Appropriate Approach Makes Better Results
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The movement ‘Occupy Wall Street’ (OWS) broke out on the 17th of September, 2011. It took place in Zuccotti Park, which is situated not far from Wall Street, New York. The protesters have been starting to fight against the income disparity, the high rate of unemployment, corruption, and greediness of the privileged 1%. The movement slogan is ‘We are the 99%.’ The slogan stresses that 99% of all population of the USA has become dependent upon 1%. This 1% is getting richer while the rest, 99%, is becoming poorer and poorer. People, who participated in this movement, flooded into streets, occupied all public places, and tried to block everything.
For example, Jeff Kappel, a police detective in Seattle, witnessed demonstrators blocked traffic and hurled flares, bags of paint and other debris at the officers and police horses. One officer was badly injured with a bag of paint. In Oakland, two people were arrested during the protests for stopping traffic. Howard Jordan, the Chief of Oakland Police Department, explained that these lawbreakers simply ignored orders given by the police to clear the way. Some of the truck drivers had to wait in the long lines and failed to pass due to the actions committed. Marilyn Sandifur, spokeswoman of Port of Oakland, said, ”Today’s disruptions have been costly to port workers and their families in terms of lost wages and shifts. Occupying public places, marching, closing down ports, and blocking foreclosures, cause traffic problems, and hinder normal working orders, during which many people who are exactly the 99% suffer because of being unable to work.” Jean Quan, Mayor of Oakland, gave such comments of the following events, “People have to think about the consequences. People have to think about who they are hurting. They are saying, ‘We want to get the attention of the ruling class’. Well, I think the ruling class is probably laughing, and people in this city will be crying this Christmas. It's really got to stop.” However, the way they use to express their dissatisfaction is not appropriate and sometimes too extreme. It seems that they didn’t consider what they are really causing to the society and who they are really hurting during this strike.
The most terrible things could have happened if the terrorists had become active. They could have got into the crowd of the protestors and done indivertible things to the country and its citizens. In Portland, the police managed to find out two suspicious people. They wore camouflage clothing and had a gun, a sword, and a walkie-talkie. These people explained the policemen that they were gathering some information. In this case, security concerns are raised because no one can guarantee the motives and the backgrounds of all people involved in the event.
The city authorities took some actions to prevent strikes. For instance, in some cities, the police used tear gas and pepper spray on demonstrators. On the one hand, the city authorities should react in some way to maintain order and security. But they should avoid harming protesters physically. They are residents of the USA and they are guaranteed the right of personal safety. It was reported that many people had been pepper-sprayed during the protest. There were women and old people who should be supposed to be considered as disadvantaged groups. They must be protected by the others, by all means. Nowadays, there are other categories that have to be paid a great attention to, for instance, war veterans. An Iraq war veteran was badly injured by the police of Oakland during a march in October. Such actions, carried out by the city authorities, violate the constitutional rights of the American citizens. On the other hand, the demonstrators should follow the established rules and must not break the law. The protestors and the city authorities had their own reasons of taking certain actions. They must not be blamed for these deeds committed. It is worth mentioning that the most important thing is to find a right way to achieve the goal, not hurting other people as well as preserving the social order. Only in that way, both parties can benefit and succeed during and after the process.
The meaning of this event is supported by many authorities. For instance, Todd Gitlin, a sociologist at Columbia University and an authority on social movements, said: “OWS is highly ambitious and would continue to expand and diversify. It is a long and deep process to fight against the power of the wealthy.” The protestors have been continuing to spread their message and occupy communities worldwide. This strike does mean a lot to the 99%. Many people consider that if they keep to their goals, they should be appreciated.
I am too the smallest part of 99%. I do not belong to the privileged 1%. I completely agree that we, 99%, must take some actions to protect our own rights, when we are not treated equally. In our case, we are working hard and receiving low incomes. It is not right that we are being deprived of a fair and decent payment for our work. We all do deserve to have a better life and opportunities. It is indicated in the USA Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In conclusion, this movement does have its pros and cons. In my opinion, this movement can bring some changes if:
- Two parties (99% v1%) should embrace that they are interrelated and interdependent;
- The starting point should be found between these two parties;
- There should be some leaders chosen to represent these two parties;
- The list of demands should be represented;
- The consensus should be found between these two parties;
- Some reforms should be introduced at all levels (political, economic, social, public, personal);
- The social order and security must be provided and preserved.