Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Spain, and even London’s riots that didn’t have much of a revolutionary streak have been covered tremendously by big media outlets. Occupy Wall Street, a ‘peaceful protest’ that has been going on for nine days in the surrounding streets around Wall Street, has barely been in everyone’s face since it began on September 17. It is fueled by the the widening gap between the wealthy and poor, rising unemployment rates, mortgage foreclosures, and of course, bailouts of big corporations and capitalism. Thousands have marched into the financial district of the world, waving boards that say “We are the 99%,” and “Bailout the People,” yet if you ask many people about their opinion on these protests, they have answered, “what protests?”
The Wall Street Journal has ran several stories on Occupy Wall Street, but have been taking more interest only when protestors began being arrested and pepper-sprayed. The New York Times covered the protest on September 23 in its ‘regional’ section titled, “Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim,” calling it a “diffuse and leaderless convocation of activists against greed, corporate influence, gross social inequality, and other nasty byproducts of wayward capitalism not easily extinguishable by street theater.”
So what’s the deal? Why haven’t the ‘hippies and hipsters’ been shoved in everyone’s Facebook news feed, TV screens, and Twitter’s #trending topics?
Because Americans simply do not believe in this global movement. France, England, Iceland and other countries have sent love and support to those who have set up camps one block away from Wall St, but it seems that all Americans have failed to do the same. The same media that have disclosed the bonuses of CEOs are seemingly running away from covering the people who are now protesting to these CEOs. Americans are divided among these protests, some calling the protestors “hippies, young, college hipsters who don’t know anything,” while others have called this a “long overdue revolution,” sending support.
Yet, this lack of support is not only because big media is choosing to ignore these peaceful protests, which turned violent last Saturday when NYPD officers dragged protestors across the street and arrested 80 people, it is because Occupy Wall Street needs to stop being so nice and peaceful. Sara, a sociology student at the protests agrees that this is a leaderless movement and says, “we all are organizing, we all are a part of it. It’s kind of a dual task.” This is may be a strength to the participants of this movement, yet in the world that we live in, leadership is tremendously needed to make revolutionary changes. One of the biggest reasons Occupy Wall St. is failing to get the coverage it deserves is because they are not aggressive, mean, and revolutionary enough. This aggression does not mean that they should begin vandalizing or assaulting police officers, it means that they must plan, organize, and execute. The men of America cannot let their sisters be maced and dragged across the street by their backpacks for protesting on the sidewalk by the NYPD. They cannot simply stand one block away from Wall St. and expect the plump felines of big firms to care. They must spread the message outside of New York, throughout the USA, in every state, they must protest not only by Wall St., but by the Federal Reserve and even the White House. The young generations of Egypt did not get hundreds of thousands of people of all ages to Tahrir Square without years of communication, planning, and real leaders. Slogans that say “Love and Peace,” on pizza boxes and mellow music is not enough for those who have destroyed the middle class, corrupted the government even more, and funded the deaths of thousands of soldiers during the War on Terror.
Debra Slattery, a 46-year woman who was a paralegal and has been unemployed since 2008, says her goal is to “wake up the American people to the truth and what has happened, not what corporate media has said happened.” Debra is absolutely right – America needs to wake up! Americans needs to support these people who are trying to represent us and assemble this long overdue revolution. But revolutions are never peaceful, they are never easy, they are never mellow, and in many cases, they are never without bloodshed.
Occupy Wall St. has started what we have all been waiting for and all that is left is for the rest of America to go out there and help these young, disorganized aspiring revolutionaries. The idea of peaceful revolution that Gandhi talked of is not enough to win this fight. The New York Times has no right to make snide comments at what is happening in their own state but if big media is failing to cover this, we must give them reasons to get their cameras out and ask us what we’re all about. Occupy Wall St. has the right idea but needs a push in the right direction. America needs to wake up and do what it has been so desperately waiting for: change.