As a man who has suffered in the wake of this economic madness, I too like anyone who has a stake or wishes to claim their stake in this country embraces reform to a degree. On a purely philosophical premise; though it is difficult for me, the debt riddled, post collegiate to embrace Occupy Wall Street with open arms, I look strongly towards the just war theory as a means by which I measure my belonging to causes that necessitate action.
It is purported (though highly unlikely) John Adams said these kind words of fellow founder Thomas Paine, that “Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain,” While Occupy Wall Street may have growing numbers and what Activist/Musician Peter Yarrow described to me, as a “moral right”, but it is commonly argued that without a thesis, without the penning of legislative reform, there is nothing behind this movement. Occupy Wall Street fancies itself as the American equivalent to the Arab Spring yet even the Arab spring had its demands rooted in human rights which are inalienable. I am not arguing however, that I have given credence to any cause with a thesis as I am fundamentally against the Tea Party but that I will back with fervor a cause whose central ideology is defended by pure reason and logic.
It is not the point of these words to assert that the “Occupy” campaigns lack intelligence, on the contrary like any massing of human beings you run through the variable gauntlet of intellect, however, most media supports the general conjecture of the cause being fallible do to a lack there of, as pundits and analyst judge their clothing, facial hair and the overall culture that is Occupy Wall Street. It is blatantly ignorant and dangerous to fail and acknowledge that the generation(s) behind the “Occupy” movement is a largely underutilized, overeducated, heavily indebted and overshadowed in sheer size and political clout by their Baby Boomer predecessors. While most will point to class warfare as an overly stated theme it is not the sole driving force behind the protests. Here in the United States there is a deeper underlying socio-political current that has led to the growth of Occupy Wall Street.
While the dates defining generations vary there lies a huge gap between those represented in the halls of congress and those taking quarter in Obamavilles throughout the country. In the 2008 election an astounding national majority of the Millennial Generation came out to vote in favor of the democratic ticket, though the generation holds zero seats in the nation’s bicameral legislative branch. This is in stark contrast to the three hundred and thirteen house seats held by a multi-generational tiered group that is all but a decade away from becoming near completely eligible for social security. The question that is repeated throughout the ranks of protestors in Zuccotti Park is the fairness of being footed the bill for excessive spending and a large national retirement plan that cannot be supported given current unemployment/underemployment levels for the generation with zero political presence in the national debate. Due to the movements inclusionary ideology the marching chants; like the ability of television news, is only allowed to cover skin deep, broad subjects such as this common slogan “The banks got bailed out, we got left out” The men and women of Occupy Wall Street standing together, sleeping collected under blue tarps, are bound in solidarity by a deep seeded rage that would take tens of thousands of words and countless pages to justly review for you.
The march on Time Square and the addition of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans joining swelling crowds in Zuccotti Park should worry those pacifists of the movement. As the winter months begin to creep over Manhattan, donations are coming in from around the country, and much to the dismay of the NYPD, winter supplies from their fraternal members are slowly finding its way to the Lower Manhattan occupiers. The campaign to sustain a harsh winter is beginning to take shape. What is now a rag tag group of a thousand voices yelling chaotically in the streets has the ability over the next few months to develop a coalesced message, could be trained in crowd control and formulate tactics against the famous orange mesh with the arrival of seasoned men and women of the armed forces. Jose Vasquez, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Marine Corp Iraq war veteran Sgt. Shemar Thomas or one of their counterparts may be OWS’s Baron Von Steuben and Marquis de Lafayette. It is far more likely that they are not.
I watched a man exit Brown Brothers and Harriman, he walked over to the corner where I was standing, lit his cigarette and stared deep into the crowd before him, as I reflected and took notes on a long day of events on one misty October night, we acknowledged each other with a cordial nod, he took a deep drag of smoke into his lungs, exhaled with purpose and said these words before walking up Broadway “This is going to get bloody…” I hope that anonymous man is wrong; I hope we as a nation are better than what we have seen in the streets of the Arab world, London, Rome and Paris. That those who dare to be bold and take the reins do so in complete disregard of the scrutiny from within their own ranks, that they undoubtedly will receive, and bend party principles so necessary concessions can be made before a life is lost, before a fire is set that cannot be extinguished. This nation of ours is hurting, peace must prevail, the longer we wait for an honest dialog to begin the larger the price we pay. As it will be greater than our national debt, tally higher than unemployment numbers, the stalemate on Capitol Hill must end way before the spring flowers come to bloom, before the chill of winter shakes the bones of an officer or protester. What will continue to poison the national conversation and prevent an end to OWS are generalist views of the protesters, simplified explanations for Occupy Wall Streets’ existence; claiming a leftist conspiracy marginalizes their cries and your own intelligence, generalizing serves no purpose other than adding fuel to the fire. The pejorative nature in which some leaders have condemned the actions of their fellow countrymen is only further evidence that new measures of action must be taken to prevent violence and calm the American people; a feat best accomplished through the introduction of new faces. So much of our country’s future as the leader in solving global crises is solely reliant upon tactful responses towards the concerns voiced by a growing disillusioned working class.