Occupy Protests: A Movement that is Out of Hand
By Ryan Schwertfeger
When I was asked to write about Occupy Wall Street [for Drumbeats], I decided that I would write an article based off of facts with my opinion instead of an article with my opinion supported by facts. I decided to do this because it’s important to get the facts straight before making any judgment or decision. I think most people are not informed with the facts and that’s a big problem.
Occupy Wall Street first got its start on June 9th of this year when a Canadian Anti-Consumerist Magazine called Adbusters registered the domain name OccupyWallStreet.org. Soon after, on July 13th, the same magazine called for a protest to take place on September 17th to advocate for “democracy not corporatocracy” and that “20,000 people” should show up to protest. When September 17th rolled around, about 1,000 people came to protest against Wall Street and soon set up camp at Zuccotti Park, a few blocks away. Then, the peaceful protests got ugly.
On the first of October, about 700 protestors were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge for interfering with traffic even though the police had told them to stay on the walkway. Then, on October 8th, an offshoot group called Occupy D.C. joined in with a different protest taking place in front of the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This created so much of a nuisance that the museum had to shut down. On October 13th, the owner of the park that the Occupy Wall St. crowd was using asked the protesters to move for a few hours in order to clean the park. The protestors refused.
On a scary note, many crimes and anti-American sentiments have been occurring at these Occupy rallies. As of November 15th, there have been 248 incidences regarding Occupy movements across the country including: rape, public masturbation, a flyer informing people “when should you shoot a cop”, thievery in camps, protestors shouting f*** the USA, shoplifting from businesses, death threats toward policemen, vandalism, heroin being circulated in Occupy Boston, as well as public defecation. For the most part, very few Occupy camps have done anything to solve problems like the ones previously mentioned. Some have set up rules and have taken action, but even those who have taken action have rules put in place that make no sense. OWS decided that to solve the rape problem, they would create a “rape free zone”. The zone is just a tent, guarded by women, making sure that men do not enter. I don’t know about you, but I think the world should be a “rape free zone”…not just a tent.
So, now you know a bit of the facts behind Occupy. When I formed my opinion, I based it on what I had heard about this movement as well as a movement on the opposite side of the spectrum: the tea party. I love and support the tea party movement and the tea party as it was formed after citizens were upset about government spending, government policies and of course taxes. In fact, the name “tea” party is an acronym for Taxed Enough Already. The mainly liberal media blasted the tea party for several different reasons with many of the accusations being blown out of proportion (I’ll get back to that in a bit). I was not happy with the spin the media was applying to the tea party and thought it was very unfair and misleading. In fact, it was misleading to the public about the purpose and the people behind Occupy.
When I, the President of the Republican club, was told a friend and fellow Junior at IHHS and member of the club, that he supported OWS, I was very shocked. My friend told me that he supported the movement because Occupy was against big banks and corporate greed. I told him that he should look a little deeper into the protests and that maybe he’d think about it differently. He changed his mind after he discovered that a secret organization bent on creating unstable governments was behind the movement. I then told him my reasons for not supporting the protestors shortly after they came on the scene. When I first learned about their message and purpose, I disagreed with why they were protesting, but I supported them in their protests for speaking out and expressing their opinions. That’s one of the great things that we have the right to do in this country and whether one agrees with a group or not, everyone has the right to free speech.
When I first learned about their message and purpose, I disagreed with why they were protesting, but I supported them in their protests for speaking out and expressing their opinions. That’s one of the great things that we have the right to do in this country and whether one agrees with a group or not, everyone has the right to free speech.
When the OWS protestors went on the Brooklyn Bridge and stopped traffic, my thoughts went from “this is peaceful and has an interesting message” to “this is getting violent and something needs to happen”. I became disgusted with the Occupy movement when people were getting rowdy and oblivious to their surroundings (an old lady had been pushed down cement stairs after pushing and shoving by protestors), people were getting seriously hurt (someone was shot in an Occupy Oakland, CA rally), as well as the many anti-American messages (including the promotion of socialism and communism in flyers and signs) at the camps. As I mentioned above with the tea party, some accusations were made were about one or two crazies attending a rally. However, as everyone knows, every movement has that one group of crazy people, so some of the reports coming out of Occupy I disregarded because it doesn’t represent everyone. But when reports and instances like the horrifying things I mentioned above are happening every day, which is not humane.
All in all, Occupy has been a major disappointment to me and probably to most Americans who were looking to hear a different point of view. What Americans see and hear instead of their message is about the unsanitary conditions these people have put themselves in and the crimes that plague their camps. If the Occupy protestors want to start a real dialogue, they should first address their crime problems and then start talking. Also, instead of protesting in NYC, they should protest in D.C. where the government makes decisions for the country. In fact, they should start by occupying the White House since records show that President Obama has raised more money from Wall Street than all the current Republican Presidential candidates combined. Just some food for thought…
This article is scheduled to be published in the December issue of IHfan.net