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What Do The Occupy Wall Street Protesters Want?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, you are probably aware of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests that have been going on around the world.  You probably have at least a vague idea of what sparked the protests: Anger over a perceived unfair financial system.  A system that a few years ago led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a crisis from which the country is still recovering.  Given the bailout of big banks, and huge bonuses paid out to their executives, it’s easy to understand why people are angry.  Who wouldn’t be?

Yes, it’s pretty clear what these large masses are lashing out against.  What’s not as clear is what the end game is for the protesters.  We recently posted a column by editor in chief Paul Clolery, set to appear in our Nov. 1 issue, that articulates this question.  It tackles some interesting contradictions of the protest, like how Occupy Wall Street supporters rail against unfair bank practices while embracing Russell Simmons, who sells pre-paid bank cards with monthly fees to poor communities.  That’s a practice that is at least as bad as the questionable practices of banks.

The column’s biggest issue with the protest is its lack of organization.  All of the social change movements in the past had a clear goal in mind.  The civil rights movement wanted equal rights for all.  The protests against the Vietnam War wanted an end to a conflict that had no end in sight.  How do the Occupy Wall Street protesters hope to get the change they seek?  These protesters need help from the charitable sector and seasoned protesters to help make a real impact on important issues like wealth disparity.  Right now, as the column opines, “it’s just an opportunity to post to YouTube.”


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