Occupy Wall Street: A movement founded on capitalism reform, not on anti-capitalism



Undoubtedly, there are some who are using the Occupy movement to kill some time or maybe for their own selfish needs.  However, at the heart of this phenomena are citizens around the world sounding an alarm.  We live in an age where in an economic downturn an average citizen, not involved with Wall Street trade and merely going about their business, can have their lives turned upside down by poor decisions made in boardrooms across the globe.  While it would be irresponsible to matter-of-factually label a movement that is still evolving and lacks a clear centralized message, it is important to speculate on the general philosophy of the movement before the media is able to define it themselves.  For example, a group identifying themselves as ‘Occupy Charlotte’ has kicked out its own founder for straying too far from the group’s unspoken message. Each faction is struggling to identify itself.

Some in the media have called out the NYPD for their aggressive actions against mostly peaceful protestors(VIDEO). But not all media outlets are reporting responsibly on the Occupy movement. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart exposes the Fox New’s one-sided coverage(starting around 2:30 mark):


Protestors aren’t crying out for a game change, they’re requesting a booth review on Capitalism. Why are lower class citizens sacrificing entitlement program benefits in austerity programs across the globe while large corporations receive bail outs and continue to post record profits? In the United States, middle and lower class citizens are being asked to make sacrifices for a budget deficit largely created by Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Adding insult to injury, GOP members of Congress held an unemployment extension hostage towards the end of the 110th session in order to secure an extension of these tax cuts for the rich(Obama originally offered only to extend them for those making less than $250k a year).


Bush Tax Cuts - Deficit Graph

Facts have a liberal bias.


It is difficult to ignore, in many countries, that money plays a large role in elections. Even in democracies founded by those apprehensive of such influence, corporations, PACs, and individuals are able to accumulate enough money to gain an unfair share in electoral influence. Campaign finance reform has become a dead issue and no longer garners the attention it has in the recent past.  The United States Supreme Court ruled in Citizen United v. FEC that corporations have the same rights as individuals and in the process weakened restrictions limiting their influence on electoral campaigns. Meanwhile, the disparity between the rich and the poor continues to grow:


We are seeing a return to pre-WWII / New Deal Era income distribution


This movement is filled with people angry over unbalanced austerity measures and unimpressed with any efforts by governments to prevent another economic disaster like the one the world is still suffering from. They are the Martin Luthers of capitalism. They are asking for real changes to the status quo to be made in order to improve their quality of life. It is inaccurate to portray them as merely unorganized radicals. It isn’t spiteful revenge, it is people wanting assurance that it won’t get even worse.


Occupy Wall Street


About the Author

Jason Parker