Occupy Wall Street

On September 17, 2011 over 2000 protestor organized a rally on Wall Street to protest things such as the bank bail outs, the mortgage crisis, and some people were even there for Troy Davis. The protestors used social media and the internet to organize the protest. The protest is being called Occupy Wall Street but the protestors are referring it to it as the 99% vs. 1%: the 99% representing the poor and the 1% representing the wealthy. Protestors were mainly composed of recently graduated college students and those unhappy with the current distribution of wealth in this country. The protest was very peaceful until the police got involved. Over 80 people were arrested. Some people were arrested for wearing masks in the protests: a law that wasn’t use since the 1900’s, but the story doesn’t end there. It gets worst. The videos below explain it all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meT8CJgEBQw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LaAEnB9owY

Police brutality was the main story. People were body slammed, grabbed by the hair and pepper sprayed for reasons unexplained.

This story kind of reminds me of Morone’s Democratic Wish. We have stage 1, the status quo where the rich are few and the poor are many. Then we have stage 2, where people start to mobilize. People start to occupy Wall Street. And that’s where we are now. I believe the protests are still taking place but I personal don’t think we will see the next stage of the Morone’s Democratic Wish – New Political Institutions – simply because there is/was not enough media coverage. However, that is just my opinion. What are your thoughts?

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12 Responses to Occupy Wall Street

  1. hengk says:

    This is a really interesting way to apply the Democratic Wish! I didn’t think of it that way immediately, but Step 1 as a liberal power to the people certainly fits. The protesters are a modern kind of disenfranchised in our society: young, unemployed, and trying to make a change in an economic downturn. But I think the main reason they fit so well in Morone’s idea of Step 1 is because these protesters are unrepresented in politics. For the most part, youth tend to be excluded from politics, and today we feel like no one is looking out for us. Furthermore, in Step 2 the united youth are genuinely trying to make a change. Sadly, I think you’re right that it is unlikely any institutions will change. There definitely is dread of government, and yearning for change, but I think the people are just too underrepresented and don’t have resources for real transformations. Pretty depressing, actually. But a great way to apply the Democratic Wish to us, today.

  2. davehopkins2 says:

    I personally believe this post is very apt and relates a remarkably theoretical aspect of politics such as that described in “The Democratic Wish” to a rapidly developing political action taken on behalf of “the people”. The original poster understands what it means for American politics to be a system in which theory is developed in reaction to events that take place around those who create it.

    However, there is one aspect in which I disagree with the original poster on this issue. Admittedly, this may be due to the fact that I approach the matter from a different perspective. But, when it comes to the issue of “Occupy Wall Street” and Morone’s “Democratic Wish”, I don’t believe that the it will all end at stage 2 of the “Wish”. I think that there is a great deal of institutional change to come. This may not come in the timing many would consider to be a direct result of these protests. However, I believe that the people still have the ultimate voice in that which will ultimately come of Wall Street regulation. The issue has become a central point of political tension, particularly as the political framework becomes more and more polarized. Ultimately, I feel as though all of these protests will reach people in higher and higher positions of authority. As a result, politicians with a higher possibility of losing an election will feel a need to implement many of the reforms that the people desire. After the change in institutions, the political landscape will return to a status quo, and the 4 stages of the “Wish” will have run in the pattern Morone predicted.

  3. dfox13 says:

    You bring up some interesting points, and I do agree with you that we won’t see the next step of Morone’s cycle, but I disagree with your reasoning. In my opinion, even with increased media coverage, the protests were not nearly enough to rally more of the population into bringing about actual dramatic change.

    These protests, although seemingly large, represent a very small number of people. These were recent college graduates, and rather extremist protesters who were unhappy with the distribution of wealth to the point where they saw a wall street protest as a last resort.

    Would more media coverage bring more people to the rally, or bring them to take action? Doubtful. It would probably add an insignificant number to the ranks, and before you’d know it, other, more recent news would bury the protest, and things would remain the same.

    I do understand my view is a more cynical one towards government and the willingness of people to step forward for something they believe in, but it appears as though dramatic change is not around the corner. People thought it was coming with Obama, but it really didn’t. And with our low voter turnout rates, it appears a very large number of people just move on with their lives rather than risking it all to try to bring about change.

  4. kaschuma says:

    I also think that these protests will not bring about any changes in government. In my research of this issue, I have found no unified goal of the protesters. Yes they are all unhappy about wealth distribution and big business, but these protesters do not seem to be offering any concrete solutions.

    Until the protesters offer ways to solve their problems (and not just demand that big business fix everything) I don’t want to be included in their 99%.

  5. kbreit4 says:

    I enjoyed this post very much, and feel very strongly about the actions of the police force that day on Wall Street. From the clips in the post, the acts of brutality seemed very unnecessary and unprovoked, in most cases.

    I looked at the post in regards to two different cycles: the issue with Wall Street and the recession and the issue with the Police brutality.

    In terms of the bailouts and debt that the citizens were protesting, I don’t think there will be a next step in the cycle just yet; but when the economy is back on its feet this goal is much more feasible to reach. At the moment, we can’t stop public programs and funding to large organizations in trouble or the state of the economy will not improve. Yes, we all wanted and hoped for big changes with the Obama Administration, but is it possible to put back together a failing economy with soldiers overseas, banks failing and a large national debt in 4 years? We are on the way to recovery, it’s just a long road. So in terms of your question; yes the next step will happen eventually. Hopefully there will more regulation on Wall Street to decrease the amount of risky activities like subprime loans and derivatives to impede history from repeating itself.

    In terms of police brutality, I hope this problem is addressed more seriously. These clips are steps in the right direction in terms of step 2 in Morone’s “Democratic Wish”. Hopefully something comes of this so there is less police brutality across America.

  6. jlwax13 says:

    This is a great application of the democratic wish to modern day! I disagree with you about whether or not we’ll get to the next stage, however. I think that more and more of these protests are going to occur. It’s only a matter of time before people get fed up with knowing that while they have to worry about whether or not they’ll get to keep their job, there are people literally swimming in cash. I think this is only the beginning! Again, GREAT application of the democratic wish.

  7. goblue9123 says:

    Lauren Gilezan

    I think your reference to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests is a great modern day application of Morone’s Democratic Wish. As I have been following the news coverage of this issue myself, I also have recognized a clear connection to Morone’s cycle.

    Like you, I agree that Stage 1, or the status quo, can be defined as our present period of low socioeconomic mobility and significant income inequality. Morone described this stage as one in which there is an exclusion of an underrepresented actor. In the context of this situation, that is individuals on the lower end of the growing income gap that are excluded from the wealth of corporations and Wall Street. Ironically, as our middle class has become further and further squashed–pushing more people to a low-income status–that group that is underrepresented constitutes an enormously larger faction of Americans than does the other. It has become, like you touched on, an issue of “99% vs. 1%.”

    Referencing my definition of Stage 1, I also wholly agree the current state of this issue has progressed beyond that. There is no doubt, as these protests have demonstrated, that the status quo has recently come into question. The oppressive wealth and power of Wall Street is no longer existing without challenge. However, I am hesitant to agree that “Occupy Wall Street” can be currently identified as completely within Stage 2 of the cycle either. According to Morone, Stage 2, is the “Democratic Wish.” It is this utopian period where the community ideal of civic republicanism is adopted by a group of people with one like mind and goal. The members of the “underrepresented group” are homogenous with respect to how they define the status quo and in what way they would like to change it.

    In this way, I believe the “Occupy Wall Street” protest falls short of what Morone would consider a full-on, Stage 2, movement. Although the growing income inequality is at the forefront of those issues being contested by protestors, many others are taking to the streets. As CNN reported recently on the issue, “Occupy Wall Street has become a magnet for countless disaffected Americans” (You can check out more of that article at http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/03/politics/occupy-wall-street/). In states like Boston, some 43 different groups have joined in the protests and brought a vast range of other issues with them. For example, the rising rate of home foreclosures and global warming are also significant objectives. “Occupy Wall Street” still remains without a cohesive, community goal.

    With respect to this current ambiguity, I believe that “Occupy Wall Street,” instead, currently lies between Stage 1 and Stage 2 of Morone’s cycle. There is clearly an identifiable group of Americans that is dissatisfied and mobilizing to challenge the stale mate of affairs. However, in order for these social protests to full embody an effective and community movement–Stage 2–its mission needs to be better refined. Right now, “Occupy Wall Street” is a mosh pit of many different groups, unions, and citizens, each eager to vent their economic frustrations through a different cause. Lack of leadership within these protests is another impediment to the development of a singular direction. It is when “Occupy Wall Street” becomes more of a melting pot–blending together all of these ideas into one comprehensible goal–that I believe the conditions of Stage 2 will be fully satisfied.

    In my opinion, “Occupy Wall Street” has been prematurely classified as a full-scale movement, capable of yielding government reform and executing a unified mission. On the path Morone described, it has instead departed from Stage 1 and is approaching Stage 2. This protest no doubt involves a vast amount of individuals–largely a result of social networking sites, a quickly growing lower class, and an overall dissatisfaction with the U.S. economy amongst all Americans. However, size is only a measure. From this we can only infer that many Americans are unhappy with the status quo. Yet, without a clear and uniform goal, a group of dissatisfied people are merely cohabiting, not moving towards any greater end point. Depending on whether or not a singular objective is reached, and maybe a even a leader established, “Occupy Wall Street” will either develop into a full social movement or American society will regress back to it’s original state, Stage 1.

  8. Andrew Mack says:

    I also think that you made a great connection between the Democratic Wish and the protests on Wall Street. This is just one example of protests or, in some cases, riots that represent the second stage of the Democratic Wish. Another, more violent, example would be the London riots this past August. People were certainly fed up with the status quo and, as you said, “mobilized” to attempt to change it. It will certainly be interesting to see how the process with respect to the Democratic Wish evolves over the next few months.

  9. nmanningham says:

    I really like you’re application of the Democratic Wish to the protests in New York City. However, I believe that if this problem persists and the many (the poor) continue to protest and attack the status quo, we will eventually see the third step of the Democratic Wish. In our democracy we have a system of checks and balances that make it difficult to get legislation to pass. However, if the many continue to protest and have their voices heard, our government will eventually implement a new institution. Politicians are concerned with pleasing their constituents and getting reelected and will eventually represent what the public wants if enough people attack the status quo. That is why I believe that if the poor continue to protest we could see the third and then fourth stage of the Democratic Wish.

  10. miswain says:

    As the original poster implied, it is wishful thinking to believe that the Wall Street protests will produce a set of new governing institutions. Normally, new institutions arise in a time of crisis – the Department of Homeland Security following the 9/11 attacks or a new wave of government regulators following the passage of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law, for example. However, Morone’s cycle may survive – new government institutions always lead back to the same problem, and I think that this problem is likely to stick around despite the fact that new policy is unlikely to arise. It is doubtful to think that taxes will be raised, given the new-found power and stubbornness of Tea Party (modern-day) Republicans. Whether or not this issue keeps its relevance depends on what the media chooses to talk about for the next couple of weeks. They surely seem to be in love with it right now. My argument is that the media is covering this even sufficiently enough, but I think that the people who run this country are too “proud” to create policy based on popular protest.

  11. krisskrosswillmakeyou says:

    While attending the OccupyAnnArbor first meeting on the diag, the criticisms of the group being unorganized and in need of a leadership are all accurate, albeit overblown. There are no fundamental goals that everyone agrees on, a sense of craziness emanating from several of the members and a lack of central leadership. However, the major problem it faces is the complete lack of support they are garnering from the corporate world. Even just some internal support from the corporate world would go a long way in promoting the values the OccupyWallStreet movement is looking to advance.
    The idea that corporations can actually work to help the communities, is most evident in that there are large Corporate Social Responsibility sectors of companies, dedicated to monitoring the community effects of the company. What companies have begun to realize is that by incorporating positive community effects with their products, the company is better off overall as well. An example of this is the Pepsi Refresh Project, which awards $20 million to promote ideas that have a positive impact on their community, instead of spending that 20 million dollars on marketing pepsi products. This has been deemed one of the most successful marketing campaign and at the same time produced significant community benefits.
    OccupyWallStreet must acknowledge the fact that if internal change can be made voluntarily in companies, it would spread faster amongst other companies. Therefore, instead of completely writing off corporate support at all which many of the protestors seemed to at the OccupyAnnArbor meeting, there should be some focus on how corporations can actually attempt to make a difference right now. Therefore, it’s a mistake to completely denounce all companies as evil and makes more sense for

  12. chrisjay44 says:

    When I first wrote the blog post about the protest Occupy Wall Street I was a bit pessimistic. I didn’t think that it would generate much change. I thought the protest was extremely unorganized and that it lacked the necessary media coverage needed to convey their message. However it seems as if I was wrong. Occupy Wall Street is now in its 4th week of protest and is still going strong. The movement has spread all over the nation to LA, Chicago, and even Ann Arbor.

    Paul Krugman of the New York Times said, “With unions and growning number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protester, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.”

    In my last post I stated that This story kind of reminds me of Morone’s Democratic Wish. Where We have stage 1, the status quo where the rich are few and the poor are many. Then we have stage 2, where people start to mobilize. People start to occupy Wall Street. I also stated that I didn’t think we would see it move into stage 3, New Political Institutions. But it seems as if I was wrong. In the clip below we see Democrat Alan Grayson stand up for the 99 percenters.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZgZeAOaq4U

    And so with this, hope we can see more politicians standing up for the problems brought up by Occupy Wall Street Protest.

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