Since mid-September, protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park (renamed Liberty Park) in New York City to represent the 99 percent of Americans who have been hurt by the recession. Now over 100 cities are occupied by citizens sharing their stories, working together to find solutions, and gaining more attention each day. I, as well as many other Ethical Culture members, have visited Occupy Wall Street (or their city's equivalent) and encourage all of you to learn more and check out an event.Occupy Wall Street
is a "leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions...We are the 99%
that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%." Using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic, they advocate the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
Some mainstream media argue that protesters are disorganized and unfocused because they have not consolidated their ideas into a list of demands. Glenn Newman, former Board President of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, suggests that "it is a humanist movement where there is room for disagreement on specific issues but puts people ahead of corporate interests."
In a CNN opinion piece titled "Think Occupy Wall St. is a phase? You don't get it,"
Douglas Rushkoff wrote:
"We are witnessing America's first true Internet-era movement, which -- unlike civil rights protests, labor marches, or even the Obama campaign -- does not take its cue from a charismatic leader, express itself in bumper-sticker-length goals and understand itself as having a particular endpoint.
"Yes, there are [is] a wide array of complaints, demands, and goals from the Wall Street protesters: the collapsing environment, labor standards, housing policy, government corruption, World Bank lending practices, unemployment, increasing wealth disparity and so on. Different people have been affected by different aspects of the same system -- and they believe they are symptoms of the same core problem.
"Are they ready to articulate exactly what that problem is and how to address it? No, not yet. But neither are Congress or the President who, in thrall to corporate America and Wall Street respectively, have consistently failed to engage in anything resembling a conversation as cogent as the many I witnessed as I strolled by Occupy Wall Street's many teach-ins this morning."
As the days get colder and darker, it will become more difficult for protesters to occupy but that will not stop the movement. The groups will gather, the conversations will continue, the ideas will develop and strengthen, and hopefully change will come soon.