Archives: Occupy Wall Street protests risk being marginalized

Originally published in October 2011
Simon Nguyen

Started out as a local protest against Wall Street, Occupy Wall Street has grown into a national movement with protests planned around the country. But unlike the Tea Party, this new movement has yet to produce any tangible results. No politician has had to change his or her stance on policies because of the protests. The “evil” banks have not been forced to make amends. The only people impacted by these protests are the police force, which has had to work overtime to provide security at the protest sites, and local business owners.

Clearly, people are still trying to grasp what these Wall Street protests are really about. Is it an anti-capitalist movement or is it simply about putting millionaires and banks on trial?

To borrow the words of former president Bill Clinton, spoken on the David Letterman Show, the protesters need to be “for something and not just against something.” The Occupy Wall Street movement should take a page from the Tea Party’s book and create a unified message. The tea partiers claim they are for a smaller government and fiscal responsibility. What are the new movement’s core messages?

The unorganized nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement is also a big concern. While the protests have been mostly peaceful, CBS News reported that there have been more than 700 arrests since the movement began. Some protesters have attempted to enter banks and government buildings in an effort to make their voice heard. This is in contrast to the Tea Party demonstrations, which also featured fiery rhetoric but very few arrests.

With tensions already running high, all it will take is a small misunderstanding to trigger protest chaos. As America is a lawful country, anything that is even close to resemble what happened in London last August will be deemed unacceptable by the public. Although many Americans support the protesters, they will quick turn on them if there are incidents of violence. The Wall Street protesters need to continue to express their anger in a controlled way.

The good news is that the Occupy Wall Street movement is still in its infancy. In time, the movement will find its purpose and become more organized. However, protesters should be wary of forces seeking to take advantage of this grassroots movement.

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