Despite numerous eviction attempts, the approach of winter weather, the return of the NBA, and the ongoing Kardashian saga, the Occupy Wall Street protests are still going strong. Protesters began a sit-in style protest in New York's Zucotti Park in September. Groups in other cities around the world followed suit in protesting income inequality, bank bailouts, and high unemployment. The protests have attracted attention from media outlets ranging from Fox News to Saturday Night Live.

But are the protesters achieving their goals, or are they a waste of time?

#OWS is an effective protest because:

The media coverage has increased.
What started out as a few disgruntled people in a New York park complaining about student loans and lack of jobs has now attracted the attention of major newspapers, websites, and the 24-hour TV news channels. More and more viewers are becoming aware of the differences between the ultra-rich "1 percent" and the struggling "99 percent."

More groups are joining the protest.
The #OWS movement has been much more inclusive than some other protest groups. Unemployed laborers march with small business owners. High school students join with master's degree holders. College graduates, fearful that they may never have the career they want, hold signs next to parents, who worry that their children may not have the same opportunities that they had.

The Republicans are worried.
Historians often judge political movements by the enemies they make. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and political strategist, gave a presentation to the Republican Governors Association about how these politicians should approach the protesters. Luntz gave the attendees a list of do's and don'ts regarding their language in an effort to hide the party's long-standing affiliation with corporate America and the ultra-rich. Here are some details on the presentation:

#OWS is a waste of time because:

They have no clear goals.
With so many different agendas represented, from marijuana legalization to the elimination of the Federal Reserve, the movement has no clear goals as to what they hope to accomplish. Their organizational structure of "horizontal democracy" and "general assemblies" is more conducive to chaos and disruption than to achieving their goals and delivering a clear message.

The protests cannot effect change.
In spite of the size of the protests and the media attention they have attracted, the systems they set out to attack are too large, too well organized, and too entrenched to change. Both big government and big banks were to blame for the financial collapse of 2008: the big banks gambled with house money and big government bailed them out. A system that manages trillions of dollars every day will not feel the impact of a few thousand unhappy protesters.

The media focuses on sensation over message.
Most traditional media outlets - which are owned by many of the multinational corporations that have been targets of the protesters - often depict the leaders as new-millennium versions of the 1960s "flower children." The people most affected by the damage done by the financial catastrophe will only see costumed buffoons and naïve idiots the media chooses to show on the nightly news, while completely missing the message.

As we approach the holiday season and the new year, the next few months will tell if the #OWS protests fulfill their potential or become less than a footnote in history.

Occupy Wall Street is...

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