Goodbye, Occupy Wall Street

With propulsion and gusto came Kony 2012. It came in the form of a YouTube video, and within the blink of an eye, the campaign was soon gone. Kony 2012 video director, Jason Russell, stripped naked in the streets of San Diego, and soon after, April 20 came and went with few, if any, posted stickers and signs which were to sweep the nation and put Uganda on the map of international awareness.

Another movement that came and went like the political career of Nicholas Sarkozy was the Occupy Wall Street movement. The movement may have had more than its 15 minutes of fame, but the movement has in my eyes regrettably and officially died. No more tents litter the lawn of the Los Angeles City Hall and no more news articles recognize the movement which condemned corporate power and greed.

Instead, the nation has gone silent over the nation’s richest 1 percent. Students and graduates continue to struggle with the weight of school loans and hefty tuition prices and the nation’s poor continues to get poorer as rental prices skyrocket, jobs remain nearly impossible to find.

On May 1, in honor of International Worker’s Day, 10,000 to 15,000 people lined up in Manhattan to march and protest against inequality among workers in the nation. The group, which was mostly organized by the participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement, consisted of union workers and special cause groups.

The congregated groups listened to speeches and expressed their grievances. They even sang “This Land is My Land” and “Solidarity Forever” together. As poignant and charming as this unity and kumbaya-ing sounds, this is not the most practical solution to making progress.

From what I have seen, the May Day events came and went with but slight mentions of the protests in the newspapers and online. A protest was done at a Manhattan Bank of America, but the crowds protested to nothing but police who guarded the entrances of the building.

In my eyes, I believe the Occupy Wall Street movement is making its slow descent to a quiet death. What started off with a loud bang, with fervent people camping out in public places and engaging in garish activities, is now coming to a gradual halt. The Occupy movement had its moment to make a strategic move, and it failed.

Take for example, the Occupy Los Angeles movement. Even after witnessing that other Occupy encampments were being squashed by law enforcement due to “unsanitary conditions,” the protestors were foolish to not have accepted office space offered by Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, in exchange for vacating off of the Los Angeles City Hall premises.

Knowing that they were to be kicked out of their encampment, it would have been smart to organize with office space and to build a strategic plan of attack for the movement, instead of aimlessly wandering around, demanding various things, from immigration laws to gay and lesbian rights to health services to God knows what. The group could have prepared and approached law makers and the public with structured arguments and an orderly but strong disposition.

Instead, the May Day rallies in Manhattan brought to the streets a man wearing a woman’s skirt and holding a sign that read, “Queers against Israel.” People can protest for whatever they want, but with imprudence and no sense of rationale or basis, nothing will be done.

I regret to say that the Occupy Wall Street movement will soon die. I will mourn the movement that had the gusto and juice to talk some sense into Bank of America’s sketchy corporate leaders and that had the ability to capture the eyes and heart of the world. Occupy Wall Street, you had so much promise.

Stephanie Weldy is a third-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at weldys@uci.edu.