While May Day came and went last week, one movement is attempting to stay — to stay relevant, that is. First taking their message to the streets last September, the Occupy Wall Street protest seemingly lost momentum and attention in recent months, as winter weather and erratic behavior obscured the message behind the movement.
Hence, the Occupiers are hoping to now recapture what was lost. They called for convergence on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, a day historically associated with opposers to capitalism. Yet with vocal but sporadic response last week, OWS is calling for more organized demonstrations next Saturday.
The Intramuralist believes it’s important to look at the root of the Occupiers’ pursuit. As first discussed here last fall, here is the movement’s purpose — in their own words:
“Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants…
We demand, firmly but without violence: social justice, wealth distribution and an ethic of commons. We condemn poverty, inequality, environmental devastation and corruption as tools of subjugation by the powerful on society.”
In order to minimize the emotion of this movement, I will refrain from addressing the erratic protestor behavior — the violence, the destruction of public property, and the negative impact on multiple small businesses. Allow me to address the following instead. Here are my questions…
How can you assume that the so-called 1% is greedy?
Do you know their hearts?
How is the individual wealth of others an obstruction for you?
Are you not able to work or do you not desire to work?
Are any of the so-called 99% greedy?
Where is the value of personal responsibility?
What about hard work?
What role, if any, does religion play in your pursuit?
Is there any submission to the God of the universe?
Is there submission to anyone?
How do you embrace the Arab Spring concept but distance yourself from the violence that accompanied the approach?
What are the limits of wealth distribution?
Are your protests truly socially just?
What do you believe you’re entitled to?
Note that suggested entitlements have included college, cars, housing, medical and dental care, etc. Many also desire a guaranteed living wage regardless of employment. All debt also should be forgiven.
Now… my 17 cents…
While some of the demands and expressions of the Occupiers seem outlandish and arguably extreme, the reality is that there is a segment of society which has become disillusioned with capitalism. I believe it’s wise to ask why. From my perspective, some have equated “happiness” with its pursuit. The Occupy Movement is the manifestation of this equity error.
“Happiness” is not a right; it is not included in the unalienable rights boldly outlined in our Declaration of Independence. Rather, it is the pursuit of happiness which is our prerogative. We are a free people. We are free to pursue our individual callings, callings that allow for both risk and reward.
Capitalism encourages that pursuit… to be successful… to seek and thus find… to be responsible… to realize the value of hard work… to submit to a divine reality. People have opposed capitalism — and instead advocated for increased entitlement (and less individual liberty) — because they have failed to realize that the pursuit of happiness is sometimes wiser and better and more life-transforming than happiness itself. The pursuit is good.
Ok, make it 18 cents.