Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ambiguous goals for the Occupy Wall Street movement

The demonstrations have spread to more cities. And with the spread comes side issues. 

In Boston, demonstrators show support for an accused terrorist about to go on trial.

In Atlanta, the crowd wants a park renamed for Troy Davis, a convicted cop killer who was executed for the crime. 

But, even so, the Occupy movement maintains much of its ambiguity. It's hard to discern what it really stands for, or what goals it seeks. 

At CNNMoney, Julianne Pepitone writes:

Like the "Arab Spring" uprisings that inspired its tactics, the word-of-mouth demonstration has tapped into a collective anger. Some protesters are upset about taxation; for others, the big issue is the high unemployment rate. Or corporate greed. Or the distribution of wealth.

Seems to me, Occupy Wall Street is thriving on its lack of specifics. People are reading into it what they want to see. It's the same trick that allowed many to swoon over then-candidate Barack Obama's Hope and Change in 2008.

Pepitone does get one thing right: Occupy Wall Street is about emotion. 

It's not about finding solutions, it's not about fixing anything. It's about pushing people's emotional hot buttons, tapping their anger, and manipulating them based on emotion - and then using them to manipulate the larger  society.

But without specific goals, without specific expectations, it's likely to only deepen many participants' despair - just like what happened when many began to realize what Obama meant by change wasn't what they thought it was.

Raising the levels of dissatisfaction, and increasing levels of public anger, seem to be the only consistent objectives of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  The results of Occupy Wall Street seem to play more into creating division and unrest than they do in pointing the country in a direction of finding real solutions to the problems that plague us.

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