Occupy Wall Street Is Occupying Everything
Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011, in what I thought was going to be—at most—a week-long demonstration of discontent with the current state of the economy. It is now entering its third month of protest.
For years the U.S. has been struggling financially, and the jobless finally hit their breaking point. It’s understandable. As the gap between the affluent 1% and the neglected 99% continues to grow, so does the anger inherent in this majority that has been born into a system muddled by greed, corruption and inequality.
But, lately, it appears that Occupy Wall Street has forgotten what it’s fighting for.
We suspected foul play when reports circulated that Occupy Wall Street supporters were eating better than most entry-level employees, and it didn’t help when Jay-Z tried to capitalize on the “Occupy [Insert Town Here]” events by launching a line of Occupy Wall Street themed t-shirts, but things were taken to a new level earlier this month when protesters graffiti-ed an Oakland Whole Foods and were consequently evicted with the use of riot gear and tear gas. Last week even, the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zuccotti Park was evacuated, inciting a “Day of Action” for protestors, who traveled around the city occupying subways, bridges and streets, sometimes resulting in further violence…or at least inconveniencing daily commuters like myself.
I am all for the First Amendment—I’m acting on it right now—but as a PR professional, I recognize that this is one campaign without a clear strategy. In our line of work, we see a lot of confusing programs make it into the public eye—half of the time I can’t tell if Axe is trying to sell body spray or sex toys—but Occupy Wall Street is a movement that cannot afford to jumble its message or tactics and still expect results.
The message since day one has been to create more jobs and find a way to balance the dichotomous economy, right? So it’s time for the 99% to remember what it stands for and reassess its strategy – that is if they want to do more than be a nuisance and actually make a difference.