Have You Occupied Yet?

By Noreen Moinuddin
Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

From “Occupy Wall Street” to “Occupy Chicago,” this movement has spread like wildfire through more than 70 cities in the United States. It has been the talk of the media for weeks, and is the hot new topic of discussion on social media sites around the world. The “Occupy” movement is a protest that began on September 17th protesting against social and economic inequality, the greed of corporations and the influence that corporate money has on the government.

Adbusters Media Foundation was the first to propose an occupation of Wall Street to protest. “They basically floated the idea in mid-July to our email list and it was spontaneously taken up by people all over the world,” said the senior editor of Adbusters magazine. “And it just kind of snowballed from there.”

Although Adbusters did propose it, the movement is leaderless. Many groups all over the country have joined the protest and it has brought together people of different backgrounds, races and political parties.

The main purpose of this protest is said to be that the president “ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.” However, though there is one common goal, each city is demanding its own changes. Occupy Maine is asking for an investment in public transportation, while other cities are asking for affordable health care and an end to the war.

Participants of this movement have generally been young, but through social networking, this has lead to adults, children and everyone in between exercising their freedom of speech, their power to pursue happiness, and their ability to stand up for what they believe is right.

As with any protest, this has been getting a lot of media and government attention. Government officials have their own opinions. While some support it, others believe it is a huge waste of time. Nancy Pelosi, house democratic leader representative, said she supports the movement and even includes herself in the group of Americans disappointed in Congress. At the same time, Mitt Romney, republican presidential candidate called the protests, “dangerous” and “class warfare.” Among the movement’s biggest fans is Chicago- born rapper-record producer, Lupe Fiasco. He donated tents, a sound system and even wrote a poem supporting the protest.

The main question is: how does this affect us today and in the future? Most demands include, raising taxes on the rich, corporations, and ending corporate welfare, as well as, protecting social security benefits and Medicare. These are issues that affect us directly, affect our parents, or will affect us sometime in the future. It is important to not only be aware of what is going on around us, but also to stand up for what we believe is right. We have every right to exercise our freedom of speech and the time, Benedictine, is now.