The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to intrigue me. And I continue to research it.
Thursday, I went to the Occupy Buffalo protest to talk to some people about the group, their goals, their thoughts, etc. I did very little talking, frankly, but quite a bit of listening. And from what I gathered, I'm still a fan.
I saw a headline on a website the other day talking about the organization's "Anti-capitalist protest." Whoever wrote that headline does not know what the majority of the Occupy movement stands for. They are not anti-capitalist.
Another headline said "Group protests greed." That's considerably more accurate. I didn't hear a single person say that people shouldn't make money. I didn't hear a single person say that people shouldn't be allowed to amass wealth. They did, however, feel that the banking industry had taken advantage of the government when it was bailed out, and by taking advantage of the government, it took advantage of the people. That coupled with the fact that homes are still being foreclosed upon and loans are hard to obtain makes the Occupy folks (or the 99 percenters, if you prefer) to feel as though something needs to be done.
One of the groups greatest selling points is also its biggest weakness. They are an organization without a leader. There's no one "in charge" despite what you might hear on right-wing radio or Fox News. They aren't taking marching orders from Nancy Pelosi or George Soros. In fact, they aren't taking marching orders from anyone.
From what I've seen and heard, they're just as upset with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama as they are with the Republicans. They feel as though there's very little difference between the two major parties.
Republican front-runner Herman Cain (when did that happen) seems to think that they're anti-GOP and should focus their ire on the White House. Many Democrats, I think, are hopeful that this is a left-wing response to the Tea Party. It's not. And I hope it never is.
It seems to me that the Occupy movement is what the Tea Party never was but should have been. It's a grass roots populist group made up "of the people" - the regular people. The 99 percent of us working paycheck to paycheck. I hope it stays that way.
The Wall Street protest began its second month yesterday. I can't help but wonder how long they plan to stay there and what will happen in the meantime.
Random side note: I wrote a piece about Occupy Wall Street on my personal blog the other day. I linked it to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Somehow it got shared by someone or someones leading to me getting an email Saturday that I didn't expect from
a very old friend of mine who I had lost contact with nearly 20 years ago.
You never know what effect your work will have on the world. If a blog post I wrote in Tonawanda could get shared with someone in the middle of Pennsylvania, who knows what your actions might result in.
Everything counts in small amounts.