Occupy Wall Street is a movement. It's a real life 21st century movement in these here United States of America. We watched several countries literally catch fire in revolutionary fervor this year (and Egypt is still keeping that fire going) and many here were left wondering about where/when/how would our own revolution take place.
Is it now?
New York Magazine provided a snapshot of the Occupy Wall Street protesters with a 100-person poll of the folks currently camped out in downtown Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. They found that the people in their poll were mostly 20-somethings who are "fed up with Democrats and believe the country needs an overhaul" and they believed in Obama, but have been disappointed. They want change. They aren't anti-capitalism, but they are anti-getting run over by policies that favor the wealthiest one percent.
Philanthropist and hip hop business mogul Russell Simmons has been an active participant in the movement and he brought along pal Kanye West for a little action just the other day. Ye, whose gluttonous but quite good Watch the Throne album with fellow millionaire Jay-Z has already gone platinum, declined to give any statements to the press. He did show up though (sans much jewelry outside of a gold grill on his bottom teeth) and according to Russ, Kanye has been aligned with the movement "in spirit."
If you're on Twitter and like me you have tons of in-the-know friends or if you just follow news organizations and certain celebrities, no doubt your timeline has been exploding with the ubiquitous #OWS hashtag and links to opinion pieces, infographics and videos of the NYPD giving protestors a taste of the baton and pepper spray.
I live in New York City and I have not gone down to Wall Street to participate in or record the goings on of the Occupy Wall Street movement. As far as the recording part, there's been a lot of that (now) and as far as participating, I'm not quite clear on what defines success for these protesters. What makes one decide to de-camp? A particular bill? A particular election? Is there anything that could be done right now-ish that would take the protests down a notch or in a different direction? Most of my friends could say the same save for a few who literally stopped by the protest. I am glad that people feel passionate enough to take a physical and theoretical/philosophical stance against what they believe to be unjust, but so far I haven't been moved to join in myself, not in a physical way anyway.
I've lent my online support in the way of tweets and Facebook status messages and links, but no real sacrifices on my part. In 50 years, will we be like Herman Cain being questioned by people who wonder how we could not have participated in this? (Herman Cain was a student at Morehouse from '63-'67 and did not participate in the Civil Rights Movement.)
Occupy Wall Street has spread all over the country with varying rates of participation and police response, but for now, for me, I'm content with my armchair activism and research. I'm intrigued by this hint of revolutionary excitement and I hope it somehow manages to create real change and I hope it spreads to other important issues. After all, we have a generation of children lost to sub-par public education and easy access to childhood-slashing information and experiences.
So Occupy Wall Street, I stand with you, 140 characters at a time. Is that cool? #OWS