On the eve of the Occupy Movement coming to a screeching halt in Toronto, at least temporarily, I’ve yet to figure out what these folks are protesting about. Listening to the chatter on talk radio, I get a sense that nobody really knows what this thing is about. Perhaps I missed the segments which featured the actual organizers. But the run-of-the-mill supporters who call in seem to be shotgunning their grievances about everything.
I want to pick a side. But the Occupy guys aren’t pitching a compelling case and the other side doesn’t seem to give a damn.
I am completely for youth empowerment. As far as I remember, this is the first mass movement of our generation. And appropriately, it’s led by folks younger than myself. It’s just a pity I don’t know what their message is. In fact, it seems a broad cross-section of folks older than the Occupy crowd really don’t know why they’re protesting. They’ve got their opinions but other than folks in media who have to cover this, most of their target audience don’t seem to care.
A read of their website’s About Us section offers this rather water-downed call-to-action:
We are interested in separating money from politics and improving the country’s infrastructure to fix healthcare, education, environment and the economy.
A slightly more specific goal shows up in an earlier paragraph:
Our target is to change these systems to help the 99% of the population, instead of just the elite 1%
And most telling is this admission:
We have not yet put out a unified message but be sure it will come.
I get what you are trying to do. And I applaud it. Whenever democratic, grass roots passion overcomes apathy and status quo, everything can be made better for everybody. Grave injustices are corrected and made right this way. Grave injustices are made right by young people who believe. But man, those guys who did it before you actually had a point;
“Women and minorities must have the right to vote.”
“Blacks must be guaranteed social and economic equality.”
“Apartheid must end.”
In the case of the Occupy movement, the gist appears to be “Rich people suck.” We then have to dig deeper into the issue to find out that you’re ultimately upset about the top-loaded banking system, financial speculation and I think, big-business and globalization. Here’s the problem, most people won’t take the time because they’re too busy. Most of the 99% you wish to speak for are too damn busy with work, kids and soccer practice. Dude. I’m part of the 99%. We need something easy and meaty to bite on to.
The Occupy Movement appears to be a pitch without a point. And that’s a shame. Anything that mobilizes young people to speak out is always great.
The number one way to persuade is 1. have a point and 2. don’t make your audience work too hard to figure out what it is.
You guys could have changed something. I’m in my mid-30’s and would have loved to be energized by something bigger than myself. We’re the group that have the resources, influence and education that could have made a difference. Most of us fall in the 99%. Most of us would like to see a more democratic commercial future. Most of us would have cared because most of us have kids we want a better society for. I certainly hope my son will be actively involved in shaping his world.
But I think you guys might have blown your 15 minutes.
I’d like to say I want you to succeed. I just have no idea what you want to succeed at.