Posted 1 year ago on Feb. 8, 2012, 10:10 p.m. EST by outsideopinion
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Protests, when performed skillfully, purposefully and in an organized manner, are inherently good by nature and present a relevant argument and often accomplish goals. However, when they lack unity, purpose, and organization as the Occupy Wall Street movement does, nothing good can come from them. Like a plague, the protest has spread throughout the country, and Americans are desperate for their voices to be heard, whether in plea for the 99 percent or the one percent. This is not the first time America has experienced a protest, and is most definitely not the most controversial one. It is however, the most stale and stagnant and by far the least effective. The March on Washington on August 28, 1963 led by Martin Luther King Jr. was a non-violent approach to accomplish a defined set of goals. Americans from all parts of the country came to support the protest, just as they have done to support the Occupy movement. Before the March on Washington even started though, the participants had an agenda. While the March on Washington protestors asked specifically for the elimination of racial segregation, a $2 an hour minimum wage, reform for African American voting, and public works programs to provide jobs, six out of ten Americans in the U.S. do not know why the Occupy members are protesting (Marisol, Ross). The Occupy members have a slogan: “We are the 99 percent”. The question that Americans are asking is what do the 99 percent want? I visited the Occupy Wall Street official website to find out, and even they cannot answer that question. Rather than giving a direct statement, they list articles which relate to their beliefs. Aside from their lack of unity, Occupy protestors have not maintained a peaceful cooperation with local authorities and police. Since the Occupy movement began September 17, 2011, it has seen arrests including those from theft, vandalism, and refusal to leave illegal camps. The March on Washington proved that more is achieved when it is sought peacefully. Because of the peaceful, nonviolent demonstration, John F. Kennedy passed the Civil Rights Act that featured many of the goals that the protestors were fighting for. The violence in the Occupy movement has turned many potential members away and has decreased the movement’s credibility substantially. Instead of appearing to be informed Americans in search of a solution to corporate greed, wealth, and power, many people view Occupy members as a threat to the livelihood and order of society. The violence associated with the movement is creating a negative opinion for the 99 percent, and ultimately for America. The lack of organization set forth by the Occupy movement is staggering, and their credibility is quickly diminishing because of it. Occupy calls itself a “leaderless resistance movement”. The March on Washington had leaders, and those leaders gave such effective and moving speeches and testimonies that they changed the course of history. Occupy members should make note of this and instead of a mob-rule, they should find a strong leader to steer them in the right direction. The disorganization has other implications as well, including the ability of all members to affect what the movement does and says. The open forum on the Occupy website is laden with curse words, name-calling, and diminutive accusations toward police and local authorities. If they had proper leadership, these instances would be less apt to happen and would strengthen the so-called goals that Occupy stands for. Protesting is a vital piece of America’s history and well-being, but it should not be engaged in an aimless way. Occupy members need to realize what they are truly fighting for and what image they are giving themselves and then decide whether the movement is generating the type of persona that it originally intended to have.