Occupy movement gives a face to America’s jobless future

Lauren J. Mapp, Features Editor

Occupy Wall Street began on Sept. 17 as a “people powered movement for democracy,” according to Adbuster.org, and almost two weeks into the occupation of New York City’s Financial District it is inspiring similar “Occupy” movements in cities across the nation.

America has major political, economic and social issues to deal with, yet politicians are fighting based on who wears blue versus who wears red. Democrats and Republicans alike are ignoring the nation’s deep-rooted issues and the occupiers are now taking a stand to it..

Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement believe that it is a meaningless effort that lacks a cohesive plan. In actuality, the “99 percent” that protesters claim to represent are calling for a change in some of the nation’s most fundamental institutions: the government, taxation, financial banking, politics and the military.

Despite what opponents may believe, a protest is not meaningless simply because one clear answer has not been created.

The occupiers know that they want change, but as to how, the answer has yet to come. Those protesting within the Occupy Wall Street movement have many, varying reasons behind what they represent.

The general assembly is currently working on a list of demands taking suggestions and votes online at coupmedia.org. Once a final list has been created, a legal team will be putting it into proper terminology and submitting it as an ultimatum to end the protest.

Brainstorm meetings occur daily at Liberty Square, according to the NYC General Assembly’s website, nycga.cc.

It has been repeated that students, teachers, military personnel, school children and the elderly are not responsible for the economic problems that currently plague America, but they are the ones suffering as big corporations and banks receive monetary aide from the government.

One Occupy Wall Street demand that hits close to home for many college students is a forgiveness of student loans as a “bail out” for graduates as well as a desire to reconstruct America’s education system.

Students are told they need to attend a reputable university in order to succeed in their careers. They struggle to get good grades and take out thousands of dollars in student loans just to graduate into a weak economy with no hope of paying back their student loans on time.

Higher education is too expensive in America, and the banking system is taking advantage of the nation’s youth.

The current system creates a vicious cycle in which the children of the rich go on to Ivy League colleges, and the poor struggle to pay for community and state schools.

Of course there are scholarships available, but in many cases it is difficult to be chosen over the vast number of students across the nation in order to be awarded enough money to make it through four years of college. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, one must then struggle to afford their master’s or doctorate – not an easy feat for those who aren’t in the upper class.

America’s social structure pressures its citizens to start a family and buy a house but allows those who are laid off to drop into financial turmoil when they need help the most. To aid those affected by the potential loss of their home protesters are seeking to end the view of mortgages as mere commodities.

Other goals within the Occupy movement include working toward a nuclear-free future, ending domestic violence, fixing the social security system, legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples, true equality for women and coming to the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a whole, the demands may be lofty and over-ambitious but after 10 years of war, four years in an economic recession and countless years of social inequality within America’s culture it is high time that someone is making a stand.