The Occupy Wall Street “camp-in” is now in its fourth week. Similar demonstrations have sprung up in other large cities all across the country, including San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and even Saint Louis.
For those who have not been following these developments, the Occupy Wall Street Primer on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog provides an excellent distillation of the whys and wherefores of this upwelling of the Vox Populi. Much has been made of the seeming disorganization and lack of focus of these so-called “Occupations”. However, a recent survey reveals that the Occupiers are surprisingly unified on several points. Among these are the beliefs that the rich should pay higher taxes, that student loan debt should be forgiven, health care should be free, Insurance companies make too much money, drug prices should be controlled, and that communications like cell phone and internet access should be a right.
From the first, the Occupy gatherings have been characterized as a demonstration of frustration over excessive corporate greed, the poor jobs picture, and health care costs. Do they have a point? Sure. Do they have a solution? No. Rather, they have a multitude of solutions. None of them have been adopted as official by the NYC General Assembly (the name given to the “direct democracy” consensus style decision making apparatus). It was one of these proposals of demands that first prompted me to really pay attention to the Occupy movement. I will analyze this proposal in a future post.
I may technically fall in the pool of the 99%, but I find it difficult to identify with the images I see posted on the We are the 99 percent tumblr. I do, however, find more in common with the counter tumblr, We Are the 53%. Thankfully, my wife and I have good paying jobs. We are healthy. We live within our means and manage to pay our bills on time, usually.
I have one last observation to share. Thus far the weather has been relatively pleasant. It’s easy to stage a camp-in in the early Autumn. We’ll see how dedicated they are come Winter, if they last that long.