Wall Street protests: Stand here, hold this

Daniel Perret-Goluboff

The “Occupy Wall Street” protests entered their 17th consecutive day this Tuesday in New York City. The demonstrations have only grown stronger each day, gaining more followers and increased national news coverage. These protestors may actually end up getting what they want. That is, of course, dependent on their audience actually figuring out what they are protesting for.

Protestors have taken up residence in a park in New York City’s financial district. Many have been at the park — deemed “Liberty Square” by the protestors — 24 hours a day since the protests began over two weeks ago.

The square is similar to what you would expect to find at a music festival: an outdoor community in which the staples of normal life have been temporarily set up to sustain the group staying there.

According to ABC News, Liberty Square already has a library, media center, numerous kitchens and even a medical clinic. The community has even developed its own newspaper for the distribution of all protest related bulletins and events — aptly titled The Occupied Wall Street Journal.

Although the fervor with which these protestors have demonstrated is impressive, the general confusion surrounding what exactly they are protesting seems to be the biggest obstacle that they are currently facing. These protestors do not lack organization or commitment, but they do seem to lack a clear and singular message.

The “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations are aimed at — as best I can tell — ending the general financial inequity facing the majority of the American population, but you wouldn’t know it from the protestor’s statements and actions.

The variety of reasons cited for the demonstration is so vast that it leads one to wonder whether or not it actually removes some of the credibility from the protestor’s actions.

This previous statement is not to be misinterpreted as a slight at the actions of those demonstrating in New York, and now in many other cities across America. I firmly believe in the right to protest and feel as though it should be exercised frequently in our country. I simply do not feel as though the “Occupy Wall Street” protests are explicitly clear enough in their message.

Rather, I feel as though many young people — the average age of those demonstrating being under 30 — are simply swearing an allegiance to the message of these protests without true knowledge of what they are standing up for. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but is a powerful and therefore dangerous situation.

Some demonstrators cite global warming as their primary reason for protesting, others have cited a wide array of issues ranging from tax law to workers’ rights, to the general disrespect felt by the youth of our country at the hands of those whose success is already established.

It pains me to speak ill of the youth culture that I so heartily subscribe to, but I genuinely think that many protestors have simply jumped on this bandwagon looking to be a part of something historically significant that they do not fully understand. Maybe I’m just ignorant. I hope that the “Occupy Wall Street” protestors get what they want. Whatever that may be.

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