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Occupy Wall Street Unites The 99%

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The Occupy Movement has addressed an important issue that many liberal movements have had difficulty addressing.  The Occupy movement is for all members of the public.  Different people are free to pursue different issues, and they do, from Police Brutality, to corporate regulation, to sustainable agriculture, and many more.  In the past, progressive movements often focused on too narrow a portion of the population, such as gays, women, blacks, immigrants, etc .  The problem with this is that certain issues which affect everyone cannot be addressed if everything is simply focused on, for example, gay rights.  We're all human beings, and we should be working to ensure we all have our human rights.

The fact that Occupy includes all has made it a target of some experts in the media. If there's an exclusively black movement, its easy for them to pull out stereotypes of black people and say that they are loud and lazy. Or if its exclusively an immigrant movement, they'd debate whether the US should allow more immigrants to come. But Occupy, in addition to including these groups, has a number of speakers who until recently were the darlings of society. College graduates, and young professionals, who are supposed to be obedient, polite and non challenging to authority, have been speaking on how the current system screws them. Many of these people, after working hard on their educations and amassing substantial debt, are being asked to work unpaid internships after graduation. How can for profit businesses expect people to work for them for free? These "businessmen" act as if everyone can use magic to provide food, clothes, and other necessities for themselves. A sign at Occupy that embodied this was a young woman holding up a sign saying "I have three degrees, I owe $135,000, my landlord has me in housing court under eviction proceedings, and no, an unpaid internship will not do me any good." Business people in the past 20 years have tried to sucker play recent graduates. They insist we need a good education in order for them to employ us, yet they'd like for us to work for them for free or on a temporary basis. In some ways, illegal immigrants are getting more respect than college graduates. For this reason, young professionals are now increasingly realizing that they are a part of the 99%, along with labor union members, those from minority neighborhoods, and the general working class and poor populations.

Occupy Wall Street, by including all, has done other good work.  I've seen people of all races/nationalities, people of both genders, people from junior high school group outs to Ivy League law school grads interacting in public in ways that simply just don't happen, especially in a city so divided socioeconomically (and at times racially and ethnically) like NYC.  This is, in and of itself, a huge achievement.   Public space is transformed as a gathering for all types of people.  Its recreating the city in a way. Typically, in New York City, one needs money to socialize. People spend a lot of money in bars, restaurants, or in other places that they go out in. But occupation shows us you don't need money to meet new people or to assemble in public. Its forged new bonds and new communities, and this is an important success.

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Screenwriter. Historian. BA in History and certificate in Latin American studies from Cornell University. MA candidate in English at Columbia University. Very interested in public policy.

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