Occupy Wall Street Is the Movement I've Been Hoping for

I’ve long thought the Tea Party is genius. I’m not saying that of their ideas, but to form a splinter group that pushes an agenda their political party was ignoring and achieve actual sway is a remarkable feat. I was envious that we didn’t have a similar group of liberal youth pushing for our own reform. My friends and I joked that such a group could be called the “Pizza Party”, because who doesn’t like a pizza party? Now Occupy Wall Street stands for the same ideals that I hoped the Pizza Party would, minus the pepperoni.

I didn’t immediately jump on the Occupy bandwagon. The first time I went down to Occupy LA, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, buying into the common critique of “what do they stand for?” and “what are the demands?” Then I read this powerful speech by the wise Naomi Klein (which I urge you to read), which opened my eyes to the idea that we can’t simplify an agenda to a short list when really the goal is to change the underlying values of our society. Democracy somehow went from “for the people, by the people” to “for the corporations, by the corporations”.

I’ve grown up believing in capitalism, but the powers that be have lost me in recent years. Their lying, cheating, hoarding, and demanding more when they already have the most have all disenchanted me to the system. If only corporations played fairly or even decently, they’d still have a believer in me. If only they made even a half-assed attempt to make it look like they weren’t trying to take everything at the expense of others, many of us would still be content to play along. But rather than maintaining a structure where they could have an majority, the 1% continually pushes to literally have it all, and we have no choice but to push back.

As corporations merge and conglomerate, stronger consolidations of power form that we lack the control to vote out. Monopolies do not benefit society at large. We’ve all played the board game, and while some games taking longer than others, there’s always only one result in the end – one person who has everything, while everyone else is bankrupt.

That’s not what I want. I want campaign finance reform, I want money out of politics, and I want people in charge of their own democracy – not corporations that have so generously been given the status of a person in the eyes of the law. I want a country where our failing educational system is finally a priority. The 1% only stands to benefit from others’ ignorance, so we can’t count on them to fix it for us.

A lot of people dismiss the Occupy movement because “that’s just the world we live in.” But the thing is, the people make the world we live in. And if we have a system that doesn’t benefit most of us, we need to reclaim this power to make it right. Moreover, we have to turn the tides sooner than later; the more power we concede, the harder it will be to gain back.

I’m not saying it will be easy, I’m not saying we have all of the answers, but no matter what the critics say, it’s not a waste of time. When you’re protesting for what’s fair, decent, and right… when you’re protesting to make the world a better place… what better use of your time is there? It’s time to #Occupy.

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