Better Places to Occupy Than Wall Street
For two months now, many of my non college enrolled or post college grad peers have been selflessly demonstrating for change in the U.S government. They have braved weather, crazy homeless people, even public mortification. Due to the fact that there is no published platform, or leader at all, the occupy wall street movement not only represents the 99%, but also the array of grievances that, apparently, we all share. My favorites include:
“Restructure the jobs market to allow everyone to have a job and a living wage.
Four day work weeks
No more wars of aggression or conquest. Work with the internationally community to stop oppression and civil wars. (Because the cold war period isn’t evidence enough that the two are mutually exclusive)
Profits should not be gotten at the expense of the people.
We know that countries in where income was more equally distributed tended to have longer periods of economic growth.”
Besides the fact that they didn’t bother to proofread, The main point is: big corporations are screwing the little guy, and the government is doing nothing to protect the interests of the so called 99% of America that is struggling to stay afloat. Never mind the fact that the results of their socialist market demands are being played out in the European debt crisis.( No matter that s**t is hitting the fan across the pond, their economic structure allows for siestas, and that seems pretty damn good to us. I would have time in my day for 2 sun salutations instead of 1!)
As a history major, I have always said that I would have loved to witness the Festival of Life, a youth movement in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Frustrated by the war, fear of the cold war, new generational thinking surrounding race relations, gender, and the stifling culture of the fifties; These young people had a lot to be angry about. At first, I drew a lot of comparisons between the hipster occupiers and the likes of Abbie Hoffman, Dave Dellinger, Jerry Rubin, the leaders of the 1968 protests. Then I realized there were some significant differences
1. Their protest was only meant to last of week. They had things to do.
2. They were being drafted into a war that no longer had public support
3. Socialist market economies had not yet been proven to sink entire countries and alliances into debt that China now has the smug privilege to clean up annnnd screw us all over with their currency.
4. There were serious domestic cultural issues surrounding racial and gender equality that were coming to the forefront of the American mindset, causing drastic generational differences between the generation in control of America and the incoming generations of twenty somethings.
5. Jerry Rubin eventually became a capitalist entrepreneur, and Abbie Hoffman’s mental capacity dissolved into a schizophrenic mess ending in his eventual suicide. Actually- this might be more of a similarity to the occupiers than a differences, I apologize for the digression.
These stark contrasts (and more) make the Festival of Life and riots of ’68 distinctly different than Occupy Wall Street. What is especially confusing to me is why these people aren’t hosting job fairs at their occupy headquarters instead of attempting to shut down the entire financial district in New York. These protestors are smart. They are dynamic and creative in their ability to garner support and funding without a real message. Marketing geniuses. Why aren’t they directing their passion and intellect towards reasonably achieving what they want for themselves?
Why aren’t they occupying things that are actually worth occupying? From a twenty-something perspective, there are plenty of better places to occupy than the NY financial district in onset of winter.
1. Bars. that’s right, everyone thinks the 21 year old drinking age is dumb. Let’s all sit in a bar until they change it.
2. Final papers and tests. As long as we are protesting against the lack of jobs, lets just occupy classrooms until they finally concede and we don’t have to take them.
3. NBA stadiums. Forget what the players want….The people want basketball. Lets occupy.
4. Cancun. Does it really only have to be for spring break?
5. Airplanes. Admit it, the industry is really lacking on service, competitive pricing, and accommodation. Let’s occupy an airplane until they agree to take us somewhere.
6. Ben and Jerry’s. It should always be free cone day. Let’s occupy.
7. Harvard. The amount your endowment has is really just unfair to liberal arts schools. Redistribute. Let’s occupy.
8. Silicon Valley. Why is everyone there 22 and already multimillionaires? Let’s occupy and find out.
9. Greece. All the tourism, none of the infrastructure. I smell a party, let’s occupy.
10. Or we could do something legitimate and occupy ourselves with our studies, our passions, and creatively devise a way to contribute to the market instead of trying to shut it down in a “Day of Action”.
Because who are the people who will beat the system in the end? Not the entrepreneurs and bloggers Occupying Wall Street. Everyone wants change, but the people who are working behind the scenes to change the system through efficient innovation are the ones who will be on top. And they will be happy to send along a job application, but I’ll be damned if they will be willing to handover the monetary benefits of their hard work.