Occupy Groups…What Do You Want?

occupy demands
Occupy members in NYC discuss possible demands. Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

In my engagement with a local Occupy group, we’ve had some good dialog. I’ve tried to be open to the dialog, and at this blog have not yet had any need to not approve any comments. I think I’ve done a fair job of providing my perspective, though some of that will be forthcoming: I’m a family guy on the outside wondering what the Occupy groups are about, and I’ve taken a substantial amount of my own time to not only visit Occupy Tacoma, but to continue the dialog here.

We’ve also had a fair share of, well, let me be straightforward: propaganda. We had some information thrown out as fact that isn’t anything less than something bordering on paranoid conspiracy. Those things I’ll cover in upcoming posts to solicit feedback and get more information on…so please hold those comments for those upcoming posts.

But today’s post goes back to one of my initial concerns: what is it the movement stands for? To me, even after dialog and visiting Tacoma’s group, it’s completely unclear. I’ve read reports on both sides of the issue that discuss this as being on purpose…keep it vague enough to draw people in, but not concrete enough to actually pin anything in particular down. Is that the case?

The closest answer I’ve gotten is that it is to send a message to our government officials that we demand change, and we demand they “fix” things. And from my perspective, this is absurd, since, first, those elected officials, by and large, created the issues; and second, leaving it completely wide open for THEM to interpret HOW to fix the issue. Frankly, they’ll only make it worse without pressure as to exactly how to fix it.

So, Occupy folks, am I wrong? If so, how?

Most importantly, what is it you demand?

In my engagement with a local Occupy group, we’ve had some good dialog. I’ve tried to be open to the dialog, and at this blog have not yet had any need to not approve any comments. I think I’ve done a fair job of providing my perspective, though some of that will be forthcoming: I’m…


  1. I believe this originated as a leftist reaction to the fact that the system is broken just as I believe the Tea Party was more of a conservative reaction to the SAME THING! There is no question that the system is broken. I believe what created momentum for the Tea Party was the thing that tainted it: GREED. "This is MINE, and YOU can't have it even if it means you'll DIE!" I believe the momentum for Occupy (which will also taint it) will be ENVY. "YOU have what I want, and I'll KILL you to get it if necessary." (Yes, both statements have been expressed by extremists in both groups.)

    I honestly believe that if the Tea Party & Occupy organizations came together, ignored the disagreements, and simply focused one where they AGREE (the System of partnership between Corporate America & the Politicians needs to be taken apart), and if they decided to use their dollars and votes to make that change happen, INCREDIBLE things would take place that would benefit current & future generations.

    I sincerely doubt that will ever happen because people don't like to think for themselves, and it's far easier to just repeat the party line & place blame.

    1. Some wisdom! 🙂

      I think it could as well. My greatest fear with the "Occupation Movement" is that it will be taken over by the politcal machine (as it appears in some areas it may have…. sadly). I think Scott's series on the blog has opened up some dialouge, which is always good, right? I still support them(and still consider myself one of them as I wave my sign LOL), but it's always good to think some more.

      So maybe we can all try to overlook where we might disgaree and see where we agree? I guess that is what I have been trying to do…..


  2. I agree with Jake, there are striking parallels with the Tea Party movement yet the motivation is the opposite. Its fascinating really.

    But as a more middle of the road type person than my friend Scott, I thought i'd share my perspective. I was open to the idea of the 99%, until I realized that there was no point. I guess you could argue that speaking out in itself is a point, but its not a rally, or a meeting or anything like that, its indefinate camping, with no openly expressed agenda, no goals, no anything- Frankly, that strikes me, and i would imagine other middle-of-the-roaders like me that possibly these people are raising havoc for havoc's sake or to be different or to be difficult.

  3. Also agree with Rebecca, in that there is no point in the OWS movement.

    The self described socialist (that what Alan, told me), that invited Scott to meet, is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. They prey on the minds of the young and restless rabble seen in sometimes violent "protests" throughout the country. I hope this isn't "the society owes me something" generation, we are witnessing.


  4. Well, again, this movement is in it's infancy. The only reason people are asking for clearly defined goals now is because of how large it's gotten in such a short period of time.

    That said, I still don't understand the "they don't have a point" argument. I think every occupy movement has been pretty clear that inequality, and disproportionate allocation of political power is their biggest gripes.

    1. how is politically subjective rhetoric "clear"? what do YOU mean by "inequality'" Many can argue the progressive tax code is "inequal", and others could point quite easily to the fact that only 53% of Americans even pay federal taxes..that's high "inequality". Generalized phrases only sound good on protest signs.

  5. I don't think most would find such a term politically subjective. But, if you want me to elaborate I would say income inequality is the greatest example. Closely followed by unequal political power, and unequal access to healthcare. And yes, if you'd like I can provide peer reviewed sources for all three of those claims.

    Second of all it is incorrect that only 53% of Americans pay Federal Taxes. That number refers only to federal income taxes. You know who else doesn't pay federal income taxes? A whole bunch of incredibly profitable corporations… http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/11/03/36018

    And lastly, I could ask the same question of you. You seem to generalize people along the lines of "left" and "right" (if I am incorrect, please correct me). What classifies someone as "left" or "right"? I'd argue that such labels are incredibly subjective.

    I will add that I do not intend to sound overly argumentative or angry. It's somewhat difficult for me, sometimes, to convey emotion through my writing. So if I come off abrasive I apologize.

    1. Yes, those numbers were federal income taxes–the vast majority of taxes collected by the federal govt. Someone buying a gallon of gas or pack of smokes is paying federal tax, which is obviously not what was meant.

      You don't think the terms are subjective. That's fine–it's your opinion. But from the outside, lack of defining terms such as this is a big part of the reason OWS will never draw in others like me…without definition, those terms are pure rhetoric and almost exclusively from one side of the political aisle.

      The 99% vs 1% is pitting people against people based on wealth, yet my attempts at getting clarification appear to be people saying it's about corporations. If that's the case, why not say so instead of being obscure with protest signs and descriptions? If against corporations and the loopholes and deals made to many of them from the federal and state governments, you'd have many allies on the right, but instead, the OWS movement keeps attempting to divide rather than unite.

      I do have to say that your first paragraph, in a way, sums up the issue I've had in getting clarification: instead of defining terms so that those of us on the outside of the movement can understand clearly and decide whether to support or oppose, respondents seem to tend to want to elaborate. The elaborations don't clarify. At all.